Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Shadows of the Past—My Story.

Posted on: May 30, 2012

ImagePart I

                Close your eyes and imagine your childhood. What do you see?

For me, whenever I thought of my childhood, I didn’t have colorful images flooding my mind, only darkness. It was as if my childhood had been completely wiped clean. Accompanying this darkness was a brooding sense of dread. I was convinced there was something wrong with me. My brothers and sisters didn’t have a problem recalling certain events from our past, but I couldn’t.

What was in the shadows?

My adolescence, and early adulthood were a struggle. There were moments of happiness sprinkled through my life, but depression was a dark shadow that followed me everywhere. No matter what I did, I normally found myself underneath that black cloud. Happiness was lost in the reality of my existence—a momentary sidebar.

My father was in the Navy, so my family moved many times in my life. During my 8th grade year, we settled into a small town in Southern Illinois, where I still call home today. Quickly, I became the butt of everyone’s jokes. I was bullied mercilessly.

I became a Christian at the age of 14. By the time I turned 20 years of age, I had graduated from Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. I had big plans to be used by God for his glory. By the time I turned 21, my world began to fall apart. My parents divorced after 25 years of marriage, and I experienced my first major heartbreak. I was filled with anger because, as a Christian, I expected God to guide me into blessings and not heartache and sorrow.

I was angry.

Without a mentor to guide me, the anger took control and I walked away from the church and my relationship with the LORD.

During my absence from the body of Christ I became extremely promiscuous. I remember making a deliberate choice to use “Them” (lumping all men together) before they used me. My goal before I celebrated my birthday was to have 23 notches on my bedpost before I actually turned 23. I broke a few hearts, and I made sure I didn’t see the same man twice.

Until I moved to Alameda, California.

The one heart I stomped on belonged to Michael. I will never forget him. He put up with a lot from me. He held me while I cried over a lost love. He was tenderhearted. He was perfect. But, I was still angry and determined to use men for my own gratification. Michael loved me. I knew he did. I mattered to him. But, for some reason, I couldn’t love him.

Then I met the father of my children.

I met Tom at a local bar; the same bar I met Michael. I was immediately taken by Tom. He was tall and knowledgeable, and at 6’ 8”, my height—6’ 2”—was not an issue. He took me dancing. He wined and dined me. For the second time in my life, I felt like I mattered to someone. Within six months, I was pregnant.

We were married that year, in Louisiana, on April 12th, 1986.

The abuse began April 10th, two days before we were married. As soon as he began trying to control me, I shut down. I gave in. I obeyed.

My marriage was tumultuous—to put it mildly—from the beginning. When I delivered my children the momma bear in me showed up and I changed from the obedient one, to the crazed woman who now fought back.

That didn’t go over too well.

During my second pregnancy the verbal abuse turned physical. I learned how far I could push him before I began to fear for my safety, most of the time, I backed down. Before discovering I was pregnant with our third child I began wanting out of the marriage, but knew I couldn’t leave. I believed in biblical principles. I believed in was the sanctity of marriage. I knew God hated divorce and the bible only gave two reasons for it; Infidelity and, if the unbeliever wanted to leave. I felt stuck.

I suspected infidelity, I just didn’t have proof.

The last West Pac—a six month cruise in the West Pacific—Tom went on, provided me with proof of his infidelity. I felt God releasing me from the marriage, but inside, I still wasn’t strong enough to follow through. I sought counseling in hopes I would be encouraged to leave my abusive marriage. God had another plan.

“Tell me about your childhood.” The very first question the counselor asked.

I pondered on his question, but there was a mental block. “Normal, I guess.” was my first response. But, no sooner had those words passed through my lips, I knew they were wrong. “No, wait,” I blurted out, “that isn’t right.” All of a sudden, memories that were buried deep in my heart, regurgitated onto the canvas of my mind. “I was…m…” I tried to tell him. “I was mol…” I tried again. I lost control. Scenes of sexual abuse. Screams. Faces. Terror. Names. Pleas for God to save me. Unanswered prayers. I remembered. Finally, I was able to verbalize…“I was molested!” All I could do was sob.

Light exposed the shadows.

The counselor, as helpful as he had been, when he found out I was just a spouse of an enlisted man, informed me he really couldn’t help me. The counseling was there for military men and women, not their spouses, but he did encourage me to find help…he could refer me…

While I struggled to deal with the emotions of a failing marriage, I now had to deal with the reality of my abuse. My marriage was over. I had two small children and five months pregnant with our third. We left October 17, 1989.


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