It has always been important for me to feel like I belong. I’ve experienced so much rejection in my life that I yearn to be accepted and to know that I belong somewhere.
That is what the attraction was with my abuser. I felt unconditionally accepted by him. I was comfortable with him and enjoyed spending time with him. That is, until he started making advances. Even then, I quickly figured out how to manage him so that I could maintain the good relationship and pretend the like bad part didn’t exist.
Fast forward to today. As a survivor, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I’m different than everyone. I don’t feel like I can be myself with anyone. I feel like I have to guard what I say because I might offend someone. The complex set of feelings I experience are maddening. I’d just like to know, “Does anyone else go through this?” But who do I ask?
The psychologist. The spiritual director. The husband. The friends. They are all supportive and helpful in their own ways, but they haven’t experienced anything similar.
Do I go to a SNAP support group? Where people hate the Church I love? Probably where there are people who know exactly what I’m going through? It’s a little intimidating.
I could wait for the diocesan victim support that is coming together, and I plan to, but I need something now.
Once again, in vain do I look for kinship. Gratefully I have a solid network of family and friends to carry me. Most importantly I have my faith. Jesus has carried me constantly. I give myself to him daily and ask for his grace to get me through another day. He always supplies it. One thing I’ve learned through this process is that everything I have is pure grace, a gift from God. I can do nothing without him. These essential elements are in place.
Someday maybe God will send me someone who has experienced clergy sexual abuse who can totally relate to me. And maybe then I won’t feel like the total oddball.
For now, it’s one step at a time, walking in darkness with God.