Posts Tagged ‘Searching for Angela Shelton’

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Here I Sit

August 8, 2009

I woke up this morning dreaming of my father. He was objecting to my name change and saying something about my not having the right to change it. The details are fuzzy. I can’t remember what I was dreaming before that…but I think it, too, was either about him or about both of my parents. But I’m really not sure.

I would be willing to bet that this is being stirred up somewhat by that movie I watched recently.  I shared some of how the movie impacted me in the previous post Searching For Angela Shelton. It really got me thinking about my own father and I think that contributed to the dreams.

One of the things that struck me in the movie was how well her father lied. They always seem to be able to lie so smoothly. I remember that Angela asked her father if he had blocked it out. Of course, if he had…how would he know? But I really get the question, though.

When I met with my parents and my lay counselor to talk about the incest part of my abuse, I remember my mother ageeing that something had definitely happened…if only they knew who it was. My father said that he did not remember doing any of those things.  Man…even now it is SO hard to write about this. It is as if my mind wants to run anywhere but there. And I want to cry…or shut down…or something.

He did not remember doing any of those things. I remember the words hit me at the time. I did not say anything about it…but I asked the counselor afterward. She wondered if I had caught that. We talked about how a falsely accused father would react…or at least how we think he would. There would be shock…of course. I did not see any then…nor do I remember hearing any in his voice after he got my initial letter…the one that led to the meeting.

There would be concern. Why was I thinking these things? What I got was accusations against my counselor. She must have suggested the abuse. She pointed out to him that I had memories BEFORE I came to her. I went to her because of the memories I had. I did not take any psychotropic drugs and I was not hypnotized. In short order, the memories were pretty much spontaneous during a prayer session I had with a pastor. That prayer session had nothing to do with memories.

In the weeks that ensued, my father collected everything he could find on the so called False Memory Syndrome. Since I did not regain my memories through any non-spontaneous ways, his next assumption was that they had come from the pit of hell. Satan, himself, had obviously planted them in an effort to tear our famly apart. What a laugh…seeing as how my family was not close anyway. My sister was in hiding…literally, although they knew where she was. Sadly, she ran away to another cult family…but that is another story.

I did bring up a current (then) way that he was violating my boundaries. He actually admitted to it and my mother was floored. He admitted that he knew I was uncomfortable, so she asked him why he did not stop. He said that I was old enough to say something. She pointed out that my actions were saying something. She actually got angry that he had ignored my actions, refusing to stop unless I verbally said something. Her anger diffused rather quickly, though. For at least a few moments I had her actually defending me…sort of.

Verbally asking him to stop…what a joke! I was programmed to silence. Never speak. Never open up. Never share. Never reveal to anyone else but do reveal all to the parents.  I was programmed to tell them everything they wanted to know, while never revealing anything to anyone else. He knew I could never say “no” to him…on anything. He took advantage of me…even as an adult.

When Angela whispered “you lie” to her father while sitting next to him…I remember thinking how brave she was to say that to him. I also remember his words.  They were something along the lines of “Now I’m only going to say this once more…and then I am not going to say it again…I didn’t do it.” It was as if the finality of his “not going to say it again” was supposed to somehow make it official that he was innocent of these crimes. Bah!

I also love the way he repeatedly says things like “may heaven strike me…or take me now” or things along those lines. Yeah, right…like that is ever likely to happen. I mean…come on…how safe of a statement. You would have an awful lot of people getting struck if it worked that way. Nothing like a safe swearing of innocence.

I have wondered many times if my father truly does not remember. Even if he doesn’t…even if he has blocked it out somehow…there is enough other stuff about him that scares me…which makes me wonder…why on earth have I initiated email contact with my parents? Well…I have my reasons for that and it is the subject for some other post at some other time.

Way to go, Angela. Our stories are different…yet, they are not. Incest is a part of ritual abuse. Sadly, there is a whole lot of other stuff beyond the incest. But bravery…well, it comes in all shapes and sizes. I will celebrate wherever I can find it. I know the source of my bravery is Yahweh…plain and simple. I could not do life without having that heart connection with my Creator…just could not do it.

Bravery. I think you, Angela Shelton, are very brave…along with all the other Angela Sheltons you met. So many brave women. What a celebration of bravery that movie is.  How comforting it is to see other women pushing through…and finding victory and peace…and truth!

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Searching for Angela Shelton

August 2, 2009

I watched this amazing movie last night. It is something I have been wanting to do, but have only now been able to. My DIL sent me the link to watch it online. You can either watch it there: Snag Films Searching for Angela Shelton, or you can watch it here (if the player is working).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What can I say about this film? It intrigued me from the moment I heard of it, especially the part about how the majority of Angela Shelton’s in this country have been raped, molested or beaten. It makes me curious about all the women with my name. I wonder what I would find if I were able to do something similar.

Although it was sad to hear what some of these women have been through, it was awesome to see and hear how many of them rose above it all. What strength. What character. These women are survivors and I am honored to have gotten to see a bit of who they are.

I think that the one scene that was probably the most powerful for me was about an hour into the movie…when Angela confronts her father face to face…on Father’s Day. Sitting there and hearing his denials reminded me of my own father. Even the little bits of admissions she did get from him were more than I got from my father.

I, too, had written my father, but I was not strong enough to give him much…in writing or face to face. I don’t really know how much detail she confronted him with, but even just the bit I see in the movie is more than I was able to tell my father.

I so relate to her feelings afterward. She shared how, listening to his denials, made her want to think that it was all not true. Oh, gosh…been there, done that. For me, I think it was even harder because I had dissociated away all the memories. What was coming to the surface was buried so deeply that it made it even harder to believe when it did come back up to the surface. That made me want to question it all the more. But I knew. I knew it was true. The underlying feeling had been there since as far back as high school. The symptoms went back even farther. Oh, I knew. But telling him was a different thing.

Another factor for me was the fact that I was cult abused. There were things done to purposely bury it all. My mind was fractured incidentally and intentionally. I am still partially amnesic. I still feel the effects of the abuse…although I am so much stronger than I used to be. I am free, so far as I can tell, from my father’s control. Yet, it is difficult to imagine myself ever doing with my father what she did with hers. So…am I really free?

After she confronts him, she has an emotionally violent reaction. I so get that. I find myself fighting my own tears as she is weeping. She expresses such anger…and heart break. And everything inside me is resonating with her. She even seems to express disbelief (?) at the fact that she sat there with him. I know that, when I saw the picture of them standing together with his arm around her shoulder, I wanted to shake inside. That was so symbolic to me…and it was not a good symbolism…at least not for me.

It is a powerful movie…very cathartic…very worth watching. It is a hard watch…maybe even harder if you are a survivor. Yet, in midst of the difficulties of watching it…I saw such stories of hope and strength. I saw how Angela really seemed to make a difference in the lives of the other Angela Sheltons.

I know that I am not done with this movie. I think I will be watching again. There is so much in her reactions to the visit with her father…so much that I connect with. No…I am not done with this movie…not yet.

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