Monthly Archives: December 2016

Confidence

Jourenii Johnson (Photo courtesy of Inside Edition and YouTube)

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22: 6).

The Amazingly Authentic Confidence Program at Grambling State University helps grow the self-esteem of girls between the ages of 5 and 19 [1].  Girls in this age range are considered most vulnerable.

The program goes to some unusual lengths.  Five year old Jourenii Johnson was recently given the chance to teach a group of college students.  With total confidence, the little girl – who wants one day to become a teacher – informed the class that bullying is not a good thing.  She, also, instructed students not to use their cell phones in class.

Kudos to Grambling State!  How beautiful it is to see our children nurtured!

One cannot help but think of all those who do not receive the care they deserve.  For their sake, we must keep striving:  to educate the public about abuse; to rescue those being abused; to prosecute predators; and to set firm safeguards in place to prevent future abuse.

There was a child born 2000 years ago who brought hope and love into this broken world.  His desire for us is that we live joyfully; that we see ourselves as precious children of the One True God, and raise our own children in peace.

[1]  KNOE News 8, “5-year-old teaches at Grambling State University” by Kaitlyn Loyacano, 11/14/16, Updated 11/15/16, http://www.knoe.com/content/news/5-year-old-teaches-at-Grambling-State-University-401188286.html.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

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

Rejection and Missed Deadlines

Messy desk, Author Sugar Pond, Source Mess (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic ).

One way to miss deadlines.  Author Sugar Pond, Source Mess (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic ).

This post was written together with Marie Williams whose remarks are in italics.  Marie blogs at Come Fly with Me, https://mariewilliams53.wordpress.com.

Sometimes it can seem that the world is against us.  Wherever we turn, doors are shut to us.  We can never catch a break; are never cut any slack; keep running into walls.  We cannot find any support.

Sound familiar?  Rejection rules the lives of abuse victims…or does it?

Certainly, rejection played a major role in our childhood.  Let’s, however, turn that experience on its ear.  Let’s instead ask ourselves the unthinkable, whether abuse victims are trained to seek out rejection.

Cruelty v. Kindness

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself” (Prov. 11: 17).

Treated cruelly in the past, abuse victims may tolerate cruelty from others, presuming it to be the norm or believing we deserve no better.

That is what we have experienced for much of our lives.  In childhood, we don’t know any different.  We cannot reason objectively because we do not have the mindset and the maturity to differentiate between good behaviour and bad behaviour from an abuser.  We willingly accept the crumbs we are given because for us that is better than nothing at all. 

But an older person may, also, settle for abusive behaviour.  Once your will is broken, you lose your sense of self.  Instead, you are continually looking for validation from your abuser.  Abuse and rejection can be mistaken for approval by someone whose view has become skewed.

Victims long for kindness, but may mistake it for weakness.

Though searching for love and approval, abuse victims don’t really know what those look like.  Being treated badly is what they have been conditioned to expect.  Kindness to them is something they are not worthy of.  Having for their formative years experienced abuse, that is what “feels right” to them.

Missed Deadlines

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…” (Eccl. 3: 1).

We miss the deadline for school applications; fail to supply the required documentation for scholarships.  And are rejected.

We hand class papers in late, losing points despite having agonized over content.  We take make-up exams, having missed the scheduled test date; and drop out, rather than risk receiving less than an outstanding grade [1].

We ask favors from acquaintances and strangers; recommendations from people we barely know.  And are ignored or rebuffed.

We show up late for our driver’s test, then are upset at the DMV policy not to reschedule for another 30 days.  Yet, we choose not to pursue litigation to enforce our rights, when legal representation is available and cost free [2].

I was the other way. Too eager to please.  Too early for everything, and panicked if a few minutes late or even on time! 

Chaotic Home Life

Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind…” (Prov. 11: 29).

Often, these issues can stem from a chaotic home life.  As children, we had far greater concerns than the due date of a paper.  Perhaps a parent was chronically intoxicated, an “uncle” a little too interested in our development.  Perhaps there was no food in the house, and another beating just a few hours away. Continue reading

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Silly Putty

Most of us remember Silly Putty from childhood.  A silicone-based toy, Silly Putty (trademarked by Crayola) could stretch, bounce, and replicate print images like those found in newspapers or comic books (today’s “graphic novels”).

Once removed from its protective shell, Silly Putty could be twisted and folded into a variety of shapes, and the images captured on it comically distorted.  These properties still astound and delight children.

But to abuse victims, Silly Putty offers a caution.

Validation

All human beings – abuse victims included – need validation, confirmation that their thoughts and feelings are appropriate, and in line with reality.  The need is part of what makes us human.  However stoic we may imagine ourselves, we were engineered for connection to others.

When we are denied connection through abuse, our need for validation does not disappear.  It intensifies.

Anxious to please, we may become putty in the hands of friends and family – willing to conform to their standards, to turn ourselves inside out, even if not asked to do that.  It can become difficult for us to remember what we might have preferred, if our loved ones had not expressed a preference first.

The quality of our loved ones will be tested, in the process [1].

Malleability

Most of us seek to comply with the desires of friends and family.  Maintaining harmony in our relationships is a laudable goal.

Generally, it is not a great deal to ask that we pursue the same course of action our loved ones do.  Affection will often sway us, especially if the choice is not of any great significance.

There should, however, be two major exceptions to this:  the first regarding ethics and morality; the second regarding self-esteem. Continue reading

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Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas ornament, Author Kristina Servant, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/xkristinax/8230065092 (CC BY-2.0 Generic)

Blue Christmas ornament, Author Kristina Servant, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/xkristinax/8230065092 (CC BY-2.0 Generic)

WARNING: Graphic Images

“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me.”

– “Blue Christmas”, Elvis Presley

The holidays can be a difficult time for abuse victims, especially those of us suffering from depression.  We cannot help but compare the idealized scenes of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali festivities with our own childhood experiences.

Even the “best” of holiday gatherings may have been rife with tension.  All too often, there was little to be joyful about.

Targets

Children in dysfunctional homes do not receive the care and attention they deserve.  Through no fault of their own, they may become the targets of their parents’ rage or neglect.

There are numerous reasons for this [1].  A child may have been the product of an unwanted pregnancy or hard delivery; may seem in some way “abnormal” or resemble someone toward whom the parent has harsh feelings.  A parent may actually be jealous of the child.  None of these reasons justifies abuse.

Uneven Affection

Affection, if it is given at all, can be unevenly distributed.  One child may be showered with gifts and praise, while another is heaped with scorn – made the target of punishment and criticism, with the favored child encouraged to join in.  This can warp the relationship between siblings or destroy it outright.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse only aggravates the situation.  Holiday memories pile on holiday memories:  Christmas trees toppled; presents non-existent or smashed in anger; an intoxicated parent in a stupor on the lawn, reeking. Continue reading

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