Dear Childhood Pain,
You have been living inside the body and the mind of someone I care about, someone who is innocent and needs help. Why are you there? Did you just appear on your own or were you created by the destructive actions of another person? Did this other person take advantage of the fact that you didn’t know how to set boundaries, that you didn’t know you had the right to say no or to scream your head off for help, that you thought that person was a good guy who cared about you and so you were slowly moved into his sphere like a spider does to a fly?
What this person did to you created a deep and burning pain that lived in a closet in your mind for many years. You didn’t open the door to that closet or if you did part of the pain tried to escape to tell you what happened. But it was too much for you to deal with so you slammed your body against the door to make sure it didn’t come out. But the pain seeped into all the pores of your body. It caused many reactions and behavior patterns in your life, distractions to keep from thinking about it. Maybe that pain caused you to become obese; eating is a great distraction and besides if you are large enough maybe that person won’t want to do those things to you anymore. Maybe that pain caused you to be bi-polar; one day you are outgoing and laugh frantically and have no direction and then, all of a sudden you become quiet and moody, sullen and pull inside yourself. Or again, maybe that pain caused you to be overly conscious of your body, caused you to have the opinion that surely there must be something special about your body that got so much attention; that maybe that is all you have of value. You think that if you wear suggestive clothes, make suggestive remarks, start acting out sexually then maybe the pain will go away. Worst of all, this pain may have caused such severe depression that you try to kill yourself and are angry when you fail. Maybe you have to spend days and week or maybe months in a mental institution while therapists and groups ask you stupid questions and you know in your heart you can’t answer them anyway. There’s a lock and a key on that door.
What should you do? What would you recommend if someone you loved lived with that kind of pain in their head and needed help. You would tell them to unlock that door and let that pain come out. You would tell them to talk about what happened to them, to tell people it wasn’t their fault and that the shame they carried for so long didn’t even belong to them. It was like having been put in prison for something you never did. You would want to free them of that pain, to start life over as if it hadn’t happened. If you would want all of that for someone you loved why wouldn’t you want it for you?
When I was doing research for REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse I traveled around the country and spoke with many different people about that pain in their head and what they wanted to do about it. I was in a small town in Nebraska and I saw a park across the street from a hospital with several women eating lunch on their break time. I walked over, introduced myself and started talking to them. I told them what had happened to me (only a few miles away from where I was talking to them) and how it almost destroyed my life. I told them I was writing a book that would tell others how to get well. One of the women, moved towards me in a hesitant, furtive manner and asked,”Why are you talking about this as if it wasn’t your fault?” I was stunned. I responded, “I was 13 years old, I thought you bought babies from a hospital, I had my rosary under my pillow and I was sound asleep, sleeping the sleep of the innocent when my dad came into that room and raped me. What is there about that that is my fault?” Everyone was quiet. Then, the woman who had asked me the question began telling me her story, tears pouring out of her eyes. Then one by one, the majority of the women shared with me similar stories, either what had happened to them or someone they knew.
Today, I have published three books that can help you get well: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life. REPAIR For Toddlers will be released before the end of 2010. All three can be found on amazon.com along with several 5 star reviews. I know REPAIR works as before I went through that program I was married to my third abuser, filled with despair, suicidal and living part time in a women’s shelter. After I worked REPAIR my motto was: “If I’d have known life was going to turn out this good, I would have started it sooner.” Today I am the founder of The Lamplighters, an international movement for recovery from incest & childhood sexual with 60 chapters in ten countries. Today you can find out all about the Lamplighters by going to our Blog at www.thelamplighters.org. Today, I am addressing your pain.