Monday, 7 November 2011

A Story of Force, Forgiveness, and Healing: Part 1

Notice: This story is lengthy and contains graphic descriptions about childhood abuse, anger, forgiveness, healing, parenting mistakes, and choosing how to parent in the present - written from my perspective. Please read through to the end to experience the progression from a hurt, angry child to a passionate mother of four devoted to peace.It is no coincidence that on the day I write this the daily word from Unity was forgiveness. I woke up remembering an event from my childhood that shaped me so much I wanted to jump out of my own body on a regular basis for most of my life. The only reason I can write about it in the way I do today is because I have experienced the true potential of forgiveness.

Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt on Flickr.
Prepare to be uncomfortable, possibly surprised, and provided many opportunities for inner awareness...

As I walked home from school the heat was getting to me. I felt uncomfortable and noticing pressure in my lower abdomen, I asked my friend if I could use his bathroom. He didn't think his mother would approve. Feeling frustration at my inability to comfortably pee in a public bathroom, I quickened my pace so I could make it home before I peed my pants.

Approaching the back door of my home I reached to slide the heavy glass and lost it. I peed. Staring through the glass at not only my mom, but also my half brother's parents who were visiting or picking him up - I don't recall - I felt mortified. I was an eight year old child who certainly knew where the bathroom was, even though I didn't like using any that weren't in the comfort of my own home. I should have gone before I left school.

Noticing the disappointment on my mom's face and wanting to hide in a cave myself, I ran to the front of the house. My mom ushered me upstairs to the shower, took my temperature and found it to be slightly elevated, and we prepared to leave for the doctor's office on our way to go up north for the weekend. I always looked forward to going up north; it was our get away.

I didn't think anything was wrong with me. It was warm, I had just walked for about half an hour in the sunshine, it didn't hurt when I peed - I just couldn't hold it any longer. My mom was concerned. I had a history of bladder infections and the last thing she wanted was for me to have one in the middle of the woods with no trustworthy medical care. I was often sick as a child and she just wanted me to be well.

The doctor wanted a urine sample. Only an hour or less before, I had released an afternoon's worth of pee in my pants. Feeling the pressure of the doctor's office closing shortly, my parents' desire to get up north, and the uncertainty of whether or not I actually needed medical attention - I drank a cup of water and tried to squeeze out some pee. I couldn't get any out. Very powerful sphincters I had.

At one point I recall the doctor picking me up and showing me the machine he used to analyze the urine, or maybe that was at a previous visit. He hugged me regularly when I would come in for medical care. That didn't sit completely wrong with me, although looking back there was an energy present in the activity that was warm and affectionate in a way that most adult men do not share with little girls.

My father waited in the lobby as my mom and I visited with the doctor. He suggested catheterization. As a former nursing student my mom was familiar and thought it was worth a try. I, on the other hand, thought it was a nutty idea. Stick a tube where? Up my urethra? Did I even know what that part of my body was before this discussion?

Somehow I ended up disrobed from the shirt down. Maybe they were showing me where it would go in? I'm not sure. What I do remember was an energy of force building, a tension and a frustration. Almost an excitement laced with uncomfortableness. The doctor suggested my mom leave the room so he could talk to me and see if he could convince me to consent to the procedure.

As I watched him from across the small examination room I looked to him and then to my exposed genital area, several times. Something felt very wrong; stifling. As I listened to him describe the procedure, telling me it wouldn't hurt, or that he would be gentle - some ploy to get me to do it - I kept feeling this huge "NO!" come from within me. Nope. I'm not gonna do it. No way, no how.

The part that is important to include here is the fact that I had already experienced sexual abuse at least twice. Neither experience was horrific, but it was enough to warrant telling my mom. Each time she took steps to bring accountability to the situation on the part of the perpetrator and she told me no one has a right to touch me in my genital area, or ask me to touch them, or force me to do something of that nature. In her mind, though, the proposed catheterization had nothing to do with abuse - it was a medical procedure. My heart felt so sad at that; and still does today when I think of the effect it had on our relationship for so many years.

The doctor, who was trying to be so kind and convincing, turned on me. He told me that if I would not allow him to do the procedure he was going to call in my mom and the nurse to hold me down. I would not consent. He called them in.

I don't know what was going through my beloved mother's mind at that point. She probably wanted me to just be well and was blindly following the doctor's suggestion in that desire. She has said many times that children were often held down for shots and she thought it would be a similar situation. She didn't know how it would affect me, or our relationship.

What I do recall was a dreadful calm before a flurry of activity. I sat alone half naked as the doctor went out, spoke to my mom and all three of them came in. I don't remember how I allowed them to pin me down, but most likely I could not see what exactly was coming. Did they ask me to lie down? Did I do it willingly or was I pushed?

However it came about, my mother was on my left side holding my arm and leg. The nurse was on my right side holding the other arm and leg. The doctor was straight in front of me as I was pinned spread eagle for him to do what he decided was to be done. I fought like a wild animal. I screamed, kicked, and tried mightily to wrestle my way out of the torment I was being forced to experience. Or at least, that's how I remember it... from up above.

I separated from my body during part of the experience, although I was still connected to the experience. I could see the whole event taking place from the back right corner of the ceiling, above my body. Swooosh... back into the struggle I came with a vengeance that should not be in the experience of a little girl.
When it was finally "over" the doctor reported that he was unable to get any urine. Huh, really. I felt strongly vindicated in that fact. He didn't get what he wanted. Except that in all likelihood he did; it just might take me a couple of decades to realize just how.

I stood to dress behind the curtain in the corner and sullenly talked with my mom. I recall some conversation about if I would have cooperated that wouldn't have happened. I thought I remarked that he didn't even get any urine, Mom. Well, that was because you were struggling so. Maybe I was able to pee in a cup before we left - I do not recall. Either way, he prescribed an antibiotic, just in case.

As we prepared to drive away I sat in the back seat of my parents' vehicle looking out the window with an amount of anger that could fill hell. I was so mad I could feel it through every cell of my being and from what I surmised, it was all my fault.

Today's post is the first of a three part piece, a story that comes to us from Amy of Peace 4 Parents. Part two will be posted on Thursday.


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes as it pertains to forgiveness. Thank you for sharing.

  2. It's been a process, Chris, and I'm not sure I actually give full credence to the experience of forgiveness although I do touch on it.

    Through my teen and college years many people told me I needed to forgive. I felt like that was saying it was okay, they told me that was not the same.

    It wasn't until I experienced forgiveness from the inside, a true transformation of angry energy inside of myself that I was able to extend it. I had to forgive myself for even experiencing such an event and not being able to stop it; especially since I fought so hard to stop what was happening.

    From there it was coming to understand that another may or may not ever provide the response I wanted about what occurred. It was a deliberate choice to heal my own emotions from the inside out, meeting them each time they arose.

    From this one experience I noticed the tendrils of force and punishment alive in not only myself but our world. They are deeply woven and we have the opportunity to take out the seams, unravel the stitching, and create a new fabric.

    The inner and outer experience of forgiveness is definitely part of that.

  3. This is very powerful, and I'm sorry you went through this, Amy. I'll look forward to the other parts.


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