Hi All,

I was going through some of my old stuff, and found a note from a recovery friend named Seven.

When we met, Seven was writing about sleeping with a K-Bar (Marine combat knife) to stay safe from nightmares, so I knew that Seven had to be a Marine. At the time, that seemed safe and made a lot of sense to me; I was an Army Combat Arms officer, and slept with a bayonet to keep me safe from my nightmares.

I felt sort of tricked when I realized that Seven was a woman, and I had actually mistaken her for a man. But reading her stuff (after reading probably 1000 other posts) got me to start writing, so if I had to be fooled or fool myself to start getting better . . . well good for me.

After that I would try to keep up with her on the getting-well-obstacle-course, and I would watch her come up to an obstacle, study it a bit, pray for help and direction, clear the obstacle and just jog right on

And I was bumbling along behind, stumbling, falling down, and crying and getting pretty jealous, making an ass of myself and even getting kicked out of our group.

By the time I got smart enough to actually follow her example and pray for help when I needed it . . . which was and is most of the time . . . I learned to get through the course, too. We talked about it later, and she said that it was a lot harder for her than I seemed to think, too.

But she wrote this long version for me of one part of her recovery and gave me permission to re-post and share it. I think it is pretty good stuff. Hope it is good for you, too.

See you,

Sunshine

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Dream post...

By Seven (Seven) on Friday, January 21, 2000 - 01:10 pm:

The way that I had always dealt with the ab*se in my life was to
own the responsibility for it. Children automatically assume that
they cause everything to happen, even things that have nothing
to do with them. When my dad hit me, I tried to figure out what it
was that I did to make him do that. Since there was never any
discernible pattern to his outbursts, the only common
denominator was myself. I bought into the lie that there was
something inherently wrong with me that made me unlovable
and deserving of abuse. A few times, he even told me that it
was no wonder my own mother hadn't wanted me. In my darker
moments, I would imagine that my birth mother had looked at
me and somehow known that I was defective, that she could
see that I was bad, and that was why she gave me away.

In a very twisted way, it was easier for me to believe that the
fault was all mine. That way, I was really in control of it all. All the
painful things that were being done to me would go away if I
would change my behavior and become ?good?. The world
really was a safe place and the people I loved were good
people, it was only me that was bad.

When I came to the chapter on forgiveness in my s*xual ab*se
group, I came up against this belief I had always held deep
inside. The book taught that you cannot forgive someone for
something you hold yourself responsible for. In order for me to
forgive any of the people in my life that had sinned against me, I
had to first assign them the blame. Even though I knew the truth
of where the responsibility belonged, I found that I just could not
let go of the blame. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn?t
make myself let go. If I was not to blame, then that meant that
the world wasn?t safe and even if I did everything right
something horrible might still happen to me. It meant that the
people I loved could hurt me even if I had done nothing to
deserve it. I just couldn?t deal with a world like that.

I struggled with this for about 3 months. It felt like I was throwing
myself at a brick wall and I couldn?t go forward in my recovery
until I got past it. Every time I tried to make myself accept that I
was not at fault, I would be overcome with urges to go out and
do something wrong, thereby proving how "bad" I was. I wanted
to go out and get drunk and sleep with someone so that I could
point to that and say "see, I can't help it, I'm just bad". My blame
was my protection from the world and I hung on to it against all
reason.

I finally prayed to the Lord to somehow force me to let go of it. I
told Him to shove me off the cliff if He had to, anything to get
me unstuck.

In September, I started a very intense Christian program that
dealt with s*xual and relational brokenness and was centered
in Christ. It was held one night a week for three hours and there
was a lot of worship and prayer for healing. One night in
November, my small group prayed for healing for me in this
area. That night I had a dream that I was a lion in a cage. It felt
totally natural to me and when the people came to feed me, I
would attack them and be beaten off with a whip. I didn?t feel
any fear until night came and the shepherd came to talk with
me. The more he talked, the nicer he was to me, the more
afraid I became. The dream sequenced day after day like this,
and each night in the dream would become more and more
frightening. The shepherd would pour water on my wounds and
talk of one of his sheep that was missing. I knew in my heart
that I had killed this sheep and that that was why I had been
caged. I was so ashamed of this when he was with me and so
scared that he would find out. Finally, I woke myself up shaking
with fear.

I had the same exact dream for seven nights in a row. Each
time, I would wake myself when I became too scared. I knew
the shepherd wanted to tell me something that I didn?t want to
hear. When a week had passed and I was back in my small
group, I told them what had been going on and they prayed for
me once again. That night I finally stayed in the dream and
finished it.

I open my eyes to the bars of my cage
They bring food with a whip, it fills me with rage
My roaring sounds out as the whip cuts my skin
I leap and attack though I know I can?t win
They call me a killer, I know that it?s true
I can almost remember when I brought down the ewe
The days last forever, between feedings I pace
As the sky starts to darken,
my heart starts to race
I lay down by the bars, unable to sleep
I look out at the hillside cluttered with sheep
Suddenly in the dark, the Shepherd is there
Though he strokes me gently,
I?m consumed with fear
He washes my wounds, talking softly to me
Of a lamb that is lost and where it might be
My heart fills with shame at all that I am
I know that I killed it, His well loved lamb
I wish He would leave me, I squirm at His touch
Escape into sleep, His care is too much
Time passes slowly, each day is the same
Til finally one night He calls me by name
The bars disappear, we walk down the hill
My fear and my shame, I yield to His will
He walks by my side, on His strength I lean
As we come to a lake, all is peaceful, serene
I put my face down to drink,
my heart bursts and I weep
The reflection in the water,
not a lion, but a sheep

When I saw that my reflection was of a sheep, it was like
someone dumped a bucket of ice water over my head. I
instantly realized that I had never been a lion at all. I had never
belonged in a cage or deserved the label killer or the ab*sive
treatment given me. In that moment, I was able to let go of the
blame for my childhood ab*se.

About a week later, I was in a Christian bookstore browsing
around for a gift for someone. After a half hour or so, I looked
up at the wall in front of me and almost had a heart attack.
Hanging there, was a picture of a lion on a hillside with a
puddle of water at his feet and in the water, his reflection was a
sheep. I could hardly breathe I was so blown away. I had never
understood what was meant by "fear of the Lord", but I
understood it then. He was actually there in my life and so
awesome that it was scary. It was like standing at the edge of
the Grand Canyon. The idea that in all His greatness and
omnipotence, He would touch my individual life that way, was
just too big to take in.

Now that picture hangs in my living room, reminding me that I
am His child, that I am not the monster that the world tried to
make me be.

In His Love,
Seven