Sunday, February 04, 2007

Trust and Betrayal: Anybody Else Have Trouble "Trulsting" God?

After achieving a stunning victory in my ability to "trust" God, I ran into the minefield of "Why" I have never been able to "trust" Him deeply before now (age 53: over 25 years attempting to "walk" with God.)

Always remember, fellow travelers, behind every victory of new, healthy, fluffy, clean and wonderful behavior, lies the tangled web of whatever went so wrong with your young life. I now can choose when, where and for how long I endure this necessary, but highly painful encounter with my past.

My Victory:
I have to give you a bit of background, before my victory will make sense. I'm in a Charismatic Denomination. We believe in radical public displays (at times) of the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes during group prayer, people get so overwhelmed they collapse to the floor, or dance, or walk/run in the Spirit. For us, it is just an occurrence of healing. People watch one another and when someone gets "happy" as I like to think about it, those closest to them make sure they don't trip, or fall over people, or objects.

I've seen this stuff faked as well as truly happening. The church I'm currently attending is the real item. I've seen people writhe on the floor, troubled with drugs, or worse and when they return to themselves, they find the strength and courage (from God) to stop the destructive behavior which had formerly trapped them.

Usually this gets started by the congregation just deciding to continue collective prayer and or singing. There have been testimonies of people who swore they'd never let themselves "go" like that. When God really gets a hold of you, there is no choice. But, when I heard and saw these things I was filled with a rage fed by terror. I delivered an ultimatum to God: "YOU WILL NOT EVER THROW ME ANYWHERE!" This amazingly strong attitude really bothered me. I've been with God long enough to know that He is boss, not me. I'm free to share my feelings, plead for things and so forth. But I NEVER call the shots over HIS behavior. All I could do was back off and apologize, in my mind, asking Him to heal me of whatever I was reacting to so fiercely.

God healed me by revealing to me, the root of my trouble. The next time prayer got serious the pastor invited anyone who wanted to, to come down to the alter, and really seek the Lord. I usually don't feel prompted to do this for myself. Most of the time, I feel led to do intercessory prayer work for other people. This day, however, I had an issue. So down to the alter I went. I also figured if God was going to "throw" me, I'd already be on the floor and it wouldn't be as bad, as being "thrown" from a standing position. (Sure was a surrendered soul here, NOT!)

I began to cry, begging God from some little-kid place of abject terror, not to throw me. I couldn't stop crying, but I was not medically out-of-control. God then showed me where my fear was coming from. He also surrounded me with a type of gentleness I know to be one of God's traits with me. An amazingly soothing, gentle and understanding spirit "held" me while I went back to the memories of my mother throwing my rebelling two-year-old self against a wall. I was watching this event from a point on the floor, in a standing position. Clearly, I had left my body. I watched myself hit the wall full force, on my left side, bent at the hips.

My left shoulder hit a picture. Both I and the picture in its frame fell to the floor. I realized from this memory why I always have had trouble when people try and massage my back on the left side. I'm prone to go into true hysterics. Needless to say, I've learned to avoid most massage!

I guess I was at the alter for about twenty minutes. I was absolutely reassured that God would NEVER hurt me. His feather-soft God-ness fulled me with peace. I shared, in my testimony about this incident. I wanted to be WILLING to let God get physical with me, if He wished to. I felt much better about my attitude. I was thankful I wasn't trying to order Him around. This change of spirit happened about a month ago.

Friday night we had a lovely sermon on the 23rd Psalm. One of those "God's got your back" sermons. I love that concept. I always remember being so afraid. Knowing at the deepest level that the last thing I could do, if I didn't want to get hurt, was to "trust" my drunken and mentally ill parents.

I remember being on my swing set as a small little girl, probably three, or four. I loved my swing set and sometimes after my father got home from work, both parents would come outside to enjoy the summer evening with me as I swung.

One night my father was really drunk. He sat down on the swing next to me and really went at it. I felt the THUMP-WHOOMP! of the entire structure being pulled out of the ground. I tried to tell my father to stop going so high. Just like he had told me, when I got carried away. My mother got angry with me, while my father just kept going higher and higher. I knew the swing set was going to fall over and got off my swing. My mother yelled, ordering me back to my swing. I did as I was told and, sure enough, the back end of the triangular swing set came completely out of the ground It toppled over, throwing me to the ground. Yeah, it was not a good idea to relax around these (or any other) people.

