Monday, April 8, 2013

Introduction and Chapter 1

A journey begins with a single step and a book begins with a single word, so I guess I've begun.  My story is simple but sad and unfortunately extremely common.  Abuse...emotional, physical, sexual and religious is the reality that to many women live was my reality.  What others would find horrific becomes a daily "norm" for those living with an abusive husband.

As I start this book I'm still on the journey to healing, in fact I've just begun.  By the final chapter it is my prayer that the demons will be caged.

If you're a survivor of abuse, I invite you to take this personal journey with me.  If you are someone that is in the position of helping a survivor heal, may my journey help you understand the emotions, thoughts and the traumatic impact abuse has had on the one you are helping.

You will note that I'm using the word survivor instead of victim.  The word victim conjures a negative image.  Anyone who has lived with abuse and emerged the other side is a survivor.  Negative feelings abound plenty without adding a negative title to who you view yourself to be!

Some of what you read will not be pretty, but it is my life, my journey.  So if you're ready to begin I invite you to join me and may we be granted complete healing.

*Some names have been changed to protect privacy

                                                          Chapter 1

I sat looking at a bottle of sleeping pills, muscle relaxants and morphine.  Life held nothing but hurt, fear and hopelessness.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  Everything that I had buried inside for 19 years had come spilling out in just 48 hours and I was in a state of shock, confusion and uncontrollable terror.  Events that had been repressed in order to survive were flooding into my consciousness at a speed that was so overwhelming that I was drowning in fear.

So, how did I get here?  Lets begin my journey.

September 1983...moving day!  I was so excited.  I was 20 and moving into my first apartment in the city.  I had been hired as a secretary at a missionary outreach.  The Pastor there was the director of a book room, monthly magazine and daily radio broadcast that was heard in many countries.  My job was to deal with the Canadian correspondence, generated by donations and requests.  They also owned an apartment building next door which was primarily a retirement home for Christian seniors.  The top floor was set aside for staff living quarters.

I had a cute bachelor apartment.  One whole wall was windows where I could see the Halifax harbor.  There was a kitchen off the livingroom at one end and a "bedroom" area at the other end.  A small entryway with a coat closet on one side and a little bathroom on the other completed the apartment...and it was mine!

I had spent a year in a college dormitory; another year as a live in nanny/housekeeper and school crossing guard, but this was the very first time living on my very own.

The day I began my job I was very nervous but so excited.  I caught on quickly and within a couple of weeks had cleared up the backlog of correspondence.

The only other young people my age working there were David and Edward, and it wasn't long before we started hanging out together.  I quickly developed a close friendship with David, nothing mushy, just a close brother sister type bond.  His mom and dad, Esther and George became my second this day they hold a special place in my heart.

As close as I was to David I longed for a girl friend and she soon came into my life.  Peter was added to the staff a few months after I arrived, and his wife Pam was just the person I had been waiting for.  We were soon best friends.

I enjoyed where I was working, although I found the Pastor very aloof.  I already had a nervousness around men due in part to an earlier event in my life.

Prior to coming to work in Halifax I had been involved with someone.  One night he decided that he was not going to wait any longer and wanted more than a good-night kiss.  I ended up fighting him off and being thrown out of the car.  The fact that the Pastor was standoffish suited me just fine, not that I felt threatened by him in any way;  but already having been hurt by two men (I had been molested as a teenager) I had developed a wariness around men in authority.  Anytime however that he did have reason to find me left me a nervous wreck!  I'm sure however that he did not know what to do with me, let me give you a couple of examples.

My dad passed away just 12 days after my 16th birthday, and my mother lived alone in the Annapolis Valley.  One day I got a call that she had broken her leg.  I asked for a couple of days off so that I could go home to help her out but was denied.  So Pam and I decided to leave right after work the next day, but I had to be back to work the following morning at 9:00am.  We spent the evening helping mom with odd jobs that had to be looked after, and making sure she had what she needed close.  By 1:00 am Pam nor I had been able to get to sleep, so we decided just to jump in the car, housecoat, slippers and all and head back to Halifax.

I don't know when the Pastor ever slept;  he made rounds in the apartment building at all times during the night.  Pam and I were just heading out of the underground parking garage into the lobby when we found ourselves face to face with him.  He took in our state of dress and the time, then without a word left the building!  I waited the whole next day at work to be called into his office but the call never came.

A few months later Pam decided to go home by herself to New Brunswick to visit her family for a week.  A couple of nights after she left I awoke from a deep sleep around 1:00am.  I can't remember what I had been dreaming but I had a burning compulsion that I just had to talk to Pam right away.  Our apartments were beside one another and a minute later I was knocking at her door...then the elevator door opened and there was the Pastor.  Again, he never said a word.  He took in my state of dress, the time, the fact that I was at Peter's door with his wife away in the middle of the night!  He just got back in the elevator and left.  That's when I finally woke up enough to realize where I was and what I was doing!  I never did hear anything about the incident;  like I said...I don't think he knew just quite what to do with me!

1 comment:

  1. A lot of people have been here. Being strong enough to share so that someone else can read and relate is such an act of kindness and a good way to heal