therapy

How I Overcame the Shame of Molestation To Live A Life of Freedom

When I was in elementary school, I was molested by a family member. That same family member introduced me to porn for the first time. That was just one occasion too, but I can never forget those two things. They’re stamped in my brain.

After those events happened, I felt ugly and dirty. I had a stain on the inside of me that I couldn’t escape. As I got older, I started becoming afraid that if people got to know me, they’d see what I saw and run the other way. I became so insecure and down on myself that I couldn’t affirm myself unless someone else did it first.

I got good grades because I saw how proud it made my parents, and I figured if that’s what it took to make them love me, I’d do it all the time.

I was a super strict vegan and was super religious and “holy” because I thought God would love me more if I did those things.

When I got married, I asked my husband’s opinion about every little thing and second and third-guessed every decision I made because I was scared of messing up in any way.

All my life, I had to be the good girl because it was the only time I felt like a person of value.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was struggling with toxic shame.

You see, when someone suffers from shame, they can’t distinguish the acts they commit, or the acts done to them, from themselves. In their minds, they think, “I’ve done something bad, so I am bad. I am a terrible person.” Or if they’ve been the victim of abuse, they may think this way, “I must be a terrible person for them to have treated me that way.”

That’s exactly how I felt. I thought to myself, “I’ve been molested. I’ve watched porn; therefore I’m permanently stained and damaged. I’m unlovable.”

No matter what has caused you to feel toxic shame-abuse, rape, criticism from others, poverty-you are NOT your past. You can be free from your shame.

  1. Acknowledge the source of your shame.

Until I acknowledged my shame, it had power over me.

It wasn’t until I had been in therapy for 6 months that I was finally able to pull the curtain back on my thoughts and emotions and pinpoint those memories and the pain I associated with them.

I finally got the courage to tell my therapist about being molested. I could barely say the words out loud. I had never told anyone, not even my husband, about what happened.

That’s the day my life changed for REAL and the weight I had been carrying fell off.

2.  Allow yourself to grieve.

When I started explaining what happened to my therapist, my throat got really tight, and the tears started flowing. I felt like I was watching myself as a little girl all over again in my mind.

It’s okay to feel sad about the things you’ve done, or the things that have been done to you. Let yourself feel the pain. Allow yourself to relive that moment and feel what you felt when it first happened, because that’s when you’ll finally be able to start letting it go.  

3. Develop compassion for yourself.

We’re only human. And nothing we do can make God love us any more, or any less. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. Our hearts and thoughts naturally turn toward things that are corrupt. Naturally, we’re enemies of God in our minds. So some of us may have been victims or even perpetrators of evil.

But God has compassion on us, and He forgave us freely.

We need to do the same for ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves.

When I talked to my therapist, I told her I felt angry with myself too, for not doing anything to stop the molestation from happening.

She asked me a simple question: “What could you have done?”

“I could have said no. I could have told my parents so he wouldn’t have gotten away with what he did.”

But as I said it, I realized how irrational that sounded. It wasn’t until I said it out loud that I realized I had been taking my molester’s guilt and placing it on myself. I finally understood and accepted that what happened to me wasn’t my fault, and I didn’t have to blame myself anymore.

That day, I became free, because I finally developed compassion for myself instead of blaming myself for the things I couldn’t control.

InstaMessage (3).jpg

4. See yourself the way God sees you.

You are a masterpiece. I’ll say it again. You are a MASTERPIECE. There’s nothing you, or anyone else can do, to make God see you any other way. You can take a $20 bill and crumple it up, jump up and down on it, but guess what? It hasn’t lost it’s value. You can still take it to McDonald’s and get you some food. How much more true is that of us, God’s own children?

5. Get professional help.

I can’t say enough how much going to therapy has helped me uncover the broken pieces of myself and heal from the inside out. My marriage is so much happier. I mean, my husband and I had really good communication and an amazing friendship before that, but he could see that there were things in me that made me super insecure and down on myself. Now, my marriage is on another level simply because I’m happier. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, no matter who’s around. I’m okay with myself messing up.

We couldn’t afford therapy at the time, but we made sacrifices to make sure I was able to get the help I needed. It’s by far the most important I’ve ever made in myself.

What will your choice be?

**This article was a snippet from my new e-book bundle “Love From the Inside Out.” To find out more about how you can get it, click here.

Are you ready to start working on yourself and making sure your (future) spouse gets the BEST you? Join the PureCouples movement and get all our amazing resources right in your inbox!

Name *
Name



Marriage ICU: When You Feel Like You're Growing Apart

The last 4 episodes of Black-ish had me in tears. When Bow and Dre’s relationship started unraveling, I felt like it was my own parents splitting up. Maybe it’s because I grew up seeing my parents argue all the time the way Bow and Dre were doing. Or maybe it’s because I saw how easily Bow and Dre’s story could have been me and my husband; point is, it was heart-wrenching to see even a TV couple go through this emotional roller coaster as their marriage hit a huge bump in the road.

Bow and Dre.jpg

I felt that this fictional family was my family. I felt like their marital issues were my marital issues. This speaks to their phenomenal acting skills, of course; but it also speaks to the fact that EVERY marriage has its heartbreaking moments, angry moments, moments where you feel like you need to just go back to being single and start a new life without your spouse. Every marriage eventually hits the point where one or both people think, “I don’t know if this is going to work out.”

Have you ever felt that way? You ever find yourself thinking, “We’re not going to make it..”

I have news for you.

It’s not too late to get your marriage back on track!

It’s not too late to get your marriage back on track!

Here are some steps Jono and I have taken when we started feeling like we were growing apart...

