Tag Archives: self-hatred

“Lust” by Dr. Dan Allender

New York City “peep show” window display, Author David Shankbone (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

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

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

Mercy Reprised

“Divine Mercy” painting in the sanctuary of the same name, Vilnius, Lithuania, Author Alma Pater (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported,  2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, and 1.0 Generic)

There are 275 references to mercy, like this one, in the New King James Version of the Bible [1]:

Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments…” (Deut. 7: 9).

If our emotions were not dampened by abuse – suppressed so that we could better endure the pain – we are likely to feel great compassion for other victims.

But abuse victims have difficulty applying mercy to themselves.  We do not, generally, see ourselves as qualifying for pity.

  • We should have known better than to be alone with our abuser…no matter that he was a loved one from whom it was natural to crave attention and positive feedback.
  • We should have realized what would happen…no matter that we were too young to understand.
  • We should have found a way to avoid the abuse inflicted on us…no matter that our abuser was an adult, capable of manipulating us and our circumstances.
  • We should have figured out how to make the abuse stop…no matter that our abuser had all the power, yet showed us no mercy.

This is our thinking.  These were our sins, sins for which we continue to punish ourselves to the present day.  Some of us even blame ourselves for “causing” the abuse. Continue reading

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Ugliness, Part 2

As abuse victims, it is not uncommon for us to despise ourselves.  Whether physically, emotionally, or sexually abused and/or neglected as children or battered as adults, we are likely to have concluded on a visceral level that we are unfit, undeserving of love and affection.

Ugly and Bad

Young children equate ugliness with evil.  The two are for them one and the same, which is what makes ugliness so frightening to children.  The Wicked Stepmother needs daily confirmation of her good looks from a magic mirror.  Snow White has no such insecurities.  Snow White’s goodness informs her good looks, and vice versa.

Children who are physically or emotionally abused may draw the conclusion they are ugly — inside and out.  Believing themselves “responsible” for the abuse to which they are subjected, children may conclude that they are being punished deservedly, as both ugly and bad.

The Monsters Inc. and Shrek series of children’s films used humor to challenge this correlation.  Shrek considers Fiona genuinely beautiful, even in her true form as an ogre.  The classically handsome Prince Charming is actually a villain.

Self-Contempt

But for abuse victims challenging the correlation between beauty and goodness can be extremely difficult. By the time we reach adulthood, chances are that self-contempt has become part of our emotional make-up.

Contempt is a feeling of scorn. It can be a reaction not only to something concrete, but something wholly imagined. And contempt can deepen in intensity with time.

Countering Deficiencies

Abuse victims, generally, take one of three approaches, in their attempts to counter supposed deficiencies:

A.  Overachievement

Some of us become overachievers, driving ourselves relentlessly.  External awards are used as the measure of this group’s inherent value.

Unfortunately, worldly achievements are a poor substitute for such value.  The emptiness inside cannot be filled by material rewards, even those earned through great effort. The process of chasing tangible proof of intangible value is a futile task. Continue reading

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“Lust” by Dr. Dan Allender

Triple X Pornography Icon (PD)

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

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

Good Works

Minimizing the impact of child molestation and other forms of abuse is a way of self-protecting that can lead victims to self-blame and self-hatred.  Negative self-image is often reflected in our inner thought life by an ongoing dialog such as, “I am worthless. No one could love me.”

That we may know on an intellectual level such statements are untrue will not necessarily reduce the power with which we invest them or the frequency with which we engage in them.

Though as abuse victims we may “feel” defective, the truth is that we remain God’s handiwork. He knew before time began the suffering we would be required to endure. Yet He entrusted us with good works – often arising from our very abuse experience – in complete certainty that we would accomplish these.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2: 10).

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, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women