Tag Archives: guilt

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 2 – Guilt and Shame

Crying child, Author Asad Amjad ChangEzi (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

‘If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in Me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’ ” (Matt. 18: 6).

It is easier for children to believe they “deserve” the evil done to them, than to take in the fact an adult who should care for them actually has little or no regard for their well-being.

The Statute of Limitations and other obstacles can make it difficult to hold child abusers and molesters accountable legally.  Even with a conviction, however, the feeling of “sinfulness” may rebound from an abuser to his victims.

This in no way implies that they were at fault.  Victims, however, relive the trauma of having been treated as worthless. They are often left with a vague sense of unworthiness that can permeate their lives, and undermine subsequent relationships.

Though this feeling of their own “sinfulness” can be overwhelming to abuse victims, the conclusions they draw from it are not accurate.  Victims did not warrant or invite the abuse.  They remain deserving of love.

The feeling of “sinfulness” is just one of the scars left in the wake of abuse.  Other symptoms can include anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug addiction, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction.  These behaviors either stem from the pain or are attempts to numb it.  All of them “punish” the victim, who was never at fault in the first place!

The symptoms of abuse may, themselves, become a cause of shame to victims.  Self-destructive behaviors shift the focus away from the abuse, while silently declaring it to the world.  Imperfect as coping mechanisms, these behaviors can have dire consequences but are, in effect, a cry for help.

Originally posted 7/7/13

Of NoteA Vatican tribunal has found Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Guam guilty of abusing minors and removed him from office.  Apuron was suspended in June 2016 following accusations that he sexually abused altar boys as a parish priest during the 1970s.

Thus far, the Archdiocese of Guam has been named in 159 sex abuse lawsuits involving Apuron and others.

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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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 1 – Victims and Predators

Frost covered rose, Author 3268zauber (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

” ‘Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father…’ ” (Matt. 18: 10).

Each year, some six million children in the United States are sexually or physically abused.

This 6-part series will explore the emotional and spiritual ramifications of abuse, with a view toward assisting the survivors of abuse and those who care for them in dealing with its long-term effects.

Those of us who have decades of experience with abuse and its aftermath are all too familiar with these details.  But for each new generation of victims, these truths must be restated.

It must be said at the outset that children are NEVER responsible for the abuse inflicted upon them. The idea of a “bad” or “seductive” child is a lie perpetrated by child molesters, a rationale to excuse their heinous actions.

Predators are often manipulative, convincing child victims that they brought on the violation; consented to the violation; will not be believed, if the violation is reported; will be sent away from home, if the violation is reported; will place their parents (or pets) in danger, if the violation is reported, etc.  Some of these same arguments are made to women by the husbands and boyfriends who perpetrate violence against them.

As a consequence, victims often experience a misplaced sense of guilt and shame.  This will be further discussed in our next segment.

Originally posted 6/30/13

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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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Falling Knives, Part 1

“…A morning of tears, remembered fears
Withering looks from the past
Cut the heart, tear you apart
Pain racked soul heaves your body
Causing you to tremble and shudder

Cruel words spoken with loathing
With no care for the innocent soul
Who listens carefully
And believes this to be truly
The way things could be…”

– Marie Williams, Damaged People

Some days are darker than others.

Perhaps we have had an oppressive dream, now half-remembered. Perhaps an icy rain is falling, sharp as knives, and the weather determines our mood. Perhaps a misplaced word pierces our already injured psyche or our blood chemistry is off or the stars are misaligned.

Self-Criticism

Whatever the reasons – internal or external, identifiable or not – for abuse victims, particularly those of us suffering from depression, the most innocuous thoughts and observations can quickly morph into self-criticism, calling up faults and failures, real and imagined. No mistake is forgiven; no oversight on our part – however slight – is laid to rest for good.

Hour after hour, our criticism is unrelenting; our self-assessment, merciless. We may be able to defend ourselves against a single assault, even a dozen. But we cannot dodge the falling knives forever.

