by Lois Hollis
In my early adult years, I could only remember my first holy communion when asked about my childhood. I explained that I could not readas a child, and I stuttered. My parents and teachers referred to me as dumb, and I had a reason for my poor memory. Today I know that I have dyslexia, and I remember the family abuse.
Years ago, Is equestered the bomb of physical beatings and sexual abuse with in me. Headaches, neck and head traumas and of course, incessant guilt was ticking. The bomb exploded when I was in my early 40’s after I spontaneously saw myself as a little child sitting on the basement floor trying to stop my legs from bleeding. I soon remembered the beatings from my father with his belt buckle and how he pushed his sex on me.
Detailed memories of sexual abuse came to me in the most unusual way. Once I remembered the beatings, I had a spiritual experience that gave me the ability to write what my inner emotional self told me. I knew the color of our clothing and other details about the abuse. I read and re-read those pages with disbelief, anger, fear of more repressed memories but I knew for certain, my father pinned me to the floor and sexually abused me. After a year of holding these pages to my heart, I was willing to share them with a therapist.
Traditional therapy helped me not want to commit suicide anymore, but Istill fought lingering guilt and low self-esteem. Even though I loved life, my health and spirit were diminishing. The physical pain of my headaches and the fatigue from my advancing scolios is that compromised my congenital heart diseaseseemed to be winning. I began another way to heal. I wrote to my individual feelings as if I were talking to one of my friends. "Hi anger", I began. "What do you want to talk about? Who are you?" Within time my anger, anxiety, and other emotions answered.
Unexpectedly, my once flourishing writings stopped as if I hit a wall. I did hit a wall, and it was called denial or the wall of SHAME/GUILT. My twenty year marathon with pharmaceuticals to combat migraine headaches offered me denial but at this time it was hindering my ability to heal. Soon I discovered my inner critic in my writings who chanted those most annoying guilt messages. We established a relationship eventually, and I taught him how we could live better with the knowledge of SHAME/GUILT not the use of it. Together we and my abused child self were able to release the SHAME/GUILT we carried from those who beat and tormented us.
I am forever grateful to my enduring self of love that guided me into healing. In time, I begin to understand how SHAME/GUILT distorts or alters the moral behavior of our caregivers into hatred and justifiable violence.
"Change the future by changing the present.
Change the present by healing the past."
Kenna Marriott is on the Board of Directors of a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Center in Florida. She is also on the Board of Directors of a center for the mentally ill. The names are withheld to protect the women in the stories. She is also an international award winning author of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.Lessons, Learnings and Insights From A Mother About Her Daughter's Battle With Cancer, available from the Focus On Women bookstore.
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