I have the humble privilege to share Tanya’s Glanzman’s story of being an overcomer and survivor of childhood abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Tanya is a remarkable woman. She is a contributing writer for Circle of Friends Ministry each week and ministers to others through My Father’s Daughter Ministry. as a speaker and writer. She and her family live in Virginia. Here is her story.
Both of my parents were addicted to both drugs and alcohol. I had no recollection of my father who was my first abuser, and whose head my mother had put a gun to and told to “get out” when she caught him molesting me before age two. I did however remember all too well my grandfather who was my last abuser and who killed himself ten days after I told that he had been molesting me for five years at the age of fifteen. He had always told me that if I ever told he would die and it would be “all my fault”. He was cruel, controlling and verbally abusive.
Between them I could remember five other men who had also sexually abused me. Each taking from me what was not theirs, what they had no right to. These were men who had been invited by an addict into the life of an addict- and her daughter and who left their mark upon my life with the signature of the most horrendous offense of the soul.
We learned to be a team my mother and I. She was a functioning addict and I was her caretaker, confidant and most trusted friend. Not only did I learn what was required to take care of her well, but also became quite sufficient at taking care of myself. The gifts which characterize childhood such as innocence, purity and irresponsibility were never mine to possess or unwrap.
At nine years old, my mother and I came out of the most horridly abusive relationship and the last that we had ever survived together. We spent a year living in a hotel room with a man that we were both deathly afraid of. We each endured ritualistic control, physical and sexual abuse and torture. I spent the majority of this year locked in a bathroom day in and day out while my mother was forced to make choices in the adjoining room that no one should ever be forced to make.
It was after we were free from this situation that my mother had a complete breakdown and could no longer care for me. With nowhere else to turn she abandoned me to her father and his wife. I hadn’t previously known her father because they had been estranged from one another my entire life. Their estrangement was due to the fact that my mother’s father was the very one that had molested her as a child.
Two months after I built up enough courage to reveal that my grandfather had been molesting me my mother married her fourth husband and moved out of the country with him. When she found out what had happened she blamed me for not being more careful because she had warned me that my grandfather was dangerous.
The remainder of my growing up years were difficult to say the least. The abuse that I had endured for so many years finally began to take its apparent toll on me. I struggled with severe depression, self mutilation and bulimia. I was hospitalized several times for repeated suicide attempts. I was consumed with pain and inner turmoil and just wanted it all to stop. I hated myself, was painfully lonely and longed to be loved.
My mother and I maintained a strained and difficult long distance relationship. As much as I longed for her to love me and be the mother I needed her to be, I began to hate her for all that she had failed to protect me from, all that she never had been and all that she was not able to be. I never stopped wanting or needing a mother.
When I was sixteen and a Junior in high school my mother had a second child… a girl. Within my heart this was the ultimate betrayal. Not only had I been rejected and abandoned, but I had now been replaced. The root of bitterness within my heart towards my mother grew.
I came to accept the Lord within my heart as my Savior that same year and began to endeavor to learn of a Father who loved unconditionally, would never leave or forsake you and only offered His children good things.
Despite my level of woundedness and mostly due to a desire to be different from that which I came I successfully graduated from high school and began college. At eighteen I met and at nineteen married my wonderful husband who had no idea that he was marrying a woman with which he would have to travel a most rigorous journey of healing. Healthy communication, trust and intimacy were three necessities of marriage of which I had no ability to partake in. His patient and enduring love helped him to stand beside me even in the most difficult of times. We eventually had two beautiful children which I was told we would never be able to have due to the scars that remained from the hands of my abusers.
Over the years my mother continued to call me, usually however only when she was under the influence of drugs, or alcohol, or both. Despite all of the abuse that I had endured it was the physical abandonment and emotional neglect of my mother that caused me the most pain, the most hurt and the most sadness.
The Lord had restored so many areas within my life that I was sure that one day he would as well heal and restore the relationship with my mother. Unfortunately, in 2008, she passed away as a result of a drug overdose. She never was able to receive the healing, restoration and redemption that the Lord had for her while she was upon this earth.
At this point I was a godly woman, I loved the Lord with my whole heart and I served Him as best as I could with my life. The truth however was that I had never been able to forgive my mother for all that she had done and all that she had failed to do. The root of bitterness, un-forgiveness and even hatred remained in my heart for my mother. Her death was just one more abandonment, the final abandonment, and I could not deal with it.
Her second daughter was now 14 and was the one who called to tell me that our mother had passed away. I had purposefully never had relationship with her- within my heart she represented every ounce of hurt, rejection and abandonment that I had experienced at the hands of my mother. I told her that I was sorry, I wasn’t coming to the funeral and that days later I told her father that I wasn’t interested in having relationship with her.
So I “moved on.” A few months after my mother’s death I began “My Father’s Daughter Ministries” and the Lord was faithful to begin to provide me opportunity to speak healing and truth into the lives of women. Isn’t God faithful to use us even in our own process of healing and restoration?
It wasn’t until, through life giving truth that was offered to me in relationship with my Circle of Friends, that I was lovingly confronted with the hatred and un-forgiveness which remained locked away for my mother within my heart.
I was encouraged to take intentional steps to face and deal with those issues which had prevented me from walking in the fullness of freedom that Christ had for me. A prideful heart hindered me longer than it should have from seeking out Christian counseling. I wanted to be able to say “I did it- I overcame- with just me and the Lord.” But it was my Circle of Friends who helped me to understand that truly I was limping, not running, and that until I was willing to face that which I had not, and forgive, I would never be able to walk in all that the Lord had called me to.
Nothing about the process of healing was easy. There were days when my heart hurt so very much that I just didn’t think I was going to be able to move forward one more step. But with the love and support of my husband and my Circle of Friends I was able to face, accept and grieve the loss of the mother that I never really had. I was able to forgive her for what she was and what she never was. And ultimately, I was led to find and begin to develop relationship with the little sister which anger and bitterness had never afforded me the privilege of knowing.
I am so thankful that the Lord has loved me too much to leave me where I was. His faithfulness, mercy and grace within my life never fail to astonish, bless and humble me. I am so very thankful that He saw fit to allow me to encounter Circle of Friends… He used them to change my life.
Romans 2:11 states that God is no respector of persons. As God has been so faithful to be the Healer, Restorer and Redeemer of her own life, Tanya is blessed to have the opportunity to share the message that His desire is to be those very things to every woman who would have Him as their Father. As a speaker and writer through My Father’s Daughter Ministries, Tanya is thankful to have the opportunity to minister encouragement to the hearts of women destined to be loved by the King.