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.

 

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Healing from Abusive Behavior – Part 1

Abuse, even a one-time moment of rage that used abuse as punishment or an attempt to control the victim, robs us of our innocence and makes us feel powerless over our own life.

It drives us into a codependent role – attempting to please others to keep them from abusing us. The problem with this faulty thinking is that it often has the opposite effect.

People tend to continue to abuse our good nature, take us for granted and treat us with contempt. A lack of appreciation and more verbal, mental and physical abuse may follow.

We strive throughout our life to lay down our life in hopes that someone will love us; but we actually teach them that it is okay to take advantage of us, because we constantly put our needs last.

Trauma does not always make us stronger. It may also make us a ball of nerves, fear and insecurity. We are actually weaker, because we are always on the defensive.

We may develop PTSD, much like any survivor of a battle zone, and react to life with this fractured thinking and behavior. Medication may be necessary to help us to remain calm and lucid until God heals us.

Journaling helps us to heal by allowing our Inner Parent to understand the deep wounds we experienced and to nurture our Inner Child as we turn our words into a prayer for God’s healing.

Prayer:
Father God, I pray for victims of abuse of every type. Give them the deep comfort that can only come from Your love. Restore to them their joy in life and remove from them the fears and insecurities, which plague their life. Redeem their heart and mind and give them a new outlook on life.

Teach them that although people may not be trustworthy, You are always trustworthy. Help us to remain vulnerable and kind, yet wary and wise (Matthew 10:16). Show us the balance between serving others without teaching them to take us for granted by always putting our needs last.

Thought for the Day:
God’s perfect goodness and love find expression in the midst of wickedness and degradation; because He experiences every slight right along with us and carries our pain and burden for us, if we will relinquish it to Him.

Prayer Journal

Contrary to popular belief, God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person. Even if we are Born Again, if we harbor unconfessed sin in our heart, God will not stay in our presence (Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 15:29).

Otherwise, there is no sin too horrific or concern too trivial to bring to Him in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence to listen as He speaks to us.

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because they think that He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by our petty concerns.

They would never, ever pray in public, because they are afraid that people might judge their efforts and find them lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend. Jesus is our very best friend (Proverbs 18:24).

The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born. Yet, He is our Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11).

He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security (John 10:16-18, 15:13). He loves us without measure. He gave us His Word as our comfort and our guide.

Praying Bible verses gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. These verses were well written by people who felt just like we do. They inspire us to pray using our own words too.

We can journal in a notebook as we pray, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can record the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit.

The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (Psalm 46:10). He will lead us throughout our day in this same way.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning, because You already know the end from the beginning.

Listening to Your truth through Your Word and by You speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest opportunity we can ever experience on this earth. We find our true joy only in Your presence in our life.

Draw us ever closer to Your heart and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, in contrition for our sins, and in wonder, both for who You are and for all that You do for us each day.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

Renewed Mind – Part 4 – God-Given Emotions

Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is a vital part of who we are as human beings. Ignoring our soul only stunts our growth both in our soul and in our spirit.

A need for attention, dependence on others, and fear of being alone are results of abandonment issues from our childhood. Destructive acts, pouting, self-centeredness and temper tantrums all stem from deep deprivation and anger from our past.

Our lack of self-awareness and failure to accept our emotions will compound our past wounds, which we carry with us every day of our life, some of them since conception.

Our relationships suffer due to emotional, behavioral and mental deficits. Psychologically, we are stuck in the unresolved issues of our past, which prevent us from experiencing adulthood with a mature attitude.

We fail to succeed in most of our endeavors due to the lack of adult persistence, self-control and planning. Some of us are consumed with anger and unforgiveness, which we internalize.

This results in depression for which we take medication. This simply masks the pain in our soul and causes more grief as well as physical ailments such as headaches, and stomach and breathing and heart related issues.

If we allow our self to feel our anger, we can work through it to the grief buried within our subconscious mind (Ephesians 4:26). We can journal our thoughts and feelings, and ask God to help us to find the root cause of our grief and other negative emotions.

Never apologize for your emotions. God gave them to us. They are either a sign of sickness in our soul, a precaution to keep us safe, and an expression of the joy He places in the heart of His children (Proverbs 16:32, 17:22, 19:8; Ephesians 4:26-27).

After we identify the source of our negative emotions, we can grieve our losses and affirm and validate our feelings. Then we pray for God’s wisdom and healing, we forgive the perpetrators, who wounded us and caused our grief; and we move into the freedom and rest of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:5; John 8:36).

Prayer:
Father God, there are few of us on this earth who did not experience some form of abuse in our lifetime. We never learned to handle our emotions and often sin because of them. We may minimize, disassociate from or magnify our feelings; but teach us to learn from them, and to bring them to You for understanding and healing.

