There are certain things I have come to accept with my head, with my intellect, in my mind. I can acknowledge that these things are true, more than likely, even though I don’t believe them, or struggle to believe them, with my heart. For example, I can now grasp intellectually the unlikelihood of it being my fault I was sexually abused by my father. I can sort of understand he probably has some fairly high level of responsibility for what he did and that I probably didn’t cause it or somehow deserve it. I can comprehend that maybe he had a degree of culpability, if he’s not deserving of full blame. But my heart continues to disagree. Logically, I was a small child when the sexual abuse started and I had no magic powers with which to shield myself or by which to analyze what was happening to me. I had no power over him at all, in fact, nor was I such an awful little girl that what he did was a foregone conclusion and reasonably justified. Even as I grew a little older, I was still a dependent child. I now realize I didn’t have any way to protect myself. By that time, I was so broken, terrified, confused and isolated, I lacked the necessary resources to extract myself from the destructive home environment in which I lived. I couldn’t even muster to cry out for help. I had been stripped of all remnants of personhood and I no longer believed I had value or worth. I had been taught that my only redemption would come through compliance and performance. It was my job to fulfill my parents, to make the happy, to make them look good. I had learned to keep the secrets at all costs. I was a dutiful daughter. There was no one looking out for me; no one on my side, no one to reach out to. I was trapped in a vast chaotic universe of pain, darkness and destruction. All I could see was the debris. Was this my fault? A critical analysis would more than likely conclude it was not. But my heart convicts me, in spite of the contradictory logical “evidence.” I am torn between my head and my heart. With my mind, I can see with a certain degree of clarity; certainly with more clarity than I see with my heart. My heart is shattered and though I’ve tried to repair it, I’ve cobbled together pieces here and there, but have generally made a mess of the mess. So there’s a high degree of distortion. Kind of like trying to look through a shattered windshield. It’s darned hard to see out! My brain is less affected. I’ve always enjoyed a level of intellect that has helped me to survive in an unsurvivable situation. My mind does, however, seek patterns. Maybe most people are this way, but I’m probably nearing an extreme. And because the heart and brain often work in tandem, it is probably a given that the “logical” conclusions my brain arrives at are tainted by my fractured heart. To give you an example of what I am trying so clumsily to convey, if the traffic lights almost all turn red just before I roll up to the intersection, I recently realized my explanation of this was God must be angry with me and that He hated me. Seriously. This is what I thought and how I interpreted events! What does one thing have to do with the other, you might ask? Well, nothing! But I recognized and processed the pattern (multiple traffic lights turning red just before my arrival) in my head without it even reaching my conscious mind. And because I have trouble trusting God or believing He loves me, I interpreted the pattern to mean I was out of favor, thus determining this was yet more evidence that He hated me. That He was against me. Because most of the lights were turning red just before I reached them. Now that I’m aware of the erroneous processing of data, I’m consciously working to change my thinking (and feeling a little stupid). It’s hard to do and it’s a slow process. I have uncovered these kinds of probable distortions in other areas, such as blaming myself for my father sexually abusing me, and I have had to concede that my formula is perhaps sometimes faulty. 1 + 1 most likely doesn’t = 256. My brain can process data all day long and do a rather fine job of it. But when you throw in what the heart has to say, because there is so much damage there, the data is occasionally distorted and the conclusion I come to is therefore at least suspect. To say this drives me insane is a huge understatement. I feel as though I can’t rely on or trust anything. Every thought is questionable. Nothing is solid. Every conclusion must be examined again and again for processing errors due to bad data. I can’t trust myself, my thoughts, my feelings, or even my logic. I don’t know what is real, what is distorted, what is truth and what is a lie. Chaos reigns. And sadly, even when I recognize there is a processing error, even when my brain is able to see what the truth must surely be, my heart is unable to grasp that truth. My heart continues to believe the old programming, the old way of thinking and believing. I can’t seem to escape the whirlpool. My heart is broken. It sees things in a certain way because of this brokenness. My soul is decimated. My heart and my soul speak the same language. My spirit has been crushed. When you pit my logic, my brain, against my heart, soul and spirit, the brain doesn’t stand a chance. And neither do I. From the deepest part of my being, I believe I am defective. I believe the only worth I have is in what I do. And since I can’t do very many things as well as most people are able to do them (or maybe can’t do them at all), I don’t feel that I have much, if any, worth. From the center of my soul springs the steadfast belief that I am not good enough to warrant being loved or accepted. That I am nothing. That I don’t matter. That God is disappointed in me. That no one wants me. Can I see that much of this damage is tied to being sexually abused by my father and abused by both parents physically and emotionally? Yeah, kind of. But it hasn’t yet changed my beliefs about myself. And until I can love and accept myself, it’s highly doubtful anyone WILL ever be able to love or accept me. And so I remain alone, isolated, wounded and bound. Right or wrong, thoughts are just thoughts. Feelings are my reality. At the end of the day, I still feel it was all my fault. That’s what my heart tells me and though I struggle mightily to see things differently, I still believe my heart.