Speaking OUT to end clergy sexual misconduct.

Journals of Trauma


In these journals, I spent three years trying to understand my relationship with my offender. I covered nearly 1200 pages with ink, but I didn’t gain any clarity until after I left my church. With near-daily encounters at the church office, and within a congregation that worshipped him, it was impossible to think clearly.

After I stopped journaling in 2010, I kept these records thinking one day I might write the whole story. But in four years, I’ve never been able to bring myself to read them again. I didn’t even like walking past the shelf where they sat. Just looking at that stack made me feel tense and sad — but I didn’t dare get rid of them. What if those journals held insights that might help me or others?

Last Saturday I finally got clarity. Those books hold nothing but confusion and pain.

That afternoon, I destroyed them.

Since then, I have felt positively buoyant.

One more step in healing.

Comments on: "Journals of Trauma" (3)

  1. The best move I made was getting out of the dysfunctional church where the abuse occurred. Even though it was extremely painful, I can now look back after 4 years and basically celebrate my departure. God had a much better fellowship of believers in mind for me who have helped bring hope and spiritual healing. My journal I ripped up and threw away 6 months ago. It was full of confusion, anger, intense grief and pain. For awhile i thought about using it to write my life’s story, but then I decided I no longer wanted to read any of it because it mostly served to put the abuser right back into my thoughts making it more difficult to heal from PTSD. I also didn’t want the “journal of pastoral abuse” to define who I am and I didn’t want to risk passing it on for my children to find and read. Throwing that journal away helped break more chains on my road to complete freedom and healing.

  2. Sharon Peterson said:

    Good for you! I have been saving the journals I filled coming to terms with Jim’s death and then the complicated and confusing relationship with Jack. Mine were in the form of letters to God. And did God get an earful!!!

    This is very inspirational. Now that Jack has died, maybe it is time for me to do the ritual burning. Maybe that is why the weather has changed!


  3. Marla McBride said:

    Catherine, As I started to read this, I thought; “Why doesn’t she just throw those journals away or burn them? They were indeed an important part of your healing process. And It was so good to see that you knew what needed to be done. Congratulations! This is an inspiration to me to clear out some old stuff that no longer serves me or empowers me. Thanks. Marla

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