Who failed who? (Basics Part 2)

This piece by Mercy Survivor Anna was originally published on her blog “External Mercy” and can be viewed here.

FailureSix months into the program, I went home to my family of origin for Christmas (at Mercy Multiplied’s insistence).  God magically healed me of everything just a few weeks prior to that Christmas break.  I didn’t struggle with any symptoms, I didn’t struggle with any feelings, and everyone said that I was like a different person after Jesus had healed me.  The same staff that were ready to kick me out of the program, were suddenly singing the program’s praises for its part in my amazing transformation.

I spent three months like that, and the only thing that I struggled with was a serious case of denial.  I actually really thought that everything was better (self-awareness has always been a slow battle for me).  It didn’t send up any red flags that everything was perfectly better because that’s what Mercy Multiplied expected.  There’s no need for relapse prevention work when your mental illness and trauma symptoms are just magically healed.  I pushed to graduate as soon as possible…and walked away with Mercy Multiplied’s full approval.  I didn’t realize that somewhere inside I had decided that it wasn’t safe to be there and continue to get hurt…maybe I thought that God healing me was the only way to get away from this place that continually denied my perceptions and internal experience.  Whatever the underlying reasoning, it worked.  I graduated.  And it lasted less than twenty-four hours.

See that’s the problem with a program whose core therapeutic method is (to put it bluntly) emotional abuse.  When you’re told over and over again that you’re wrong…that you’re not trying…that you must not want help…that your feelings are wrong…that your intuition is rebellion, you end up with a recovery that’s completely divorced from reality…because you are divorced from reality.  It worked while I was in the Mercy Multiplied bubble…where the Mercy Multiplied party line was the only acceptable reality.  Once I stepped outside, it was obvious that I hadn’t made progress whatsoever.

I was completely bewildered…I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong that I couldn’t maintain my “healing”.  I thought that obviously God had held up his end of the deal and made me better, now it was on me and I was failing.  Mercy Multiplied had set me up perfectly for it to be all my fault and Mercy Multiplied’s attitude had taught me that if it was all my fault that I didn’t deserve help.  Maybe someone would have caught this and corrected this cognitive distortion if they had connected me with professionals so that I had a qualified support team, but they didn’t.  I had an “accountability partner”, a woman from my church who met with me and prayed with and for me.  This was good…but it wasn’t anywhere near what I needed.  I had no psychiatrist, no psychologist, no therapist, no nutritionist…I had no professional help.  And I needed professional help–why else would I have spent 9 months in a residential facility otherwise?

My views of Mercy have changed drastically over time from…

Mercy Multiplied is great – it was all good!

to…

It was mostly good, but there were a few things that weren’t.

to…

Okay, at least some of it was good.

to…

They did a lot of harm, but at least their intentions were good.

to…

They had no business doing what they did.

It took years to cycle through all of those, and it’s still a process now.  But the most important thing is that I know that I didn’t fail…Mercy Multiplied  failed to help me, and that’s a big deal.  So to any of you who are still carrying the burden of failure from Mercy Multiplied’s teachings and attitude, take a deep breath…maybe you didn’t fail…maybe Mercy Multiplied failed you too.

Written By Anna