Category Archives: Emotional Abuse

Nightmares

“Nightmare in a Mirror” by Terry Marks, Source http://www.stuckism.com/GFDL/Marks.html (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

You have a recurring nightmare.  Perhaps you are being chased by something enormous and faceless, something terrifying.  Perhaps the sight of something innocuous in a dream causes you unexplained anguish or despair.

You wake in a cold sweat (or with tears on your pillow), sure there must be something wrong with you.

Symbolic Imagery and PTSD

The language of our dreams can be puzzling.  Images can be confusing, and are often symbolic.

For abuse survivors, nightmares are a frequent symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [1].  An estimated 71% – 96% of those with PTSD have nightmares.

Short-Term v. Long-Term Memory

Scientists agree that dreams involve the mind’s transfer of short-term memories to long-term storage.

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Child Sex Trafficking Online

Graphic for child sex trafficking in the United States, Author Ebrittania (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Federal authorities have seized and taken down the website CityXGuide.com and its affiliates for advertising illicit sexual services [1].  CityXGuide.com had taken over from the now defunct 1Backpage.com as the internet’s primary source for such ads.

Minors are identified among the victims of CityXGuide.com.

The charges against Wilhan Martono, the owner and operator of CityXGuide.com and its affiliates (Backpage.co, CAPleasures.com, BodyRubShop.com, and others), include money laundering, facilitating prostitution, and the reckless disregard of sex trafficking. Continue reading

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Coronavirus Losses – Ten Million Children

African children with donated school supplies from Develop Africa, Author DevAfrica (CC BY-SA 4.0 International).

According to Save the Children, one billion children worldwide are currently out of school because of coronavirus lockdowns [1A].  Roughly half these do not have access to distance learning.

Children kept home from school are likely to lose learning and fall behind.  They are, also, more vulnerable to abuse, as there is no one to intervene on their behalf.

Expenditures on the coronavirus (and increasing poverty as a result of the lockdowns) are expected to create a $77 billion gap in education funding for the world’s poorest children, over the next 18 months [2A].  Those living in overcrowded migrant camps and conflict zones will be the hardest hit [1B].

As many as ten million children will not return to school at all, forced into the labor market or early marriage [2B].  These will be mostly girls, further deepening the educational divide which already exists along wealth and gender lines.

Teen pregnancy and child marriage are both predicted to increase. Continue reading

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God’s Relationship to Abuse – Fate and Justice, Part 2

Gentian blossoms, André Karwath a/k/a Aka (CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic)

We continue our examination of God’s relationship to fate, justice, and abuse.

Justice

God created human beings in His image.  That is the reason we have a sense of justice at all.  Our sense of justice cannot be greater than God’s, since it derives from His.

Yet, because ours is a fallen world, we do not always see justice done.  The innocent suffer, as abuse victims can attest.  That is deeply disturbing to us…and it should be.  The question is whether we can trust a God who allows innocent suffering.

The answer to that rests with the character of God.  God is love personified.  He is holy beyond all measure, entirely incapable of evil.  And God is all powerful.  He is not, therefore, overcome by evil.

If we trust in Him, God is capable of sustaining us, despite our suffering.  God’s justice, however, plays out on a grand scale, against the backdrop of eternity.  We may not see justice done in our lifetime.  The Jeffrey Epsteins of this world may triumph for awhile.  But, in the long run, they do not escape justice (Gal. 6: 7).

Knowing these things about God, we can fully place our trust in Him.

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God’s Relationship to Abuse – Fate and Justice, Part 1

We abuse victims often rage at God for our circumstances.  Given the pain we endured, that is only natural.  Is it, however, appropriate?  Is God responsible for fate and justice, by inference, for innocent suffering?

Blind Fate

“The Three Fates” by Alexander Rothaug (c. 1910), Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH (PD)

The Fates are a common feature in polytheism.  They are often depicted as a group of mythological goddesses weaving the destiny of mortals on a loom.  The ancient Greeks called them the Moirai.  The Norse called them the Norns.  They controlled the thread of life for every mortal from birth to death.

A belief in fate or blind chance can give rise to resignation, a stoic submission to events which largely removes free will from the equation.  This is a way of coping with the gross injustice of abuse.  It eases the pain, but reinforces a hopeless victim mentality.

