I chased the dream of closure for a long time. I wanted my past to be resolved, like a book I can close and walk away from. I wanted to be the person I was before the abuse. It took me a long time but I get it now that this is not possible. I have discovered that it is more important for me to accept who I am now and that what happened to me is part of my life. It is a chapter but not the whole book. This is a reframe that I can live with.
I know that for many people who have been abused by clergy, the idea of returning to the church doesn’t make any sense. For me, I didn’t want to shut the door on my beliefs or in belonging to a faith community. Closure for me has been about bracketing my experience with the abuser, and with the officials who tried to cover it up, and finding my way back to the positive aspects of my religion and the people who support me.
Closure is an important idea for some people and should never be discounted – it means different things for different people!
I created a life chart to look at the patterns occurring over and over in my life. This allowed me to do some self-reflection and to explore ways to change the behaviour that has made me vulnerable over and over again. This doesn’t mean that I blame myself for being abused, it is not my fault, but it does acknowledge that I can take action to enhance the quality of my life. I think this kind of reflection and change is a form of gaining closure – I am shifting patterns to create a new life for myself.