Creflo Dollar - When Faith Meets Grief
Hello, and welcome to today's show. You are about to meet a remarkable lady of great faith whose faith has been tested in the most horrible way possible through the dramatic and senseless death of her son. Now, her son's funeral took place just a few short months ago on the day before Mother's Day. And despite her trust in the Lord, the grief and loss she feels has made her angry; very angry. She's here today to find answers. She wants to know why. Why did God let her son die? I invite you to join us as we help answer her question. I'm Creflo Dollar, and this is "Your World".
Creflo: Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome Patricia Roberson to "Your World". Hello, how are you? Good to meet you. Thank you for being bold enough to come and share with us. We're going to make some good things happen today. Yes, ma'am. You can be seated. We really could do a series on trauma because I am becoming more and more convinced that this may be an unspoken or maybe not spoken enough, that a lot of issues in our society may be as a result of people not dealing with childhood trauma and how the consequences of not dealing with it shows up in adult life. Now, for you, you've gone through a lot of abuse, and there are lots of people that are watching this broadcast today that are going to be relate with you and they're going to find deliverance. They're going to find answers, and you and I are going to come together and preach a sermon together to hopefully help them as we are allowed to come into your world and share some of the things that you've gone through. And we believe that it's going to help a whole lot of people. So welcome to that couch. We're going to go to work and make some stuff happen. Amen? Why don't we start this way? Tell us about and the story behind your abuse in the past, and we'll gradually walk ourselves to the place of dealing with the traumatic experience you had with your son's death.
Patricia Roberson: It's a lot. I know I'm loved by a lot of people. Inside I feel I was the victim, and from my mother's grave, she left me out of the will to show just how much she really thought about me. And whatever the circumstances to my birth, which I question that, wasn't my fault. I didn't feel the love from my mother. Maybe later in life got too much love from my father, probably the wrong kind of love where my siblings always said...
Creflo: Okay, so what do you mean by the wrong kind of love?
Patricia: Being molested. I've come to terms with that. My father's gone now. My mother's gone. You know, they did the best that they could. But as a mother myself, I protect my children and I don't know... again, family secrets that I don't know that were placed upon me. I used to cry and pray to God like, "God, please let my mother treat me like she treats her other kids". I'm grown. I have children of my own. I have a husband and I'm calling out to God as I'm driving to work asking this prayer.
Creflo: So how does she treat your siblings versus yourself?
Patricia: From what I saw, it was fine. I mean, she talked to them all the time. She was around them all the time. When I came around, even when I was married with my children, I'd come there and she said, "Oh, Patricia, do the dishes". I'm like, "But I didn't eat here".
Creflo: Did you ever feel a connection between how you were being treated and the molestation? Were you ever blamed or told by any family member that this was your fault? Or was it a family secret and never came out or was it...
Patricia: It never came out. I finally told my siblings, but they didn't believe me, and that's the easy route. I'll take a lie detector test. I have no reason to lie. The sad part is, it ultimately tore me apart and I believe it's what caused my marriage to fail because it was just too much pain living in the town and seeing my parents and being afraid. It's been a lot.
Creflo: Were your parents and family church-going people? And so it was pretty difficult for them to hear the accusations?
Patricia: I never ever told my mother, but it was a small house. There's no way she didn't know, and she had to know.
Creflo: Yeah. And does it bother you sometimes to have to wonder if she did know and didn't really come to your rescue or support you in any kind of way?
Patricia: Oh, it bothers me a lot.
Creflo: Like you said in your testimony, there's a lot of stuff there. There is a lot of stuff going on. Well, we have an expert as a special guest today who's going to join us a little later on in the program. One of the things that I wanted you to be able to see is the fact that, you know, sexual abuse is a childhood trauma. And, you know, we want to find out how it was dealt with and maybe some of the things you saw later on in your years, the consequences of those things. But let's talk about your family. You stayed married for a moment. What happened with that relationship? How did it dissolve?
Patricia: Well, my father passed. Thirty days later, my brother passed and it was just, I thought I wasn't depressed. I was just functioning. I was working fulltime. I just couldn't snap out of it.
Creflo: How were you being treated?
Patricia: At the funeral?
Creflo: Yes, ma'am.
Patricia: Oh, first of all, they're barely telling me anything about the service. When I came, it was like, "Why is she here"? My mother didn't acknowledge me while I was there. It was just hard. And then 30 days later, here it is. My brother died. And I thought it was bad when my father died, but, oh, it got worse when my brother died. And I honestly believe sitting behind my mother, she wished I was in the coffin and not her son.
Creflo: Did she ever say that?
Creflo: But that's what you felt?
Patricia: That's how I felt.
Creflo: So you carried that woo...
