Let me begin by welcoming you to “Tears in a Bottle”. It is my hope and prayer that you will feel at home here. That this will become a safe place to share and to heal. I do not hold a masters degree in counselling and have no credentials behind my name…I am just an ordinary woman who was broken and bruised as a child, a woman who carried those scars into her adult life and eventually met my very best friend in the world. His name is Jesus Christ, the One who put His hand on my life instead of my body. He showed me what real love was all about, wiped the slate clean again and gave me back my life in a fresh new way. Perhaps my greatest asset is that because I have been deeply wounded I can attempt to use my own understanding of pain to tune into other women who have also been wounded. Although I can not heal you I can go on your behalf to the One who can.
This site is for anyone who has been abused, whether it be sexual, emotional, physical or spiritual…..damage done to the soul.
As we go along I will share more of my story. Because of the sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse I endured as a child, and rape as a teenager, it is my desire to share hope and healing for this closely guarded secret that once bound me. Perhaps you find yourself feeling as I did at one time carrying feelings of shame, guilt, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, bitterness, a sense of being blemished and stained, and possibly strong feelings that “you must keep this secret”.
You may find the process of sharing your story difficult, but in sharing it you will also find healing. As you bring your secret into the light of day may you find sisters here who will walk with you as you progress. Know that as you bring this pain to our Heavenly Father He has promised to bring healing. As we bring our pain into the light of His love and truth….His truth will set us free….His love will heal the deepest of pain and truama.
I have found that as we are wounded relationally, we are healed relationally. We heal best when connected to others who love us. There is hope and you are not alone.
I feel it is important to give a list of some guidelines for this support group because not only should it be a safe place but also a place to be real and authentic.
-When responding to another woman, remember that each of us has the responsibility to be a positive contributor remembering that each woman here is a sister in pain. We can choose to build sisterhood, to learn and to gain insight and strength from each other. Lets work at issues together, supporting one another, being sensitive to one another’s feelings remembering that each woman’s journey will be unigue. I encourage you to not fall into the trap of comparing your progress with anyone else’s. Don’t feel that if you are not whizzing along comfortably toward total wholeness within a month, you’re a failure. Healing from sexual abuse or any abuse takes time. I found my own healing took longer than I had initially thought it would and it took lots of challenging work on my part.
-Keep appropriate boundaries. A common mistake many victims make is to attempt to “rescue” another victim from her struggle. I read a good suggestion once that said,”We can’t rescue another woman any more than we can rescue a woman who is in labor and giving birth. The struggle is the woman’s at that moment. We can’t breathe for her, we can’t push for her, we can’t scream for her. But we can be there to hold her hand, to speak words of encouragement, to reassure her. We can support and encourage one another but the hard work of healing is each woman’s responsibility.”
-If needed allow yourself a “time out”. If the process of growth gets to overwhelming or scary-if you begin to feel that you may harm yourself- if you feel that you’re about to “fall apart”- stop for awhile and give yourself a breather. Taking time out for yourself is okay, but stopping is not because stopping means quitting on yourself. Then your perpetrator wins again.
– If you feel that things are getting our of control, seek help. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Don’t just “white knuckle” it and try to handle it alone. There was a time I needed the help of a counsellor and getting help is okay, and its normal considering what you’ve been through.
– Although at times it can be very difficult to connect with God, especially when we are in the midst of deep pain, remember that He is there, He loves you and He desires your healing. During your journey to wholeness draw near to God. Trust in the fact that He loves you even if you don’t feel that He could. Reach out to Him as you are able. During my healing He was both with me and for me in my difficult journey. He is there for you as well. Realize that it may take some time, maybe even years. Although there may be some difficult battles in the months ahead please know there is hope, He will heal.
Abuse attacks the core of who we are. It takes hold of our self-esteem and twists and rips it. It often leaves the victim feeling shredded, wilted, stained and ugly. Victims often work very hard at keeping it locked away, out of sight out of mind, in a remote “closet of the mind”. Its important to understand that as you begin to pry open the the doors of the closet you may reexperience many feelings from the time of your abuse. Memories are often carried forward in time by feelings.”
I found that as I processed what I experienced as a child, I actually experienced again some of the feelings of fear, helplessness, anger and rage that I quickly repressed as a child. Its good to remember though that it takes energy to keep the closet locked up, it also takes energy to hide it, to keep secrets. Its important to remember that while those secrets may be terrible and frightening, they are limited in their power…..at this stage in your life all these memories can do is frighten you.
I read once that the only real weapons your secrets have are the feelings that you couldn’t allow yourself to experience or express when you were being abused. You may find those feelings as strong as when you were a child.
It is my prayer that this support group will be here to help you learn the process of opening those closet doors, having no more secrets, no more energy given to hiding things, no more time wasted with feelings of guilt, dirtiness, shame and the like.
From time to time I will share questions for reflection and for spiritual growth. It is my prayer also that you will emerge from the tangled and dark woods of abuse into the light of freedom, fresheness, health, happiness, self-respect, and peace and that you will never again live as a victim….God be with you.