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/

 

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Disposable People – Part 2 – Advantages of Staying Married

There are many advantages to staying together with our first love. The first benefit is for our children. The continuity of the family is a basic human need.

Children are encouraged that their own marriage will make it through the tough times, just like their parents did. Otherwise, they will develop a disposable mentality as well.

Staying married contributes to overall emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and physical health. It reduces the stress of starting over and the effects of grief, which divorce adds to our life.

Dating new people, while fun in some cases, is risky because everyone has baggage of some sort, visible and invisible. In a second marriage, we often spend more time with our spouse’s children than our own.

Therefore, do not get careless in your marriage; relax, but look, speak and act attractively for one another. Continue dating each other, even when the children come along. Enjoy your mate’s company.

When we and our spouse disagree, we can find a third alternative, on which we can both agree. If there is a seemingly unsolvable issue, get counseling to find an agreeable path.

We may need to take a break, to put a brief time or distance between each other in order to gain a new perspective on our relationship.

A separation for the purpose of reconciliation gives us a chance to talk about our disagreements with the freedom of having a safe place to go if tempers flare or we feel frustrated or unsafe.

We may find that we miss our spouse, the security they give to our life and little joys they bring to our everyday experiences, their laughter and support.

We can both agree to change habits which cause friction in our relationship. We can gain a better understanding of our spouse by talking intimately about each other’s honest feelings, needs and desires.

Forgiveness helps us to rekindle the love we once felt for each other. We will grow to admire, encourage, appreciate, cherish and serve one another all the days of our life, and we will stay together until death parts us.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our marriage vows were made to You as well as to our spouse. Prompt us to pray with our spouse, because You help us to resolve our issues. If we take turns praying, each partner praying one sentence at a time, this prevents much of the frustration of praying together. Teach us to pause and listen to You speak to us as we pray too.

Help us to bear one another’s burdens, to be long suffering with each other’s shortcomings, to encourage and build each other up and to enjoy one another’s company. Remind us why we fell in love in the first place and help us to keep the eternal flame of agape love burning.

Thought for the Day:
Love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

A Reasoned Response

Most of my answers are soft (Proverbs 15:1); however, my life was filled with people who took me for granted and ignored me unless I YELLED and unleashed the full fury of my Italian wrath every once in a while.

I always wanted to have a sweet response when someone stepped on my last nerve, or yanked my chain one too many times, but people tended not to take me seriously unless I yelled.

Therefore, when the people in my life changed, I had to practice giving soft answers, to practice choosing to give a reasoned response, rather than letting my emotions build within me until I simply exploded (Psalm 116:7).

In the ensuing years, God allowed my children to grow up into responsible adults who live in their own homes. He also gave me a husband who nurtures and cherishes me.

God helped me to understand that I do not need wrath to get my point across. All I need to do is to quietly say, “I really want you to take me seriously, and listen to what I am saying.”

Our authority is in Christ, not in our self or the intensity of our words. In Christ, quietness is our confidence and strength (Isaiah 30:15, 32:17). When two people disagree, they can always find a compromise.

When we speak with God’s authority instead of our own, people listen. We get the person’s attention, share our needs and then relax in quietness and confidence that the Lord will fight for us, as we wait on Him (Exodus 14:14).

We can trust that God already placed the seed for a miracle in every trial, which we will ever encounter. If we water this seed with faith, patience and confidence in God’s faithfulness, a beautiful plant of blessing will grow.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that Satan battles for our soul through our mind, choices and emotions. He knows he already lost our spirit to You, but he wants to destroy our soul, and our witness for You (Proverbs 34:13). Help us to choose to step out of our self-effort and into Your authority by the guidance of Your Spirit (Proverbs 16:23; Isaiah 45:22).

Wounds from our past and ever-occurring wounds in our present life – being belittled, discounted, deprived emotionally or physically, abandoned, insecure and frightened in our heart – will manifest in our words.

Yet, as we trust You, You help us to heal from our wounds. We will dwell in security and rest (Isaiah 32:18). May our thoughts and words be pleasing to You as we rely on You as our rock and Redeemer (Psalm 20:14).

Thought for the Day:
As God heals the wounds in our soul, as we relinquish our pet peeves and idols to Him, as we surrender control of our life to Him and realize that nothing can happen to us that is not already part of His plan for us (Isaiah 7:4), then we can think and speak quiet, confident thoughts rather than broiling negative emotions.

Let Me Tell You, Gentlemen

If you think that your marriage is good, or even perfect, that may be because all of your needs are met by your good and faithful wife. Have you ever asked her what she thinks about your marriage?

You may be surprised to find out that she is so busy caring for you and the home and children, that she has no time to fulfill her needs. She may have longings in her soul that are not realized; so make the time to discover her needs and help her to accomplish them.

You may criticize her for her irritability, insecurity, jealousy, rage, discouragement, etc., and view these negative emotions as separate from your behavior. They very well may have an outside source; but you could help to relieve them, even if your behavior and attitude are not causing them.

Do you ignore her when she talks to you, and only listen to her with half an ear? Do you take all of her needs seriously and ask her how you can help her? Do you provide her with a stable living environment full of cherishing, nurturing and acceptance?