My mind returned to Pastor and his reassuring sermon. He asked us all to stand. There were about twenty people at church spread out around the sanctuary. I was in the second row on the left, taking sermon notes for the website. Since we were going into prayer, I put my notes down and stood. Pastor then started visiting different people individually, to pray for them. I love this process. It is so marvelous to watch the healing that happens. Most of the time it is subtle, but not always. Pastor was now in front of me. He reached out and firmly placed his hand over the top of my head. He kind of shakes when he prays. Its not a put-on or a trick. I felt myself lose my balance. I remember thinking: "God, I'm not going to fight this."

I fell back and just naturally sat back down on my pew. But, if I had fallen to either side, I knew with absolute confidence that the women on either side of me would keep me from getting hurt. I was completely relaxed! It felt good to show God that I was willing to really "risk" something. I felt strange inside. I didn't realize until returning home, that a whole lot of stuff had gotten stirred up. Trust is very hard when there is so much treachery.

I noticed this experience of trusting felt totally new. It was like the first time in my life I consciously remember doing a for-real "I trust". I thought of my friend in Boston. One of the great gifts of his friendship is the safety of being able to tell him things. I know for sure I won't lose his friendship, no matter how "out there" I might become. (That is such a lovely encouraging and nurturing fact). Since I've asked him to help me with socialization skills, from time to time he'll explain things to me. I refer to two adults joking with one another as "banter" rather then "play". He is also gently guiding me through the confusion of what is and isn't appropriate for a female to share with a male. I have great trouble with this, as depending on who I'm with, the rules seem to radically change.

I also remembered part of an almost forgotten song. Lyrics that shot through me like electricity, when I first heard it in the early 80's. I made a copy of the song, for my friend, with the lyrics. I knew this one was touching me at a very deep and still hurting place. My friend and I have radically different ideas about "what is music", but I knew he'd listen to the song and tell me what, if anything he "got" from it.

Don't Make Promises
Lyrics by Marianne Faithful.
Performed by Helen Reddy, 2006 Album : I Don't Know How To Love Him.

It seems the songs we're singing
Are all about tomorrow,
Tunes of promises that we can't keep.
Every moment bringing
A love I can only borrow,
You're telling me lies in your sleep.

Do you think I'm not aware
Of what you're saying
Or why you're saying it ?
Is it hard to keep me where
You want me staying ?
Don't go on betraying.
Don't make promises that you can't keep.

We had a chance to find it,
Our time was now or never,
You promised me things that I need.
And then the things behind it
Took away the chance forever,
You're telling me lies in your sleep.

Do you think I'm not aware
Of what you're saying
Or why you're saying it ?
Is it hard to keep me where
You want me staying ?
Don't go on betraying.

Don't make promises that you can't keep.
Don't make promises that you can't keep.
Don't make promises that you can't keep.
Don't make promises that you can't keep

One of the ways I heal is to find a piece of music which really "speaks" to me. I listen to it for hours, as the memories wash over me. The music helps me find my "voice". The pivital line for me is:

"We had a chance to find it,
our time was now or never
You promised me things I need"

Every time that section would replay I'd feel acute pain, with no memory. I knew if I asked God to help me, I'd locate the problem and once I remembered it, I could release it for God to heal.

My entire early life was basically one gigantic unmet need. I can tolerate almost anything else from someone in my life, except a broken promise. Here's the great part. Healthy people know how hard it is to guarantee anything - for that is what a promise is, an implied guarantee. Healthy folks don't pass out promises lightly.

When I told my friend, in Boston, that I'd be coming his way in October, he was glad. But, immediately told me that he wasn't even sure he'd be in town in October because of his ever changing work contracts. This is fine. I have goofy work stuff also and totally understand. I am so thankful that my friend hasn't ever promised me anything, officially. No dramatic speeches. Healthy people know what hell can result from an emotionally motivated promise, which is accidentally forgotten, to the hurt of someone they care about.

I trust my friend's friendship because of his consistent behavior towards me. I know that he's not perfect, as we are all flawed. So, when I feel let down, over very minor stuff, I chalk it up to his acknowledged weaknesses.

He is one of my strongest supporters. He faithfully reads my blog as I also follow his blog and pod casts. A very nice relationship which continues to deepen and broaden with the passing of time. I try to give all my friends a "safe" place where they can tell their truth. I know how good it feels to finally come out of hiding, so to speak.

Did some social phone time with another friend. I noticed I was having trouble giving her my undivided attention. My mind was busy processing something not very nice. I had to leave that phone conversation for another time, when I could be more "Present" with her. I absolutely hate it when, I'm trying to relate with someone and their mind is AWOL. Be real, I can take it. If this isn't a good time for you, your busy, tired or whatever, JUST TELL ME! I hate that co-dependent "please 'em at any cost, even if its a total lie" approach. Thankfully, most of those type folks are GONE, GONE, GONE!

