One thing that has helped me most in my walk out of the dense fog of confusion is reading. The dynamics of clergy sexual abuse are so complex! The average person isn't aware of most of them. In addition to simply needing to learn, I had to continue to sort out the truth from the lies.
The one book that helped me the most was
Sexual Abuse of Women by Members of the Clergy by Kathryn A. Flynn. It is a result of a research project she did for her graduate degree. She interviewed 25 women who had been abused by a member of the clergy, asked them all the same set of questions, analyzed her findings and developed her conclusions. These women were abused at various ages and the nature of the abusive acts were different (and not revealed.) Yet most of them were affected the same. I was amazed by this.
I thought I was going crazy before I read this book. I had seen a psychiatrist to determine what anti-depressant I could take. After the Q & A, he told me I had many characteristics of PTSD. I was shocked. That had never occurred to me as a possibility. The first thing I did was read about it when I arrived home. Sure enough. I was all over the pages of the descriptions of PTSD.
That is what prompted the purchase of the book. It was recommended to me because she talks a lot specifically about PTSD in women who have been abused by clergy. I had seen it before, but the darned thing was so expensive ($45.00 on Amazon) that I refused to buy it. This time I decided it was worth it.
I could not put the book down. Flynn described me over and over throughout the book. She helped me understand that the things I thought and felt and the way I acted were perfectly normal for a woman who had been abused. It wasn't normal for the average person, but I wasn't average.
When my eyes grew tired, I passed the book off to my husband. He struggled to understand everything. Looking from the outside in, none of it made sense to him either. Once he read the book, he, too, began to see the light. It was one of the best things I did during the healing process.
I read many other things as well, and they were all instrumental. Knowledge is powerful. Knowing the truth helps diffuse the lies, which helps bring peace.
I have given the book to several key people because I've thought it was so valuable.
What has helped you on your journey? Is there one particular book that has been of greatest benefit? A song? An article? I would love for you to share it with us. Who knows. It might be just the thing that one of us needs. While we may come from different backgrounds, have been abused at different ages in different ways, if you are a female and have suffered at the hands of a clergyman, you can bet we share many of the same thoughts and feelings. We can learn from one another. Another survivor told me about this book. Has something helped you in a big way?
Thanks for stopping by.