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04/11/2011

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Jennifer

Hope,

I have been reading along with your story, and just caught up with the last 3 posts today. First of all, I want to say thank you for sharing your heart with us. The amount of time, and the emotional energy it took to write all of this is profound. I have been praying for you as these stories have posted. I know what it's like to feel exposed, even when you're vounteering to tell your story. I am deeply grateful you have shared so much.

I am struck by the unique nature of our story. I dont mean to say that you are an odd-ball for being where you are, rather you are a reminder that each of us has a unique story, and trying to force people into one box or another rarely works for long.

I love how you have come to learn how to be true to yourself while still being open to others. In my experience a good number of women who have been through abuse (of any kind) have a very hard time opening up and letting people in. Even when they long for love and relationship, they find ways to protect themselves which usually means pushing others away through one thing or another. But you seem to have found a way to let deep love in, and that is beautiful. Many women in your position never get to that point.

Also...I was curious...I know this is a story about cgf, but have you been able to make female friends along the way too? I ask as someone who usually prefers the company of men over women - although over the last couple years I've collected a handful of women friends that I'm learning to trust (and forgive), and its nice. I was curious what your experience was like there too.

Dan Brennan

Hope,

Reading your story has been a great gift to me. I echo Jennifer's comments about your great progress to breakthrough defenses to actually enter into authentic intimacy and love. When you are able to express the beauty and depth of your love for Lewis--wow, great, encouraging stuff.

Hope

I've been pondering this for a couple of hours, asking myself why I have taken the less common way. Like most things in life, I'm sure the answer is multifactorial, and there were definite "crossroads" moments in my life when I made the choice to go one way and not the other, but there is a definite motive power behind all that, and it goes right back to childhood experiences.

My deepest fear always was not of pain, but of what I thought of as a child as "greyness" -- by which I meant emptiness, meaninglessness, non-engagement, the death of all thought and feeling in order to revert to a robotic state. It is still my mental picture of hell, and my the thing that lurks behind my deepest fears. I was talking to my next sister a while ago, and she expressed the same fear, though in less melodramatic terms. (If you think in terms of dysfunctional family systems, I was the scapegoat, she was the lost/ignored child, and our youngest sister was -- and still is -- the golden girl.) Greyness is a quality my mother exudes, to be in her presence for too long is to feel the suction of her emptiness. All hurt children make some kind of vows to themselves -- my first and deepest was that I do not want to be like her in any way shape or form. In my whole life I have never known my mother to have a friend. I vividly remember as a small child overhearing my parets, and my father saying he wanted more of a social life. I had no idea what that meant, I thought it had something to do with putting food on toothpicks (!) but I will never forget the dismissive, scornful tone in which my mother said, "What would you want that for?"

To put it another way, i wasn't the child desperately clinging to avoid the threat of abandonment, I was the child who had been emotionally abandoned from birth, and, as I understand it, nearly died from the lack of love and affirmation. That (and this only now occurs to me) is probably why Rick's abandonment made me suicidal, it brought back that primal greyness I had been trying to flee all my life.

As far as women friends, yes, I have developed some since I've been in this church, I've even got over my fear of female touch. But there is one kind of relationship I still really struggle with, if any older woman tries to mother me -- which is pretty rare as I get older, I totally freeze up inside. I answer politely and do what is appropriate, but I cannot pursue such relationships.

Hope all that makes sense

Jennifer

Hope,

I think I know just what that greyness is like - and you describ it well. You are not alone in that experience by any means. You make a lot of sense.

Thank you for putting words to it so well.

Cheryl Ensom Dack

Hope, if your name is a pseudonym it's a perfectly-apt one! I'm sure your story has touched many people, of which I'm one, and I will be passing it along to everyone I love. There is something in your story that will touch every single person close to me in some way. So thank you for sharing your story in such an open and honest way. It is in so many ways "the human story," which is something we all "get" and connect with, even when the details of someone's story are vastly different from our own. I think most people walk around thinking their story is uninteresting or that people care, but when we talk or write honestly about our lives, that will touch and resonate with others every time; it's the story of being human. "We read to know we are not alone," C.S. Lewis said. So very true. I feel a little less alone after reading your story.

Next, I must say I wish your story had been longer. I read the entire story in one sitting and wanted it to go on! I would have avidly read five times what you wrote. Your voice is compelling, your style is refreshing and your writing is incredibly engaging. You simply MUST write a book, if you aren't writing one already. I am connected to a publishing company and would love to speak with you about that if you are interested. cherylensomdack@gmail.com

I'd like to say more on a personal note, but would rather do so privately, if you feel comfortable contacting me. If not, that's o.k., too! :)

Oh, and one thing more: I'm sorry you endured so much pain. I think all of us know something about the fear and pain of abandonment/rejection. But it sounds like you have experienced an almost stunning quantity.

Would love to chat more....
Cheryl

Hope

Thank you Cheryl. Yes, it is a pseudonym -- apart from anything else I have to protect my husband's professional reputation, as he has never made any public admission of abusing me (and in fact it would be professional death in his field) I also would not want to ever be accused of slandering the people involved in that home church (which no longer exists) And I did chooseliberately, for without hope I could not be where I am today.

Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamed of being a published writer, it is one of those dreams which was put aside (but not buried) until God's right time. It is certainly something I would to talk about further, but my next month is very busy, and then I am going overseas for a month to visit my wonderful daughter (who is working in the poorer areas of London as a child-protection social worker) On my return (mid June) I would be very happy to get in contact with you about this. And in the meantime I will be praying for a sense of direction in all of this.

Again, thank you for all your encouragting words.

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