I’m simply not very good at receiving help from others. I know some may perceive that as prideful, or that I simply do not care. Neither is true.
When I was very young, I shared a bedroom with my only sister. I watched her pass away two years ago on 3/24. I barely made it through the 18th anniversary of my son’s demise yesterday, 3/17, and am now facing the next wave. It won’t be as difficult as my son’s; it won’t be easy either.
My dad, her step-dad, molested my sister. He would come into our room late at night and I survived by disassociating. I had so many stuffed animals on my bed, all of which I had named, that I used as a barricade. Those, along with three imaginary friends, helped me escape into another world in which I was loved and protected. It was my personal cave in dark times.
Some things never change.
This 18th anniversary of my son’s demise was pure hell. I had thoughts of suicide and almost took some comfort, at one point, with the thought that I would leave this place on the same day my son had…St. Pat’s Day. I cried, I wailed, I could not eat. There were times when I would awake from sleep not knowing what day it was or whether it was day or night. Was 7 O’clock 7PM or 7AM? I had no clue.
Somehow God has gotten me through it…by the skin of my teeth as they use to say. I had some grieving moms stand alongside me. One by phone, another sent me flowers, others in simple chats. I seriously do not know if I would have made it this year without you…and I hope you all know of whom I am referring. My gratitude is eternal. I love you all. I’m not good at receiving help because I grew up with help never showing up. I don’t expect it and I don’t know how to respond to it. I withdraw into my cave and I know that can be perceived as me pushing others away. I do apologize for that and if anyone got caught in the crossfire.
Some wounds just never heal.
Years ago, I took a Myers-Briggs Personality test. Per those results, I am an INFJ. I am classified as only 1% of the population (see http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html). So, if some perceive me as ‘the odd man out’, I am. I’m not a huge fan of psychology, but I do see some Truth in it. This ‘test’ was pretty spot on. The gal that administered the test to us in a classroom described to me that I am the type that sends out the Lt. for the world to see, and keeps the Captain in the tent. Periodically, the Lt. has to withdraw into the tent to confer with the Captain. That tent is my cave. When the battles are raging and I’m out in the battlefield, I send out my ‘Lt.’. The Captain needs to be protected at all costs.
Whether I was born this way, or it is the way I developed via disassociation in order to survive the indirect abuse by being in the same room when my sister was abused, is a mute point at this stage in my life. I am who I am now. I still find comfort and safety in my cave. It’s where I can now withdraw to in order to find God’s light.
28 For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
Because I am an ‘INFJ’, I instinctively knew that my ex was cheating on me. I had no proof, but I could ‘feel’ it. After over a decade of infidelities, I arrived at a point in which I decided that I must be wrong. After all, he was a ‘great guy’ by everyone else’s standards. He was funny, helped others out, etc., etc. He finally convinced me that I was imagining things.
Then, one day, ‘True Confessions’ happened. He admitted one morning that he had been unfaithful. It was a Sunday morning and we were going to Church. When I awoke, for whatever reason, I simply asked: ‘Have you been unfaithful to me?”. He sat up with his back to me and as simply replied: “Yes”. I got up out of bed and went on auto-pilot. I got myself and our 4 children ready to go to Church. When the Worship began, I could not ‘stuff’ my emotions any longer. I ran out to the bathroom and had a complete meltdown. As I was finally ‘pulling myself together’, I heard yelling out in the hallway. The ex was having a verbal argument with one of the attendees because they wanted him to place our children in the Sunday School classes, something we never did because our boys were always very well-behaved and we felt they should participate in the regular services. I took on the shame of my ex, at that point, as most good victims do…and we left to go home.
Upon arriving home, after the boys went off to play, he said to me: “I suppose you want me to leave now”.
I had never before, nor since, raged.
I lunged at him with my hands around his throat and I swear to this day that if I had had the strength to kill him, I would have. The thing is…it wasn’t because he finally admitted to his affairs, though that may have been reason enough. It was because I had allowed him to convince me that I was ‘all wrong’. That all my instincts, my personal judgement was not to be trusted…by me. He had destroyed in me down to the very depths and root of my soul, any trust I had in my own instincts. I had become completely convinced that he was ‘right’, and I was ‘wrong’.
That was why I raged.
It was a very basic self-defense survival that had kicked in.
So, from the very early days of my life which has been repeatedly reinforced throughout my life, I withdraw to be alone with God when I am overwhelmed. Innate or learned behaviour, doesn’t really matter. I need to hear from Him. It’s not my intent to reject anyone…it’s not pride or a lack of gratitude that causes my response, or lack thereof. But please know, all of the kindness I have received over the past couple of weeks in my hour of darkness will never ever be forgotten. It has rescued me from the pit of utter despair. Because I’m not very good at expressing my gratitude, I write. So allow me to state it simply, but know that it is not in the least: simple.
With great Love & appreciation…Jude
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/2017/03/the-pain-of-holidays-after-the-loss-of-loved-ones/
Please help spread the word…TY!!! (((HUGS)))