I’m 49 years old and for most of my life I’ve lived my life striving to do good and make a positive difference. I was on committees, served in young women leadership callings, stake dance committees, served on institute council, worked for my dad and helped with many of his projects, served a full time mission, held church callings after getting home and once Rick and I got married we served in many church callings and as soon as our children were in school the volunteering in the schools started and easily gave 40 hours a week of volunteering in the schools and it grew from there. I’ve wanted to help others and make a positive difference and strived to do that with whatever opportunities were presented to me.
That all looks great and wonderful, but there was this other side of me. From a young age I was sexually abused and then throughout my teenage life and up to leaving on my mission. Even when I returned home from my mission I didn’t make the best choices on who to date - I made better choices, but not the best. I had these two lives. I had two completely different lives. No one knew about this life. No one had any idea what I was going through. It was super painful.
Abuse is an awful thing. At a young age abuse is awful. As a teenager abuse is awful. At any time in our lives it’s awful. Abuse creates feelings in an individual that don’t make sense, that hurt. There is a lack of confidence. A lack of belief in yourself. There becomes a dependence on the abusers. That you don’t deserve anyone else, but those that treat you poorly. Feelings are stimulated inside of you that aren’t necessarily ready and hard to make sense of, but you desire more of. You start to feel you want the bad guys, not the good guys.
So, what do you do when the good guys come around? Due to the 2 different lives I had the abusers pretty actively in my life, but kept much of this a secret. Then there were the nice guys. The guys that saw me doing lots of good things, happy, all put together, with a wonderful family. They would come around, ask me out, want to date and at the first move of being the nice guy I was dumping, running and doing everything I could to get rid of them. Often I wasn’t very nice.
My mom was always there for me to visit and talk anytime I needed her. She was so loving and supportive of me. She was very observant of my choices and would often ask me why I got rid of the good guys. Why didn’t I keep the nice guys around? I didn’t have a good explanation at the time. I didn’t understand myself. I wanted to keep the nice guys around, but I just couldn’t do it. I was super turned off and I remember feeling annoyed, super annoyed, by their kindness.
As I’ve been going through my healing over the last couple of years I’ve had different friends and people come to mind from my past. People who were there for me, who were friends, the good people, from my teenage years and college years. I’ve had mixed feelings. What do I do? Do I reach out and apologize? Do I move forward with my life? They’ve moved on with their lives and maybe they’ve forgotten about me. I’ve also wondered if they even remembered things the way I did. We’ve all walked different journeys and roads even though they might have been walked side by side.
There’s been specific people that have been on my mind and in my heart from my past that I’ve felt someday, when the time was right, I’d be able to reconnect with, give an apology if needed. I’ve also found myself feeling love and happiness from that time in my life. Reflecting on the more positive side of my life and not the pain. I’ve kept things so separate for so long. So many years of my life that I just didn’t talk about and so much pain - so much that molded me to who I am now, which has been for the good and the bad. The connections and relationships, emotions, fears, insecurities, lack of confidence in myself and not loving myself which in turn led me to believe that no one could love me all stem from that awful time in my life.
With the healing, feeling love for myself, gaining confidence I feel the happy memories, the real friendships from that time have meant so much more to me. It’s like a shift, a shift from the pain to the happy times, to the people in my life that did love me for real. Recognizing how much I did to push away and destroy the good relationships. I call that nowadays being in destructo mode. At least I can recognize it now.
The Anderson family has been in Lindon for over 40 years. My dad and family has made a great impact on the community. They are so loved, our family has been so loved for so many years. When my dad passed away it brought the community together. So many from my past, from my younger years, that were great friends, came out to support our family and reached out to me personally. For a few months it was difficult for me to respond, to have the right words to respond to these amazing friends. I feel that through my dad’s passing there was healing for me, to feel and see the love that so many had for us, for me.
Since that time I’ve been able to reconnect with dear friends. People who mattered to me, but I didn’t always know how to show it. Little by little, prayers have been answered and I’ve seen the opportunities happen that I’ve hoped for. This last week I was able to go to lunch with one of my most dear friends from high school. When she and I met up for lunch we just picked up where we left off. It didn’t feel like it had been nearly 30 years since we had hung out. She lost her dad a few years ago and we went to lunch on his birthday. It was a special day. I felt so much love and happiness and healing.
When I was a teenager there was a neighbor guy that was super kind to me. He was a gentleman. I don’t remember a lot about that time, but what I do remember is that I didn’t treat him well. I pushed him away. Deep down there’s this feeling that I was very unkind to him. What I’ve known is that I’ve always wanted to apologize for how I treated him, but super weird, 30 years later how do I go and do that. He’s married with a family, leave the past behind, I’m married with a family and honestly maybe he doesn’t remember me. Lives change. New roads. New places and life experiences. He and I have had small communication - he made donations for auctions that I was in charge of, but I was still at the level of business and not really into friendships. Of course, a thank you and an appreciation, but a distance still and it’s been 11 years since the last communication.
Last night, by a weird twist of things, he and I were able to chat. It was the catch up, how’s life, but then I felt this was my opportunity to apologize. I was so grateful for the opportunity to apologize and that we are still friends. The communication was different - very different, because of my healing, because of the love that I’ve found for myself, for those that loved me during some of my worst years. I’m grateful for the opportunity the Lord gave me to chat with him.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity