Updated: Mar 30
Triggers. We all have them but can we easily identify what they are and why they cause us to respond the way that we do? Some triggers bring us happiness while others provoke a frustrated outburst. Evangelist Tamika Strickland reveals her trigger in her unconcealed story, “Identity Deception: From Wounds to Worship”. Sadly for Strickland, her trigger was being molested, and that molestation led to her tumultuous life.
In the same manner that we ignore our triggers and exploring the impact they have on us, we ignore the critical impact that one’s unpleasant childhood has on her adult decisions and way of living. Imagine that you are a young five-year-old girl and the molester is your Dad. Think about how you would feel if you were that little girl, with no power, no control, no knowledge, and no ability to react or escape the situation.
How would you feel if every day you had to sit at the dinner table with the molester, watch TV on the same couch as the molester, ride in the same car as the molester and watch this molester interact with other family members as if he was not traumatizing the very insides of your soul?
This is where Strickland’s conflict and tragedies begin, and without shame, she presents her turmoil from childhood through adulthood. A real page-turner, Strickland unfolds her story rapidly in this book, plunging right in. You won’t sit there wondering, “when am I going to get to the crux of this story”. Strickland’s roller-coaster ride through life deals with weight issues, poor self-esteem, depression, drug abuse, and her struggle to abandon homosexuality.
For Strickland, relinquishing her lesbian lifestyle was an uphill battle because she used it as a channel to shield the pain she felt when her father left. She frankly states:
“It may seem weird that I cried out and longed for the same person that sexually abused me, but I was just a little girl that wanted a loving father.”
Strickland’s longing for her dad despite the inappropriateness of his behavior shouldn’t be a surprise to us given that physically and emotionally abused adults may respond similarly. You’ve heard of it before: Stockholm Syndrome, where a “bond” is created between the abuser and the victim and the victim chooses not to escape even though an obvious opportunity presents itself (see Clint Van Zandt “Why We Love the Ones Who Hurt Us”).
Are you struggling to transform your lifestyle and escape bondage from behaviors that you are despondent about? If so, you’ll identify with Strickland’s book along with her approach to a personal transformation (e.g., submit to God, pray, read the Bible). You’ll welcome her approach because even though her salvation is associated with how the right religious environment influenced her successful transformation, her solutions are practical even for those that are less sectarian.
Moreover, she’s not bashful in describing the judgment she faced from family, friends and churches, and how difficult it was for her to transform. One significant struggle was dressing and grooming herself to appear more like a man. While in church, she dressed as a woman, when at home she dressed as a man. This was yet another matter for Strickland to tussle with, but not a hindrance to her pursuit.
Conceptualizing the experience of a molested child is nauseating, agonizing, and uncomfortable. And yet, humanity loiters in acknowledging and administering to the child that succumbs to this interruption of her youth, at times brushing off the molestation altogether. In some cultures, this refusal to address and punish the abuser is uncomfortably common, to the point where the word “molester” does not even exist (as documented by Yia Vue who exposes the Hmong culture’s dismissal of molestation for the sake of the community in the article "There is no Hmong Word for Child Molester").
Couple that with the rejection faced by the “adult version” of the molested child when she discloses her story verbally or in a written format. Family members strike with yet another blow: protect thy name.
Family members insultingly inquire, “Why would you say something so disgraceful about the family? Don’t you know you’re going to ruin the family name”? I cringe at the thought that a family chooses to expel the innocent over the molester, choosing thy name over thy truth. What about the protection of the child, the ruination of that child’s life and what she is driven towards as part of the aftermath of being unprotected by the family from the beginning?
Thankfully we have an exceptional survivor, Evangelist Tamika Strickland, who has figured out how to heal her wounds and offers you her story and transformation guide to heal your wounds as well.
You can purchase Evangelist Tamika Strickland’s book via Amazon.
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