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#413822 - 10/21/12 05:27 PM Sitting in Fear
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5971
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
Part of the recovery process is sitting with a discovery until it's power, the overwhelming emotional response, is minimized. This is a difficult process, but it is doable. This is my third response within recovery to this trigger that brings fear, panic attacks and self loathing. It may be best to read this about my father here and this about Spirituality here although it does seem to be less about my God and myself and more about my father...

Today I did not go to worship. I did not listen in on the telephone. I watched the time slip by from the start of the service. The fear like a weight on my chest, so familiar, I turned on the television.

When I was younger, I remember trying to get out of going to worship. I would have a stomach ache, a head ache, or body aches I could not really explain. So my family of origin would go. I would listen to them leave, floors creaking, doors closing, engine starting, and the family car leaving the driveway. I would wait a few moments more.., no more sounds in the house.

I slip quietly out of bed a tip toe to the hallway. My hand on the wall to steady the foot falls I creep to the stairs. Down to the living room, lights off, no one in the kitchen. I look down the steps to the basement, again no lights, the television is off. I stand, hand on my stomach in case some is waiting down there. I get a sickly look on my face and turn the light on. I will pretend that I left something, a toy, car, heh heh even better, a Bible down here and I wanted to get it before getting back into bed. Nope, no one down there.

The house is mine.

I rush upstairs to the kitchen, a snack of whatever leftovers and some ice cream, then carefully putting away the evidence. I go down to the television, one eye on the program, one on the clock. I am safe, no one can hurt me, I feel so protected, so at ease, I only feel this way when I am alone. Like all good things, it comes to an end.

The dishes in the sink, or rinsed and dried and put in the cupboard, all the lights off again, I sit in the dining room, no lights, the best seat for watching the family return. One car, two cars, three cars, more.., till finally, the white Plymouth's top can be seen in the street light down the hill. The car slows, the driveway lit up by it's headlights, and the family gets out and walks to the door.

Time for me to slip upstairs, tummy full, refreshed with a few moments peace and safety, as I climb into bed and throw the covers over my face, I take a deep breath in, and smile.

... Great memory, but what follows is my current burden, my dad is angry in my head. I should have gone to worship, I could miss something important and die! I berate the child hiding in his room till they leave, angry at him. But they are both me, so I remain trapped in this cycle. Reason through recovery is letting me see this cycle, and with the God's blessing and my determination, I will sit with this fear, I will not become angry with it and cause panic within myself, I will keep my hurt abused child safe while I help him\me to mature, to be able to go to events want to attend, to not be afraid, to be free.

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#413839 - 10/21/12 09:19 PM Re: Sitting in Fear [Re: SamV]
Country Offline

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 654
Loc: Alabama
Wow Sam thanks for sharing this story and your way with words I awesome brother. Also I feel led to say this as well. As men , who are believers, they will stand accountable for their families spiritual life. I really don't know what happened between you and your father, sorry if I offend as that is not my intent, but maybe the thought of him wanting you to go to church is the most important thing he ever did for you. My dad never stressed church in me or anything spiritual, I wish he had. I can relate all too well with tour words here and wanting to have your alone time. The quality time with just you.. Wishing you the best brother and again thanks for sharing.
Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

#413841 - 10/21/12 10:30 PM Re: Sitting in Fear [Re: SamV]
Letourski Offline

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Canada

Thanks for sharing your story with us. Sitting with that fear until it loses its power is one the most difficult things to do. I cannot claim that I have mastered this, not even close. But in silence, with nothing more than myself I can visit those places and allow the waves of emotion come and go.

I find it challenging to go those places that scare us without reliving the abuse. I spent nights crying myself to sleep after recalling the memories. And the more I recalled, the more I cried. Consciously visiting those places feels a lot like inviting them in, and once they are there they will not go back in. I am left with the painful process of facing my feelings, something that I have medicated most of my life.

Thanks again for your story Sam. The way you choose your words really speaks to me. Heal well friend.


I am the warrior.

#413874 - 10/22/12 03:29 AM Re: Sitting in Fear [Re: SamV]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4197
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
Sam - as another kid who had abuse and religion and father issues all mixed together, i found your posts above very vivid.

growing up, i could never get out of going to church, but would come home and have migraines that lasted the rest of the day, to the point that i could not see straight or do anything except lie down in a darkened room. just one of the symptoms my parents ignored or held against me.

i still remember the fear that would grip me for not giving in to the emotional blackmail that was used week after week to elicit the desired visible public response - going forward to the altar to confess, repent, weep and wail, and make an emotional display of yourself. it was emotional/spiritual prostitution - somebody else getting their jollies from using other people's guilt, pain and shame against them. if i gave in, i hated myself for being manipulated. if i held out, i'd sit in the backseat of the family car on the way home, terrified that every approaching vehicle was going to hit us head-on and send me to hell immediately.

as soon as i got out of the parental house at 18 and went away to college, i never attended a church of their denomination again unless i absolutely had too - if home for a visit or going to a wedding, etc. the step-dad's funeral was the worst.

i have always been attracted to non-denominational churches that met in secular settings - maybe this is why. maybe that would help you - if it doesn't feel or look as much like a church building? i also like ones where the people are more diverse - not all older, middle-class, caucasian, conservative.... those things make me feel too close to the past. fortunately, not all churches are the same.

i've been working on the father/God/fear stuff too, as you know. you've helped me a lot with your counsel in the past. don't know if i can help in any way except to say, thanks for continuing to move forward, and for taking us with you through your story. and i'm pulling for you.

Grace & Peace to you!

Edited by traveler (10/22/12 03:30 AM)
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#413939 - 10/22/12 02:20 PM Re: Sitting in Fear [Re: SamV]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5971
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
Country, I agree. That Spirituality is the most important thing in my life is a gift from my parents. I could not think of a better way of living than to give glory to him that created and sustained my life and the billions of other lives on this earth(and perhaps elsewhere;) I owe them that gratitude. I will balance this, it will be a non issue one day, just not today.

Daniel, I have come to anticipate your comments and I really enjoy your perspective. Sitting with fear and allowing those overwhelming emotions to pass over us is a good example of not acting out but being a witness to that which is not ours passing by us without incident. Sobbing, crying, convulsing, spasming, these I have come to understand as very appropriate reactions to the violence and betrayal we have been subjected to during the abuse and it's aftermath. Those who do not react emotionally are the damaged ones. We will confront these and we will regain our power to be sensitive and compassionate, thank you Daniel.

Lee, my sincere appreciation for your support. I feel that struggle of holding out and giving in, the abuse caused so much confusion, resentment and fear inside of us, we could not have the consistency of self guidance, nor God-guided as our fathers were overwhelmed, so we too were overwhelmed. It is time to see that for what it is, it is not those I choose to worship with, nor the God who has given me life and prosperity, nor even the building(although I like that a church with all its imposing trimmings can be overwhelming, good point) but the father abuser in my head that must now surrender to recovery compassion. After sitting with the fear and the reassurance of continued support(I told myself I could be afraid for as long as I needed to be) comes kind guidance to again access that which I long for, to be associated with fellow peers in worship to our Heavenly Father, to be able to sit with my kids and not praise them on their choices(as much as I can) and to love me as my only real example loves me.

I am in this healthy process, and I will overcome this. Patience and support such as I have witnessed from my fellow survivors guarantees this, as it has been the winning combination so many times in my personal recovery.

My sincere gratitude for you gentlemen, may your recovery promote much hope and compassion as you have lent to me today. Thank you.
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014


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