In what was for me one last, desperate attempt to find some way beyond the abuse, I had urged 'D' to meet with us and (I believed) he had finally been convinced of the damage he had done to me. ("I spend half my time counselling those who've been abused by the church, I never thought I'd be the one guilty of the abuse!")*
At the end of that meeting we parted having made what I then believed was a first step towards beginning the process of reconciliation. However, when I wrote to him asking what he thought was the next step in moving forward, it seemed he had an absolute melt-down. He wrote to me, "you cannot even imagine the shock, the grief, the sadness and the shear (sic) frustration that hit me, when you broke the power of our reconciliation, instigated by Jesus. You continued with your accusations towards me of bullying and abuse which I have never owned and never will own."
He was now not only denying he'd admitted to abusing me, but also made it clear that he'd only asked forgiveness from God, but not me, because it was like when King David said to God in Psalm 51 "Against you and only you have I sinned." (Seriously! How does that even work!?)
My purpose in sharing all of this is to shine a spotlight on this type of behaviour so that others might more easily recognise it for what it is. If you are fortunate enough to have the abuser admit the truth in private, they then deny it if you try to bring that into a more public sphere. They refuse to take responsibility for the results of their actions and attitudes, and think that by saying "sorry" everything is made right again. They then further abuse the victim by shutting down any further conversation on the subject and attacking the victim anew if they try some other avenue for dealing with their pain, accusing the victim of gossip, slander and creating division.
When you have been damaged to the point of wishing you were dead, a simple sorry just doesn't cut it. To be berated and attacked because "sorry" doesn't just make everything better for you is really not ok! You have every right to expect issues to be dealt with and reparation made. It is appropriate that what was done in public (or had public repercussions) be addressed in public, with complete honesty and transparency. No-one has the right to silence you, and it is highly manipulative to use the accusation that you are "damaging unity" or "creating division within the body". Please understand, you do not have to submit to this sort of abuse from anyone! Ever.
* These were the words spoken by D at that meeting. He subsequently denied them. I only wish I'd been recording our conversation!