Proving to be a hindrance

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I hope that I am directing my commentary and questions to the right forum. Here goes. Male members of my family abused me, sexually, physically, and emotionally in my early years. Because of this my self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love and self-concept has been severely distorted even though I am a female in her late twenties. I find myself wondering about my sexuality, my intelligence and my purpose in the grant scheme of things. I also wonder why a loving God would want me to go through any of the above. My questions are, first, if I have been hurt by men most of my life, how do I trust Jesus and God in a such an intimate relationship since they are both masculine figures, second, how do I let go of anger before it consumes me, third, how do I let my defenses down in order to have a relationship with God, and fourth, how do I forgive myself and those who have hurt me. I am very confused about a lot of things, but for now these are my primary concerns. I want and need to be able to trust and love fully in God and myself. If I can be pointed in the right direction it would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help/feedback.
Give a call into the Catholic Answers Program “The Doctor Is In” and talk with Dr. Colleen. Check Catholic Answers website for the days she is on. She can help you along with local help to bring Hope, Heal and Forgive thorugh our Lord Jesus Christ. I will pray for you.
Dear aab101077,

The questions you ask are profound and yet so common, sadly, given the current state of our culture and what we do to one another. First, I would say that you’ll probably always wonder about these things (sexuality, purpose, intelligence)…for the rest of your life. I don’t think it is true that God “wanted” you to go through those things. But, God has certainly allowed it to happen so the question still remains–why? Again, you’ll be working at this for a long time but I’ve found a good place to start is from the letter to the Romans: “We know that by turning everything to their good, God cooperates with all those who love Him” (8:28). All that happens to us is for our benefit and the benefit of others. Accepting this takes a lot of faith and hope (and love, for that matter).

Which leads to your next question: how to love/trust God. Well, if you find it necessary to consider God in more motherly or feminine terms, feel free (see Isaiah 66, for example and remember Jesus comparing Himself to a mother hen). That can only go so far–what you will need to do is build a relationship with God and this takes a lot of time, generally. You do this through reading the Bible, the Sacraments (if you’re Catholic), lives of the saints, conversations with good Christians, and personal prayer.

How to let go of anger? (Try to)Pray for those who have abused you…act charitably towards them, if possible. Beg God for the grace of forgiveness. Again, this will take much time and effort.

How to let down your defenses? Little by little. Making acts of faith, hope and love, even though you don’t feel like they are all that honest or accurate, can help. The prayer of the father of the possessed boy is also a good place to start–“Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”

Forgiving others and yourself is similar to letting go of anger, i think.

It is excellent that you want to love and trust God fully–remember that it is God who, in His goodness, begets in us any measure of desire or achievement. Thank God for that desire. And, to be honest, many of us are stuck on simply having a desire to love God and trust Him and fail to do either with any regularity… In many ways, you are not alone.

I am not too pleased with anything I’ve said here but at least I can pray for you…
Dr. Colleen is on Monday and Friday, 9 to 11 pacific time. Give the show a call. 888-ouradvice. She may be able to talk to you off the air as well, no promises.
God Bless
You can also try Gregory Popcak’s Pastoral Solutions Institute:

The Institute offers telephone counseling (and on more than just marital therapy) and/or referrals to practitioners in your own area. Dr. Coleen Kelly Mast would be good for initial advice, but Mr. Popcak’s apostolate can be of extended help.
aab, I feel for you from the depths of my soul. I am a fellow survivor, although you have had it much worse ( I was not abused by a family member, just a family aquaintance), and I understand where these feelings are coming from. It is a long, arduous journey you are about to embark on. I definately agree that you should consult “The Dr. Is In”. It is a wonderful program. God certainly guided you here.
As to the “why” of what happened to you, you may not know until you are standing in the presence of God. The only encouragement I can share is that once you have overcome this trial, you will be extremely strong. Think of it as your cross. This analogy has always helped me. I used to wonder why God would let this happen to an innocent child. Then I thought of what he subjected His only Son to. Makes my trial pale in comparison. I know now that the only control we have over evil in this world is our reaction to it. If you let the abuse define who you are as a person, then the abusers win. I see the taking up of your cross as a triumph. You are strong enough to do it even if you don’t think you can (and there will be many times when you don’t think you can). Just remember this, God loves you more than you could possibly comprehend, and when any of His children suffer, He suffers with them. God is the only one who can take this tragedy and turrn it toward good. You CAN trust Him, because He is not just a man. He is Love. I also think that Br. Dan gave you an excellent reply, especially the quote from Romans 8:28. There are many wise people here in this forum and you can be sure that they will all pray for you and support you as much as possible. It should be a great comfort to know you don’t have to do this on your own. God can help too, if you only ask Him.