Patricia: A lot. And right before my father died, I reconnected with my parents and stuff, and I told him, "You messed up my life". And he said to me, "I never apologize for anything, but I apologize to you". And I said, "I don't want your apology. I want you to fix this mess". And he probably passed before he had an opportunity to do that. So I feel like I was left holding the responsibility of this.
Creflo: How many children did you have out of your relationship?
Patricia: I have three sons. I have three sons.
Creflo: I understand that one of those sons died in a horrible accident. Tell us about that.
Patricia: About 4 months ago 4 o'clock in the morning, this doorbell's ringing...
Creflo: This is 4 months ago?
Patricia: Yeah. So all these policemen come in my house and they tell me that, "Do you have a son named Marvin Roberson"? "Yes. What's wrong with my son"? "He was in a motorcycle accident". And I just fell on the steps, banging on the wall saying, "No, not my son". And I just remember picking up the phone trying to call my other sons so they can come. It was a day later. The coroner, they were trying to identify him. And so I say, "Well, I'll send my other two sons. They'll be able to identify him". And they're like, "No, Mrs. Roberson. He's burned beyond recognition". And I'm like, "God, I know with life comes death. With everything that I've been through, did you have to take him that way that I don't get the opportunity to see my son again"? And it's like, "God, you've gotten me through so much in my life, but why did you have to hit me with this, that I can't even say goodbye properly to my son? I don't get it". I mean, I love and trust God. He has brought me a long way, but to take him like that. I can take him dying, but the way in which he died. It's like, "God, it's too much. I am not that strong to keep handling all of this".
Creflo: We're getting ready to take a break, but give me your hand for a minute. A lot of times, God gets blamed for something that he's not responsible for. There are other players in the movie. And Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I've come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. The last person God took and everybody that he ever took, he took Enoch and Enoch's with God. He took Moses. He's with God. But he doesn't take people like that. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. So he's still available to you, to help you to overcome such a horrific situation. He's there for you. But he's not the one that did it, but he will be the one to help you to overcome where you are right now. We're going to take a very short break and when we come back, we'll be joined by international psychologist and emotional trauma expert, Dr. Bertrina Olivia West, right after this.
Creflo: Our next guest is a US Navy veteran, international psychologist, and licensed professional counselor for individual crisis, trauma, abuse, grief, and depression. Please, ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome Dr. Bertrina Olivia West, better known as Dr. O. Thank you so much for being here.
Bertrina Olivia West: Thank you for having me.
Creflo: You heard Patricia's story and, I mean, it's a lot, isn't it? It's a lot. And I think that's one of the reasons why the first recommendation for people who have childhood trauma and they've never dealt with it is to get with a therapist so they can get the help they need to walk through those situations. I want to give you the opportunity to respond to some of that because to me it still kind of sounds like at the end of the day she's still accepting stuff that she shouldn't be accepting and the stuff that she needs to accept wasn't my fault. "This was a crime that happened". Go ahead and let's help her walk through this process together here.
Bertrina: Hi, Patricia.
Patricia: Hi there.
Bertrina: First, I want to thank you for having the courage to come here today and share your story on what you've been through. There are a lot of layers to the trauma that you've experienced. Believe it or not, it all ties into how you are now coping and dealing or affected by the loss of your son. As Dr. Dollar has mentioned in regards to childhood trauma, a lot of times what happens is that it goes unrecognized, it goes dismissed. It is very much rationalized, especially in communities of color; one, because a lot of us we don't believe in therapy. You know, it is very negative and stigmatized. But when you think about trauma, all trauma is is stress.
Now, we've all experienced stress before, but what makes everyday stress that we maybe experience from work or home or just everyday duties turn into trauma is when that stress becomes so overwhelming to where it impacts our daily life. And now what happens when we're children is that oftentimes we dismiss that children experience stress just like adults. "What kind of stress you have? You got no bills to pay. You got nothing to do. Get out of here. You ain't stressed". But what happens is that they do experience stress the same way. You yelling at me as my mom is stressful for me.
And so when you experience trauma, trauma means that you have threatened your life or you're bodily harmed. And so we carry those things around with us. They then construct what we call our core beliefs. Core belief is, "I am unlovable. Nobody loves me". So what happens when we do not deal with that trauma, whatever trauma occurred that made you feel unlovable, that carries throughout your life. As you mentioned, "I don't know what happened with my father, and there are some things I'm kind of question around that and I don't really know". And then again, it kind of trigger, internalizes that there's something must be wrong with me. I'm different. Why is my family treating me this way? You have rejection, you have abandonment, and it has been just piling on and piling on and continuing and continuing and continuing. Going to adulthood, going to your divorce, "See, I knew it was something wrong with me. That's why he left me. That's why we have a divorce. I knew I was unlovable". And then kind of bringing it all back together to the death of your son.
