The past few days I have been doing a lot of bargaining. It’s part of grieving. We have much to grieve as survivors of sexual assault. “If only…” “What if…”
What if I’d been more aware enough to tell someone? What if it never happened? What if I had quit trying to work at my job so hard and focused on therapy sooner? What if I’d never taken medication that made me unable to work in therapy? What if I tried to stay connected to my family? What if…
We can dwell in the “If only’s…” and “What if’s…” or we can face reality. The reality right now is we need to heal. Bargaining about what could’ve, might’ve, should’ve been, will not change our situation. However, it is part of the grieving process and grieving is one thing we do need to do.
We lost quite a lot to what happened to us. Innocence. Trust. Safety. Protection. On top of which we could be dealing with physical consequences now from our assaults. It is okay to grieve these losses. To wish things could be different. The dangerous place we must stay away from is setting up camp in it.
If I think of what Jesus would say to me about my questions, and about being sexually assaulted, I imagine He might say something like this, “It’s not your fault. It’s okay to have the questions, but you did nothing wrong. Someone sinned against you and you are enduring the consequences.”
He understands we are grieving and that we wish to change the past. He also understands the reality. The reality we live in is where we are today. Nothing can change the past. Coming to accept what happened and working through it is where we’ll find healing.
It doesn’t help for someone to tell me, “It’s not your fault.” Even if my therapist told me I wouldn’t believe him because he wasn’t there. So, when I begin to say, “It’s all my fault. If only…” I need to stop and ask Jesus to intervene and reassure me it’s not my fault because He knows the truth. However, despite what some say that’s not the only answer. Actually working through trauma will help us understand it truly isn’t our fault.
I understand it is hard conclusion to come to. I am not there yet myself and I can’t tell you when I will be. I only know I’m going to keep asking Jesus to remind me of the truth as I keep processing trauma. Keeping in mind how He would sound when He says it. Kind, compassionate, understanding and not condemning is how Jesus responds to those who approach Him. The Bible is a testimony to this.
So the next time you start to tell yourself, “It’s all my fault.” Turn to the one who knows the truth for you, Jesus, and keep working hard toward healing.
I feel very strongly that everything that happened to me is my fault. The reason I am in the situation I am in today is because of what I did so I need You to change my thought processes to include what You know. Remind me it is not my fault. Help me come to know this as I heal and process my trauma. Thank you.
© 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.