To feel or not to feel…

Somewhere along life's path I managed to shut off most emotion. I don't "feel" much. I remember working at it. I remember, I think, the start of it…
My stepfather only hit me the one time. I truly believe it scared him more than it did me. Not sure why, but there was a look on his face… I knew he had scared himself by his actions. I think that scared me more than the fact that he had hit me. He had already assured me he had no intention of going back to jail for me, so what would he do next??
Anyway.
After the black eye. My stepfather found more… creative ways to hurt me. He would keep mental stock of what was important to me and "hurt" or destroy those things. I didn't have much in the way of nice things. I had an antique porcelain piggy bank, given to me by a lady in our church (DL, I think @ TCC), a Pegasus lamp, given to me by my grandmother and a few dolls, given to me by my mother's co-worker (I was told they "were not the kind you play with"), that I had displayed on a high shelf in my room. Somehow those dolls, though out of reach for anyone, but an adult on a stool, managed to be chewed to bits by our dog… the lamp and the piggy bank met similar fates because I have never had a decent memory. When he moved in with us I got a TV and a VCR in my room (later I found out that was in trade for my entire savings account…). With that came the responsibility of recording sports for him. I had to program the VCR and remember to be sure the TV was on the right channel. Well, I am sure part of the problem was I couldn't care less about his sports, and so I didn't bother to remember or double check the channel and times. Well if it didn't record the right thing he got more than a little miffed. So to get back at me for missing a game he'd break something. The first was the lamp. I was heartbroken. And he later apologized. The second was the bank… when he picked it up, I remember yelling "NOOooo", like I never have ever before or since. He said something like "this means something to you?" and it went sailing across the room and my heart shattered with it. It was my most prized possession, I'd had it for as long as I could remember, and it was the nicest thing I owned, I remember thinking it was beautiful. He destroyed it. When he tried to apologize for that one, I couldn't quite believe that he was really sorry.
But. When he shattered my bank, I remember locking myself in the bathroom watching myself cry, trying to stop the tears, and promising myself "He will not ever make me cry again!". He did, of course, but every time was less and within a few years only physical pain could bring a tear to my eyes.
I still have a hard time feeling. Part of me wants to. It would make relationships better, give me better ability to minister to hurting hearts, but a part of me finds security in the lack of emotion. If I don't invest my emotions, then I don't have as great a risk of being hurt or used. Protection.
But when I really care, I don't know how to show it, I don't feel (much) sorrow or loss, and to say I do feels like a lie.
I don't cry at weddings or funerals or at the birth of a baby… no tears of joy or loss… I am the last one you'll ever catch crying when watching a movie.
I have noticed over the years I have gotten a little "softer", but when I notice it it scares me.
It's fine with me (most of the time) that death doesn't make me cry. I try to make sure people know I appreciate them, so I don't have any regret when they are gone. And I believe God won't remove a person from my life (by moving away or death or simply growing apart) until their job is done. Sometimes I don't like His timing, but His ways are nor my ways…
But sometimes I wonder what positives I am missing. Perhaps what are my kids missing? Are they going to be matter of fact and tend toward apathetic because of me? I want better than that for them! But I don't know how, and it is scary to think of being so vulnerable…
To trust…people.
To love…people.
To believe…people.
God is good, I know I can love, trust, believe, depend, rely… have faith in Him. He wants what is best for my good AND His glory. But people… people are different. They hurt each other, they break promises, and lie and deceive. A friend can become a foe in a heartbeat.
And then there's the vulnerability, the showing of your tender spots, that comes with emotion. If someone knows how much you care, they know how much they can hurt you…
Obviously, I need some prayer for grace here :). I have walls of protection around my heart. Very few have made it through the barriers, most who are "in" were there before the walls went up… I know they need to come down, but the Lord must do it because I am too afraid to…

Comments

  1. When you have been hurt like this, there is only one way to heal, to really heal, to really, truely forgive, and that is through the healing power and strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can give you that perfect peace in your heart so that you can trust. So that you can trust yourself to allow others to effect your life. To allow others the opportunity to totally destroy your heart once again, and then you find that He is there beside you, and it is ok, you will be ok, it is not destroyed. When you have come to that place, you will find that you are connecting more with your emotions. Because you were so abused for so long , you had to turn off those emotions.You had to turn them off to survive. Just love on your kids and Husband. Your circle of trust is larger than you think.

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  2. Thank you, you may be right about my "circle of trust". I am always surprised at how well some people seem to know me...
    I learned I had to forgive long ago, and forgave both my Stepfather and mother years ago, the healing process takes a long time :)(And repeated forgiveness as things return to remembrance).
    And the trouble with people is when you trust them the more you trust them with the greater the capacity for heartache... then when a friend is no longer a friend, or does something that hurts (even though I try to forgive quickly), it makes me weary... leery of trusting them or others for a while. But things are better (WAY better) than they used to be. God is good. He is faithful. He can be trusted and by depending on Him I am changing and slowly becoming who He has for me to be...

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  3. Beleive me, I know how difficult it is to trust. Right now I am doing all in my power to turn off those emotions again. I need to just get through what I am going through. I don't want to feel the hurt, the pain, the betrayal. I am trying to be strong, strong for my girls. But late at night, it is there. I know Jesus is with me, I feel his hand, but all the same, I just feel like I am going to fall apart. I know I have many friends who are praying for me, and I am greatful for their prayers. But I just want this over with. I do not like the unknown, and that is what my days are filled with, that is why I want it finished. I want to just go on with the next phase of my life. I want the pain to go away, and the hurt to heal. I don't know if I will ever be able to trust again, it was hard enough the first time, but if God moves and shows me I need to again, I know through Him I will be able to. (But it will take time).

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