Abuse and triggers

Today there is a meeting for the clergy about the bankruptcy
settlement with the abuse survivors who brought suit against the diocese. I cannot
go. There will be the majority of the diocesan priests in attendance. That is
not the reason I will not be attending. The reason is because I am 100% sure,
(and if it were possible I’d be even more sure than that), that there will be
grumbling among the clergy that do go about the bankruptcy & settlement
with abuse survivors. The negativity, the animosity toward those who have
suffered at the hands and/or genitals of some priest is a trigger for me. (Not
all members of the clergy are so boneheaded and negative that they do not
comprehend at least some of the devastation of abuse victims, but there are
enough in existence who are and they will be at that meeting.) I cannot.

Last week the director of the victim assistance office in the
Archdiocese of Philadelphia called me on my phone. Her reasons for calling were
innocuous. She wanted to inform me that she was back on the job that she left
some three months ago and she wanted to know if she could call me periodically
to check how I’m doing. I said yes and felt quite good that I was being
addressed as an individual and not as the group, “victims”. I had
been advocating for that.

However, the next day, I was crazed and my own
animosity toward manipulating, bullying, flat-out wrong acting priests afraid
to live or preach the gospel, (God’s gospel). It was overwhelming even though I
have addressed my own molestation ad nauseam in both therapy and spiritual
direction. The realization that there will always be triggers in my life and my
reaction to an innocuous telephone conversation with the director of the victim
assistance office from Philadelphia hit me like a truck and caught me totally
off guard. It caused me a significant, if temporary, downward spiral. I called
her back and told her not to call me but I could do correspondence through the
mail. (My ability to even call her back shows significant healing in me.)

So that’s where I am. It becomes clear to me
repeatedly that I am not as far along with integration as I thought I was and
it is excruciating to think that there are men and women who have been
victimized by abuse who are even less so.

 

 

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About follow1in3

I am a Roman Catholic priest ordained for the Diocese of Wilmington, DE who is also a victim of clergy sexual abuse. I am often angered by the insensitiviy and hostility of other clergy, the hierarchy and the so-called people-of-God. If clergy, bishops included, really and truly understood abuse, (any kind of abuse), I would not feel the need to blog on occasion. It is very frustraing.
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