This is the fifth of seven posts in the Becoming a Wounded Healer: My Story Through Abuse series. All posts available here.
I continued to struggle with an intense fear of vulnerability. Constantly questioning peoples’ motives was exhausting. As a youth worker, I was afraid that somehow even I might also be manipulating others, especially the teens I worked with. Two journal entries spaced nearly a year apart show continued struggles in my relationships.
Sometimes I want so much to believe but I can’t. What if it is not what it seems? What if I’m being played again? In reality that seems unrealistic. I’m much older now and I should be able to spot it. But all that caused me to doubt myself too. In some ways I still feel like a child. This is all so confusing. When I think I’ve put it behind me, new situations bring it up again and cause me to experience it in a different way. I can never escape it. It’ll always be a part of me I guess. Like you can’t erase your scars. Sometimes that makes me really sad. It’s hard to constantly experience new aspects of a painful past.
I think it’s also become a ‘role’ that is harder to trust. People in Christian leadership, pastors, etc…they are hard to trust.
I realize again how scary it is to be vulnerable, even a little bit, and how hard it still is for me to trust people. I’m still experiencing the effects of what happened before. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely free of it. Even with physical wounds the scar remains. I just wish it was easier. I don’t want others to pay for his mistakes, but the reality is that it still hurts sometimes and I’m still discovering the effects. I don’t really like thinking about it because it brings me down. It already took so much from me, and I don’t want it to take more, but maybe I have to face it again to move on. I’m sick of feeling down though. It feels like a rock and hard place…maybe I have to sacrifice short-term to benefit long-term.
Finally, in the summer of 2016, I had two breakthroughs. For the first time, when I shared my testimony with friends, I included the story of abuse. I was finally ready for it to lose its power over me. I had no need to be ashamed for someone else’s actions. I also went back to counselling. It took three years after I came off medication for depression. I was self-aware enough to see the continued effects of the abuse in my life, particularly an inability to trust, a skeptical nature, and self-doubt in my interactions, never knowing if there was cause for concern, or if I was just transferring past reactions to current situations. I knew I couldn’t fix it on my own. Even though I had been to counselling before, I still struggled with feeling like it was giving in to a weakness. I should have fixed things by now, or gotten strong enough to fix it myself. I had to convince myself that the only weakness would be believing I didn’t need help.