If You Want To Learn...
Ok, friends, if you really want to hurt me, I'm going to give you some tips...but most of you have been kind enough that I don't think you would do this...but if you try it you may find yourself blocked...I'm just warning you... as you will cause me some days of excruciating pain...
I never dreamed that switching jobs would cause so much grief and anguish in my life. I didn't ask for it at all.
I changed jobs for the pay and also for more opportunity. Where I was working I knew I wouldn't have the opportunities. I also knew from a previous 3 yr stint that the pay won't get much better either because in those 3 yrs I had only gotten an equivalent of 75 cents raise. I knew I had to make changes if I wanted to work towards my dreams and goals.
I enjoy what I do now. But I didn't expect to pay such a price.
About 6 years ago I was working for a former employer and there I learned what I really enjoyed doing. Even though I enjoyed what I did, my relationship with my employer and his wife was rocky. Coming fresh out of some abusive situations I knew nothing about setting boundaries or how to take care of myself. I knew nothing about seeing red flags in people that could mean they might be manipulative and abusive. I didn't know who I was as an individual. I was just this person who tried to be nice and obey all the rules and please the people in authority over me.
Growing up in an abusive home, an individual learns to keep an eye out to the smallest cues that could lead to getting hurt, such as tone of voice, body movements, and the looks in a person's eye.
Our relationship was good in the beginning but got rockier and rockier towards the end. (Now I have read enough to know that I had trauma bonded to them and that the red flags were there all along and it's hard to not be hard on myself for not being able to see them.)
They sold the store and I was devastated. They promised to stay maybe 5 months to train the new owners. It was a huge loss to me and I spent a lot of time grieving. I did it the only way I knew how, isolate myself and avoid talking to them because I didn't want "my grief to spill out. " On the last week of their training period I was busy doing my thing,having a fairly good day when his wife comes around the corner and says I'm wanted in the office. I had no idea what I had done wrong now. I hoped it would be for a good reason but I was wrong...
When I got there the looks on their faces did not bode good. I had no clue what I was in for.
He started in scolding me for not talk to his wife anymore. He scolded me for isolating myself and said I won't have any friends that way. He scolded me for not being happier. He scolded me for not being a better Christian example. He told me that by my conduct he'snot sure I'm even saved that I need to go home and "pray through" and make sure I'm saved. He scolded me for more things but I can't remember.
Finally he asked if I had any questions.
I did and I asked a few. I don't remember specifically what I asked but it was something about how to have healthy relationships. He told me that he has no answer. One question I asked was can a person speak in tongues and not be saved(since he doubted I was saved). He said no.(at that time I was going to a Pentecostal church where the belief was taught that you don't have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit until you speak in tongues. At that time I believed I was filled with the Spirit because I "spoke in tongues".)
He gave me no time to explain myself. He didn't let me talk. I had no voice. I tried to maintain composure. I didn't want to cry in front of them.
Then he wanted to end in prayer. I don't remember what he prayed but it was something along the lines of me getting right with God and letting him work in my life to help me become a better example. It was too much for me to handle and I broke into uncontrollable sobs. I'm sure people heard me outside the walls. And then I "started speaking in tongues ." To me it was "proof" I was saved and I guess proof to them. He stopped praying and his wife handed me some tissues.
After about five minutes he told me to stop,that we are keeping other people from their work. He sent me home and told me I need to go home and pray through and make sure I'm saved. It was almost like they had gained my trust, trashed me(chewed up and spit out) and when they were "proven" that I was saved they just sent me out the door. No apologies or anything. And then expected me to be as friendly to them as I ever was.
Now if you are sensitive in any way and you can try to put yourself in my shoes, it may give you a glimpse of the mental anguish I was dealing with and still often deal with.
They moved out of state and I tried to start a new chapter of my life. Trying to let the past be in the past like people have told me to do so often.
But all along since that 3 hr space of time in that office being scolded I have struggled with the wounds that were gouged deep in my soul. I tried to keep it all hidden out of sight because it was too painful to deal with. I couldn't hardly think about it.
Fast forward to switching jobs:
I was fine for the interview, he left the door open which helped. I was facing it from intellectual view as an adult who had dreams and goals to work towards. The first few days were ok but then pain and memories started surfacing.
