Tag Archives: loneliness

Long Term

“Sad Boy”, Author Sascha Grosser (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

A new study by the University of Utah confirms that abuse before the age of 5 can continue to have negative consequences decades later [1].

This is no surprise to abuse victims.  We know we cannot simply “snap out” of depression, anxiety, and PTSD despite the well-meaning advice of friends, family, physicians, and strangers alike.  That fact only adds to our sense of isolation.

Researchers found that:

“…those who experienced abuse or neglect early in life consistently were less successful in their social relationships and academic performance during childhood, adolescence and even during adulthood.  The effects of maltreatment did not weaken as the participants got older [2].”

The sad little boy or girl becomes the sad, lonely and/or angry man or woman.  Unfortunately, that anger is often turned inward, becoming another destructive force against which we must battle.

This has nothing to do with will power or self-control, and everything to do with who we were taught to believe we are.  Damaged, deficient, unloved and unlovable — our needs unimportant, our dreams unattainable.  Directly and indirectly, those lessons were driven home until they became part of us.

But the human spirit is amazing.  We somehow survived the onslaught, the dark rain of blows and insults.   Many of us succeeded in the work place.  Some found the internal resources to become artists, writers, and advocates.  Still more became the parents our own parents could not be.

That we continue to wrestle with our demons is no shame.  It is simply part of our reality.

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40: 29).

[1 and 2]  Science Daily, “Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect – Study led by university researcher shows negative effects may persist into adulthood”, 1/16/18, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180116222327.htm.

With thanks to Louise Callen

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

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Ugliness, Part 1

Classic Comics, No. 18, “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (PD)

In the Dumas classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the hunchback (chosen the ugliest man in Paris) does not get the girl.  The pair do not live happily ever after, though they are eventually united in death. This is no real surprise. In fact, it is the tragedy on which the story hinges.

Kindness and Beauty

Both mistreated and physically deformed, Quasimodo is drawn to kindness and beauty as a moth is drawn to flame.

We sympathize with, even admire him. Our hearts are stirred.  But we do not root for the hunchback, not in the same way we root for the prince to rescue Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. Quasimodo is never seriously considered a romantic partner for Esmeralda. His love is doomed from the outset.

That fact tells us more about ourselves than it does about Quasimodo.

Exclusion

In the same way that Quasimodo was excluded from normal human society, abuse victims often feel themselves ostracized, outside the very definition of “human”. How does this happen and, equally important, how we can counteract it?

There seems a tendency by infants to favor symmetrical faces – possibly an inborn preference for the genetic “norm”. For the most part, however, we are taught the meaning of ugliness and beauty by the comments and actions of others.

First as infants then children, we see ourselves reflected in a parent or caregiver’s eyes, and are defined by that reflection. Ugliness on our part (assuming it has any basis at all) is likely to come as a surprise. It does not occur to us that we may be ugly, until others point that out.

Not infrequently, those who believe themselves ugly and worthy only of rejection are not ugly at all. Would not be considered ugly by strangers – only by the so called “loved ones” who should have been able to see past any obvious flaws. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

“Lust” by Dr. Dan Allender

Many men and women, molested as children, become sex addicts. This excerpt is from an article by Dr. Dan Allender dealing with the spiritual aspects of such addiction. Dr. Allender is the author of “The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse” (1990).

“…God made us with desire – desire for intimate relationship with Him and for meaningful service in His world. The Fall perverted those desires. The quest for intimacy was replaced by a desire for its quickest counterfeit: illicit sexual pleasure. Our God-given desire for meaningful service was twisted to a lust for power over others. The longing for impact became a lust for control.

These counterfeits appeal to us because they seek to replace God and His high standards with something that is familiar and undemanding. Paul says fallen man did not worship God but replaced him with the creature (Rom. 1: 18-23). The creature does not require repentance or gratitude. The creature does not demand brokenness or service. Creature worship only requires denying the true emptiness inside and hiding the shame that arises in turning our back on God and others.

…[Changing this form of lust] not only requires giving up something that has worked, to some extent, to fill our empty hearts, but it also necessitates embracing a God who invites us to experience what we deeply despise – brokenness, poverty, weakness, and dependency…Even if the lust is destructive and life-threatening it may be preferable to a God who calls us to love those who harm us…

[T]wo contemporary Christian routes for dealing with lust …at times make the problem worse. These two routes – self-denial and self-enhancement…often lead to even greater struggles with lust and addiction…

[The first can result in] self-hatred, shame, and contempt which lead to increased sexual struggles. After decades of failure many with this view either conclude they are oppressed by demons or doubt their salvation. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse

“Letter to My 14 Year Old Self” by Marie Williams

This is a letter by Marie Williams, a gifted writer and abuse survivor. Be aware that there is difficult subject matter addressed. Despite that, Marie retains little or no rancor.  We should all extend such kindness to the child within.