PS I was wondering if 101077 was your birthday. My husband’s is 101070. Thought that was a neat coincidence. :rolleyes:
Your post to this forum is a sign and a longing of your need to forgive.

I quote a very spiritual person…"True healing will come when true forgiveness is given".

However, one must not confuse forgiveness with atonement.

Jesus wants no hardness in the hearts of his children. Forgive and pray.

If you’re having trouble with gender forgiveness, allow The Blessed Mother to intercede on your behalf. Give Her your worries and pain. She will lead you to Her Son.

Fear is the tool of the evil one. Pray to St. Michael, the protector of God’s children.

If your parish has Eucharistic Adoration, make an effort to attend. Give your heart to Jesus. Pray for his guidance.

God Bless you.
And do not confuse forgiveness with the idea that you have to believe that what they did wasn’t so bad after all.

Do not confuse forgiveness with the idea that you must invite these people over for tea every Tuesday.

Do not confuse forgiveness with the idea that these people should not face whatever legal repercussions may follow because of what they have done.

Do not believe that you do not have to forgive them because of what they have done. Forgiveness is not optional. We are forgiven only “as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” Note: the trespass is real. The trespass IS real.

God is already working in you: working his wonders: working is purpose out.

Prayer ascending.
First I must say I am so sorry about your abuse. This year I found out that my daughter was molested when she was 7 years old by my nice catholic neighbor. I think after he died she felt free enough to say something, but that is where the torment began for me. You spoke of the anger you feel and I could feel it in your words because I lived it also. Every morning I would go to Mass and look up at the crucifix and cry I would look at the Pieta and see Mary and ask her over and over to help me forgive and pray for this mans soul. I would go to Sunday Mass and his name would not escape me because he was an usher, money counter you name it he did it. I could not even bear to hear his name, let alone pull out of my driveway and see his house. But in praying over and over to Jesus and Mary to help me to forgive I can pull out of my driveway without that hate. I can now pray for his soul.

But to love Christ as God not as a man may help, I always think I don’t know anyone who loves me that much that would die for me. Mary forgave and she will help me to forgive.

Love heals all wounds, ask Mary! I will include your intentions in my morning Mass and hope you can heal through the love of Mary and Christ.
First I want to congratulate you on having the courage to speak about your story hear. I am a fellow survivor as well and I know the courage it takes to admit what has happened to you. I also am in my twenties and still suffer the effects of the abuse in terms of self-esteem, self-love and trust. Abuse effects every facet of your life and it can be a long journey to put all the pieces together again.

I think you have gotten great advice here so far, which is a testiment to the wonderful people on this forum. One thing I would add, is have you ever gotten professional help in dealing with the abuse? I only ask because seeing a therapist really helped me get over the feelings of guilt, anger, true hatred and distrust towards men. When I was going through the hardest part in my journey, I did not have a personal relationship with Christ and so I understand the anger at God for “letting this happen” to you.

I can only say that after many years of therapy, talking about it, reading about abuse — I literally lived and breathed this stuff — that I feel that I have “healed”. And strangely enough, it is after I “healed” that I came to know God in a personal way. Letting go of all the hatred and anger and guilt opened me up to the Holy Spirit and has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. I was also a “cutter”, or self-injurer, and after I turned toward God, I was able to free myself from this habit. I cut myself because I hated myself, felt “dirty” for what had happened to me. Remember that whatever happened to you is NOT your fault. I know you probably intellectually understand that, but it’s another thing to believe it in your heart. But it is TRUE.

I’m afraid that I wasn’t much help to you, I have so many things I could say to you, but these posts can only be so long. 🙂 So, I guess to wrap up my ramblings, I really truly understand some of the feelings you are having and I want to help you in any way I can. Keep coming here to the forum and hopefully you will find solace here. Seek a good Christian therapist if you feel comfortable. Do you have a friend/family member you can talk to about your feelings? I found that really talking about everything helped me sort it all out.

Please take care of yourself and know that all of us here are praying for you. Send me a private message if you ever need to vent, or talk, or whatever, OK?

You are NOT alone.
Many prayers for you, AAB, that God will strengthen you.

Keep asking the Holy Spirit to heal you. When you feel angry, upset, hurt, etc. ask Him to take all those feeling away and replace them with love and peace.

Stay close to prayer and He will help you.
we haven’t heard from you since your first post. are you out there? just wanted to let you know i was thinking about you and that i hope you are staying well.

God’s blessings to you.
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