After shutting down my computer chat programs and getting off the phone I knew I was free to roam back into a slime pit. I kept remembering my cousin. God, what a piece of work, one very troubled lady. Remember, before you can move to that lovely state of true forgiveness, with the details of all of THEIR problems, you have to figure out what they did TO you! Memory trolling isn't a good time to attempt a forgiving nature. I always ask God to be close to me while I relive the painful or enraging. Once the infection has been opened up and is draining, healing and real forgiveness (and freedom) from the past begin to naturally take place.

"You promised me things that I need". I kept emotionally snagging on that one line. Then it came back. Now mind you, my cousin is only ten years older then me. Taking on raising me, as she had to, after her mother's death was very hard on her life. She told me, she almost lost her marriage over the problems. I don't feel she was exaggerating. I was a mental mess and she was twenty-three and married only a few years. She found herself dealing with an enraged, broken and stubborn thirteen-year-old who actually was in need of professional help. I was too afraid to tell the truth, to get help. But, I was a mess.

One pattern with my cousin and her husband was the drunken "speech". Usually my cousin would trap me somewhere and just start talking about how much they loved me and how they'd always be there for me. She'd wrap up this emotional blow-out by sharing how they were learning to raise me, as we all stumbled along. I hated these sessions, but my aunt did the same thing. So, I'd get numb and endure.

What I didn't understand at the time, was the fact that I BELIEVED all of this. I built my basic security and person hood on the knowledge that no matter how difficult things were between my cousin and myself, she DID love me.

If I'd analysed her behavior, I would have picked up on the less then subtle clue of her real feelings. I'd be talking to her and when I no longer got a response, I'd realize that she'd just walked away without telling me! The rhythm of instant messaging threw me for awhile, as people carry on long periods of time, available to one another without actually messaging to one another. Most of the time, you don't send a message of: "I'm going away now, bye". You just realize that your partner has logged off. There is no inconsiderateness to this. When you are actively messaging to one another the "got to go" message is given.

Now I realize why I felt so strange at times when someone would just log off when we'd both been on line. The log off came after almost two hours of not messaging to each other. Ah, one less thing I have to get insecure about.

By age fifteen I began to look for God. My father had apparently laid a trip on my aunt of making sure I became a Catholic. (No WAY!) I hated THEIR God! My father's sister had clearly told me, at a very young age, just shortly after learning to walk, all I needed to know about THEIR God. Squatting down to look directly at me, she cooed: "God loved those best, He suffers most." and then she looked over my head and spoke to my drunken parents. "God did this to her because of your sin." Ladies and gentlemen, that is a very strange life script to try to follow. I was madder then hell.

I found the Baha'i' Faith. They are an apostate offshoot of Islam that believes their prophet is the fulfillment of all the promises from all other religions. My new non-Christian faith freaked out my cousin. The Baha'i's were non-political and very new age. She landed on the "you shouldn't waste your time to vote, as we're busy building heaven on earth". My summary, not necessarily theirs. So, my cousin and I went to emotional war. For religion I'll go through anything. We had many tearful, very over-dramatic fights. You know, like everyone else I heard about in high school. Mind you, I only had one friend, but she and her dad fought like me and my cousin.

I came home from school to find my cousin's husband waiting for me. I had the strangest feeling, like my room was absolutely full of people. I remember looking around, because it "felt" crowded. I sensed I was being protected from something, but it was just my cousin's husband leaning against the open door to my room, with me standing on the other side of my bed, listening to him. He dropped a bomb into my physical, moral and ethical system.

"My wife, your cousin, went to the doctor today. You know she's pregnant. I know you know that. The doctor told us that because of all your rebelling and the stress, you are causing her to have another miscarriage." This was baby number two on the way. Baby number one was born dead about four months into the pregnancy. I literally began to disassociate reality.

I began looking at things and people while thinking: "You haven't happened yet." I couldn't quite figure out what the year was. Was I in California, or Arizona? Only thing I knew was that my cousins "hadn't happened yet". I found out later, after being forced into therapy, that I was in BIG trouble. These times of confusion would last for hours. When I finally told my counselor at school about how I was thinking, she pulled out all the stops to get me help.

I had to try and figure out why they would do something like that to me. My biology teacher became completely enraged when I told him about being accused of causing my cousin to possibly lose her baby. He was shaking with anger as he carefully explained that it took more then a couple of family fights to "cause" a miscarriage.

Thankfully, the baby was born full-term and healthy in all respects. After about six months, I asked my cousin about the bit with her and the possible miscarriage. (She was never in any medical danger). She snorted and laughed: "Oh, we just made it up. I never even went to the doctor." Again, a little snorted laugh. I stood up for myself. I told her it was really damaging for me. I was freaked out through the remainder of her pregnancy. I just completely shut down.

