Bitter Pill

“‘…and the truth shall make you free‘” (John 8: 32).

One particularly tenacious scar of abuse is the vicious criticism victims direct at themselves. In most cases, this criticism continues long after the abuse, itself, has ended. It undercuts our relationships, our endeavors, and our peace of mind.

Because the rationale behind self-criticism is not immediately clear, victims are tempted to take the criticism at face value. This can be a crippling mistake (even a fatal one, if the criticism feeds depression).

When those who preyed on us expressed their criticism of us – our behavior, our hopes and dreams, our very being – verbally, it does not require a great leap of faith to draw the conclusion that our critical inner voice is actually theirs.

What of those among us who were not verbally abused? Abuse by any other name remains abuse. Victims are not unfeeling lumps of clay. They know what is being done to them is wrong, whatever blandishments accompany the violation, whatever labels are applied.

As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously put it, “Even a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked.”

Why then is it so difficult for victims to still that inner critic?

The truth at the very heart of abuse, the reason we continue to excoriate ourselves long after the abuser has gone, is that we would rather destroy ourselves than believe we meant so little to someone who should have loved us.

That is a bitter pill to swallow. But it is the medicine we need to heal from this scar.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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11 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

11 responses to “Bitter Pill

  1. “… we would rather destroy ourselves than believe we meant so little to someone who should have loved us.” This is a good observation.

  2. “… we would rather destroy ourselves than believe we meant so little to someone who should have loved us.” Very good insight, Anna. This is a kind of “honor your father and mother” law written in us that works in a negative and self destructive way. We blame ourselves rather than blame them. Only seeing Jesus as He is, the One who filled up all the just requirements of the law to set us free of the law of sin and death and believing in HIS finished work for us can set us free of such bondage.
    Your friend, Michael

  3. I love you, dear Anna. ❤

    Virtual hugs,
    Susanne xx

  4. I am blessed to know you as a friend in Christ as well. Thanks for all your encouragement, my sister.

  5. “Only seeing Jesus as He is, the One who filled up all the just requirements of the law to set us free of the law of sin and death and believing in HIS finished work for us can set us free of such bondage.” This is so true Michael.

  6. Thanks for your comment, Lynette. I have walked down this road of parental abuse myself and only am sharing how I was healed…. finding my healing by abiding IN Him alone.

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