Ambivalence. A word that is hard to describe when it comes to sexual abuse. Dr. Dan B. Allender defines it best in his book, The Wounded Heart, as “feeling two contradictory emotions at the same moment.”

A warning that parts of this story may be difficult to read…. I share it not for the graphic nature, although I will try to be sensitive and leave out specific details, it may be offensive to some readers. I hope that through it you may come to understand the damage done to a child’s mind and soul, and the lies as children we come to believe….. it is only through the amazing grace and love of our Heavenly Father those lies are broken and hearts healed.

I was sharing with a friend on the Ransomed Heart forum how difficult it is for me to receive any compliments. Most of the time they just roll off my back, they never penetrate my heart. This is an area that the Lord is still healing in me…it seems to be a long, slow process. The following story may give you some insight as to why this is a very difficult area for me.

“You want this don’t you? Tell me that you like this.” These were the words spoken to me as a little girl while I was being molested. Left with no choices I simply repeated what I was told to say. Because I knew that if I cried, or if I didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear, I would get beaten.
And if I ever told anyone he promised to kill me. I knew he would make good on those threats. I knew all about beatings. And so I lived in fear and I suffered in silence, weeping on the inside, tears not allowed to be shed, silent tears swallowed and buried. I hid behind a mask, my soul slowly dying and becoming numb. How does a small child process all this?

The physical wounds would heal but the internal wounding would take years to heal.

It was only at night alone in my bed that the tears would come. I would weep quiet, silent tears so no one would hear, crying out to a God I didn’t know but believed was out there some where. Crying out for my mother to come and rescue me. I knew she was in heaven watching me from above but I needed her here…. why did God take her away? I needed her. Maybe this God would come and take me to her. And so every night I begged Him to come and get me too. But there was only silence.

By the time I was a teenager and my body began to develop I was often “teased” and complimented about my maturing body. In that attention I knew a vague sense of dominance, power and attractiveness when someone would comment on my body. Having never felt valued in any other way I began to realize that I had something of value, something men wanted. My soul, hungry for attention and love, began to soak up the attention even though at the same time it left me self-conscious, uncomfortable and feeling cheap. My pleasure turning to disgust.

But the initial pleasures of being pursued or wanted lingered in my soul. It left me confused as to why I could feel two conflicting emotions at once. I felt anger over their attention and yet a sense of pleasure at the same time.
It was during this time around age 15 that I was date raped by two young men. I won’t go into the sordid details or events that led up to this. Only to say that I was drugged and then raped. Hours of my life a total blank. Yet I did wake up for a brief moment during the rape only to hear the words, “you are so beautiful” and then I went blank again…..the drugs continuing their effect.

What does a young woman do with those words?

This is where ambivalence comes in. The very thing that was despised also brought some degree of pleasure or satisfaction. For me personally, my body never betrayed me physically in that it responded with pleasure in the act, but it betrayed me emotionally or sensually. I found pleasure in the interest and attention but loathing it and the power I felt, at the same time.

I deadened my soul and that’s why after the rape I became part of a group or gang, I became one of the girls who was used sexually…. it offered a certain degree of power even though it left me feeling used and ashamed…..two conflicting emotions. I finally walked away from that lifestyle and eventually an increasing prim and proper aloofness began to grow and remained for years, and still does to some degree.

I need to leave this for now and will continue later…..

5 thoughts on “Ambivalence

  1. Uhhh. Ambivalence. I feel the knot of ambivalence in the pit of my stomach right now reading this post. You’ve really touched on something crucial here and I think I also need a lot more time to work through it. Thank you SO much for sharing your story so boldly. I pray peace and blessings for all of us tonight!


  2. Yep. Ambivalence. Exactly.

    That’s what led me to years of eating disorders and self-hatred. Or was it shame that led me there? Who really knows anymore? I wanted to be thin and pretty and be seen as attractive by men…at least until there was unwanted, sometimes violent attention…and then, in fear, I would gain a bunch of weight in order to NOT be seen by men.

    It’s weird, in a way. I was very much like a child in a woman’s body. I wanted to be attractive, but I didn’t want sex. It was as though the thing I was seeking from men was what I didn’t get to have when I was small. I wanted to be able to simply twirl in my pretty dress and be seen as beautiful and innocent…not as something to bed. And I do mean “something”. I felt like a piece of meat. Now, of course, I see those former desires of mine as extremely unrealistic, but I guess when I was molested as a child, my innermost self got frozen in time or something. Like I said, “It’s weird…”

    I was never quite sure whether being female was a blessing or a curse. One thing I know for sure is this: when sexual boundaries are breeched at a young age by someone who is supposed to be “safe”….when innocence is carelessly ripped away…sexuality becomes very confusing at best and extremely destructive at worst.

    My prayer is that THIS year…2008…will be the year I FINALLY make the right choices. You see, I desperately want to be fit and healthy before I turn 50…less than two years away now. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I would never go into a church and vandalize it, and yet that is exactly what I have done for years to my faithful servant a.k.a my body. THIS year, by God’s grace, I’ll be kind to my body. After all, if I don’t, then who will???

    Thanks for sharing your story, beloved sister.
    Tears….you are in my thoughts and prayers along with those who may simply be reading here.


  3. It’s as if the wrongness of the violence and violation scrambles our sensors. We can’t tell good from bad, happy from sad, our likes from our dislikes, love from hate. The ambivalence covers the shame, fear, and confusion like a blanket. I was thinking about Jo’s comment on another post. Her reaction to another person reacting to what happened to her. As if that gave her permission to begin to feel the outrage for herself.

    I just want to say that I’m so sorry for what happened to you tamarshope and to you jo. I thank God you have come to see yourselves as you really are because you are beautiful!


  4. Yeah. Ambivalence. A prim and proper aloofness (that I am so weary of wearing). I’m frightened of flirting because it feels so wrong. Showing interest feels so wrong.

    I don’t know what healthy interest looks like. I want Jesus to make my heart free.

    I want him to dissolve this prim and proper aloofness I wear so that others will see my beautiful feminity. I don’t even know what that looks like.

    I need Jesus healing and mercy.

    Come for me, Jesus.


  5. Jane Esther McDuff-as you have asked Jesus to come, know that He will….He will come…

    ambivalence….for me personally I paid a high cost for years and years. I projected that prim and proper aloofness while at the same time I would fantasize about every man that showed me interest. I sexualized intimacy…that deep longing to be loved and cherished…and so passion was dangerous to me. Better to remain aloof and not acknowledge needs. Ambilavence makes pleasure- any experience of enjoyment-highly suspect and dangerous.

    But as I invited Jesus into that hidden part of my soul…..He came…..and slowly over the years I came to accept my feminine beauty….and yes I still struggle some days when I look to the world for validation…but more often than not I am free now to offer my femininity….because in Jesus I am healed and unconditionally accepted.

    “Jesus, we bring to you the little girl inside of each of us, thank you Jesus that you accept her just as she is……come Lord Jesus to your women, come Holy Spirit….protect us and give us the courage to believe….to believe again in love and beauty and in You Lord, a God who will always call us beautiful. Give to each woman reading here a supernatural vision of how You see her…..before others can see our feminine beauty we must first shed the cloak of aloofness and acknowledge that we need You Father to heal our hearts…set us free…..
    no longer do we want silence to heal us, or avoidance to make us forget…..we acknowledge that the little girl inside us who longed to be beautiful, to be accepted, to be seen and cherished is still inside….only You Lord can come and rescue her and heal her……restore to us a Holy passion.
    Father God- heal our wounds….come Lord Jesus come….


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