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…..