Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Abusers are evil. Abuse is evil. Wicked. It is cruel and those who exercise it are going to be objects of God’s wrath. Abuse harms its victims greatly in many kinds of painful ways. Abuse is the spirit of murder. It is of the devil.
But coming to realize that we have been treated wickedly, betrayed, slandered, (and just go on here and list all the terrible things abusers do)…does not give us the right to be the center of everyone else’s thoughts. It does not give us the right to lash out at anyone anytime they say something or do something that happens to jolt us or kick off one of those mental replays of some evil that happened to us. That is to say, we do not have the right to walk around like a fuse that can be lit by some statement or action or event and then the expolosion goes off to blast those around us.
I am convinced that a lot of so-called therapy that abuse victims seek help from is what could be labeled “me, myself, and I” philosophy. “You’ve been a victim,” this line of thinking goes, “and now it’s time for you to stand up for yourself anytime someone says something or does something that lights your fuse.” Well, guess what? If you embrace this kind of mentality, you are not following Christ. It will not heal you. It will leave you in the ditch and mire and perpetual “chip-on-the-shoulder” victimhood.
We can be honest with ourselves. We can be honest with others when it is appropriate, and when our words will not be abusive themselves. We do need to learn how to set boundaries and the kind of people who don’t respect boundaries need to be firmly admonished. But if we choose to keep everyone around us walking on eggshells and making them worriy that anything they say can and will be used against them by us in a blast of anger and accusation, then we are sinning. Understand?
I am not talking about abusers who are wicked and who abuse. I am talking about other people we have contact with who might say something in ignorance or they might even say or do something that is not even directly related with or connected to your abuse – but it stings because of your past sufferings. If you lash out and attack and accuse and blame everytime something like this happens, then you are embracing the “me, myself, and I” mentality that threatens to punish anyone who says or does something you don’t like or that triggers you.
And guess what? If that is the path we take, our relationships are going to crash one after another. We will not exercise the love that Christ calls us to live by, and we will regularly hurt and sin against others. And that is the very same thing our abusers did to us.
2 thoughts on “Being Abused Does not Give us the Right to be Mean”
I am not a therapist and really struggle with observing therapy from a distance. I did seek therapy from a therapist after my divorce and she was great, but I was able to move on. I work in a therapeutic learning school for students who suffer from debilitating anxiety, etc and many (not all) with a history of self harm, suicidality and sexual trauma. Clinicians/therapists are about 30% of the staff so they are always available for students and have the students regularly check in with them, and often work together with students’ outside therapists. Many students are also on heavy meds. Although I understand that in the beginning the therapists role is often to “validate” the patient, which is an important step in therapy as many patients have been so invalidated. And, I often hear from clinicians, and I even use the phrase in relation to my academic expectations, for students “they are not there yet.”
However, there does seem times when there is a point where many of these students are being coddled, given to many excuses and allowances, and are bordering on full blown narcissism themselves. But then I am not a therapist, so I do not understand it all. It is also very, very secular, so I have to remind myself that within that framework, consequently, healing is limited and can only go so far.
I would like to see an movement towards a more holistic approach to therapy: the mind-body-spirit connection. So many people are literally addicted to drugs under the guise of prescription mental health meds/pharmaceuticals. I observe so much how it is about “managing the meds” verses weaning off from the meds.
As an ELA teacher, my role is very limited, I just focus on finding uplifting stories to nourish and challenge the imagination. I really like one we read recently “the necklace” by Guy de Maupassant about a very shallow young woman who learned a hard lesson, but actually didn’t really, she is still actually the same at the end despite the twist tragedy. She still pines for a life she thinks she was entitled to and still blames others for the life she has.
Very good insights here lg. Thank you!!