Roar

Last week I asked everyone what they enjoyed doing. The majority of people said that they enjoy playing music. I can relate to that. Music has power to change emotion. When I have been at my lowest, music has raised me up. When I have felt weak and scared, music has helped me to feel stronger and a bit more brave.

This past week the music world lost Helen Reddy, who in the early 70’s sang the anthem, “I am Woman”. I hadn’t internalized what exactly that song meant at the time it came out as I was still in between “The Partridge Family” and Carly Simon and music to me was just about fun and romance. I was really raised in a bubble. From Catholic grade school under my parents’ control to Catholic high school where my guidance counsellor suggested that I become a nun, to Catholic college which had a mostly female enrollment, I had no idea about women’s issues and struggles.

That is, not until I got married and had children and learned that your spouse’s commitment was not a given in marriage and how much that lack of commitment could determine how easy or difficult life could be. And that depending upon someone else for your well being and the well being of your kids was not a good way to enter into a marriage. I also learned that what looked good and attractive outside of marriage….someone who was physically attractive, someone who had a lot of friends, someone who was fun when he was around…..didn’t always translate well when he ended up feeling trapped and obligated and hadn’t the foggiest idea how to nurture a child.

It was then that I began to see how important it was for me to invest in myself in order to not have to depend upon someone else. But not right away. At first I felt bounced like a pinball between my husband and my parents. And then I felt that I just had the wrong man. It took a lot of learning and a lot of mistakes and a lot of accepting help that I didn’t want to have to accept because of emotional obligation…..and a long time….for me to learn to roar.

Even now, I don’t consider myself roaring. It’s more of a….okay I’ll get up and go another day and say a loud “meow”….I’ll get there, give me a minute.

I said last week that my grandchildren don’t speak to me. Well, yesterday was my grandson’s birthday. He’s an adult. He stopped speaking to me suddenly about 2 1/2 years ago. I had seen the signs but chose to ignore them as he was still sending me texts at the time wishing me Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas and I love you. And he would go out for breakfast with me when I was having my infrequent breakfasts with his half-sister and her mother. I told him I thought it was important that they stay in touch and he agreed whole-heartedly. But he told me that he felt that his father had abandoned both of them. I listened to him but said nothing, having to go to court in order to see my grand-daughter, but still staying loyal to my son, who was only half the problem.

The other half of the problem was alienation of affection, which is experienced by many people with children and grandchildren. That is when one parent (and sometimes that parent’s spouse) will turn the child against the other parent and their family. I always thought these kids would be in my life in some way forever….but when my grand-daughter turned 18, her mother said that our relationship was up to her now….and both kids shut me out at that point.

So it was my grandsons birthday yesterday. He is still on Facebook…has not “Unfriended” me, but ignores anything I post or message to him. My feeling….although it goes against everything that is me….is to let them go. I did add to my son’s birthday wish to him on Facebook, but I don’t have his address as he moved out of the state, so I cannot mail him anything. When I have sent anything to his sister, the check gets cashed or I assume. the present will be had….but I will hear nothing. No thank you. Nothing.

So perhaps “roars” can be silent as well. They are my grandchildren. I will always be here for them no matter what. But I have chosen to back away. I will always be in the background, but it hurts me when I expect anything, so I will expect nothing and not be disappointed. And I won’t continue to give anything to anyone who continues to ignore me and cannot say thank you. The same as I hope I would to anyone else who treated me as such.

It’s not so easy, though, is it? How many times in our lives do we have to walk away when we don’t want to….leaving a trail of feelings in our wake? And sometimes it’s not so much walking away but having someone walk away from us….and there may be a part of us that blames ourselves when it happens.

When trying to rationalize or to find peace, I will find myself saying to myself….if they are happy, that is what is important, or….I’m doing what is right by stepping back…or…well, it’s better to let them go if they are going to act like that.

But then I get angry. Why does someone else get to be called “grandma”? Or, why did the person who I got the job for get to keep her job and stop talking to me and I was the one who got fired? Or, why do I have to be the one who always has to understand and forgive and let go when I was not the person who asked for anything in the first place but then got attached?

