Lasting Impact of Childhood Abuse

Have you had a chance to see the movie Tomorrowland?  In it, the main character, a young heroine, repeats a story back to her father, in his moment of defeat, a story he told her during her childhood.  In the story there are two wolves: one is darkness and one is light. “Which one wins?” she questions him. After a pause she continues, “The one you feed the most.”

Since I was in 3rd grade, I’ve been haunted by a ghost of my past, bound up by the shackles of abuse, feeling a prisoner of the violence that was inflicted upon me.   I’ve lived bent over by the voice of shame that was whispered to me when I was only 8.  Fast forward ten years; as I was preparing for college, I sat with an administrator who was reviewing my ACT scores, and he said with a smirk on his face, “Girl, I think a monkey would score higher on this exam than you did.”   Somehow, one negative voice triggered other angry voices that had been repeated in my head — feelings of fear and having no value. Those voices were drummed up again and again over the next 30 years, by decisions I made that led to mistakes, or missteps on roads that were winding and unclear. It felt natural for me to focus on those voices of pain that led to self-doubt.  And to quiet those voices, I felt driven to strive for many things, some of which weren’t healthy.  Yet I also felt drawn toward joy, a lifeline that always seemed out of reach.  Now, however, at almost 48, I’m finally starting to shake myself of those heavy chains.  Inner strength is beginning to emerge. Feelings of finally being redeemed, and growing into the person that God intended me to be, are being fostered.

My life circumstances over the last year and my circle of influences have caused me to look at why and how I’m choosing to live my life.  In scripture Luke chapter 10 verse 27 we hear, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This year I’ve come to realize that loving neighbor and others is tricky when you don’t love yourself.  Now I’m settling into love of self, and accepting God as the power that frees me from those heavy chains.  It’s taken many years to discover and foster that self-love and look at my authentic self.  (I’ll save those details for another blog.)

Black Crow

As I was pondering the sensitive nature of this entry, I heard the fear creeping up in me: “What might people may say or think of me?”   For me, confidence and self-love starts with acknowledging my feelings and I do that best through prayer while taking a run.   My run took me down a tree-lined street, where suddenly, an enormous black crow landed directly in front of me on a low-hanging branch.  He appeared to look right at me, and did his “caaahaaa” as if he was laughing at me.  That crow reminded me that we live in a world where good and evil are both present on every road I take.   I decided I wouldn’t let that crow intimidate me — I picked up my pace and popped in my earbuds.  The first song I heard was by the group Mercy Me.   The lyrics of “Greater” clearly state the voice that I now hear inside of me.  God’s voice in my heart is far “Greater” than those voices of my past, the naysayers in my world, and those who try to intimidate me.  Like the heroine from the movie Tomorrowland, I am choosing to feed the voice of light.


Rhonda Sipchen

2 years ago

Really touching Peggy. Very brave post. xoxo

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Creating Space, LLC.

2 years ago

Thanks Rhonda, this is another very freeing step in my growing confidence and hope it helps others.

Deana

2 years ago

So proud of you my beautiful friend!!! An inspiration to all and a remarkable role model! Thank you for sharing and for so eloquently telling the story so many can relate to! You continue to amaze me in such a beautiful way! Love ya girl!

Hilary

2 years ago

Hi Peggy – Brave and true. Thank you for sharing. We need to have that walk or tea soon. Let me know a good time. Love you – Hilary

Hilary A. Denk J.D. Denk Mediation Solutions http://www.denkmediation.com 630-725-8066

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Creating Space, LLC.

2 years ago

Yes lets set a date for an early morning walk. Free on Thursday? Thanks for your kinds words of encouragement.

Diane Massura

2 years ago

You share a grace-filled part of your journey! I love it that you could make a connection between your encounter with the crow and your interior struggle with negative voices. The song “Greater” is wonderful and I can imagine is a good one for running!

alida5477

2 years ago

That a self hate is such a powerful thing. Before we know it or we even mean to we have transferred it to our sons and daughters, and the cycle continues. My husband is quick to point out it’s “that original sin”. – so hard to overcome.

This reminds me of a conversation I was having with my sister (who is 12 years older than I am) )the other night. We were talking about self employment and pricing for my up and coming photography business. I gave her the prices I feel I need to make things work for our family – immediately she said, “NO! NO! NO!” It’s too high people won’t pay that and on and on and on. Although her advice was well intended she not only had me working for $ 4.00 hour – she had me working 8 days a week 26 hours a day for half the pay. I didn’t get upset with her I simply pointed out that it was not her I needed to convince. It was myself – I need to convince ME that I am worth more than $4.00 an hour and I had to build from there. A light came on for me. Even though I came from a loving home of parents who were married for 56 years – a loving father – a mother who stayed home and took care of the family – I have never believed I was worth it. I have never had the confidence to truly fly, I was always afraid of what? I was afraid of what people would think of me – afraid people would think “Who in the heck is she acting all high and mighty?” I look at my sister who is divorced and alone – and I see a woman in pain with no confidence. I have another sister who is on her second marriage looks in the mirror and calls herself ugly every single time. I see our mother who is a widow and afraid to be alone – she has always told her daughters they can’t. I think because of her fears. These are beautiful, beautiful woman – with beautiful hearts with beautiful minds – with so much love they could change the world. I have come to realize the thing that is holding them back/ us back is that self hate. That self hate that each one of us transfers onto each other because of the original sin. Because we don’t feel worth it. I have told that hate voice to leave me alone. So far so good. 🙂 There are many days it wants to come back but I won’t let it back. It’s not good to me.

Thank you so much for this brave and beautiful conversation. Thank you too for stopping by my blog and letting me know you are here. I have a new favorite place. AND THE SONG! So perfect!!!! Thank you for empowering us today. Thank you for being vulnerable and reminding us – we are worth it.

Much Love, Lisa

Creating Space, LLC.

2 years ago

Lisa,

Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing and your inner strength. Yes, yes and yes. This internal voice can be so strong and it tries to defeat us. I see this is so often in my ministry and it pains me. Even writing my piece freed me in a new way. Your feedback is very appreciated. On a side note on your pricing of your business. Finding the right price for a service we provided is one of the most difficult parts of business. It can be so tricky. I used to think I charged too much and then realized that I can’t judge how much people are willing to pay. Heck they pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee. People spend money, even money they don’t have on things that provide them value, joy and happiness. So if you offer a great product and service, GO FOR It. Good luck and if I can promote your business, happy to do so. Peggy

tina drechny

2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. And next time you see the crow, just think, he may be encouraging you to laugh WITH him.

Creating Space, LLC.

2 years ago

Tina, love your view on the world and yes thanks for the reminder. I surely need to laugh more often.

JoAnn

2 years ago

Peggy, this was beautiful. It takes a lot of courage to write words that have caused pain. It also shows victory over them! I know the Lord is using you to strengthen others – look at the posts! Blessings and peace. Love you! (and the song too!)

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