What such a belief does not do is place responsibility where it truly belongs, i.e. on the predator.  That can be appealing, since we need not confront the excruciating truth that we were not loved as we deserved. Continue reading

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Another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Cartoons: Wolves in priests clothing | Cartoons | standard.net

Courtesy of Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net/opinion/cartoons/cartoons-wolves-in-priests-clothing/article_5ab23648-a66a-5f8d-a162-bb6108eb6722.html

From his photo, Fr. Robert McWilliams, 40, would appear jovial and harmless.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Ohio priest has been indicted for child pornography, child exploitation, and juvenile sex trafficking [1].  McWilliams had been on administrative leave following a 2019 arrest for possession of child pornography.

McWilliams posed as a woman on social media to entice young boys into providing explicit photos/videos of themselves.  He then threatened to share the embarrassing material with their family and friends, if victims did not provide him additional material.

Some of McWilliams’ victims were known to him from his work as a parish priest.

Cleveland’s Bishop Nelson Perez has expressed the willingness of the Diocese to cooperate with law enforcement.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7; 15).

[1]  CNN, “Ohio priest indicted on charges of child pornography and juvenile sex trafficking, US attorney says” by Rob Frehse, 7/3/20, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/03/us/ohio-priest-child-pornography-sex-trafficking-indictment/index.html.

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

 

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Domestic Violence in Japan

Neon signs in Kabukicho, a “red light” district in Shinjuko, Tokyo, Author Basile Morin (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Domestic violence is not solely a Western phenomenon.  As of June 2017, there were 72,455 cases reported in Japan [1A].  That set a new record.  However, only 2.2% of the victims of spousal abuse there actually contact police.

A Private Matter

Japanese law does allow courts to issue restraining orders [2].  However, domestic violence is largely viewed as a private matter.

In one survey, 58.2% of the 650 victims injured did not feel their problem warranted police help [1B].  Another 34.3% did not seek police intervention because they believed themselves partly at fault, while 22.3% felt police intervention would be pointless.  Many did not recognize that they had been victimized. Continue reading

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Vulnerability, Part 2

As we mature into adulthood, we gain not only physical and emotional strength, but power over our lives.  This opens up new opportunities, and options never available to us before.

Distinguishing between the feeling of vulnerability and actual vulnerability becomes crucial.

“…Do I need to better protect myself from a danger in the environment?  Or do I need to muster the courage to face something that isn’t going to kill me and that can help me grow stronger and more confident?  Often we can conflate the two…Once we determine what our vulnerable feelings are about, we can thus make a decision to protect ourselves from real danger, or face an opportunity for personal growth by facing real feelings, emotions and needs…”

-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/

Barricades

In an effort to protect ourselves, we may be tempted to erect emotional barriers, barricades against further abuse.  This is only natural.  To the extent that we re-establish safe boundaries, it is all to the good.

But we must remember that barricades can become traps for those inside.  Inadvertently, we may cut ourselves off from the opportunities now accessible to us, and the very relationships which might help us to heal. Continue reading

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Vulnerability, Part 1

Enchanted Rose

Enchanted Rose from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (Disney Wiki/Creative Commons), courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

In the Disney version of the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast”, an enchanted rose is shielded against the elements by a glass dome.  Though sheltered and hidden away, the rose remains fragile and continues to lose its petals.  In so doing, it presents a perfect picture of vulnerability.

The victims of child abuse are all too familiar with vulnerability.  We were preyed upon at our most vulnerable – at a time when we should have been protected and nurtured.

It is only reasonable that we retain a sense of fragility, along with the recollection of our very real abuse.  This is an echo of the intense fear we experienced as children.

Feeling Vulnerable v. Being Vulnerable

But there is a difference between feeling vulnerable, and being vulnerable.  To save our own lives, we must learn to distinguish between the two.

“…I might feel vulnerable whilst speaking of things I have kept hidden for a long time, whilst there is no actual threat to my existence.  By revealing myself I reveal truths that I may not yet have fully accepted in myself.  I may in fact be safe, but the experience of exposure feels like I am in danger….

By contrast, I might actually be vulnerable standing out on the ledge of a forty-storey building, where the merest breeze might shift my balance sufficiently to result in a terrifying death a few seconds later.”

-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/

Life was not meant to be lived under glass.

This series will conclude next week.

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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“13 Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics” by Buddy T and Dr. Steven Gans

traits of children of alcoholics

Illustration by JR Bee, Verywell

The following is excerpted from “13 Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics” on VeryWellMind.  The full article may be found at:  https://www.verywellmind.com/common-traits-of-adult-children-of-alcoholics-66557.

“If you grew up in an alcoholic home, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of never knowing what to expect from one day to the next.  When one or both parents struggle with addiction, the home environment is predictably unpredictable.  Argument, inconsistency, unreliability, and chaos tend to run rampant…

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