JUNE: Driving across the country with my kids in the back seat, I had a lot of time to think. On a particularly long stretch of interstate, somewhere on Route 66, a thought came to me: Now you know Him.
Over the years, I’ve learned so much through my healing from abuse and betrayal. One of my favorite resources; The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Podcast has helped me throughout my healing journey. Betrayal Trauma Recovery has helped me deconstruct so many words or concepts that haunted me for years.
One such concept was “forgiveness.”
Growing up in the church, I never fully comprehended the Lord or the Atonement. I remember learning that Christ experienced all things. I always wondered how—how in the Garden of Gethsemane did He feel what I’ve felt? How could He understand what it feels like to be betrayed so completely by a spouse? And how could He feel such pain and still forgive those who betrayed Him? How could I? The thought of it hurt my heart, like a dagger stabbed through it. I had suffered profound abuse and betrayal—trauma that could break a person ten times over. Could I forgive?
Continue reading “Now I Know Him”
TW: Infidelity, adultery
Continue reading “A Betrayed Woman is an Abused Woman”
JUNE: Do you know what it is like to not trust yourself? Everything is upside down and backwards and all you can do is float through your own life like a helpless spectator who forgot to take off her cheap 3-D glasses when the movie was over. If you do, you may have a past like mine. I was the wife of a serial adulterer.
Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. ~ Bonnie L. Oscarson
READER POST: I was in a toxic, abusive marriage. I felt profoundly alone because no one knew about my struggles as a betrayed and abused wife. I’d been thrown into murky waters without a life raft, so I clung to Brene Brown’s challenge to dare greatly. I forced myself to be truer to what I was feeling, experiencing, and thinking. I knew I needed human connection even though it’d require a vulnerability I feared, so I looked to the safest place I knew: the sisterhood in my Relief Society. Surely my sisters would lift me if I mustered enough courage to tell them I was being abused. I was wrong.
Continue reading “A Betrayal in My Religious Sisterhood”
TW: Eating Disorders, weight/numbers
JUNE: Since I was 16, I have purged every single Thanksgiving dinner I’ve consumed. Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Pumpkin pie. Flushed away before it has the chance to leave its mark on my body. I am now 37.
Smaller, smaller. Become less visible. Take up less space. All around me, the notion was reinforced. Just my mere existence was burdensome because it felt so unworthy. Less than. Shameful. Continue reading “Unpeeling the Trauma of Disordered Eating”
JUNE: I did the only thing I could do: defend myself with the tool I had. I was 5′ 5″ and 145 pounds. My husband stood 6′ 6″ and weighed 220 pounds. My physical stature wasn’t that tool. My instinct was. Continue reading “The Risk of Outsider Advice in a Domestic Violence Situation”
JUNE: “Bishop, I’m scared…in my own home.” He sat silently. “My kids shouldn’t hear me called a ‘F***ing bitch’ by their father. I am being…coerced sexually. He kicks me out of the car and leaves me on the side of the road if I upset him. I…I don’t understand what’s going on. We need help…please.”
My plea hung in the air while his eyes raked me over. In ironic foreshadowing, I found myself foolishly and hopelessly wishing my husband, my abuser, was there to protect me. He sat in the foyer. He’d had an hour-long chat with the bishop ahead of me. When he exited the office, I was invited in. I begged for help. Continue reading “A Bishop’s Authority, Sexual Harassment, and Me”
READER POST: To gain perspective on the church’s problem with sex offenders in leadership, it’s good to take a look at religious news. The Southern Baptist conference is finding itself in deep yogurt on this topic, with journalists and Monday Morning Quarterbacks alike taking great delight in pointing out the issues that led to repeated and sustained cover-ups of pastoral abuse.
Continue reading “Sex Offenders in Church Leadership is Not News”
READER POST: Early in my marriage, I learned that my mother-in-law loves the temple. To her, it’s the pinnacle of family bonding time and the first thing she wants to do any time the family gets together. For instance, the evening before one family wedding, her sons had to explain why it would be insensitive for those of us with recommends to ditch the bride’s parents and the groom’s grandparents, who did not hold temple recommends, in order to attend a session together. On another occasion, my mother-in-law picked up family at the airport and informed her travel-weary relatives that they were heading straight to the temple for a 2-hour session. Yes, she loves the temple that much, and its a problem. Continue reading “When Women Use the Temple as a Weapon”
READER POST: At the foundation of the patriarchal culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the silencing of women. Until recently, women were not allowed to speak in General Conference. Their voices are excluded from critical councils of the Church–the councils that make policies which determine the quality of a woman’s life and how a woman may participate in the Church. Under these conditions, women are expected to obey Church leaders without complaint. Those who refuse to do so are too often marginalized and shamed. Continue reading “The Silencing of Women in the Church”
READER POST: In his October General Conference talk, “The Ministry Of Reconciliation,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland states, “Surely each of us could cite an endless array of old scars and sorrows and painful memories that this very moment still corrode the peace in someone’s heart or family or neighborhood.” I have those scars. In fact, I do not attend church right now because it is not a safe place for me. People don’t ever ask why, but they are quick to tell me to forgive and forget and beware of pride and victimization. Continue reading “Yes, I Can Forgive…”