The thing is, I don’t believe it is anything personal. As my dad always said….”People aren’t against you….they are for themselves.” In other words…..that’s life.

So we let go. I’ve always found that halfway is harder than all the way with something….whether it be relationships or smoking or something else. The only thing that finally gave me perspective about what happened to me at the diocese was getting away from it. It was horrible at first. Horrible. Getting kicked out. Feeling rejected and lost and blaming myself.

But with time, I was able to understand that not only was I not seeing the forest for the trees, but I was set up. And that felt almost as bad as if I had degraded myself feeling that it was something that I had to do or that God had somehow placed me there to do…or that I had failed. Confusion became clearer as I gained distance, to the point where I could actually speak to the bishop. But that took time and understanding and self-forgiveness.

So I do understand fear. And shame. And self-loathing. And not wanting to talk about it. And those are all things that keep you shackled.

I find it frustrating to see what the church gets away with and how it appears to be the one under attack. I find it frustrating to hear people express opinions about how most priests are good and that we are making a big deal out of a few bad ones.

It has to be as frustrating as say, a person who has been victimized hearing about how there are only a few bad cops or that I am a good person who is not prejudiced so don’t blame me. The fact is, if you have not experienced something first hand, you need to stop talking and listen to those who have experienced it. Stop being defensive, and be willing to listen and to learn. Forcing your opinion into things you have no personal knowledge of can feel disrespectful. Because to those who have been victimized, it is not always easy to find a voice. Especially when speaking up can bring about more problems.

Speaking out about something when it has not affected you first-hand….when you think you know what you are talking about, is hurtful to those people who have been through an experience.

Okay….been watching too much Dr. Phil.

It’s frustrating to me also to see people who are too afraid to move. Too paralyzed to speak. I want to tell them please….please attend a meeting. You don’t have to speak. You don’t have to show your face. It can help to listen to others and to know that you are not alone.

Meetings for those abused at the age of 18 or above are now held twice a month on bluejeans. The first and the third Sunday of every month from 7pm to 9pm EST. There is a weekly meeting just for men every Saturday from 1pm to 3pm EST. And there is a weekly meeting for women only as well as other virtual meetings. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask to be a part of a meeting. So many people have found them to be helpful.

Another thing I thought about that might be helpful? A database of priests and those who have hurt us as adults…whether or not they have been deemed credibly accused. If you would like to name your abuser, you may comment on this blog at any time. It will not be published publicly.

Have a good week….please take this week’s poll. And contact me if you would like.

12 thoughts on “Roar

  1. Thanks for the uplifting note… Not being alone in my journey gives me back power that I have a hard time harnessing most of the time.. peace and happiness

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  2. Kids are stuck in the middle. I agree with your dad about it being about them, not you. My parents are divorced and I have experienced the pressures from people in my family whom I considered crucial in my life. Those relationships dictated with whom I would associate myself and my kids. It took many years and lots of therapy to be able to set healthy boundaries and make those relationship decisions myself. It sounds to me like you’ve determined that you’re going to have healthy boundaries for yourself and to leave things open for your grandkids to freely choose a relationship with you when they’re ready. I think that’s really brave and selfless and strong. There’s a foundation for a solid future in what you’re doing.