Church services became unbearable and the sermons conjured up immense feelings of guilt, shame and fear because once again I wasn't measuring up.
When the managers would take time to say hi I would almost panic.
I was doing the work I used to do under my former employer and I found myself working extremely fast as a way of coping but whenever a manager would come down the aisle where I was working, terror gripped me.
I would walk past certain parts of the store and memories would flash through my mind and I'd just work like crazy so I could hopefully appear like normal.
To this day I have not shared anything about my family or background with anyone I'm currently working with even though I did with a few people at the store I was training at. It's just too painful.
Yesterday a friend asked if she could pray for me. I hesitated . It had been so long since anyone had specifically prayed for me in person and I didn't know how I would react. So I decided to say yes and at least give it a try. It helped that our relationship and her prayer was different but it still transported me back into that office and the pain I had to endure in that small room.
This morning I was busy stocking my shelves and I hear a voice, There she is. As I stood up there stood my mom, 2 sisters and a niece and nephew. I tried to act normal but I went into shock. It was the last person I expected to see. After they left the rest of the day has been a mess. I'm quite sure some people could tell I wasn't myself but I didn't have the courage to tell anyone what was going on. I had cut off my parents and now here was my mom and once again it reminded me of so many things I'm trying to heal from and process. Once again my boundary was crossed. My words disrespected. I had no voice. (It was also the first time my mom saw me in pants and cut hair) Just before they left she said, it was really sad that you didn't stop in to see us when you were up. The little ones miss you. Somewhere scrambled in my brain where the words There was a reason but they could find no way to my mouth. Once again I stood voiceless before my mom who was implying that I'm the one in wrong and I'm punishing them by not seeing them. That I'm the one that's mentally sick. My brain still feels scrambled.
This evening a lady from church said hi to me and said I miss seeing you at church. I almost cried right there on the sales floor. She asked if I'm going to a new church. I said no. I said too much spiritual abuse. I need to heal first. She said she understood and soon moved on but my heart was wrenched in pain.
I wanted to scream. THIS IS NOT HOW I WANT IT TO BE!!! I miss going to church and hanging out with the people I got to know. There's also several events for the ladies and I was considering trying to go to the one. But I'm terrified. I don't know what to say when someone says I miss seeing you at church. I don't know what to say when people tell me I need to be in church. I don't know what to say when people ask how I'm doing. I don't know what to say. All I know is that I'm dealing with so much my pain and grief for things I no longer can enjoy and find fulfillment in for the time being. And it makes the pain even worse to be misunderstood.
As much as I want to hang out with those ladies who have been a blessingto me it is also so painful to even consider that people may feel the need to say well intentioned words that will only make the pain even more excruciating and not even realize the pain that is being caused by their words.
I'm so weary and the pain and grief drains all the energy I have. I rarely feel motivated for anything. I don't expect to be understood because I know most people have not gone through the depths of experiences as I have. I just want people to accept me where I'm at and hold me up in prayer in their prayer closets because it would be too painful to be prayed for in person. I like when people check in but so often I don't know what to say or talk about. The pain is just too raw to pretend to be strong when I'm not.
If you have read this far, thank you for hearing me out. If you don't know how spiritual abuse and trauma can affect people, you have now been given a glimpse through my experiences. It wasn't my choice. I didn't ask for it. I didn't want it. It was what other people have done to me. I have forgiven but forgiveness doesn't take away the consequences of someone else's choices. The pain is my responsibility to deal with. I'm doing the best I know how. I believe I'm making progress. But it's so hard to see. Especially on a day like today...and if you are from church reading this: please know I miss you too. Those of you who have remained in contact, it has been such a blessing to me to know you care enough to reach out. And I appreciate all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging over the last several months even if you just took to notice me and say hi. You have no idea how much it means to me...
And lastly, I don't know why I'm sharing all of this...it helps me to write it all out...and a lot of you already know bits and pieces but I think the biggest motive is that I want my friends to be aware(if they aren't already) the effect that trauma and abuse can have on a person's life years down the road...and I'm being brave and using my life as an example if you want to learn...