You can find more of Marie’s work at Come Fly with Me – Dispensing Compassion Through Poetry http://www.mariewilliams53.wordpress.com and Blow Me Out of the Water http://www.riceandpease.wordpress.com .  

Dear Marie

Yes, you, come on now, try not to let things get you down too much. I promise life will get better. I know that you’ve had it really rough and I know that you wish your first suicide attempt at age 11 had worked, but it didn’t and that’s because you are here for a reason. I know that you can’t see that now, because all around you is chaos, but you are a divine spirit and you need to know that.

Try not to internalize the pain. I know that you feel that you have no-one to confide in, but you do. Speak to your grandfather. I know he is no longer here. I know he died in 1959, but his spirit is with you. Speak your pain and he will hear and he will try to smooth the path for you and make life a little easier. I know you’re thinking, “rubbish!” But seriously, he came to help you that painful night when you were 11. It was him you saw, when he hovered over you. It was not a figment of your imagination. He came to make sure those pills did not work.

You’re destined for great things Marie. Look at Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou – they suffered too but look how they have turned their lives around. They have have used their abusive pasts to build a solid framework in which to change their lives for the better. OK, so you’re never going to be Oprah or Maya with their very public profile, but you will be Marie blogging on WordPress, “sharing, hoping to inspire and motivate” others.

I know you think I’m crazy, and that this will never happen. Yes at 14, with a mother who clearly finds you an irritation and a father who gets a kick out of battering you, sending you to school with bruises on your face and body, with the explanation “If they ask you what has happened to you, tell them that you fell over some wire in the backyard”, makes the above paragraph seem like the ramblings of a mad woman, but honestly, you will survive.

People that you don’t know now, will be reading your poetry and will write to you telling you how much they love what you have written. People all over the world in France, Austria, USA, Australia will be commenting on your poetry.

There will be something called the Internet which will allow you to connect with others in a way that you can’t now. The world will be a smaller place in terms of contact and there will be vast opportunities for you to grasp and take advantage of.

I love you Marie and I want to take care of you in the only way I can. This is why I am writing to you, aged 14. I want to give you hope. I want to let you know that I am there for you.

Yours sincerely

(A much older) Marie xx

http://en.gravatar.com/mariewilliams53

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

3 Comments

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

Human Contact

Ours is now a culture in which social media play an important role. The internet has made it possible to reach out to like-minded persons around the globe, on any subject, at any hour of the day or night.

We share jokes and outrage, embarrassing and touching moments. We mourn together over public and private tragedies. We exchange recipes and voice political opinions. Sometimes wearing a disguise or the mask of anonymity, we disclose long held secrets or live out fantasies. We unburden ourselves to strangers.

Why are we drawn to do this? Why do we find this electronic avenue of communication so compelling?

It is in the nature of men and women to tell their stories. Being human, we crave human contact. We reach out in an effort both to distinguish ourselves as individuals, and find acceptance by the group. Social media have enlarged our potential audience exponentially, greatly increasing the chances we will find acceptance…by some group, at least.

To that extent, social media have facilitated connection. They have, also, however, increased risk. There are predators of all types trawling for victims. We warn our children against these, and rightly so.

The more subtle danger derives from loneliness. Young people and the victims of abuse are especially vulnerable to feelings of isolation. Nothing illustrates this better than the recent suicide by transgender teen, Joshua (“Leelah”) Alcorn [1].

With the technology available to overcome isolation, there appears little reason not to make use of it.

But there is a distinction between virtual friends and those we can actually see and touch. We have much less information about virtual friends, on which to base our judgment of them. We fill in the blanks based on hope, not data.

Similarly, virtual friends (even if well-intentioned) have much less information about us, on which to base their comments and advice, than flesh and blood friends…and are much less likely to help us move a couch.

We need human contact. Social media alone cannot fill that need.

[1] NBC News, US News, “ ‘Fix Society’: Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Posted Plea Before Suicide” by Tracy Connor, 12/31/14, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fix-society-transgender-teen-leelah-alcorn-posted-plea-suicide-n277666.

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

5 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Community, Violence Against Women