Verbal Abuse

"Surviving the Holidays with a Dysfunctional Family" Workshop

note: Members may discuss this workshop in the Message Boards HERE

Welcome to our Special Workshop tonight
"Surviving the Holidays with a Dysfunctional Family" Workshop

For many, the Christmas season is not a time of warm cozy feelings and precious memories. For some, it is a time of reliving the nightmares of childhood abuse and not wanting to return home for Christmas. It is a reminder of broken relationships and children in the custody of “the other parent.” It is a season of struggles to stay clean and sober and out of trouble when attending Christmas gatherings. How can we not only survive, but also thrive during the Christmas season?

Obtaining the Warrior SpiritPremium Content

"...and that's when I became a warrior!"

I recently caught this statement trending on social media. It's no surprise why it has caught on. With so much suffering in the world, taking on a fighting perspective can be empowering.

No matter what we've experienced in our lives, God has placed within each of us a warrior spirit. He knows full well of our challenges, setbacks, relapses, pain and loss. He also knows of our mighty purpose as well.

And it is precisely that reason why the warrior emerges. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It's that kind of thing which attaches itself to our every breath. It's that thing which does not give up, no matter how many times we feel we cannot go on.

Whatever you have survived in your life - loss, trauma, addiction, abuse, extraordinary pain- God wants you to do something with it, in spite of it.

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8-9

He wants to turn those ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61:1-3).

But He doesn't stop there. He doesn't just want you to fight for fighting's sake. He wants to give you the Victory as well!

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

God wants you to experience overcoming that enemy. He didn't say it would be easy, instant or painless. But He has assured us that Victory is ours.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

And that is often what awakens the warrior within us, often, without our own awareness. Some call it "instinct." But again, it's "that thing" which keeps going when everything and everyone else tells us to give up. It's God given.

And because it is God given,

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Abused? God has victory for You!Premium Content

There are many of us out there who have been bullied and abused.

Whether we've been beaten verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually by a family member, have been teased, thrown in lockers or picked last for teams as kids or, worst case scenario - all of the above - it certainly is a challenge to live through that, let alone, overcome it.

Many of us are underdogs, the forgotten, the least likely.

And that is precisely why one of the things that I love most about God is His viewpoint on that status. God's "M.O." is one of championing the underdog, encouraging him/her, and exalting/promoting that individual, not just in spite of the odds, but quite often, because of them.

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We Shall Overcome: Embracing an Attitude of BraveryPremium Content

Helen Keller once said: “The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it.”

Perspective plays a role in how we view our current physical, emotional, spiritual, and attitudinal situations. Is the sum total a barrier or an opportunity? Like a kaleidoscope, we can tweak the patterns of what we see, what we feel, how we respond via our perspective.

For Helen Keller she chose to see the human situation of suffering and seized every opportunity to overcome suffering. When we stop and think about it, overcoming is a lifetime decision. We can either wrap ourselves in a cloak of suffering to insure our self pity and woe is communicated clearly and heard by the masses, seeking sympathy with “poor me. No one knows the trouble I bear.” Or we can embrace an attitude of bravery in Christ—overcoming the suffering.

There are many tough, life-impacting decisions in our lives, but choosing to wallow in the mire of our pain and be satisfied with a life of self pity just doesn’t seem like a healthy life decision. In fact, that’s not why God created us.

First and foremost, God created us to have a personal loving relationship with Him. Hmmmm.... Based on my personal research, Bible study, and life experiences, this means a two-way relationship, including a:

-A relationship with God
-Freely inviting God into every aspect of your life.

No sloughing off here, because God wants every part of you in this relationship. Your mind, soul, spirit, body, and heart. Don’t hold back, or you’ll end up back at that pity party, and we don’t want that do we?

John 10:3-5 gives a relationship view for us to strive for:

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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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Do You Have a Diligently Kept Heart?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23

Recently, I caught a documentary about the Japanese film director and animator, Hayeo Miyazaki. He's creator of anime feature films including, "My Neighbor Totoro" and "The Wind Rises."

Anyway, during this documentary, Miyazaki talked about his father and the impact he had on his world view:

"Being welcomed instead of being chased out probably shaped the way this man looked at the world."
~Hayao Miyazaki

The power of this statement hit me. Looking at this man's countenance, his joyful and peacefully optimistic demeanor shouts the sentiment loud and clear.

As I've been in recovery from both my disordered eating/image and abuse issues, I've had to look long and hard at the state of my heart. It's unflattering and painful to do so, yet quite necessary.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

My Husband Puts Me Down Constantly. What Should I Do?

Ask Angie: What should a wife do when the husband puts her down constantly and is verbally abusive?

Guidance: Your husband is having problems within himself. He is manifesting his feelings in aggressive verbal language to you because he us unable to manage his emotions properly. Usually people who put down others (judgmental and critical) are unhappy within themselves. Please print out this marriage column and read together with your husband.

Have you tried reading the bible together as a study and discussion about what you read? Have you prayed and asked God to help your husband find peace of mind? You see many times we are so concerned about ourselves that we often overlook the obvious. Your husband is having a difficult time expressing himself properly and his anger is making him bitter and cold inside. It's almost like living with an alcoholic.

You need to detach with love. How do you do that? Easy! Simply walk away when he becomes verbally abusive or when he begins to disrespect you. Do not take his verbal abuse – let it slide right off your shoulders – let it go in one ear and out the other. I realize that no sane person can actually do this, but you are going to try and do it, and eventually it will make you feel better doing it. There is no other way. You can't make your husband be nice to you. Only he has the power within himself to change himself.

Why let his misery control how you feel? Walk away from it. And when he asks you why you are not getting angry back or why you are leaving the room, tell him that you are not going to talk to him when he is abusive. You have to take care of your own emotional and spiritual well-being. How can you do that when you are constantly getting trampled on? Rescue yourself from the abuse.

The worse thing you can do is to get verbally abusive back. What does that show? It shows your husband that you have a problem and not him. When you stop letting the abuse bother you, he will actually "see" his own behavior and how rotten he has been behaving. Your husband has to take responsibility for his own behavior. You are responsible for your behavior.

When the Past Haunts UsPremium Content

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

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