Tag Archives: strength v. weakness

Sandpaper

“The Woodworking Shop” by Charles Palmie, Source http://www.bassenge.com/ (PD-Art l Old-100)

Artists who work in wood can create astonishingly delicate sculptures.  The tools used include jig and circular saws, routers, planers, and drills.  Sandpaper with a fine grain can make a wood surface feel as smooth as silk.

But the reverse is, also, true.  Because sandpaper is abrasive, it can create a coarse surface, spoiling the natural beauty of wood.  Badly machining wood can create defects which limit its usefulness.

Abuse can do the same to us.

Fragility

The fragility of children evokes a desire to protect in most sane adults.

Abusers, by contrast, seem to delight in destroying that fragility.  Innocence does not act as a brake on their actions.  Instead, it evokes an insatiable perverted hunger or a deep-seated hatred for what is pure and unattainable.

Either way, the impact on children is the same.  They are grist for the mill, victims of appetites they cannot comprehend, consumed by the selfishness of more powerful adults as their predecessors were once sacrificed to the god Molech [1].

Force

Cutting wood mechanically forces a structural failure in the wood.  The process is influenced by the direction of the force applied and the strength of the wood, itself (a quality related both to the species of wood, and moisture content of a particular tree) [2].

This is very like the impact abuse has on children.  The relationship between an abuser and his/her victim, the type of abuse, its severity, the length for which it takes place, the age of the victim, and the resources that victim brings to the situation all play a role. Continue reading

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

Polio

Tank respirator (“iron lung”) in use at Union Hospital, Terre Haute, IN 1953-1973, Author Daderot (PD)

Polio has been known since antiquity [1].  Before vaccines for the virus were discovered, polio was a scourge [2].

Fortunate patients experienced only minor symptoms.  Others were paralyzed to varying degrees; left with deformed limbs, or permanently dependent on mechanical respirators (“iron lungs”) for their next breath.  A certain percentage died outright.

Up to 50% of those who survived polio succumbed to post-polio syndrome, as long as 35 years later.  The symptoms of post-polio syndrome include exhaustion, difficulties with memory and concentration, increasing muscle and joint pain, and depression.

Will Power and Moral Superiority

Recovery from polio is not reliant on will power or moral superiority.  Neither is recovery from abuse.  We must not, therefore, grade ourselves on the extent to which we can be said to have recovered.

Vulnerability

Like polio, abuse can leave us vulnerable in certain areas.  This is not the same as being weak.  To be weak suggests that, with a little work, we might be stronger.  It implies a certain lack of character on our part.  That is not the case with abuse.

Effort and Determination

Yes, we can, with effort and determination, overcome some of the physical, mental, and emotional scars stemming from abuse.  But there is no arithmetic relationship between effort and outcome.  A teaspoon of sweat will not guarantee us a corresponding amount of improvement.  Nor, for that matter, will a gallon.

That is not to say the effort is useless.  Whether we succeed in overcoming the scars of our abuse or not, the mere effort develops qualities in us we could not have anticipated.  Qualities like courage, patience, and humility.  Like fortitude. Continue reading

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