Healing from Abusive Behavior – Part 2

Victims of abuse may turn into abusers in order to erase the shame, fears and insecurities, which plague them. They neglect those whom they should cherish, and they allow negative emotions to control our life and theirs.

We may use anger as a means to protect our self from further abuse, but this sends mixed messages. People never know when we will patiently suffer as a martyr or blow up like a volcano at the least provocation.

We may not be able to trust people, but we can trust God. Rather than acting with bombastic and combative behavior, we find our strength and confidence in Christ’s quiet resolve within us.

Then we set boundaries, and firmly but quietly caution people not to cross the line (Isaiah 30:15). They may test our boundaries; but if we consistently remind them, they will soon learn to respect us.

The older we get, the more we tell our self that the abuse happened a long time ago and we should get over it. Yet the shameful effects of the violation and the loss of our innocence and sense of trust can last a lifetime.

We may even find our self questioning if the abuse actually happened. We live in denial and convince our self that our abuser is a revered person who could never do anything that horrific.

When a trigger reminds us of the situation, it is because our soul is crying out for validation and comfort. Our true inner self is desperately attempting to gain our attention and to make us take the abuse seriously enough to stop it or to simply acknowledge it.

Snippets of words, body language, the shape of certain plants, an over-reaction that we cannot explain, bizarre behavior that has no basis in reality are all ways that our soul uses to force us to face and validate the incident(s).

Journaling will enable us to get in touch with the episode(s) and tell our story of abuse without having to make it public knowledge. Journaling validates our feelings, nurtures our wounded soul and is extremely healing.

Prayer:
Father God, You collect all of our tears in Your bottle and avenge every one of them (Psalm 56:8). Even if we feel that we somehow caused or deserved the abuse, You wash away our shame and replace it with the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:7).

Remind us that forgiving our perpetrator actually helps us to heal by taking them off our “hook” and placing them firmly on Your hook. You are much better at rendering vengeance than we are (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35). Thank You for healing us from our past and giving us a bright future full of Your love and acceptance (Jeremiah 29:11).

Thought for the Day:
Loss of innocence means that a person who was supposed to protect, nurture and cherish us actually abused us and stole from us what rightfully belongs to us alone.

 

For more information, please join me for regular tips about healing at:

https://www.facebook.com/healingourinnerchild/

 

Advertisements

The Truth about Love

There are three common types of love. Each one is distinctly different, but we can feel all of them at one time – for one person or many people. EROS is passionate physical love. It includes sensual desires and longing.

Relationships built only on Eros usually end when sexual passion wanes. That is why people have affairs or casual physical relationships. Therefore, marriage needs more than Eros to survive.

PHILIA means friendship and connotes affectionate love between friends and family. It displays dispassionate camaraderie. Philia includes loyalty to friends, family and community. It exhibits Godly virtue, impartiality and delight.

Philia denotes a friendly type of affection between family and friends. It is a desire for companionship and enjoying activities with each other. Having a friendship with the people in your life and enjoying time to play, pray and share in common pursuits is vital in any relationship.

AGAPE means unconditional love. It refers to a deep sense of God’s pure, holy love. Instead of the sexual attraction of Eros or the deep affection of Philia, Agape is sacrificial.

Agape provides us with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction as we put each other first and highly esteem one another as better than our self (Philippians 2:3-4). True love takes effort and is not dependent on the other person.

Christ lives in us and is love personified. Regardless of how someone treats us, we love them with God’s love within us. It is not how we feel, but what we do to express God’s love to one another.

This does not mean that we do not honestly communicate to others how their behavior makes us feel; but we never give up on the relationship. We may have to establish boundaries, but we keep the relationship active.

Love is not what we expect from others, but what we provide for those in our life whom we care about. We are called to love one another, just as Christ loves us. Sometimes, that is a tall order to fill.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to display love to our parents, spouse, children, church family and even strangers regardless of how they treat us. This is only possible as we submit to Your will for our life and allow Your Spirit to reprogram our thinking to have the mind of Christ. Remind us that once we have this spiritual love, then the physical and the emotional feelings will follow after it.

