I thought forgiveness was the hardest stage

What does it feel like to accomplish what you go after? It feels pretty amazing but then again I had no doubt I could accomplish Erin’s law. Sunday I appeared on the front page of the Daily Herald, two weeks earlier I was on the front page of the Daily Herald. Monday the entire Editorial Board of the Daily Herald wrote an article titled Erin’s Law right for Illinois, Country. Tomorrow Erin’s law will appear in Chicago Tribune you can read the article online already.

The Chicago Tribune article ended with a quote by me and I loved it.  “Those that doubt … that I can’t get President Barack Obama’s attention: Watch me do it,” Merryn said. “I felt in my heart that there’s a purpose in all of this .”

Tomorrow I am headed to Wisconsin to speak at a state child abuse conference from 1:15-2:45pm and then a book signing from 5-6pm. This is my first time speaking for a CAC in Wisconsin. I have spoken in the state before for another agency. I will be meeting with a reporter there who will be doing a story.

Anyone that has read my books knows I talk in depth about forgiveness and my decision to forgive the men that hurt me as a child. It is not an easy decision and for some it seems way too difficult to ever think you could forgive the person or persons who abused you. It is what helped me move forward in my life and let go of anger, rage, and hatred. I honestly thought forgiveness is the hardest step in healing your life. I thought it was the last step. I always thought once you can forgive you have reached the best place you will ever get to in healing your life from abuse.

Lately I have been thinking there is a far more difficult step then forgiveness. Because of my Christian faith forgiveness is something we are taught which is why I believe it may be easier for me to forgive then others that don’t hold the same beliefs as me. There has been this area of my life I thought would just one day go away with time. I have come to realize it’s not going away and it’s not the man I am with in each relationship that is going to fix it. I kept thinking these feelings would disappear with the next person I date yet they have always followed. I have come to the conclusion the problem is not the person I am dating but  the issues go back to what happened in my childhood that has followed me into relationships.

While my innocence was killed and I have a lot of awful memories, I still hold on to some very fond happy times from my childhood, my voice was silenced but I reclaimed that, anger once consumed me but I learned to forgive. Now I am left asking how will I ever trust again? Where are the directions I need to follow to get that back? Every relationship I have ever been in I bring with it fear, anxiety, and a wall that surrounds me that I have never let a man past. This wall is my protection to never get hurt again so I don’t allow myself to trust men. I fear they will betray me.

There are so many emotions I have been dealing with lately that I would normally ignore and just hope it would go away eventually or I would make excuses I haven’t been in a relationship long enough to allow these feelings to resolve. I have come to realize this has nothing to do with my ability not to trust men this has to do with me and what was done to me that has caused me to think this way. I often jump into relationships way too fast because I think maybe this is the guy that is going to get rid of this knot in my stomach that has been eating away at me forever. For the first time I am not jumping into a relationship fast but instead pushing him away or giving him a reason to not want to be with me because I don’t want to face all those emotions and fears.

There has been a man who will remain nameless that has been speaking to me since August. He wants me to give him a chance and I constantly tell him you can do better. He tells me different and I tell him while he may point out all these things he admires in me, I point out that I bring into a relationship a lot of baggage. I have found myself saying to him you don’t want a woman who has been used and abused, who won’t give you sex until marriage, and has Epilepsy. I know that sounds like I am being very harsh on myself but it is my way of protecting myself so I don’t have to deal with issues I always face in a relationship. If I am not in a relationship I can ignore these feelings and I have learned jumping into relationships isn’t making these terrible, sick, shameful, feelings go away. This man is only seeing the good I have done in this life and the things I have overcome, he isn’t seeing what I am hiding deep in my heart. He talks all about how much confidence I have and he finds that so attractive. Yes I will admit I have a lot of confidence when it comes to things I set out to accomplish like getting a law passed or writing books, etc. But I have no confidence when it comes to relationships. I have all the confidence in the world in getting a meeting with the President of America to discuss ways to protect children from sexual abuse but no confidence in having a relationship where I can say I trust you with my life, I feel safe, I don’t feel dirty and shameful. The idea of being in a relationship I love but once I am there I want to take off running. It has nothing to do with the man like I used to think. It has to do with ME and my own issues with men because my earliest experiences with men were the worst they could possibly be and those 2 men are responsible for these terrible feelings I battle with.

My greatest fear is it will never go away and I will watch my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s come and go and still have these same feelings inside. Like I said I wish there were a set of directions I could follow to figure this out but that isn’t the case. Every time I speak somewhere I am always asked this question after my speech. “Has your past affected your relationships? How has this affected when you date? Do you have trouble trusting men? Something on these lines I am asked  no matter what and I am honest I tell the audience that is one area of my life I am still trying to uncover and resolve and hopefully one day I can share that I found someone I trust and feel good with. I just get scared thinking what if that never comes. Forgiveness no longer seems like the hardest step in my life. I continue to give it to the one man I do trust every night I lay in the dark and ask him please guide me to the answers. I trust you to show me how to trust again. Please help me discover it and take this fear, anxiety, shame, I carry in me. I haven’t given up faith that the answer is out there I just grow more frustrated as time passes.

I can write books and pass laws which many think is incredible yet I cannot trust men or enjoy affection from them. Something that seems so easy but isn’t for me. Tomorrow I will be asked, “Can you trust men?” I will answer “No”


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