To truly love someone else, you must love yourself. It has taken me years to come to grips with that statement. All my life, I have looked to others to give me my happiness. I never knew how to love myself.
When you grow up being sexually abused by your father, who professes to love you, but tells you horrible lies and manipulates you so that his dirty little secret will not be discovered, how can you know what true love is?
You think daddy loves you, but deep down you know something is wrong. You internalize it and believe that there must be something wrong with you; not your daddy. This wonderful man kisses you, makes you feel good / bad, and promises you an ice cream cone if you’re a good girl.
The little girl in me never knew what real love was or how to love at all for that matter. She was only confused. She grew up looking for love; looking for others to provide happiness for her. She couldn’t find it because she didn’t experience it within herself. Believing all along there is something dreadfully wrong with her; “Why can’t I be normal like everyone else?” She painfully prayed over and over again.
I never had the foundation of self love to sustain me in life. I held onto all my limiting beliefs that told me I was powerless and worthless. They were the only identity I knew. They had become my best friend. It was the only thing consistent in my life. Self love was not possible for me as long as I was worthless.
These beliefs manifested through bursts of anger, repressed emotions, depression, anxiety, and then showed up physically in my body. It got to the point that my voice no longer worked. My trachea had literally created scar tissue for some unknown reason that prevented me from breathing and speaking very loud. All those years I felt I couldn’t speak up for myself created a literal physical manifestation of it.
My mother came to me five years ago in a dream. I asked her if my father had sexually abused me as a child. She told me only I could find the truth. I have been on a quest for the truth ever since. The truth is not only what happened to me as a child but a bigger question of “Who am I?”
My pain became overwhelming and I began searching for ways to clear it. At first I saw everyone else as the problem. I wondered how I would ever find joy and peace I so dearly wanted.
“Where is God? Why has he let me suffer so much? Did he abandon me? He should not let little children be used like this. I hate you God! I hate you daddy! I hate, I hate, I hate!”
But this hatred only eats my soul.
FORGIVE? How can I forgive? He’ll get away with it! I did nothing wrong! My father needs punishment, not forgiveness.”
Then Sandra referred me to a book that opened my understanding to forgiveness. “The Shack,” by William Paul Young.
In the shack God is having a conversation with Mack concerning forgiveness. The words pierced my soul as I read:
“Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver. To release you from something that will eat you alive, that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly. By forgiving, you release him from a burden that he carries whether he knows it or not- acknowledges it or not. When you choose to forgive another, you love him well.
I want to help you take on the nature that finds more power in love and forgiveness than hate.”
“But it feels like if I forgive this guy he gets off free. How do I excuse what he did”
“Forgiveness does not excuse anything. And believe me, the last thing this man is, is free. And you have no duty to justice in this. I will handle that. Allowing my presence in you is the only way true forgiveness is ever possible.”
“But does forgiveness require me to pretend it never happened?” I pleaded
“Will you ever forget what happened to you? I don’t think so.
“So is it all right if I’m still angry?
“Absolutely! What he did was terrible. He caused incredible pain to many. It was wrong, and anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. But don’t let the anger and pain prevent you from forgiving him.”
At that moment I knew that hating my father had kept me in bondage, not my father.
Then I heard, “Let go Kathy. Trust in me. Find the love I have for you; I never abandoned you. It’s all about LOVE.”
I am now experiencing more peace in my life as I am forgiving my father. Even though he still denies it, I am able to forgive and free myself from the bonds of hatred that have held me down for so many years. Love has set me free.