Cause us to submit our self to You and to resist the devil. Then he must flee from us (James 4:7). His destructive suggestions that putting our self first, estrangement and divorce are not wrong, and that You want us to be happy, will vanish with his departure. Remind us that You want us to be holy. Help us to develop Agape love for others as we focus on submitting our self to You.

Thought for the Day:
Most people realize that we are far from loving one another with true self-sacrificing, lasting and sincere love; Eros and Philia come and go throughout the years, and they are never intense for long periods of time, but Agape lasts forever.

WHO LOVES YOU – Part 1 – The Love of the Father

God is head over heels in love with you (1 John 4: 8-11). God’s love is a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional “high”. Human love is merely a shadow of His love.

If the earth’s axis tilted a degree in any direction, if the stars fell from the sky, if a large solar storm erupted on the sun, if the oceans exceeded their boundaries, if animals no longer had an innate fear of man, if all the molten lava in the earth erupted at once, we would all die.

God’s hand, keeping the earth in perfect balance, keeps us all living and breathing and existing on planet earth. The natural order of the universe proves to us that God loves us.

When we repent of our sin, we realize that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. With God’s love, we do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated.

God constantly draws my attention to the fact that He is touching me with evidences of His love through a variety of means. I call them God’s Little Hugs.

He reveals His love through things like a bird’s outstretched wings, a perfect rose, a lady bug, the shapes of the clouds, the waves of the sea, the seasons of the year, a red cardinal chirping through my open window and in the numbers on the clock.

Escaping a devastating calamity is another occasion when we feel the love of God. When we see His hand protecting us from sudden and sure destruction and danger, our hearts swell with incredible gratitude and love for God.

To realize that God actually intervened for you makes you feel so precious, cared about and loved. At times like these we feel His love surrounding us and keeping us safe.

His love flows through us and out of us to everyone He brings into contact with us. He restores us with His joy and upholds with His generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12).

Prayer:
Father God, when our heart is open to Your love, we can feel it pouring over us like a waterfall. We are drenched with Your continual love. Even the cells in our body are full of Your love.

I often feel like I am wrapped in a soft, fluffy blanket of Your love. Your love gives us such a sense of security. Unsurpassed peace and joy flood our soul – our mind, will and emotions. We give You all the glory and praise and depend on Your love and Spirit to fill and guide us through every moment of our life.

Thought for the Day:
All through the day, I have learned to watch for the unexpected ways that God tells me, “I love you!”

Forgiveness and Boundaries

Human beings tend to suffer in silence. We fear rejection and criticism, so we internalize our thoughts and feelings rather than confiding in one another.

Inner voices, which do not line up with God’s Word, are lies from Satan Himself. The only way to dispel His lies is by speaking God’s truth (Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 4:1).
( http://www.theophostic.com )

Once we receive our forgiveness from God through repentance and faith in exchange for our sins, then God receives us as His own precious children (1 John 3:2).

We have Jesus’ example in order to forgive those who harm us. If they are repentant, we allow them back into our heart. If they refuse to repent, then we forgive them for our sake, but keep them at a distance.

Even though we forgive them, we do not condone their behavior toward us, and we certainly never allow them any opportunities to harm us again.

We derive our self-worth through Christ in us, rather than through our own achievements. This way our esteem does not depend upon people, circumstances or meeting our goals.

It depends on God’s faithfulness and the presence of Christ abiding within us. We are secure in who we are through Christ. We live the life to which He calls us (Ephesians 2:10).

This way too, we have no need to attempt to manipulate and control the behavior of others in order to make our self feel better, safer or more secure.

Prayer:
Father God, people do tend to maliciously use us, but You encourage us to love them with Your agape love and to forgive them and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). However, we can also be wise as snakes and gentle as doves in our dealings with them (Matthew 10:16).

We point them to Your love for them, but we never again allow them to take advantage of us or to use us for their evil gain. Their opinion of us does not matter anymore, because our identity and our good name come from You (Proverbs 22:1; Psalm 52:9).

