“As a young girl, I was the victim of sexual abuse by both my father and my stepfather. As a result, I have had low self-esteem and suffered from depression, to the extent of having attempted suicide, and have had the tendency to hurt myself physically since I was a child…. I feel dirty on account of this; I hate myself, and even more so because on many occasions I have given in to the temptation of masturbation.
This behavior of mine has caused me to suffer endless nights of sobbing and loneliness.
I am almost a professional now, but I feel that the weight of my past and my present are greater than my will to put them behind me in my profession. I am seriously doing myself a lot of harm and I can’t control it.
I believe that our Creator is offended by so much filth in me.”
Our hearts break to hear the pain and suffering that you have experienced. But we know that your Heavenly Father’s heart breaks even more than ours do.
As a child, a father is supposed to protect you and cherish you. Instead, both your father and stepfather did just the opposite. They are responsible for abusing your body, your mind, and your spirit. Their actions taught you a lie: that you were expendable and disposable. Instead, the truth is that you are unique, made in the image of God and worthy to be loved, valued, and cherished.
You have had low self esteem because you have based your reality on the lie that they taught you. You have tried to hurt yourself because their lie made you feel that you deserved no better than that. All of the stories you tell yourself in your head are based on the lies that their actions made you believe.
It’s time to break the power of those lies in your life! It’s time to come out of the darkness and shame of their sin and into the light that your Heavenly Father offers. You are not the one who is dirty. You are not responsible for any of the things they did to you. Your Heavenly Father knows that you were an innocent child.
How can you stop believing the lies?
Your Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to ask for His help. Tell him that you don’t want to live with these thoughts any more. Ask His Son, Jesus Christ, to come into your heart and walk with you every step of the way. Ask forgiveness for whatever wrongs YOU have done, but DO NOT ask him to forgive you for what they did – that is something they must do for themselves.
Find someone you can tell your story to. If you don’t have a friend or relative you can trust, find a support group for people who have been abused. You must have someone who will support you and remind you not to believe the lies. Your secret needs to come out in a safe environment. While it remains prisoner in your head, it will only torment you.
The lies in your head are your enemy. You must develop a defense to use to defeat those lies. We recommend that you respond to the lies by repeating this verse from the Bible, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.” Psalm 139:14. This is the truth. Fight the lies with the truth. In the beginning, you may have to do this hundreds of times each day. In the beginning, they may be just words that you don’t fully mean. But as you repeat them and meditate on them, gradually the lies will be replaced with the truth.
Tell your doctor if you continue to have the temptation to hurt yourself. Temptation is not wrong. But what we do about it can be wrong. It is possible that the lies have been with you so long that they have caused slight chemical changes in your body. A medical doctor can help regulate any chemicals that are not in balance so that you no longer suffer from this temptation.
You are valuable, worthy, and deeply loved by God.