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  3. I really can relate to this article. I’m the youngest girl of 3 brothers & 1 sister. The sister & a brother are step & was never revealed until the adultery level came during domestic violence with my parents & caused an divorce. Studying & growing up plans to be an Pastor & not nurse or nun as my dad thought I should be. His territorial mindset made it an disobedience to pursue the career that is a love for me. Well, Washington DC judicial around 1970 believed man was to have custody of the children & this little girl wasn’t heard. My mom’s abuse was channeled to me, dad lost his mother as a young teen & his dad attended church regularly but he didn’t. My dad slipped thru life unnoticed with joining the Navy then obtaining an college degree & marriage but with social path parenting & deviant social biblical acts. He established house/family rules likened to the commandments & broke them. If you did, you learned freely & he didn’t interfer unless it imposed upon his image. No one has been able to stand up to him. When I tried he lied & had me placed in an psych ward, then an psychiatrist my sister recommended that has made two movies but his license is finally suspended was defrauding the Federal Government Healthcare & commenced malpractice on me. My sister’s abuse was so devastating & my dad’s psychological hovering over his daughter caused such envy that I was despised by my sister & never knew it. I thought her name calling of being daddy’s little girl, spoiled, favorite was sibling stuff. She suffered years of trauma that she escaped thru drugs & did have psychiatric care I wasn’t told about. I had no idea for years her survival this far has been targeting me as what she went thru so that I would experience it, yet she had no idea the abuse I did undergo. In her eyes I had the best life that was taken from her. Her first physical abuse from our Dad, he used her letting me hang with her & her friends. She completed the intake forms & they embodied her past. I didn’t get a copy of my medical records for years in trying to not be permanently put away. I left the State & ended up joining an cult. Acceptance blinded me that we never read the Bible in Church. I was sexually abused there & they are well known in the African American communities and my coming forward again has been like telling all children the truth of Santa Claus for the first time ever. My siblings and mom are just non communicative even as they attend church. God revealed to me the Bishop was my Dad. He was the grandad that read me the Sunday service sermons after church during visits weekly. I walked right into an father dependency yoke to save him like I thought I could with the love of Jesus towards my Dad. An eventual promise marriage to his son that doesn’t realize what we actually have in common & the survival habits as well as tribal unlawful rituals of gender relations learned in being raised in his household became acts done unto me that he believes as well as followers in the USA just like they are still illigally done in Africa. I am called an snitch by some church & groups of such beliefs. African American communities don’t tell on another when they are successful in societies eyes because of the years of injustice to the race & years of stereotypes of the race as always being of such behaviors & infecting other races. There’s an if not equal amount of Clergy sex abuse in the African American Church as the Catholic Church but victims yet to obtain justice. Baptist Catholic Church to Non Denominational mingled as grooming and/or teachings then forgiveness but never tell. My nieces, siblings and mom use their self & having an relationship with them as weapons over me if I stand up for my Beliefs then I am not accepted. Years of acceptance of my families lifestyle as I believed the Lord was in charge of their ultimate journey & development & a level of respect & non violence existed. But then my growth yielded in them an level of violence my dad gave when his emotional rage took over regardless of how established you were etc. & my family learned this from him. I couldn’t continue to grow that behavior for survival or as an normal relationship with my family. They have refused an Therapist & I haven’t which has been great. To have an Therapist present means they can’t hold affection, acceptance or help from me if I don’t agree or them with me. For years my acceptance of my sister’s gender relations partners my brothers called me dumb but now she is acceptable & I am not. God used to tell me, accept your sister as me for months before she came out but now I realize that was spoken over this as well. All attend church except my older two brothers & Dad. It’s like the stone covering Jesus’grave & the stone he offered but refused. I shall never leave you nor forsake you & my family does the work of the Lord has me questioning like a child are they family. The rapist in Churches are they family, why are they rehired or their sins done in the dark not snitched unto the light. I allow the memory of all of happy & painful to guide me & be replaced with new memories as the Holy Spirit does accordingly. I understand myself & my relationship with our Creator much better & have come to realize that even though we are a human race there is an hu(e)man rainbow covenant race that has more shades from misty white to blue black in the love of the Holy Spirits paint shop that we haven’t seen yet. I write letters then I never mail them & they become journals. Have never been the type to let a person keep an sorrow with me hidden just to gather especially like family. This I have accepted as an actual part & purposed journey in my life & when you are given more that you can handle it’s not always gonna be the riches & pleasures of our humanity. My favorite scripture; Take my yoke upon thee& learn of me, I meek & lowly, my only burden us light & you shall have rest unto your soul. Thank you so much for your blog & the opportunity to comment. My thoughts don’t get to be an buried sorrow. Peace, Blessings & overflow of Love

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