Tag Archives: kindness

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

Gratitude

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Author Jon Harder, (Gnu Free Distribution License, and CC-BY 2.5 Unported)

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Author Jon Harder, (GNU Free Documentation License, and CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

“ ‘Thank you’ more complex than at first viewed when examined thoroughly through the lens of the human experience.”

– Marie Williams, https://mariewilliams53.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/guest-blog-post-thank-you-in-marie-williams-exact-words/

That statement about the phrase “thank you” has great significance.

Those of us deprived by childhood abuse of the basic necessities of love and nurture may well be deadened, emotionally.  The human connection that the words “thank you” signify may actually feel threatening to us.  Sadly, that connection has been foreign to us, outside our experience.

At a minimum, we are likely to doubt we have anything of worth to offer the world…anything to prompt thanks from others.

But deprivation heightens the capacity for gratitude.  Skip a single meal.  Sleep a single night on a park bench or huddle against the cold, under a makeshift cardboard shelter.  Then go home again to a full plate and a warm bed, a solid roof over your head.  See whether your perspective has not changed.

The smallest kindness is magnified a thousand times over for abuse victims.  A word or gesture of concern feels like rain on the desert to us.  A thoughtful act can sometimes save a life.

As victims (who, incidentally, make up a large percentage of the homeless), we may not be able to express our thanks, not adequately.  But we will treasure that simple phrase or gesture as if it were precious gold.

To us, it is.  The words “thank you” acknowledge that we have been seen, that we exist.  They imply, above all, that we are human and worthy of acknowledgment.  That is healing balm to our wounds, even if we cannot vocalize a response.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (1 Chron. 16: 34).

Wishing you all a Happy Turkey Day!

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, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Strength

Some abuse victims want as adults only to forget their past. That is an entirely legitimate response, and their prerogative.

By contrast, a surprising number of us want to use our suffering to ease the suffering of others. We want to make something purposeful – even beautiful – out of what was painful and ugly. That is a lofty goal which may or may not be achievable [1].

In either case, a few things should be clear.

A Strong Spirit

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40: 29).

Those who somehow survive abuse – physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect or domestic violence – have a strong spirit. This is true no matter the scars we carry forward from abuse or the fears abuse bequeathed to us. We would not otherwise be here.

To say that we are strong does not denigrate the abuse victims who did not survive. Even heroes are mortal. If anything, we are their witness regarding the horrors inflicted on abuse victims (not to mention the  long-term consequences of abuse).

Layers

Abuse can be multi-layered. While we may consider a single individual responsible for our abuse, many are likely to have contributed to it.

The abuse of a first individual will begin the lesson that we are undeserving of love and concern. As others follow in the same footsteps, we come to believe this untruth.

Then there are those in our lives who could have intervened, but for reasons of their own did not. This is another aspect of the tragedy of abuse. While a non-offending parent may wield less power in the family dynamic than an offending-parent, an adult is always more powerful than a child.

We had every right to look for rescue to the adults aware of our situation.

Excuses

And still we make excuses for the loved ones who abandoned, battered, and raped us.

They didn’t understand the harm they were doing. They led hard lives, were under a great deal of strain. It was our fault. We deserved it. We were disobedient, rebellious. We expected too much. We complained too often. We were too pretty, too flirtatious. Deep down, they “really” cared.

Excuse after excuse after excuse…none sufficient to justify abuse. Continue reading

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