For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the truth. Truth is stability in a chaotic world; it stands solid in the midst of brokenness. Truth is safe.
As a kid, my hero was teen detective, Nancy Drew, who boldly investigated clues and lived to solve mysteries. Nothing fascinated her more than finding the truth. In my teen years, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple was my favorite amateur sleuth. A sweet, unassuming, grandmotherly-type, nobody could fool her. Miss Marple always saw past the deceits and facades, even when the police were stumped. I still enjoy crime novels and picture myself catching the thieves and murderers next to the fictional detectives.
Though I’ve always loved the truth, my childhood sexual abuse meant most of my life was based on lies and secrets. Instead of the criminals hiding the truth, it was my own mind concealing it. For years, I repressed the memory of my own abuse and denied my daughter’s abuse as well. I imagined myself an eagle-eye detective, yet the truth remained hidden to me.
My recovery from sexual abuse has been the discovery of truth. Telling the truth about my past was the first step in healing. Every step has come by overturning the lies the abuse taught me. Each painful feeling leads me to a clue; each haunting memory is a puzzle piece that leads me to the truth. The healing process reminds me of a murder mystery, except that my goal isn’t to find out “Whodunit?” Rather, it’s about “Who am I?” My restoration is the process of uncovering my distorted image to find my true, genuine self. I love truth.
I live in Los Angeles with my husband, Don. We share two sons, a daughter and two grandsons. I’m delighted by sunset walks on the beach, chocolate, people-watching, chai lattes, cozy spaces, goofy adventures with my daughter, scented candles and colored pens. My passion is writing, public speaking about the journey of personal growth and seeing people restored to wholeness.
I didn’t actually plan to confront my dad. I didn’t think it would do me any good.
I wrote this several years ago:
“My dad has displayed his selfishness for as long as I’ve known him. I’m not under some delusion that he’ll suddenly develop a conscience and confess how he hurt me. He covered up the abuse when it happened without regard for how that would hurt me. He’s still doing that now. Holding out hope for some kind of healthy, compassionate response from him would keep me under his control and I’ve spent too many years there. I’ve moved on without involving him. He’s the one who would have destroyed me; he’s not the one to repair me.”
Before my phone discussion with my dad, I hadn’t talked with him in four years. I hadn’t expected to ever talk with him again. I’d been healing just fine without him and since my dad and mom walked away from me before specific memories of the sexual abuse surfaced, I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to stand up to him anyway.
by Christina Enevoldsen When I discovered that my husband was sexually abusing my daughter, I went to what I thought was the highest authority—our pastor. In our church, if something wasn’t Christian, it wasn’t to be trusted. Secular authorities like
Yesterday was my 46th birthday. Birthdays prompt me to reflect on my life—where I’ve come from and where I am now. Some of my thoughts included the woman who gave birth to me. My mother walked out of my life several years ago and adamantly denies that my father sexually abused me. However, it appears she was thinking of me too since she left a comment on my blog post, My Story by Christina Enevoldsen:
“Christina has dreamed up her sexual abuse–accusing her father of horrible, evil behaviors that far, far from his character. Christina is using these accusations as a way of hurting her parents and getting the attention she craves. So sad that she is willing to create a fantasy world where she is the hero / victim. Will she ever come to her senses and ask for forgiveness? That is the first step to real healing…“
It wasn’t the typical warm, fuzzy sentiments that other mothers might send. Though she certainly didn’t intend to help me in any way, this turned out to be a key to my favorite gift this year—a gift that came from me.
by Christina Enevoldsen
When I was ten, I wet my pants in school. We were taking a very long test and our instructions were to remain silent at our seats. No talking, no asking questions, no moving around. Since that ruled out raising my hand to ask to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t even allowed to wiggle in my seat, I only saw one choice.
As a child, I went to great lengths to avoid getting in trouble. Following the rules felt like a life and death matter. I didn’t need any type of punishment; it was punishment enough for anyone in authority to be displeased with me. The worst thing I could imagine was being labeled a bad kid.
That fear followed me all my life and it crept up when I started talking about my childhood sexual abuse. The first time I told my story publicly, I heard a little girl’s voice within me say, “You’re going to get in trouble now.” For a moment, fear gripped me and I was at the mercy of my parents again, subject to their judgment and the abandonment that went with it.
by Christina Enevoldsen
When my daughter was nineteen and her father and I were in the middle of a divorce, she shared the horrible truth about what her dad had been doing to her for most of her life. As I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I had been completely blind all those years, a few words slipped from my mouth, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I know now how painful those words can be. They communicate that all would have been well if only she would have come to me. That question might have also meant, “If that’s really true, then why are you only telling me now?” But I never doubted the truth and I didn’t blame her. My reaction came from feeling like a fool for being deceived by my husband all those years.
by Christina Enevoldsen When I used to talk about my childhood sexual abuse, I heard familiar accusations: “You just want attention” or “Nobody likes a crybaby.” As I poured out the same story again and again to my friends, I
by Christina Enevoldsen The sun was falling behind the trees, the wind was gusting and the child desperately sought refuge, though not from the elements. The same man who had hurt her before in ways she couldn’t understand was getting
by Christina Enevoldsen I’ve loved horror films since I was a child. Even though I wasn’t allowed to see them, something about those stories resonated with me and I managed to watch them anyway. Through them, I was able to
by Christina Enevoldsen Several years ago, I had a friend whose husband wasn’t treating her right and she wavered between leaving him and staying. Some days, she’d had enough and other days, she wanted to give him another chance. I
by Christina Enevoldsen After I watched the movie, “The Joy Luck Club”, I felt hollow and sad. The feelings haunted me for days. In the story, four daughters struggle against their emotionally abusive mothers until they discover their mothers’ difficult