Childhood Abuse

Pins and Needles: Chronic Abuse and Trauma

Our formative years present the potential for self-harm to thrive. Our early experiences, for better or worse, shape us. And sometimes, that shaping can take the form of addiction. Hypervigilance often results from certain incidents, in which trauma somehow established our need to self-medicate.

"... When a child grows up afraid or under constant or extreme stress, the immune system and body’s stress response systems may not develop normally. Later on, when the child or adult is exposed to even ordinary levels of stress, these systems may automatically respond as if the individual is under extreme stress... Adults with histories of trauma in childhood have been shown to have more chronic physical conditions and problems. They may engage in risky behaviors that compound these conditions (e.g., smoking, substance use, and diet and exercise habits that lead to obesity)." "Effects of Complex Trauma," http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/complex-trauma/effects-of-complex-trauma

My first memory, a traumatic one at that, was when I was three years old; my parents decided to move the family’s sewing machine from one floor of our house to another. But they neglected to remove its drawers, filled with hundreds of needles and pins. Inevitably, I toddled downstairs, stepping on many of them.

God Chooses the Improbable

"You did not choose me, but I chose you..."John 15:16a

I know what you're thinking: "God chooses others, but not me."

The Trigger of Grief

In the work of recovery, we address the danger of triggers. Its very word itself suggests the power to cause us harm:

"Something that precipitates a particular event or situation; To set off; initiate; To fire or explode."


On one August morning of 2003, I encounter such a trigger. The phone rang. My dad was dead.

My grief, for the next year and a half, was an alarming, unexpected reality. And each subsequent "anniversary" proves equally tricky also. Both defy what I thought I would - or should - be experiencing.

After all, coming from an abusive childhood, I didn't think the loss of this pain-inflicting parent would register as significantly as it did.

The Mother-Daughter Tug-of-War

It's been said the mother-daughter relationship is the most complicated dynamic around. Therefore, most of us can see why eating disorder behaviors often arise within these relationships. The influential modeling of mother on daughter impacts her beauty values.

But the issue goes beyond just appearance; the enmeshment creates a tug of war for control and autonomy.

The Past is Over: Do Not Let It Define You Today

The Past is Gone
Once I learned to trust God with my life and my wills, my trust for others began to increase. I no longer allowed my past to define me. I stopped allowing the people of my past to define the trustworthiness of those closest to me.

I understand now, trusting God to love me despite my past also means I trust Him with my future. It means to believe He is starting something new within me as I rise each morning. This is a process that began with surrender, but that is not the end of the journey for me. I must also turn away from the mistakes of my past and turn toward God’s will.

Wisdom to Know the Difference

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.James 3:17


The Serenity Prayer is believed to have been written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr sometime in the 1930’s. Although at the time it was written, it was not directly related to alcoholics, later it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as the prayer stated at each of their meetings. It would then become a regular prayer at many other recovery meetings, including that of adult children of alcoholics.

Workshop: Heart Hunger-Letting Jesus Satisfy Our Deepest Spiritual NeedsPremium Content

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hungryforjesus Abba Father
YOU are a Good Good Father
and You love us
with an everlasting Love
a love we cannot fully comprehend
but we can believe
and grow in
and learn from
Member #6 an d find healing and strength
new understandings
mercies new
every morning
grace sufficient
Thank You Holy God for this chance to meet with others
and to grow in YOU as we seek YOU
for who YOU are
in Your might y name
Name above ALL Names
we pray

hungryforjesus Hello from Ottawa, Canada the frozen north, eh

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The following are unsolicited, direct quotes from real people who have been ministered to by CIR. Though Jesus Christ, CIR impacts lives, saves lives and changes lives.

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Thank you for the many many resources that have helped to benefit me greatly during a long period of recurring losses and depression. I know without a doubt that God led me to the CIR website, and the benefits received during my long membership will continue to be an invaluable gift of healing for myself, and others with whom I can share my uncovered strength and wisdom. Thank you CIR! ~Dolores

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Living Water in the Desert of Abuse

Hagar couldn't bear to watch - or listen.

She tucked her son beneath the scant shade of a spiny bush, staggered about 100 yards away, and tried to plug her ears against his cries for help. But through the flesh and bone of her fingers, she could still hear him.

"Mama! Water! Please, Mama!" he begged, his voice cracking with adolescence and thirst.

Although the heat was oppressive, Hagar shivered with horror. Her baby was dying and she was helpless against the relentless sun and parched winds.

Soon she, too, would die from thirst. More painful than the thought of her own demise was the pleading voice of her son asking for the basic necessity of life that she could not give him -- water.

We Are Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

According to Triumph Over Darkness: Understanding and Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Wood, Wendy A. Beyond Words Publishing. April, 1993.

    1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.

    2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which either holds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.

    3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, our self-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.

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