What happened with your abandonment from your parents and your family is that you begin to pay a huge amount of attention to your own family. You begin to kind of develop your own ways to cope, and you put a lot of hard work and effort into building what you wanted in a mother. So when your son was taken away from you, it hurt like, "Well, why? I don't understand when I've given all of this". Again, "See, I knew something must be wrong with me". And it comes back into full circle. And so we're dealing with all this. We have to go back to the beginning. We have to go back to what the root cause is. Nobody wants to believe that innate about ourselves, that there's something wrong with us. And it hurts and then it leads to depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, and so much more.
Creflo: What are you hearing? What's really standing out to you?
Patricia: Everything that she's saying it's true because I am doing a balancing act. In the core I believe that nobody really wants me, but I also know that I have been loved in my life. I know my sons love me unconditionally. I have a significant other. I know he loves me. I know that my friends love me. But again, it's still that hidden, "How much are you going to love me or stay there with me"? But does it go into the core of my heart? No.
Creflo: And I think that's going to be the issue, the fact that through your own efforts to try to accomplish what you just stated. It's going to be futile until you really locate what that core issue is. You have an opportunity now, two questions that you would ask Dr. O right now.
Patricia: I want to know why me. I want to know when can I finally get peace from all of this, to take this last chapter of my life to be the best chapter of my life.
Bertrina: So the first question, why me, I can necessarily answer but I can give you what my mother is saying. It's, why not you? From the strength that you have within you, you're stronger, and sometimes you just need a little bit of help to pull that out, to identify it. Now, I tell people that there is no cure for trauma. You're always going to have triggers. Different things are going to happen that's going to bring some of the memories or things back up again. But with the right therapists, they can help you process through that. They can help build your strength so that when you do have these triggers, you can be prepared with the skills and the tools to be able to deal with whatever the trigger is to where it will not be debilitating.
Creflo: You know, when I look at the attacks on my life, I have to ask myself, "What is it that the enemy is trying to stop? What is it that he's trying to destroy in my present to try to confuse my future"?
Patricia: And I believe that.
Creflo: Yeah. And so what has to happen is I don't believe in coming out of any wilderness situation lacking wisdom. Out of every trouble, I want to get some wisdom out of that. And then other trouble comes, take some more wisdom out of that. And before you know it, I'm congratulating the trouble because sometimes without it I wouldn't know the things I know, understand the things I do. So how can I grow from every situation that I'm allowed to go through? Not camp in, but to go through. Because, you know, everybody's got haters. I send my haters Christmas cards because if it hadn't been for my haters, I wouldn't be where I am right now.
And so I think what has to happen is you've got to be careful to look at the bigger picture. Diplomacy is always about looking at the bigger picture. And when you ignore looking at the bigger picture for some little thing that you're very fascinated about, then diplomacy won't work 'cause you don't see the bigger picture of everything. And I've learned how to look at the bigger picture, and part of that means I got to not look at me so much and I've got to look at somebody else. So what can I do and what do I have from this crazy situation that I can use to be a blessing to somebody else? When are you going to have peace? I think when you make a decision.
Like Dr. O said, there's no cure for trauma, but you can make a decision that I'm going to walk in peace and I'm going to have security in the midst of turmoil, your relationship with Jesus. Your decision not to sweat the small things. You know, when do you want peace? I think that's a decision you have to make. I think make the decision first and then begin to discover what you need to do to walk it out; that I'm going to walk in peace. Because if you don't, what's going to end up happening, when you are dis eased and have dis easement on the inside, it translates into your physical body as well and you have dis easement where your body is concerned.
You've got to just learn how to live this life of, what do I call it, not being content but ease, a spirit of ease on your life where, "You know what? This happened, but this could have happened. Thank God. And I'm going to be grateful and live a thankful and grateful life, and I'm going to expand my view and rather than me looking completely, you know, mean what I've gone through and people don't understand that". I'd say that's not important. It's very important, and it's important that you get into the process where you can begin to work out and process these things. But man, I think there's something on you and there's some things that you have yet to accomplish.
And this whole time has been about stopping you from doing what needs to be done. Just make a decision. "I'm going to walk in love no matter what". You have a beautiful smile and you're going to miss your son every day. That's another thing you have to go through and process. You're human. It hurts there and sometimes it takes other humans you can see and touch to say, "Could you help me to walk through this and process this"? And that's the law of Christ that we learn how to bear one another's burdens, we share in what you're going through, and that's okay. Doesn't mean that we're people that have weak faith or bad faith. It's just people that are hurting right now, and thank God that he's put other people around us that will be willing to bear our burdens and share what we're going through and professionals that can help us to organize our thoughts and shine light on the path and to help us out.
Do appreciate our guest today. And Dr. O, thank you. Thank you so much. You know, God never intended humans to suffer like this, whether it is from abuse, grief, sickness, or any number of traumatic situations. In the Bible, we see promise after promise of healing and wholeness. And when we accept God's Word by faith, we will experience this healing firsthand.