Posted by: Botolff | April 18, 2009

He left bruises on my back.

I went to dinner tonight and sat across the table from an unexpected and unavoidable conversation.  A couple and a single woman sat and talked about what the single woman’s boyfriend did to her last month.  I couldn’t help but hear because it was such a dramatic explanation. 

She exclaimed, “He yanked me so hard that it pulled the muscles in my shoulder blades and left black and blue marks on my back!  I think he bruised a couple ribs.  I talked to him the next day and he didn’t even remember doing it.  He even started laughing about it until I told him it wasn’t funny.  Then he cried and apologized like he did the last time.” (a short pause) “But I still have love feelings for him.  He wasn’t like this when I first met him…So, I’ll pinky swear with you that if it gets worse I’ll have to do something about it.”

How many of us as wounded ministers would have ever signed up to work with the people we did if we would have known the level of abuse we were going to experience?  How many of us might say something like, “But he/she/they weren’t like this when I first started working with them.”  How many congregants might say, “But I love them/the church,” or “I swear if it gets worse I’ll do something about it.”

Did any other terminated ministers hear that last statement from people in their congregation?  I did.  I had a man tell me on the phone that “It’s bound to come up again.”  As if this time was dismissable because history is bound to repeat itself.  That’s the problem.  History is bound to repeat itself.  Maybe it had already happened before, but noone asked any questions to the people who would be willing to tell them.  How many more times do people need to be battered before someone does something about it?

Maybe we ourselves, as wounded ministers, were afraid to speak up for ourselves because we believed it couldn’t be true, or it wasn’t that bad.  I know I had a an incredibly hard time accepting what was being done to me because I trusted the leadership so much.  There is a lot of shame in admitting that I got duped.

Anyone got other thoughts on why we are so scared to speak up?


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