Thought for the Day:
No one is more deceived than the person who will not admit that he or she is wrong; but we can forgive them anyway and erect boundaries to keep them from harming us again.

Words Matter – Part 1

The reservoir of a good heart produces encouraging words. The abundance of an evil heart generates evil results (Luke 6:45). Our words are the product of how we think, what we feel and our beliefs (Matthew 12:33-35).

Rash or too much talk can lead to sin (Proverbs 13:3); therefore, it is sensible to keep a guard over our words (Proverbs 10:19). To bridle our tongue is a talent that only the perfect person masters, but it would help us to control our whole body (James 3:1-2).

Lies and negative thoughts are like a skein of matted thread, so tangled that they are impossible to unravel. They weave confusion and cause us to miss God’s best for us.

When we believe Satan’s lies, complain or focus on the negative aspects of life, we miss the hand of God bringing blessings from the midst of all our trials (Romans 8:28).

Disparaging thoughts come from a troubled heart and never help us to prosper. They lead to negative words and actions, which cause trouble in so many ways (Proverbs 17:20).

Before we speak, a good rule is to pray first in order to speak the words, which God gives us to say and which will bring glory to Him (1 Peter 4:11). Wholesome, positive, uplifting words.

This is hard to do, especially in any moment of controversy. We are either exonerated or ruined by what we say and do (Matthew 12:37). Praying first gives us the needed boundaries.

Our thoughts affect our beliefs, our emotions and our attitude. We reap the consequences of our words, and they affect our relationships and even our health (Proverbs 8:21).

Therefore, we reap a blessing if we choose to think only about those things, which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Philippians 4:8).

Prayer:
Father God, help us to submit to Your Spirit as You transform our mind, so that we may prove what Your good, acceptable and perfect will is for our life (Romans 12:2). Only a fool keeps on talking (Ecclesiastes 5:3), and an evil man is trapped by his sinful talk. Help us to live a righteous life in our thoughts, words and deed, so that we may escape trouble (Proverbs 12:13).

Thought for the Day:
Let us conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ, and to live with each other in one mind and spirit rather than in arguing. – Philippians 1:27

The Reasons We Over-React

We over-react when we use more emotion in our response than is necessary. The issue does not warrant the intensity of our reaction, but we over react for many reasons.

An over-reaction may be due to emotions in our subconscious, which are connected to unresolved issues in our past. Satan planted a lie in past trauma, and these lies fuel our current reactions.

For instance, our mate’s behavior reminds us of the behavior we experienced with someone else in former times. Our soul combines the pain we felt back then with the pain we feel in the moment, and the vehemence is overwhelming both to us and the person receiving our wrath.

God wants to help us to resolve these previous issues by discovering Satan’s lies and hearing God’s Truth. This negates the power of the lies, and the intensity of our over-reaction because of them. Once the past pain is gone, it no longer intensifies our emotions in the current moment (www.theophostic.com).

Another reason for over-reacting is that we make assumptions and react before getting all of the facts. For instance, our mate is late…again. We assume there is an affair and we blast him with the anger fueled by our devastation.

The remedy for over-reacting due to misconceptions is to gain all of the facts before we react. Calmly sit the person down and ask them to explain their behavior. When we see their actions from their point of view, we may realize Satan planted another lie, which caused our assumption.

Another reason for over-reactions is that many people refrain from nagging by swallowing irritations or slights each time they occur. We think they are gone, but they are actually stored in our subconscious mind. They pile higher and deeper until one final trespass triggers a violent over-reaction.

The person who prompted this response from us looks at us as if we have two heads. They cannot understand why some insignificant occurrence would cause us to over-react so emotionally and sometimes violently.

The remedy for this is to ask God to reveal the reason every time their behavior irritates us or hurts our feelings. Is there an idol in our life, which we must lay at Jesus’ feet? Do we have preconceived notions, for which we need clarification? Is there a misunderstanding that needs an explanation?

Once we discover whether the problem is in their behavior or our perception, we are free to discuss it with them quietly and calmly. We no longer allow issues to build up within our soul.