She shocked me with her brutal reply: "Well, it worked, didn't it? Got you to damn well stop rebelling, didn't it?" my cousin was walking away from me, as she spoke.

At the lovely age of sixteen, my cousin decided to do what she always did. Drop the truth into my world because she was tired of lying. I had been having a rough time in high school and casually mentioned about how her love helped me through.

I was sitting in the breakfast room, but had moved into the kitchen to talk to my cousin face to face. I didn't want her doing an unannounced "walk out". My cousin had had enough of the facade. She leaned back against the counter next to the stove top and blew my entire world apart.

"Cybey" (I hate that "y" at the end of my name!) "I think its time you know the truth. I have never loved you. My mother dumped you into my lap. I mean, sure I didn't want you living with your father's sister - she's really insane. But love never entered into it. When you're eighteen we're done. No rides to school, nothing. You are going to have to fend for yourself, we're done." With this preachment she stalked out of the kitchen. I literally felt the floor slope to one side. Everything became blurry, almost milky and distorted. I felt really strange, like I didn't have a physical body anymore. I just kind of walked around in a total daze for a long time.

Being I desperately wanted her words NOT to be true, I eventually found the courage to ask her about all the past speeches. Oh, they were just drunk and lying. All very simple and expedient. A very large part of me died over this incident.

My school counselor didn't believe me, when I pleaded with her not to write my cousin about the stress they were putting me through about getting good grades. I was grounded for an entire year because my English grade slipped from an A plus to an A! By grounded, I mean I was only allowed to leave the house for school, no church, no socializing, and no telephone. The loneliness became so strong as to almost be palpable. I used to chant prayers for hours trying to get the pain down low enough to where I could handle it.

Against my best advice my school counselor wrote a letter to my cousin telling her that they were endangering my mental health to the extent of risking me being put into a state hospital. I desparately told my well intentioned counselor how such a letter would only get me into more trouble.

Upon receipt of this communication from my counselor, my cousin hit the ceiling. I was taking a bath. She burst into the bathroom waving the letter. She quickly read it to me. I braced myself for something to happen. She took out a red pen and corrected the letters grammar and style, berating my counselor with every correction. She then screamed at me awhile and nothing about my "grounding" changed. My counselor was shocked into silence when I told her the effect of her correspontence!

So I have a problem with people promising me things. I like to visit the dictionary when investigating concepts. Check out the forethought of betrayal. It isn't an "accident". My family never did anything without planning. They played a Ph.D. level game of "gotcha".

Dictionary (From Apple's Dictionary Program)
betray |biˈtrā| verb [ trans. ] be disloyal to : his friends were shocked when he betrayed them. • be disloyal to (one's country, organization, or ideology) by acting in the interests of an enemy : he could betray his country for the sake of communism. • treacherously inform an enemy of the existence or location of (a person or organization) : this group was betrayed by an informer. • treacherously reveal (secrets or information) : many of those employed by diplomats betrayed secrets and sold classified documents. • figurative reveal the presence of; be evidence of : she drew a deep breath that betrayed her indignation. DERIVATIVES betrayal |-əl| noun betrayer noun ORIGIN Middle English : from be- [thoroughly] + obsolete tray [betray,] from Old French trair, based on Latin tradere ‘hand over.’ Compare with traitor .

betrayal noun betrayal in the workplace | the CIA leak was a serious act of betrayal disloyalty, treachery, bad faith, faithlessness, falseness, duplicity, deception, double-dealing; breach of faith, breach of trust, stab in the back; double-cross, sellout; literary perfidy. antonym loyalty.

treachery |ˈtre ch ərē| noun ( pl. -eries) betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature : his resignation was perceived as an act of treachery | the treachery of language. ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French trecherie, from trechier ‘to cheat.’

duplicity |d(y)oōˈplisitē| noun 1 deceitfulness; double-dealing. 2 archaic doubleness. ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French duplicite or late Latin duplicitas, from Latin duplic- ‘twofold’ (see duplex ).

duplicity noun he got caught up in the duplicity of his crooked partners deceitfulness, deceit, deception, double-dealing, underhandedness, dishonesty, fraud, fraudulence, sharp practice, chicanery, trickery, subterfuge, skulduggery, treachery; informal crookedness, shadiness, dirty tricks, shenanigans, monkey business; literary perfidy. antonym honesty.

For the first time I can remember I "trusted" not only God, but the people around me. I am so deeply thankful for being given the grace by God to recover from a very shakey beginning.

1 comment:

MacPhilly said...

CyberGal - you ROCK. As for the guy in Boston? Meh, he's just a putz ;-)