Emotional Flashbacks

The pain is searing. Old wounds are re-opened; new wounds, inflicted. What may seem insignificant to others can trigger repeated emotional flashbacks with childhood traumas not merely recalled but relived, re-experienced emotionally, again and again.

Minimizing the Abuse

To those unfamiliar with abuse, this description may sound overly dramatic. Surely, victims must be exaggerating. Actually, however, the opposite is true.

It is not uncommon for the victims of childhood abuse to downplay their suffering. Some will make excuses for their abuser, assuming liability for the abuse which is not rightly theirs. Why this tendency to minimize the scars of abuse, to downgrade the brutality of a traumatized mind and body?

Minimizing is a form of denial victims utilize in an attempt to deal with their trauma [1].

In denial, the brain tries to protect the psyche by refusing to admit the reality of trauma or abuse [2]. Details of the abuse may be shielded from the victim’s consciousness. The horror is diluted; the trauma processed in manageable, bite-size pieces. The victim is still adversely impacted, but not completely immobilized.

Fear, Shame, and Family Secrets

Victims may fear they will be overcome by the intensity of their feelings, should they accept the full extent of their abuse.

They may find it too painful to admit a loved one would treat them so callously. They may feel responsible for keeping family secrets. They may have difficulty connecting present day problems with past trauma. Continue reading

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

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 2 – Guilt and Shame

Sexually abused child (1910), Author Dr. P. Langenscheidt, Source “Der Sexualverbrecher” [“The Sexual Criminal”], (PD, published before 1/1/23)

‘If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in Me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’ ” (Matt. 18: 6).

It is easier for children to believe they “deserve” the evil done to them, than to take in the fact an adult who should care for them actually has little or no regard for their well-being.

The Statute of Limitations and other obstacles can make it difficult to hold child abusers and molesters accountable legally.  Even with a conviction, however, the feeling of “sinfulness” may rebound from an abuser to his victims.

This in no way implies that they were at fault. Victims, however, relive the trauma of having been treated as worthless. They are often left with a vague sense of unworthiness that can permeate their lives, and undermine subsequent relationships.

Though this feeling of their own “sinfulness” can be overwhelming to abuse victims, the conclusions they draw from it are not accurate.  Victims did not warrant or invite the abuse.  They remain deserving of love.

The feeling of “sinfulness” is just one of the scars left in the wake of abuse.  Other symptoms can include anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug addiction, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction.  These behaviors either stem from the pain or are attempts to numb it.  All of them “punish” the victim, who was never at fault in the first place!

The symptoms of abuse may, themselves, become a cause of shame to victims.  Self-destructive behaviors shift the focus away from the abuse, while silently declaring it to the world.  Imperfect as coping mechanisms, these behaviors can have dire consequences but are, in effect, a cry for help.

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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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 1 – Victims and Predators

” ‘Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father…’ ” (Matt. 18: 10).

Each year, some six million children in the United States are sexually or physically abused.

This 6-part series will explore the emotional and spiritual ramifications of abuse, with a view toward assisting the survivors of abuse and those who care for them in dealing with its long-term effects.

Those of us who have decades of experience with abuse and its aftermath are all too familiar with these details.  But for each new generation of victims, these truths must be restated.

It must be said at the outset that children are NEVER responsible for the abuse inflicted upon them. The idea of a “bad” or “seductive” child is a lie perpetrated by child molesters, a rationale to excuse their heinous actions.

Predators are often manipulative, convincing child victims that they brought on the violation; consented to the violation; will not be believed, if the violation is reported; will be sent away from home, if the violation is reported; will place their parents (or pets) in danger, if the violation is reported, etc.  Some of these same arguments are made to women by the husbands and boyfriends who perpetrate violence against them.

As a consequence, victims often experience a misplaced sense of guilt and shame.  This will be further discussed in our next segment.

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, Child Molestation, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women