We may need to request that the person change their behavior. If they try to change and fail, we can give them more opportunities to change their habitual conduct. We would want them to give us more chances as well. However, we may need to set boundaries until a resolution is found.

Another cause for irritation is that we fail to make sure the person paid attention to us when we made a request. They have to focus on our words and hear and understand what we are actually saying.

Otherwise, they may think they are fulfilling our request, only to find out they only paid attention to half of what we said. Or maybe they were focusing on something else and not paying attention to us at all or they have “selective” hearing.

We can rectify this issue by asking the person to repeat what we just said. Then, we can ask them when they think we can expect our request to be fulfilled. We can make sure that they take us seriously and do not discount our request to have our needs met.

Another reason that we over-react is that we misunderstand what is said. For instance, Sally made the statement to Mary that she was faithful in attendance to Bible study. Mary thought Sally said that she was thankful that Mary missed attendance at Bible study. Mary was offended for no reason, because she simply misunderstood a word that sounded similar, but had a very different meaning.

Over-reactions are sudden bursts of passionate emotions, which end as quickly as they erupt; however, like a volcano, they leave behind deep scars that ruin the composition of the relationship.

Prayer:
Father God, human communication is one of the hardest feats we must accomplish in our lifetime. We all speak and hear from prejudices, which interpret what is said from our own paradigm.

That is why You inspired James to tell us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19). We must listen with twice as much attention, so that we do not react with anger, or trigger an angry reaction in someone else.

Thank You for helping us to face the pain of our past and to hear Your Truth about Satan’s lies, so that each issue resolves and never hurts us again. Thank You for teaching us not to take one another for granted, to turn off the TV or computer, or to put down our book, phone, game controller, etc and pay complete attention to one another when we communicate our feelings or needs. Thank You for reminding us to communicate with You during each moment of our day.

Thoughts for the Day:
At times, wounds caused by an over-reaction may never heal, and friends or mates part company; when instead, one of these simple resolutions could put out the fire at the very core of the issue.

Understanding Emotions

God gave us emotions to express our self and the mood we are experiencing at any given moment. They are an important part of our soul, which includes our intellect, emotions and choices. Each emotion has many variations of intensity and nuances of feeling, such as annoyed, angry and enraged. We often think that we are too vulnerable when we express our true feelings, so we hide behind masks, which help us to pretend.

We suppress our feelings in an attempt to be patient and to get along with people, trying not to nag or to complain. Once our patience runs out, however, this usually compounds the problem due to a rise in the intensity of our feelings. Prior to the point of frustration and anger, it helps if we will calmly express how someone’s negative behavior or words are affecting us and making us feel. No one is perfect, and we all have value and worth.

As we take frequent stock of our emotions, we get a clue as to how we are really doing in that moment of time. If we are not being treated properly, our emotions give us a clue that this abusive behavior is not acceptable. Our underlying thoughts fuel our behavior. We simply need to get alone and take the time to journal or to think, in order to get in touch with how we really feel at the core of our soul.

Sometimes, following the roadmap that emotions give us leads us back to the disturbing incidents in our past, which still affect us today. Then, once we understand the cause of our emotions, it is much easier to explain to others how we really feel. Their offensive behavior may be just a misunderstanding, or a lack of discernment or manners on the part of the other person. That is why relationships work out better if we express how we really feel before our soul hides behind a mask.

If the other person sees no problem with their words or behavior, or if they consistently disregard our needs, we can erect boundaries to protect our soul from their painful words and behavior. Putting distance between them and us, or changing our focus about how their actions, opinions or beliefs affect us, will ensure that our heart is not constantly bombarded by their insensitivity and callous behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to choose our words carefully and to speak up when we are violated by another person’s words or actions. Help us to change our focus about their behavior, so that we can maintain the relationship without severing the unity between us. When the whole world misunderstands or criticizes us, You are holding out Your arms, ready to pour out Your love and grace on us in our time of need. We can unburden our heart to You, sharing with You our deepest feelings without any fear of censure or ridicule.

Thought for the Day:
We can pay attention the red flags that our negative emotions give us and use our words to express how we really feel before we let our emotions dictate our behavior.