The old woman opened her eyes and took a shallow breath, “I have something . . . I need . . . to tell you. Something . . . I’ve never told . . . anyone.”
Her daughter leaned in closer, “Mom, don’t talk now,” she said, as she swept a white strand of hair back from her ashen face. “Just rest.”
“No,” she whispered. “I . . . need to say this. I have to tell. When I was seven . . . a man rented a room at our house. My parents . . . they needed the money. I never told them. I couldn’t. But that man . . . he . . .”
I was shaking hands after a speaking engagement. A woman in her fifties approached me.
“My mother was in her eighties and on her death bed when she told. It all made sense—why she treated my older sister the way she did. My sister has been in counseling for years. Her counselor told her that she had all the signs and symptoms of a woman who had been sexually abused. But my sister had never been sexually abused. My mom treated my older sister terribly. She transferred her pain to my sister.”
The ripple effect. One cause leads to an effect, which leads to another effect, and so on and so on.
The effects of sexual abuse can ripple. A mother, clothed in a long, flowing robe of shame, unknowingly swaddles her daughter in the folds of its opaque fabric. The lies the mother believes become a cloak of untruths around her daughter’s heart, mind, and soul.
The above story is tragic. But it doesn't have a tragic ending.
When the mother told, her daughter heard, and a loose piece of thread from the robe was exposed. And with a tug, the opaque fabric began to unravel. One sister was able to help the other see the truth and continue to heal. And the mother entered eternity free from the secret that held her captive for most of her life.
Unresolved pain can ripple. It may not have been your choice to hurt, but it can be your choice to heal. Please join us on Tuesdays and heal with us.