Help us to stop blaming our self for the abuse we suffered; to release the pent up energy from our negative emotions without sinning against You or someone else; and to allow our self to cry and grieve our losses. Then we can release the incident to You and find Your forgiveness for those who wounded us.

Thought for the Day:
God and Christ both gave us clear examples of how emotions are a normal and healthy part of life.

Reacting to Life

When we are attacked for our choices and feelings, we must fight with spiritual weapons, not carnal, human ones. Our warfare is not against a person, but against the spiritual powers, which operate behind the scenes and through people. Realizing who the real enemy is enables us to fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord gives us (2 Corinthians 10:4).

My father reacted to life as a bipolar, rage-aholic. In my younger years, I compliantly did as I was told; but with age, I learned his behavior and I stood up for myself. I used anger to protect my interests when anyone made a decision that affected me, or when they did not listen to my feelings or my needs, discounted or ignored me, or did not take me seriously.

After I surrendered my life to Christ, I still used anger to make people take me seriously. What I did not realize is that anger is not God’s way (James 1:20). Anger manipulated me into acting as a tool of the devil. He discouraged and wounded people through my outbursts of anger. The root of any issue goes deeper than human decisions, personalities, schedules and life choices.

With time, I learned to gain the person’s undivided attention and to express very firmly that my needs are either not negotiable, or that an alternate decision needs to be made that I am comfortable with. This is an effective method if the other person is spirit-led and listens to my needs, does not discount or ignore me, and takes me seriously.

Otherwise, I make it very clear, without anger, that I am upset about the decision being made; and I will make alternative decisions, which will provide for my needs. Divorce is never an option, and quitting a job before securing another one is not advisable. However, we can protect our self from another person’s upsetting decisions and behavior, by getting counseling and by using a time of separation to work out the opposing issues needing reconciliation.

Prayer,
Father God, remind us that we are all living in spiritual warfare (1 Peter 5:8). If Satan can use some decision to split a relationship, he will do it. Your Word tells us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile (Mt. 5:39); but after we do this, we often need to take a stand. Help us to journal our feelings, to pray about the situation, to ask You to intervene on our behalf and then to try to communicate our needs once again. Remind us that a period of separation for the purpose of reconciliation allows both parties to live apart for a time, to get counseling and to find a way to resolve the issue, which is causing them grief.

Thought for the Day:
Put the devil to flight and preserve your marriage and other relationships by preferring one another, never insisting on your own way, laying down both sets of preferences and finding a third alternative with which you can both live happily. – James 4:7

How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

Help for Hurting People

Hurting people go in one of three directions: they clam up and become a loner, hoping to avoid any more pain; or they strike out like a bully, injuring others as badly as they are hurting inside; or they hate the pain they are inflicted with, and they never want anyone else to hurt as much as they do, so they help to carry someone else’s burden.

I have no idea what causes people to react in such different ways. Maybe their personality, or their inability to bear any more pain, or the example of others in their life, or an instinctive desire to help someone else will fuel their behavior. Regardless of their reaction, however, they all have one thing in common. They are wounded beyond the ability of their soul to handle any more pain.

Sometimes our anguish is so intense, that we do not want to admit it, even to our self; pain that we are afraid to verbalize, in fear that we will feel the ache all over again, or even more intensely than we felt it the first time. We may not even know or remember the incident, which inflicted this trauma. We may have disassociated from the event, so that we can forget it in the hopes of stopping the pain.

A good method of releasing this pent-up torment is to write about it on a piece of paper – to keep a journal in which we write truthfully and often. We allow our soul to express the cause of our pain and the profound feelings we keep buried deeply within our soul. There is no need to write a whole paragraph, a phrase or a sentence will do.

Reading it to someone else is your option, but not a necessity. Just one sentence is all we need, in order to diffuse the terrifying emotion, which is keeping us in bondage. If you do not remember the incident, then just list the negative emotions rampant in your soul right now: anger, bitterness, revenge, brokenness, depression, discouragement, hopelessness, etc.

Then, ask God to disclose the source of these emotions; to reveal the lies, which Satan planted in this experience; and then to express His truth about this hidden pain. God knows the end of our life from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He was there when we experienced this pain. He wants us to lay our pain at the Cross, and to ask Jesus to make us a new creation; so that He can care for us (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22).

Prayer:
Father God, it takes courage for us to go hunting in the recesses of the jungle of our mind. Weeds, vines and underbrush wall in our pain; and we will have to break through these barriers in order to expose the anguish all over again. Pour out Your love upon us as we embark on this journey. Pull out the splinters of pain that have festered over the years from neglect. Renew a right spirit within us and give us Your joy as our strength (Psalm 28:7, 51:10, 71:26, 94:19; Nehemiah 8:10). Then help us to help other hurting people to find freedom in Your love as well.

Thought for the Day:
As we draw nearer to God, we can resist the devil and he will have to run from us. – James 4:7-8
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