Anthony Goulet, a survivor of sexual abuse shares his message of hope and encouragement with other survivors.
When I was twelve years old I was hit with a final blow which caused my heart to shatter. The pain from that event was so tragic that I fully said, “Fuck it,” and walked away from my heart for many years. For years before that moment I held on to my heart.Through the addictions within my home and all the insanity that comes with that, I held on to my heart. Through countless visits to the hospitals, begging God in the hospital chapel to not take the lives of the adults in my life, I held on to my heart. Through the passing away of relatives from addictions, I held on to my heart. Through being disconnected from my biological family and bounced around the country within survivalist settings and situations, I held on to my heart. I held on to my heart and prayed every night, knowing that God would send the miracle I longed for. If the tears within my pillow as a child could talk, they would sing to you of my child-like prayers that were with one-hundred percent love, faith, hope, and charity. My tears and prayers were with a clarity, a certainty in all that is good that all children have, and in a flash it was taken away from me.
When I was twelve-years old I was an altar server in the Catholic church. There was a priest at our church who molested me and several of the other boys. We didn’t dare speak about it, we were already conditioned with the three rules that exist in all unhealthy relationship: Don’t Talk. Don’t Tell. Don’t Feel. Yet, even abiding by these three rules of dysfunction, the pain still comes out. For some it came out in suicide attempts. For others it came out in drug and alcohol use, and for some it came out in gang affiliation and violence. Although some of the means we used were different, they were all with the same goal. And that goal was to pick up where our abuser left off. The hope we clung to within the challenges some of us were facing before that moment, went away during and after the moment our innocence was stripped away from us.
I still had to deal with all the effects of the addiction in my home along with what happened to me and some of the other boys. After that moment with the priest I no longer cried innocent tears of pure faith. As a matter of fact, the only thing I said to God for many years after that was, “Fuck you,” and I meant it. Sometimes I would say that to God while I was crying, and I would repeat it over and over again as I cried myself to sleep. After some years of doing my best to give myself what I thought I deserved, which was destruction, I was placed upon a road of healing, not because I wanted it or sought it, it just happened. And I am grateful that it did happen. When I was eighteen years old God was showing up and showing out in my life in many profound ways, although I did not recognize it as such then. At the time I’m sure I thought it was just luck.
A counselor I had in an at-risk youth program asked me if I had ever thought about why I am so quick to place myself in dangerous situations. I had never about that before, but I knew he could see through me, and he had a pretty good idea why. I really didn’t have an answer but he asked me to think about it. The truth was that I didn’t even recognize that I put myself in dangerous situations, but I had, many times. After the at-risk youth program God sent more mentors my way and each one of them had a message from the Creator about following my heart and forgiveness. In my own time, at my own pace, and with me slowly taking baby-steps along the seventeen inch road from my head back to my heart I shed many tears, looked at many things, and did not want to miss the reason I was born. I no longer wanted to pick up where my abuser left off and finish my destruction. I reclaimed what I walked away from due to the hurt, pain, loss, and trauma. I went back to my heart and found the resilient child whose prayers and tears of faith were still pure, and whose quest for miracles were not in vain.
At the age of twenty-one before my first wife and I had children I would wake up and sometimes just walk out of the apartment in a daze. My focus was on the horizon and I could hear nothing around me. It didn’t matter if it was December in Michigan and 10 degrees outside, whatever I was wearing is what I walked outside in. I couldn’t feel the weather or hear my wife yelling my name or pulling on my arm to try to snap me out of it. Yes, that is a symptom of PTSD, but on a deeper level I have clearer insight in what was happening during those moments. I was looking off in the distance, wanting to find the boy within me to tell him, “It’s okay. We are going to make it. We will break these chains that others imposed upon us, and from the ashes God will lift us up and declare certain victory. Don’t worry, all the prayers you said will be answered, and you are going to use the rest of your life to allow God to answer the prayers of others through you. Also, your anger with God doesn’t mean that you have lost faith. It means that you have one-hundred percent faith in God, or else you wouldn’t be angry with God. You’re angry because you know God can do anything, but the answers to your prayers are happening in a way that you can’t see right now. You know that what that man did to you and and some of the others was not of God, and had nothing to do with God. You will meet some extraordinary people who God will use to speak directly towill have wonderful children and they will never experience the trauma, loss, and pain that you have because you allowed God to break the inter-generational trauma and replace it with inter-generational healing. Yes, young one, we are going to be more than okay.”
What’s my point in sharing all this with you? Well, I know there are many who have never taken the seventeen inch walk from their head back to their heart. I know there are many who still have a wounded boy or girl within them and they try to numb his or her cries by being busy, or with drugs, alcohol, gang affiliation, and even suicide. I also know that healing is possible when we are willing to look up one more time and cry out for the miracle that the child within us still believes in and deserves. If you’ve walked away from your heart due to hurt, pain, loss, or tragedy, in your own time, at your own pace, take baby-steps on that most Sacred road from your head to your heart. Break the rules of don’t talk, don’t tell, and don’t feel by talking, telling, and feeling, even if it’s just with you and a piece of paper you will burn or throw away after the conversation. Just as you would not leave a wounded child abandoned, don’t leave the child within you abandoned. Give the child within you time, compassion, love, and understanding. Allow him or her to cry when they need to or want to, so that you remember that tears are a purification ceremony that love, the strongest force in the universe has given us to rid ourselves of the toxins imposed upon us by others. Pray and ask for not just the strength to endure, but the miracle of complete restoration to remember you are whole, Holy and innocent. Ask the Creator of your understanding to help you see yourself as the Creator sees you. I assure you that you are nothing less than a blessing, miracle, and gift in the eyes of God, and you used to see yourself that way.
Upon the road from our head to our heart a mighty reunion takes place. A reunion of God, you, and the child within you. Yes, at first it’s messy, loud, and emotional. After the terror, screams of anger and tears subside, the boy or girl within us reminds us of our beauty and innocence that never left us. And we reassure the boy or girl within us that we made it, not just as survivors but as victors. Then together, our inner-child, our adult-self and God walk hand in hand remembering what we were all along, innocent.
As we are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I offer this small piece of my testimony to you in His Holy name, as encouragement to seek, ask and allow the rebirth and reunion of God’s complete healing, victory, restoration, purification and innocence through you, for you, and around you and your family.
Miracles happen…you are one.
Originally appeared at This Holy Instant.com