In the Beginning

In order to understand the nature and flowing references throughout my blog, I recommend reading my initial post The End of the Beginning first.


On Rage

One Sunday in January I went to church as usual. During praise and worship, we sang a song with the lyrics "All things work together for my good" from Romans 8:28. All of the sudden I stopped singing as I felt the familiar lump of impending meltdown welling in my throat. The tears began streaming but it was not the usual variety of grief and despair. This time I was filled with rage - pure, utter, unadulterated rage - so much that my fists were clinched tightly and my fingernails bore into the palms of my hands. I envisioned punching someone in the face. My mind raced....

Really? All things work together for MY good? Because I can't think of one single fucking good thing that can possibly come out of being sexually abused, at least not for me. I am so angry with God for letting this happen. Wasn't I already going through enough at the time with schizophrenic-abandoning mother? Where was God in this? Why didn't he protect me? Why didn't anyone? Am I supposed to think that this was all worth it so I can write a book someday? Does that make my suffering meaningful? Acceptable? Fat. Chance.

I went home and took a nap. A thick, deep, foggy sleep that awoke with a start. I was panicked. Heart racing, anxiety in my throat, the booming sound of heartbeat in my ears and pounding in my chest. I was also, strangely, extremely sexually aroused. I realized then that this had happened no less than 3 times the past few weeks since talking to Dee about The Theatre. The acknowledgement overwhelmed me, as it was this moment I first understood the source of my deep shame. Whatever had happened while I was being molested, my body responded even though I didn't want it to. I must have been aroused by whatever he did to me. And even though I didn't remember what "it" was, my body remembered.

The next morning I experienced a different kind of rage meltdown. As I drove to the airport for my next business trip, I was reflecting on the anger and shame revelation from the previous day. A moment of clarity came and all of that rage was now directed at my body. It betrayed me! There I was in the middle of this horrific circumstance of being sexually abused; I should have been fighting or at least appalled but instead I was aroused? This was unacceptable to me. A completely inappropriate response to the situation (or so I thought). And yet I could not stop it, control it, or even curtail it. I was utterly disgusted with myself and completely furious with my body.

My rage continued to morph into various forms and direct itself toward sundry targets - my boss, myself, God, my real-estate agent, myself again, the driver in front of me taking too long when the light turned green, the grocery store clerk who squashed my loaf of wheat bread, myself again - and then it landed smack dab on the crowned head of my mother. It has been resting there for many months now with no signs of movement. (I write more about this in a later post called The Wolf.)

I've learned that it is important to let myself feel whatever it is I need to feel without judgement or attempts to control it. Just let it be what it is. I spent much too long suppressing and denying my feelings; I need to let them out. Keeping them locked deep inside is what got me here: depressed, anxious, unable to have a functional intimate relationship, lonely, fragmented, dissociated.

Anger and even rage are a necessary part of the healing process. In fact, healing from sexual abuse is much akin to the 7 stages of grief:

  1. Shock and Denial: I did this for about, oh, 25 years.
  2. Pain and Guilt: Yep, plenty of this.
  3. Anger: Thus my rage.
  4. Depression: Does near constant suicidal ideation count? Yes, I think it does.
  5. Upward Turn
  6. Reconstruction
  7. Acceptance and Hope

And so I am processing 25 years worth of rage and pain. I told you this is the middle of my story. My sarcasm helps me to see just where I am now, and it appears I have not yet reached the upward turn. But I long for it, I believe in it. 

I believe in hope.

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