Tag Archives: Healing

Response to Umbrella of Authority Post

Last week the post I wrote about the Umbrella of Authority was over on Recovering Grace.
 
It’s been a long year since I wrote that. Much healing has happened and I haven’t written things like that in a while mostly because i haven’t needed to. I remember my past but I also know the truth. That my childhood doesn’t define my life. I still have to feel the pain I wasn’t allowed to feel but it doesn’t determine how I respond to situations in my life now. 
 
Someone asked me a question over on Recovering Grace and I thought I would post my response here. 
 
Did your parents ever leave the ATI cult or did they shun you? Would you have any advice to offer someone like me who is cutoff from their family by legalism? Thanks!
 
Hi , 

I’m so glad you found freedom and I’m so sorry your family won’t have contact with you. 

The truth is I don’t know if my family is still actively in ATI (it’s not relevant in how I live my life now) but I know that my parents still believe a lot of the same things I grew up with. I do have a relationship with them and I think for the first time we see each other as mutual adults. 

The months and years following when I left were extremely difficult. I limited contact with them and got married just over a year after I left. 

Even while living with my parents I had people in my life who were parent figures. I’ve come to realize now that a huge role of parents is surrounding their kids with people they can look up to and seek advice from. Because honestly, no matter what a parent says and does they are still a parent and know nothing in their kids eyes. Having those parent figures in my life was important. 

That has transferred to other people now. I believe in having 2nd families. I’ve learned a lot about being a daughter from my 2nd parents and that has transferred to my own parents. I’m much more understanding of my Dad and Mom and can have a relationship with them now needing nothing from them. 

Many people talk about boundaries in recovery and healing. Those are vitally important but it’s also important to know that boundaries have no expectations of the other person. I am free to not answer my parents calls because of boundaries I’ve set (and I did that in the first month of leaving) but I am not free to demand they call me. I accept what they give. 

My advice to anyone is to seek your own healing. Trying to change anyone but yourself doesn’t work (if people change for you it’s not real change). Part of my healing has been separating myself from my parents and letting myself grieve (feeling deep deep pain) the childhood I never had. Another part of it has been going back and finding relationship with them. 

In May of 2013 I wrote this:
Mothers Day Letter

Last weekend I wrote this: 
Mothers Day Thoughts

The change in a year has been huge. I needed to go through the pain of remembering things about my Mom to get to this place of being in relationship with her. She had nothing to do with it and I’m sure it was really painful for her to read the letter from 2013. I had to go through that process alone (and with supportive safe people). 

I hope eventually your parents both see and delight in you as their child and see you as the adult you are.

 
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Past vs. Story

If you go back to the beginning of this blog (in April of 2013) I wrote about  my childhood and my families involvement with ATI and IBLP. The man who started and is still the president of those organizations is Bill Gothard. 
 
Recently there have been several articles calling attention to the abuse in these organizations and calling for Gothard’s resignation. 
 
I’ve stayed out of conversations about these articles for several reasons.
Bringing Gothard down as president of these organizations may be becoming a reality. But the truth for me is that he doesn’t control my life anymore. The only reason I want him to resign is for the innocent people involved now. But my past does NOT define my life now (my story will always be there but it doesn’t control me). I won’t be jumping up and down if he ends up being found legally guilty.
 
There will always be crazy religious programs and sources out there and there will always be people who are hurting and looking for answers in those programs/religions.
Gothard did not personally hurt me. My parents chose to be part of that program and accept everything he said. I could blame my parents but that is just still letting my parents have power in my life now. I am now an adult making my own choices and decisions and I choose not to let Bill Gothard, my parents or my past have power over me. 
 
While my past doesn’t define my life my story will always be with me. My story sneaks up and puts itself into everyday situations where I have to stop and go ‘hey! I’m not mad at you. You just remind me of my past!’ It’s a chance to recognize the truth about myself. I’m a broken person who is completely whole. In those moments I can sink into my past, feel what I was never allowed to feel, process it (talk to people who can speak truth into the situation), the whole time knowing I am not alone in this. I am loved. My story is for me to walk through now but my past cannot hurt me. My job now is to go back to my story (to my little girl inside me) and heal her.
 
Image
 
An IBLP seminar from the 1970’s/1980’s. 

Stories

Over 12 hours yesterday 3 word pictures were impressed in my mind. 
 

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Process of healing

I feel God taking me by the hand and leading me to the next thing, the next pile of shit to sort through in my life. And I feel Him lead me right to the middle and sit down with me. Sometimes He pulls me down because I see what we are sitting in and I want to run. I feel Him with me, holding me, as He hands me item after item, letting me do whatever I need to. Hurl it out of sight (though it never actually leaves till I really deal with it) or hold it or hide it or cringe at or ignore it. 

 
And He never leaves me, never scolds me, never punishes, but He lovingly pushes things into hands to remember and deal with them. 
Sometimes we don’t make it through a pile when He leads me away to another one. 
Yet that pile of stuff, part of my story, is waiting and when I’m ready He leads me back to it, repeating the process, holding me and letting me work through the process, whether it’s letting go, grieving, getting angry, feeling emotions, seeing myself, holding my little girl in gentleness and grace. 
 
There is no rushing, no unloving pushing, no demands or punishing. 
 
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Dreams
 
I’m living in a house alone. 
 
In one scene I’m outside the house, there are a few houses in the distance and neighbor ‘kids’ or people running through my yard trying to get into my house. I try to yell at them but I can’t. I can’t talk, nothing comes out. The kids point and laugh at me, throwing object at me. 
 
Then I’m in the house with a friend and we hear something. My friend says ‘someone is up there’. I go into a foyer type room and look up. There are many floors with balconies and doors into rooms. Something or someone is going into and out of the rooms, shreaking in delight. I can see them but not clearly. 
 
Again I try to yell ‘Get down here!’ ‘Get out!’ but nothing comes out. I try again and again. Finally I get passed the fear and hear myself yelling. 
 
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“Papa,
I’m sitting in a lake of shame created over 25 years. I want to be free. I want to feel free. But I don’t want to be seen and I know I must. I must tell and speak of details and let my heart, who I was, be seen. 
Raw. Not pretty. Seen. 
I’m scared of reactions and of myself. The shame is yelling excuses at me. I’m feeling… trapped a little. This is You but everything in me is yelling to stop. 
‘Willing trembling heart’ is exactly what I’m feeling. 
I’m willing – but I’m scared. Hold me Papa.” 
 
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