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Child abuse

First You must Be Able To Forgive Yourself Before You Can Forgive Someone Else

God Wants Me To Forgive Them!?! DVD Cover

God Wants Me To Forgive Them!?! DVD Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

You must be able to forgive yourself before you can forgive someone else.  How can you conceive of the need to forgive somebody else when you can’t conceive of needing it yourself or worse yet being able to offer it to others.  You have to know and understand that all of us have done some things for which we need to be forgiven and it may be easier to offer it to others than it is to offer it to ourselves.  Are you hard on yourself and while you may not be the Holiest person in the world, might you not be capable of having the title of being the most unforgiveable person in the world.  How self-sacrificing to offer to someone else what you, yourself, feel that you don’t deserve.  Then and only then can you relate to the need to forgive someone else.  When it comes to forgiveness, we all need it and realizing that we ourselves need it, we realize what it means to extend that to someone else besides ourselves.

Now there is another side to the story.  Some people feel very good about offering forgiveness to others when they think that they don’t need it themselves.  It can come from a “holier than thou” attitude.  These people can’t conceive of the need to forgive themselves even though they are happy to offer it to others.  Doing this shows how much better off they are than the other people whom they need to forgive.  “Who me?”  “I don’t need to forgive myself.  The fact that I can forgive others proves that I don’t need to be forgiven myself.”

The point to this story is that we need to be able to do both, focus on things we need to forgive ourselves for and things we need to forgive others for.  The best example of this perplexing problem is someone who has been physically or sexually abused as a child and this leads to them to doing this to children themselves.  Maybe you have not done this but you have made foolish possibly even egregous mistakes in the past which might have even caused a tragedy.  If we can’t accept responsibility for what we did and then forgive ourselves, this will stand in the way of truly being able to forgive someone else for what they have done to us.

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

No one is perfect or we wouldn’t be here.  Whether you believe in original sin or not.

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Abuse, the Controlling of Others

Abuse

Abuse (Photo credit: Ex-InTransit)

Three people in chains, probably somewhere in ...
Three people in chains, probably somewhere in East-Africa. The total number of slaves in early twentieth-century Ethiopia is estimated at between 2 and 4 million in a total population of about 11 million. “#v=onepage&q=&f=false Women and Slavery: Africa, the Indian Ocean world, and the medieval north Atlantic”. Gwyn Campbell, Suzanne Miers, Joseph Calder Miller (2007). Ohio University Press. p.219. ISBN 082141724X (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me, the slavery of the mind, body, and soul of others is the core belief of abuse.  If I control you, I control all parts of you. Nothing that’s yours can escape me.  The abuser is a dictator, a slave owner, a sovereign ruler.  Perhaps even a god.

In spouse abuse, It’s usually the husband who controls, not only what the wife does or says, but also whom she associates with, her family and friends.  In order to do this, the abuser isolates the victim and controls what assets the victim has access to if any.  Usually the abuser is not satisfied with just controlling these things, but also the abuser wants to control the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of the victim.

Associated with the abuse is also a sense of low or zero self-worth on the part of the victim.  The victim also has no rights and the victim depends on the abuser to meet his or her basic needs.  Even what the needs are is often dictated by the abuser.  If there are children involved (and there usually is), their ownership reverts to the abuser not the victim.

Thus it is difficult for the victim to get away from the abuser since the victim has little or no resources and often does not feel that he or she is strong enough to survive on their own.

 

 

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Like Chewing on a Bone

The reviewing of significant events in one’s life is often done over and over like a dog who burys a bone only to dig it up later and chew on it again.  It may seem like the process is never complete but if new material is discovered that changes the picture or a different point of view is found, it can be very helpful.  What is disconcerting is to find out that knowing what you do now you wish you hadn’t done or said something about that situation in the past.

This is often the process in psychotherapy.  The same problem can come up again and again at different points in one’s life.  This often happens with sexual abuse.  Such an experience can effect several different areas of one’s life at different times.  It can effect one’s sexual relationships.  It can effect parent-child relationships.  There is also a possible anniversary effect when the child the same sex as you reaches the age you were when you were abused or when that child has contact with the same person or with someone in the same role as the person who abused you..

Problems that one had with one’s parents or other authority figures as a child can come up again and again in a person’s life time.  This is especially so if you or your child is put in that same situation again.  For example, when your parents need your help as they get older and more dependent on outside help is one such occasion or when your children have conflicts with teachers like you did as a child.

As time passes, there is the possibility of a change in perspective and with that a change in behavior.  For example, when one realizes that his or her parents were young and inexperienced when he or she was a child and couldn’t be expected to be perfect parents at that time.

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Have Your Boundaries Been Crossed?

Cover of "Boundaries (Fireside/Parkside R...

Cover via Amazon

Men, have you ever been kidding a woman you had thought that you had known well and had what amounted to having your face slapped?  Did she get very quiet, refuse to help you anymore, or{ taking it to the extreme) call the  manager or the police?  Did you feel initially that your behavior was appropriate  and not in bad taste?  Women, have you wound up in a situation you didn’t intend to get into and (in an extreme cases of misunderstanding) been “” date raped“”?  Crossing someone else’s sexual boundaries unintentionally or unknowingly letting your own sexual boundaries  be crossed, can be signs that you learned inappropriate sexual boundaries and/or you had your sexual boundaries inappropriately crossed  as a child  leading to problems identifying sexual limits in  others and in establishing them for yourself.

Some sexual abuse is only partially remembered by the victims and some do not remember it at all.  Worse yet, victims  may not categorize some behaviors that they experienced as abusive especially when they do not know that sexual boundaries have been crossed.   Either parent can cross these boundaries with a child of either sex.  It has been said that sometimes it is physical abuse as a child that is easier to deal with because it leaves visible marks and sexual abuse as a child (as well as emotional abuse which will be a later topic of this blog) that  is harder to deal with because it usually does not leave marks.  Just saying, ”’No,”” is easier said than done.  Abusers count on child victims to not believe that they can not safely do that.

Thus you may have had your sexual boundaries crossed as a child and not known it.

 

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