Tag Archives: vulnerability

Chained

In Southeast Asia, wild elephants are trained to be docile while young.

When an immature elephant is first captured, it is securely tied or chained in place, so that its will may be broken. Unable to escape and denied food or water, the little elephant is repeatedly beaten while the trainer speaks in a calm voice to acclimate the elephant to commands. Afraid, in pain, hungry, and thirsty the young elephant is finally forced to submit.

Adult elephants would be strong enough to break free, but continue to believe in the power of the chains to hold them.

Could there be a more clear picture of child abuse?  We were repeatedly assaulted, at our most vulnerable.  It is no wonder the scars linger.

Now adults, we, too, have the power to break free from our chains.  The very knowledge is exhilarating.

But the extent to which release from our scars is possible will vary from one individual to the next.  For most, this will be a process. Setbacks should be expected.

There is no standard for suffering. Each victim is unique. Release from our scars is not a test of our worth, a calibrated measure of our recovery, or a competition with other victims.

Continued bondage is not another reason to berate ourselves.  Some scars may be intractable.  But there is reason to hope.

Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands” (Acts 12: 7).

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

Landmines

Anxiety is one of the many scars typical of childhood sexual abuse. It is the feeble attempt to control our circumstances by worrying about them. Many things in this world, however, are beyond our control. This is not a sign of weakness on our part, even if we experience it that way.

Boundary issues (the diminished ability to protect ourselves, as a result of abuse) are another typical scar.  Recurrent unwelcome incursions can feel like defeats to us, “proof” that abuse victims are defective on an ongoing basis. But that is not the reality either.

Anxiety and boundary issues – like other long-term abuse scars – are evidence that the abuse actually did occur; that it was no mere figment of a disturbed imagination, but rather a profoundly harmful violation and a continuing threat to the victim, in the same way that landmines remain a threat long after the conflict has resolved.

This is what Jesus had to say about anxiety, vulnerability, and the cares of this world:

“ ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:  they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…’ ” (Matt. 6: 25-29).

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, Religion, Sexual Abuse