"The love addict makes love and relationships the focus of her pursuit. Having a relationship can give her a false sense of feeling secure, accepted, and valued. She desperately wants to satisfy the deep desire to belong. Relationships become a way of avoiding and medicating the pain in her life. Love is pursued at ALL cost." Dianne Roberts
I grew up in a very callused home. My mother was loving, but my father was harsh and never available emotionally. There were no hugs, no words of encouragement, only criticism and rules. Rules were extremely important.
As a young Mennonite girl who had questions and a curiosity, I was in for a world of hurt. "Why do we have to wear dresses to get to Heaven?" "Why is cutting my hair a sin?” “Where does it say in the bible that only Old Colony Mennonites will make it into Heaven?” “Why are you so focused on Satan and his character, and who is God?"
Questions were punished. You never questioned authority. Questions intimidate people who are not prepared with the answer.
I was born with a very strong will and nothing could break me, although people tried. If a young woman had a spirit, you needed to beat that out of her, lest she rise up and become more knowledgeable than the men, ruining her design of what she was meant to be in life.
I never broke, no matter how hard they tried. My body screamed in pain, my soul screamed in agony, my spirit remained. The hope that there was something/someone greater out there kept me going. Curiosity kept me going.
In grade eight I stole the bottom of my father’s whiskey, put it in my water bottle and drank it at school. This continued for months. I finally felt my heart relax. So did my grades!
My teacher at the time picked up on what I was doing, and instead of punishing me, he took me aside at recess and started mentoring me. Taking the whiskey, he told me he had a better way for me to find peace. I saw the Bible opened for the first time in my life and he explained how to read it.
I spent many lunch breaks sitting by his desk, reading this mysterious novel. I thought it was so strange and not realistic. Why would someone love me enough to die for me? Made no sense to me. Also, according to my upbringing, he was technically not guaranteed a Christian, so I was sinning even listening to him. Yet, I was drawn to his gentle spirit and that Bible like a fly and a headlight.
Going back to my home, I had more questions than ever, with no safe spot to ask them. “Who is Jesus, is he alive?” “Does he love everyone, including my teacher?” “What is love?” “What is joy?”
Shut down and punished. Those were my answers.
Too much pain. Too much.
At age 15, I met a man at a barn I was cleaning. I was incredibly drawn to him. He looked dangerous and bad. Perfect. He could protect me.
A year later, I snagged his number off some personal information that I found at the barn and we started dating. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a great escape. On our second date, he told me if I left him, he would commit suicide.
I jumped into the same boat I had been trying to escape my whole life. I married him. Every day was lived in constant pain, knowing that I was never enough for him. The only value I had was sex. Other than that I was on my own. He wanted me to be like a different woman that I was very close to, so I changed my identity.
Submission. You will get rewarded for it. That's what they say.
No church was our home. He found something he didn't like and we had to move. "That woman's hair is too short.” “That woman is divorced and remarried.” “That man has a tattoo."
Rules and regulations. No relationship.
I got pregnant four months after we were married. Our first son was born. He was so beautiful. But the months that followed his birth were filled with agonies, isolation, and loneliness. I slept on a hard living room couch with my newborn so my husband could sleep through the night and not get furious every time the baby cried. Many nights I spent crying myself to sleep. I had no hope.
The second pregnancy was very intentional. I did not want my first child to have to do life on his own.
I still remember the day my emotions shut off for the last time. The day my soul became callused. I went through months, then years of being emotionally numb. No alcohol or men were needed. I became a frozen soul. There was no emotion left in me. I never laughed, never cried, never became angry.
During this period of time, I cheated on my husband. I was hoping it would thaw me, but it didn’t. It only rooted a lie deeper in me that said the only way you will ever get loved is through sex.
The day I knew I had to leave was when my oldest son, three at the time, had to protect me from his father. His little body ran at his dad, and he pushed him with all his might and said, "Be nice to mommy!"
Something snapped in me. This is not right! Why is my little child protecting me? I decided in my heart that I needed to leave. This had gone on long enough. It was time for me to protect my children. I had so much to lose.
I knew I would lose my family and most of my friends if I left. It took me a long time to decide. I wept.
I packed up all I had, divided it in half, and begged God for a different plan. Begged God to make my husband love me for me. My boys were packed up, the trailer was loaded. My knees hit the floor and I wept. I wept for the pain that my children would face, I wept for the loss of something I never had, I wept in fear of the unknown.
I gently placed the keys on the kitchen table that I had called home for the last five years, wiped the tears from my face, and walked out. I never looked back.
My family was gone. It took me half a year to be allowed back into the circle, and to this day there is major tension.
As a single mom living in Steinbach, my deep longing to be loved and belong remained. I was a thirsty cactus, desperately wanting to be loved and accepted because I never had been. This caused me to be addicted to finding love. I wish I could say after two year of being alone I got better. No. I fell and relapsed many times.
The biggest fear I faced if I let people close? Rejection. It was the elect few, that stood by me, helped me pick up the pieces and start over that I keep close to me now. The ones that didn’t judge, rather cultivated a love response that I trust now.
A freeing day for me was when a pastor described the difference between forgiveness and trust. You are required to forgive people who have wronged you. You are not called to trust them. Forgiveness is a choice, trust is earned.
With great difficulty, I let go of my ex husband, and forgave him.
Today, I know that God loves me and is for me. Today, I trust Him, even though being a single mom, working full time is SO hard. Today, I know in my core being that I belong, I am His. I am chosen by him. I am accepted by Him. Today, I rejoice that I can experience emotion!!
I have found His Love.
About the Author:
Helena is an adventure seeker! From snow boarding to canoing to wakeboarding to tubing, to any other adventure under the sun, she will be there! She also enjoys a quiet evening with chamomile tea and a good book. Helena works hard to provide for her little family and loves spending time with them. Helena enjoys the small-town life because she loves the community that it brings.