She may need an hour to soak in the tub, some help with the dishes or bathing the children, a night alone to read or watch a movie in the sanctity of your bedroom, or a special date night. Take charge and give her that time.

Make sure that you inundate her with continual focused attention; date nights which you help to plan; and little gifts, notes, cards, emails and phone calls to let her know that she is not only in your heart but in your mind as well.

Never take her for granted. Bless her with words, which affirm your appreciation of her, but back the words up with actions too. Celebrate her successes along with her and show her your care and concern when she is discouraged or ill.

If she works outside of the home too, help her with the household chores and make sure all of your children have assigned duties, so that the whole family cooperates to keep your home clean, harmonious and running smoothly.

Never allow your children to speak to your wife with disrespect, and model this respect by your behavior. Find a church to attend with your family, have daily devotions with them all and disciple them in Biblical truth to help them to withstand the devil’s temptations.

Prayer:
Father God, You created the husband to serve as a role model in his family as he patterns his behavior and attitude after Your character and nature (Galatians 5:15-25; 2 Peter 1:4). Help him to consider the needs of his wife and children above his own (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, give him the boldness to express his needs as well, so his family can uplift him as he supports them.

Meld the husband and wife in such unity that they provide a positive and cohesive home for their children. This will give more security to the children and reduce rebellion in them as well. Remind us that You are the reason we are alive on this earth, and that serving You as a family is the greatest privilege, which life affords us.

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer one another, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

Emotional Tanks

When my children were in high school, I created a poster with an emotional tank for each member of our family. The object was for each of us to signify how full our emotional tank was each day.

This way we could all deposit into one another’s tank, especially into those who were running low. Well, my idea bombed with my family, but I am hoping you might like this idea.

To add to someone’s emotional tank, we need to know them well, learn what is important to them, and then converse with them and provide for them according to their love language. (www.5lovelanguages.com )

Pay attention to the words they use and listen between the lines. Never belittle their ideas, hope or dreams. Deposit daily encouragement into their emotional tank and inspire them to follow God’s plan for their day.

Deposit your time, energy, understanding and godly wisdom into their emotional tank. Be there for one another and be patient and kind to one another.

Build a foundation of trust in your family. Love depends upon trust; and when trust is broken, it is hard to feel love. Keep promises, tell the truth, and be a person of integrity.

Admit when you are wrong, and deposit into their emotional tanks with sincere apologies and changed behavior. Love unconditionally so they will feel secure, safe and affirmed.

You may not agree with their behavior or choices, and you can discipline when necessary, but separate the person from their behavior and validate them as your special treasure.

Deposit second chances, change your focus, and utilize forgiveness in every breach of confidence. You do not need to be victimized, however; and you can establish boundaries, which are safe for everyone.

Interdependence is a well-adjusted relationship centered on God who dwells in the midst of us. Following the guidance of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout the day will help us to deposit rather than to withdraw from one another’s emotional tank.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to cooperate so that no one person makes all the sacrifices. Help us to accept one another for who we are and to request changes only when necessary for the peace of the household.

Remind us to enjoy one another’s company, to cherish our relationship, not to take anyone for granted and to value the priceless connection You have given to us all.

Thought for the Day:
Pray together, have family devotions, serve the community together, play together; but also give one another space to have time to pursue their own interests as you make daily deposits into one another’s emotional tank.

Communication in Marriage

Most couples dearly love one another, but have a hard time expressing their deepest feelings. They desperately want their mate to know they love them, but have no clue how to do this ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ ). When it comes to verbally expressing their feelings, they get tongue-tied. The old joke states, “I told you that I love you when I married you; and if I change my mind, I will let you know.”

Unrealistic expectations prior to marriage often ruin a couple’s chance at happiness in the marriage. No one can live up to the fairy tale romance they dream about or the practical expectations they anticipate. Many people also think they will change their mate once they get married. One man put it this way, “Honey, what you see is what you get. I’m not changing for anyone or for any reason.”

We also misunderstand what our mate desires from us. We get frustrated, angry, resentful and feel hopeless because we cannot measure up to the ideal, which we think our mate wants. If we realize that we are both human and have foibles and idiosyncrasies that make us the unique person we are, then we can be more accepting of our self and one another.

There are realistic goals for marriage, however. We want our mate to care about how they look; and we appreciate their efforts to dress neatly, to stay groomed, to maintain a reasonable weight and to be caring and loyal. Our mate will be less tempted to look outside of the marriage if we present an attractive package within the marriage. We also want our mate to cherish us and to desire our company.

One key to a happy marriage is honest communication. Not brutal honesty, but loving, confident, uncritical expressions of what we want and need. It puts undo stress on a couple to try to predict what gift our mate wants for special occasions or what behavior they are expecting from us. The second key is a servant’s heart. In all things, we can love, serve and accept each other’s differences (Ephesians 4:2).

Prayer:
Father God, You give us the desire to love and to be loved. It is our most basic human need. We know without a doubt that Your love for us is the most fulfilling and the most urgent of our human needs. You do not love us for how we perform, because You loved us while we were still depraved sinners (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). Help us to love one another unconditionally. Our mate may choose to leave us, but we do not have to take their choice personally, because we know You will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)

Thought for the Day:
Men and women both thrive on praise, appreciation and affirmation, rather than on criticism, condescension and being taken for granted.