Tag Archives: validation

Silly Putty

Most of us remember Silly Putty from childhood.  A silicone-based toy, Silly Putty (trademarked by Crayola) could stretch, bounce, and replicate print images like those found in newspapers or comic books (today’s “graphic novels”).

Once removed from its protective shell, Silly Putty could be twisted and folded into a variety of shapes, and the images captured on it comically distorted.  These properties still astound and delight children.

But to abuse victims, Silly Putty offers a caution.

Validation

All human beings – abuse victims included – need validation, confirmation that their thoughts and feelings are appropriate, and in line with reality.  The need is part of what makes us human.  However stoic we may imagine ourselves, we were engineered for connection to others.

When we are denied connection through abuse, our need for validation does not disappear.  It intensifies.

Anxious to please, we may become putty in the hands of friends and family – willing to conform to their standards, to turn ourselves inside out, even if not asked to do that.  It can become difficult for us to remember what we might have preferred, if our loved ones had not expressed a preference first.

The quality of our loved ones will be tested, in the process [1].

Malleability

Most of us seek to comply with the desires of friends and family.  Maintaining harmony in our relationships is a laudable goal.

Generally, it is not a great deal to ask that we pursue the same course of action our loved ones do.  Affection will often sway us, especially if the choice is not of any great significance.

There should, however, be two major exceptions to this:  the first regarding ethics and morality; the second regarding self-esteem. Continue reading

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

Shrapnel

WARNING: Graphic Images

The sharp, jagged, metal fragments from an exploding bomb, grenade, or landmine are known as shrapnel.

Shrapnel wounds require special care. Initially, these are open puncture wounds, with impaled objects so hot that medical personnel are strictly advised to leave them in place. Pressure on shrapnel wounds must be avoided, as this will only cause more damage to surrounding tissues and organs.

After it cools, some shrapnel can be removed surgically [1]. Often, however, surgery would do more harm than good. There may be hundreds or thousands of small objects.

Over the years, fragments left behind can migrate within the body, making them still harder to find and access. It is not unusual for shrapnel to remain imbedded for decades [2].

Trauma Beliefs

The same is true for trauma beliefs. When children undergo trauma, they experience strong emotions. Like scorching metal fragments, these searing emotions highlight the traumatic event.

But children, also, draw conclusions from trauma. This is their attempt to make sense of the world. Unfortunately, the conclusions children draw may not be accurate [3].

Since the traumatic event is not fully understood, the child cannot fully process it. Instead, the emotions and faulty conclusions surrounding the trauma remain sharp, jagged, and are re-experienced, again and again.

This happens even after conscious memory of the event has faded. Like shrapnel, trauma beliefs  remain in the body, and continue to do harm.

False Core Beliefs

Having been abandoned as children, we may fear that others will leave us as adults. Having been abused as children, we may believe ourselves unworthy of love as adults. These core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us may never be vocalized, never questioned.  But they are deeply held.

Trauma beliefs “feel” accurate not because they are, but because we have held them for so long [4]. They “feel” protective, but are actually self-sabotaging [5]. Continue reading

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

If You Have Survived…

Sometimes, the critical voices from all sides can be overwhelming to abuse victims (and non-victims, for that matter).  Other times, the criticism of a single loved one will become the inescapable voice in our heads. This is a little advice to tuck away for such times.

If you have survived abuse or neglect, you are not a failure [1]. Having survived at all is an achievement. The scars you bear attest to your strength, not your failure.

It is not your purpose in life to meet the expectations of others, certainly not those of family members and other loved ones incapable of loving you in return.

Obvious as this may sound, make sure you seek validation from someone actually capable of giving it to you. Some people are simply blind. They lack the ability to see you clearly. Others may find it easier to focus on your imagined defects, than their real ones.

Anyone saying you should limit yourself, rather than use the gifts God gave you, may be worried about their own limitations. Criticism that convinces you that you can do nothing right will result in your doing nothing at all.

Self-blame is a paralyzing form of abuse. Try not to engage in it. If you’ve made mistakes, learn from them. That’s how life works for all of us.

Life is always better than death. Choose life… if nothing else to spite your detractors [2].  You have at least as much right to this world as they do.

[1] This is not to suggest that the victims of abuse and neglect who did not survive were, in any sense, “failures”. The label does not apply.

[2] Small joke.  Use every tool at your disposal, including humor.

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