1. Go to therapy!

     When your car needs an oil change, you go to a mechanic. When you need your teeth cleaned, you go to a dentist. So why are you trying to fix your marriage problems all by yourself?? Go to a professional who has the tools to equip you and your spouse and help you guys get back on the same page. I loved the fact that Blackish showed Bow and Dre going to therapy together!

I know a lot of people shy away from going to a therapist because they’re afraid the therapist will gang up on them with their spouse, but a good therapist never takes sides. On the contrary, they will help each of you see things through the other person’s eyes and give you strategies on how to resolve disagreements. Therapy could be a game-changer for your relationship!

affection-black-and-white-couple-1004014.jpg
Therapy can be a game-changer for your relationship!

2. Cut back on other commitments so you can get reacquainted.

There’s nothing more important than your relationship with your spouse. Even your kids shouldn’t take priority over your relationship (not long-term anyway). How happy and well-adjusted will your kids be if there’s constantly a negative vibe between you and your spouse? Your kids will grow up and leave the house, but you and your spouse will be together way beyond that. So invest in your marriage today and do whatever it takes to reconnect.

Invest in your marriage today and do whatever it takes to reconnect.
  • Get a trusted family member or friend to babysit a couple of evenings a week so you can get quality time together

  • Cut back on work hours until your relationship  is back on track and you work out a new schedule that works for BOTH of you.

  • Instead of falling asleep to the TV, take a few minutes every night to talk about the day and your future goals.

  • STOP volunteering for every church activity! The church will function just fine if you drop one or two activities. Even too much of a good thing is bad.

beautiful-clouds-couple-340566.jpg

 

3. Go to a marriage conference together.

I’ve heard of so many couples who had basically decided on divorce, but gave their marriage one last shot by going to a marriage conference.

I’m not saying that a marriage conference will fix your marriage. But it will get you around people who are having problems similar to yours, and give you much-needed hope for your relationship. At a marriage conference, you’ll get to hear from other couples who are having problems similar to yours, as well as professionals who have helped couples get their marriages back on track.

There’s a great marriage conference called Weekend To Remember hosted by Family Life Today. They’re held all around the country all throughout the year, and they only cost $300 per couple! Your iPhone costs more than that! And your marriage is definitely more important than an iPhone.

If you can’t afford a marriage conference right now, start listening to a marriage podcast together. and discussing how you can implement the advice. There are tons of great ones out there!

If your marriage isn’t getting any better with you and your spouse trying to do it alone, get help! Put your marriage in intensive care and get to the bottom of your issues. The first step is to find a licensed marriage and family therapist to guide you through the process. This decision in itself is a game changer. The next thing to do is to cut back as much as possible on other commitments and put your marriage FIRST. And finally, get around other couples who are trying to improve their marriages. Go to a marriage conference together. You’ll see firsthand that other people are have the same struggles as you. It will also allow you to be away from every distraction and re-focus your attention on what’s most important: your marriage.

When you feel like you and your spouse are drifting apart, don’t wait for it to fix itself. Invest time, money, energy, whatever it takes, to have a great marriage. A happy marriage doesn't just happen; you have to put in the work!

Till next time! 

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, SHARE it on your FB or Twitter page by clicking the "share" button at the bottom of this post so more people can find it :-)

 

Why Weddings Don't Impress Me Anymore

StockSnap_GNWZ7VU0EC.jpg

I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard that the divorce rate in America is about 50%, and that this particular statistic includes Christians. For the longest time I naively thought that if both people getting married love Jesus and each other, that the marriage would last no matter what. I thought that love always conquers all.  When I would hear about people getting divorced I would think to myself, “Well, they clearly didn’t trust God enough,” or “ If only people would put God first in their marriage…..”

I’ve always been a romantic. I’m a sucker for love stories and happy endings. I want to believe that people can live happily ever after, especially if we claim to believe in a God who can work miracles and make a way out of no way.

But as the years went by, and I witnessed people I loved going through some craziness in their marriages, I realized that my view of love and marriage and love conquering all had been extremely filtered. I realized that if love conquers all, it requires a brutal, heartbreaking struggle to get to the other side. And the sad truth is that a lot of the people who walk away from their marriages decide they just can’t do it. 

I can’t say I blame them. It’s extremely easy to get up in front of people who are cheering you on and make promises. It’s quite another to keep those promises when you feel like you don’t even recognize who your spouse is anymore. What if they become verbally abusive? What if they develop an addiction?  How do you keep holding on when it feels like every day your heart is getting stomped on by an insensitive or selfish spouse? How do you patiently keep loving your spouse through a life-changing illness or injury? Keeping your vows when you feel like there’s no place or person you can turn to can feel extremely isolating and painful.

So yes, I’ll come to your wedding and cheer you on as you make your vows. I’ll hoot and holler when it’s time to kiss the bride. But inside, I’ll be praying that you guys are willing to invest the same amount of money, energy, and effort into keeping your marriage healthy. I’ll pray that even when you want to quit, that God will hold you together through the supernatural power of His love. Because even though you the words you say in the moment are coming from a place that’s sincere and means well, there’s no way on earth you can follow through on your own. There will come a day when you’ll feel like you don’t want to be married anymore to the person standing in front of you. And when that day comes, you’ll need more than memories to keep you there.

You’ll need Him.

Nope, weddings don’t impress me anymore, but I’ll tell you what does.;

Couples that are transparent with other couples about their struggles; Couples that fight to find solutions for their issues; Spouses that are willing to go to therapy to dig deep and figure out why they’re messed up, and what they can do to heal and grow;

Couples that hold on to each other through the storms in faith that there’s light on the other side.

Now that’s impressive.

 

Till next time,

Kay