Posted by: Marie | April 5, 2009

(40) Can you fill in the blanks?

Post #40
[Email to my childhood pastor sent on Wednesday, June 11, 2008]

Dear Rev. D –

Thank you for responding so quickly.  I know it has been many years since I have had contact with you!

I am sure you guessed I have more on mind than confirming your email address.  I actually have some pretty heavy thoughts swirling around in my mind – I’m hoping maybe you can assist me in sorting them out.  The chance that you can help is slim, but I’m going to ask, anyway.

First, I apologize for suddenly popping into your view after so many years, and for bringing heavy subject matter with me, to top it off.  However, I wouldn’t take this step if it were not very important.  Please know that I have been very conflicted about my decision to contact you.

Let me start at the beginning.  Overall, I have had a very good life – I have gotten to have some awesome adventures and I am surrounded by incredible family and friends.  However, there is another side to my life, as well.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with self-destructive behavior, feelings of shame and guilt, and a sense that I am foundationally damaged and unlovable.  As a result, I have really battled with an eating disorder and dysfunctional relationships, among other things.

I couldn’t figure out, on my own, the underlying cause for all of those issues or how to fix them, so this year I started seeing a psychotherapist.  He quickly ferreted out one of my greatest sources of shame – movie-like images that have been in playing in my mind for as long as I can remember – images that can only be described as child pornography.

He asked me from where they originated.  I told him I assumed I had organically created them.  He told me that children do not generate those types of images on their own – such images necessarily come from external influences.  He asked me the same question again.  I answered that I must have seen a pornographic movie when I was a very young child.

Then, in each weekly session over the next couple of months, he would ask me a question or two about those images – what events occur, how I was involved, my age, etc.  Each question would cause me to challenge what I believed about those images.  Then, one day, the thought entered my head that maybe those images came from my own personal experience and not from a movie – that I had been molested as a child.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Of course, he had figured out what was going on right from the start, it just took me a while to make that connection.  As soon as I did make that connection, a number of detailed memories started coming to the surface.  In the past two months, I have started piecing together the specifics.

My biggest challenge has been to fully believe that the memories I am now recalling are real.  The idea that I was sexually abused is so outrageous to me.  Yet, I have the memories and I have the post-trauma symptoms.  Some days it all feels real and believable and other days it doesn’t.

For whatever reason, it seems my healing process has been stalled by my inability to accept the validity and accuracy of my memories.  It seems vital to my healing that I have some external validation.  I am less interested in the details such as where, what or even who.  I am more interested in having confirmation that something happened and that I am not making up all this.  I’m not looking for revenge or to cause any new pain, I just want to heal and move onto better things.

There is absolutely no way that I would ever speak to my mom about this.  I believe it would only bring her great pain, and there is no reason for that.  My memories include my trying to tell her about the abuse and her response being one of disbelief.  She doesn’t need to know because there is nothing she can do about it now.

I have talked to both of my sisters to see if they could provide some insight; neither could.  So, I am turning to you for help because my memories seem to be associated with someone in our former church.  I don’t have a clear image of his face (whomever he was), but I can remember interacting with him at the church.  I do have some strong clues as to his possible identity.

I remember wearing my dress clothes and carrying my play clothes in a paper grocery sack to his house, so apparently I spent Sunday afternoons with him and his family at their house.  I would have been about four years old (around 1972).

I know that you would not remember with whom I spent my Sunday afternoons.  However, you may have become aware, over the years, of someone in the church having done something like this.  I’m not even sure what you might know that would be useful to me, or what you ethically could tell me.  However, I need to ask the question.  I feel you are the best person to ask, especially because I know the perpetrator was not you, and because you would have insight into the inner-workings of the church at that time.

Do you, or maybe Mrs. D, have any insight or information that would be helpful to me?

Again, I apologize for bringing such heavy material to you . . . I pray that I am not causing you undue angst and pain.  Thank you for your time and consideration . . .

– Marie


Responses

  1. Very brave mmaggnna. Well done.

    • Thank you, sworddancewarrior! It was something I just had to do while I had the chance to do it . . .

  2. Oh my god, you are such an amazing writer. Did he ever respond?

    Hi, I’m new here. I’m reading through your archives and I am so intrigued. I’m hanging onto your every word. And I have so much more to say to you, but I want to keep reading and send you an email when I am up to date with the blog. So stay tuned…

    • Hi, Samantha –

      Well, welcome to my blog! I’m glad you are finding its contents intriguing! Thank you for your kind words about my writing!

      As you will soon know from continued reading, he did respond . . . and he was not able to provide any helpful information. But, I was really glad I sent the letter because, for what ever reason, I really needed to ask the question.

      I look forward to hearing from you in the future!

      – Marie


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