Bullying (PTSD)

Memories: Ouch!Premium Content

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psalm 51:12


Autumn floods me with childhood memories of locusts inhabiting our farm and caterpillars on twigs, kept on mason jars, just waiting to become monarch butterflies.

And, with that flooding, often comes the tinged bittersweet feelings that accompany a childhood innocence of long ago.

I recently caught a funny post on the internet. It read: "Memories: Ouch!"

They say humor is humor because it is unflinching truth. And that certainly was the case with this post.

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Roles. Do we box ourselves in?Premium Content

When we're little girls, many of us have, at some point, wanted to be an actress. I did. I was "bitten" by the bug at age nine, when I played a baby doll in a school play. From there, I acted in various productions and eventually graduated from college as a theater major.

And during that time, I was exposed to Shakespeare and of course, his female characters. Juliet, Ophelia, Queen Gertrude and Lady Macbeth were the most influential to me.

I first encountered the Juliet character on a Brady Bunch episode (Marcia Brady was cast as Juliet in a school play). I know. It was during the time Franco Zefferelli's film was out, portraying our young star crossed lovers. And, by the time I hit high school, I'd seen the film. What wasn't to like? Drama, a love story and two very beautiful lead actors; Juliet was played by Olivia Hussey. Anyway, it lines right up with my desire to be beautiful. And that was, of course, a large part of wanting to be an actress.

And so, it begins - acting.

By the time I entered college, I decided to be a theater major. I was a great way to express myself - and a nifty way to avoid having to take math classes as well. (I was hopeless at algebra). Anyway, by college, I was introduced to Hamlet - and the leading lady role of the young, fragile - and crazy- Ophelia. She was the love interest of Hamlet (again, the star-crossed lovers theme) and I bought into its mystique.

Or rather, I bought into the ingénue's mystique. Ingénue. According to its definition, it means:

An unsophisticated girl or young woman: a girl or young woman who is naive and lacks experience or understanding of life;
A naive character in drama: a character in a play or a movie who is a naive inexperienced young woman

Really?

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Surviving an Abusive ChildhoodPremium Content

Whether it's been through abuse or disorder, I learned to fear.

Child development experts state that newborns have only two fears: loud noises and falling. Babies' brains and nerves grow rapidly in the first two years of life, but they are born with very immature nervous systems. This means that they cannot interpret or handle certain sensory input -- like loud noises or the feeling of falling.

So, that means, all other fears are learned.

That's certainly been my experience. Growing up with an abusive dad, there was always this "or else" undercurrent of dread. My life experiences with conditional love further sealed the deal to the performance-based nature to both love and life:

"I desperately wanted my dad to notice me. I learned very quickly that one surefire way to do that was by winning awards. When I won something, I wasn't completely worthless or useless. I was productive; I was 'earning my keep.' I set impossible standards for myself. Try as I might with award after award, I'd eventually disappoint everyone, including myself, proving that I wasn't worth anything after all.

My perfect attendance record in school is an excellent example. For three years in a row, I did not missed one day of school, knowing that I would win a perfect attendance certificate, tangible proof on paper that I was worthwhile. It became a standard I had to maintain because my dad seemed pleased in my performance. Of course, he never said that he was proud of me, but he did lay off the criticisms briefly. So for the next few years, I went to school with colds, sore throats and influenza. I remember going to school once with a temperature of over 101, sitting at my desk, on the verge of throwing up, yet only thinking of that certificate.

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Have You Been Quieted in His Love?

There is nothing in our journey quite like being quieted in His love. Have you been? Is this a normal part of your walk with Jesus? All of hell is against this! Fear assaults us daily while stress, anxiety, nervous tension, constant worry and trauma work there <insidious plan in our lives. We cannot quiet in His love if focused on these demons. But we must. It is a non-negotiable daily part of our joy in Him. These demons will flee as we quiet in His love!

There's nothing to fear from evil ever again! God Is Present among You 16 Jerusalem will be told: Don't be afraid. Dear Zion, don't despair. 17 Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. 18 The accumulated sorrows of your exile will dissipate. I, your God, will get rid of them for you. You've carried those burdens long enough. 19 At the same time, I'll get rid of all those who've made your life miserable. I'll heal the maimed; I'll bring home the homeless. In the very countries where they were hated they will be venerated. Zephaniah 3:15b-19, The Message

Truly, what marvelous news this is!

Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

We resist getting help

In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

Fear

It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3

The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

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Is Fear "Normal?"Premium Content

We take fear for granted.

I think we live in a culture of fear. We're quite literally immersed in it. We're so accustomed to being afraid that we don't even realize how much this embedded fear drives our thinking, attitudes, and choices.

For all of our talk about freedom we seem obsessed with power and control. We have this insatiable need to manipulate others and control our environment, and I believe it's mostly rooted in insecurity and fear.

How much of your time and attention is devoted to avoiding every conceivable risk—or even the appearance of risk? How much do you worry about “threats” that aren't meaningful threats at all?

How much energy do you expend controlling others? How much do you seek power through some form of coercion, as though it's just the way it's supposed to be?

What's the cost of all that fear?

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Are You the Victim of a Bully?Premium Content

I once thought a bully was a big kid shaking down a weaker kid for lunch money.

Now I know bullies are adults, too. They’re bosses, parents, teachers, spouses, neighbors, pastors, celebrities, and pro athletes. A bully is an insecure person who uses physical or emotional violence, or the threat of such violence, to exert power and control over others.

I can’t think of anything positive about bullies or their actions.

The bully hasn’t learned how to get what he needs—affirmation, love, self-worth—in authentic relationships, so he resorts to violence and threats. Bullies aren’t “real men” or “strong women.” They’re weak or unskilled in relationships, so they compensate with bravado.

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God's Name TagPremium Content

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 2:21


When I was a kid, my cousins had a favorite pastime: scaring me senseless. I mistakenly thought by being an only child, I'd avoid the horror of sibling torment.

Not so fast. The beauty of older cousins.

Anyway, as part of this torment, my loving cousins frequently told me I was in rooms with ghosts, demons and the devil himself. Whether it was in my home or theirs, they'd lure me into a particular room, then shut the door, locking me in while making scary noises, "talking" to the disturbing entities and, of course, telling me these unholy creatures were coming for me.

Oh, happy childhood. When is it over?

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Abuse: It's Deceptions, Forms & HealingPremium Content

As we already know, abuse can come in many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, financial, spiritual and so on. For the most part, it is you that is the victim or survivor of abuse. But what if the abuser is you? How do you deal with the fact that you are an abuser yourself? Do you blame it on being abused yourself? Is it a result of growing up watching your parents while one abuses the other? How do you change your behaviour? Do you want to change your behaviour? There are many questions regarding when you are the abuser and there are many roads to choose from of which to travel down. Also, what if you are not the abuser, but the person being abused? What are your options? What actions should you take to end the violence?

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