Tag Archives: Abuse
This is a testimony I gave before a church congregation several years ago. (Sue)
“…You saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a Father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Duet. 1:31
In this verse the reference is to the Israelites being led from Egypt to the Promised Land. As they followed the path that Christ led them along they suffered many trials and tribulations.
For us today, this verse can mean that Christ has carried us from areas that we dwelled in, or are now dwelling in; darkness, sadness, feelings of being alone. Many of us have been in such situations, where we feel so alone that we wonder if there really is a God.
I didn’t know the love of Christ because my parents didn’t believe in Him. If the adults in our lives do not believe, they will not pass on that Jesus Christ is our saving grace. How can a man or woman, who put their selfish need ahead of the welfare of their children, hand down Christian love? How can they show the unconditional love of Jesus Christ?
When human needs; alcohol, sex, gambling, or even a job that requires 80 hours a week, are prominent in a home, there is no room for the children’s needs, caring, or Christian love. If children are being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused they are in an atmosphere of pain, suffering, and putting the adults needs ahead of any child’s needs.
The child is thrown in the arena of sin, in an environment filled with sinful deeds that the innocent child has no power to control. When we as adults replace unconditional love with drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse we all suffer, not just the children.
Those of you who have experienced a home where drugs and alcohol are predominant – where is the unconditional love displayed? In a fix? In a bottle? What about those of us who have been ignored emotionally? Is this what Christ calls Agape love? We have been set aside until our presence is forced upon others.
The responsibility of parents (adults) toward children is stated plainly in scripture:
“Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
“Assemble the people before Me to hear My words
so that they may learn to revere Me
as long as they live in the land
and may teach them to their children.”
It is the adults responsibility to lead children toward Christ, not away. Those responsibilities are all of ours. The spiritual, as well as the physical and emotional is placed in our hands by the Father God. When we shirk those duties the children suffer. They are not taught Christ’s teachings, but the lessons of humans. They see Satan at work, not Christ.
How can children believe we have a loving God if all of their experiences evolve around evil? They can’t! And as adults that grew up in that environment, we carry those same belief systems with us – unless there is someone who will bring the light of Jesus Christ before us.
When I was growing up in an abusive, dysfunctional home I would not have known His light. A neighbor took the time and invited me to their church, and because being away from the house for a few hours meant I would be free from the abuse for that length of time I went.
The minister spoke about Jesus, who I had only heard of briefly. At 7 years old I heard the minister say that Jesus would save us. In my ears I heard, “save me,” (from the abuse) so I went to the altar to ask the preacher if Jesus would save me.
That altar call did not stop my abuse. But it did save me, although I did not know it at the time. I now know that Jesus Christ stood at that altar beside me, holding my small hand He cried just as hard as I did.
Forty something years later I invited the Lord into my heart, mind, and soul. He has brought me from the devastation of years of sexual abuse, the years of being beaten and humiliated, through the pain of being gang raped at an early age, the years of being married to an alcoholic, womanizing, wife-beating husband who died at the wrong end of a gun, and the devastation I felt when I lost the only human being I ever trusted, the husband the Lord brought me, my late husband.
He has brought me through years and years of pain, guilt, fear, and shame to where I can stand tall, stand here before all these people and tell you unequivocally that the only healing, the only hope we have from the pains we had in the past and the places we are right now in life’s situations is Jesus Christ.
He suffered as we have suffered. He knows the sting of insults, the searing pain of wounds being inflicted by physical abuse, the feelings of being left alone and deserted. He not only walked in our shoes – He died there. You don’t have to die as Jesus did. You don’t have to dwell in the darkness of feeling alone, forgotten, or cast aside. The Lord Jesus is right here. He’s sitting right beside you!
Reach out and take His hand. Let Him lead you through the wilderness you may be feeling. He can, He will heal the wounds from the past and those that you have right now. Let Him fill your heart with a peace like you have never known before. You can only feel that peace if you invite Him in.
Allow the Lord to carry you once again, He knows your needs, trust in Him and walk free.
“You dear children, are from God and have overcome them,
because the One who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.
They are from the world and therefore speak from the world,
and the world listens to them.
We are from God, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
This is how we recognize the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood.”
A short time ago Satan knocked me flat. Being the slime bag that he is, he blind-sided me and I was in such an emotional state that I could not even pray. The Lord Jesus knew my needs and allowed the Holy Spirit within me to write this poem. I’d like to share it with you.
A little girl
Just seven years old
Walked in church
She was a child
who felt beaten and lost
But she found the courage
to approach the cross.
All she could whisper
as she accepted His grace
Save me, Jesus
Grown, old and gray
She’s once again
Been knocked to her knees
With Satan’s glee.
But now, as then
As she approaches the cross
All she can muster
from deep inside her heart
Save me, Jesus
Blessings to you.
In going through some of what the Lord has spoken to me through the years I ran across one writing from last year and it made me think about how we get so angry at God and tend to blame Him for those things that have hurt us or things that have gone wrong in decisions we have made.
For many years I blamed God for not stopping the abuse I suffered from my family and later for an abusive marriage and, just to be honest, for a lot of things. The abuse I suffered within my family was not my fault, I thought God was supposed to stop it. He’s all-powerful so how come He let it continue for years?
I didn’t need the Lord in choosing my first husband! I had decided the man was good-looking, I was twenty-seven years old and ready to settle down, and this guy was fun to be around. I learned very quickly after the “I do’s” that he was an alcoholic, a womanizer, and wife beater. That may not have been the man the Lord wanted me to marry so why didn’t He say, “Stop! Don’t marry him!” Maybe He kept quiet because my anger slammed that door in His face and the fist was raised and maybe He had and I ignored Him.
I am convinced that those that vehemently claim to be atheist’s have turned their back on God because of hurt, rejection, abuse, or something else that happened early on or at some time in their life that they felt God should not have allowed. The fist flies up and suddenly “there is no God!” They have rejected the all-powerful One and have deemed themselves god. They claim there is no God yet their god is Satan.
We can blame God for those things that are not our fault and blame God for the poor choices we make. Some have felt “led” to do something, thinking God is the One leading them only to learn later it was either our own soul or the enemy that was in the lead and yet we blame God. “If it wasn’t you, God, then why didn’t you stop me? You knew it was going to turn out like this.” or “You knew what they were going to do and yet you said…..”
We humans, some of us anyway, are quick to shake our fists at God instead of focusing on His will and trusting that even if we mess up He is there to bring us through. He knows what we are going to do, think, and say before we even do, think, or say anything! His love is so great, His grace so abundant that maybe, just maybe He lets us make the mistakes so we will eventually learn to turn to Him about all things. Some of us have to learn the hard way and I’m more than sure, being one of those, that the Lord is more than willing to let us have our own way. And in having our own way, not seeking or following God’s will we have allowed the enemy access.
So let me share His words that I found that caused all this deep thinking:
“The Almighty God which art in heaven sees all that is within heaven and earth and even beneath the earth. His Grace is poured out for all who will accept it yet there are those who refuse and will even blasphemy His name. Those who love Him have the assurance of an eternal home with Him and those who reject Him shall see the fires of hell for all of time and beyond.
God’s love goes beyond human understanding and it is a shame that although He gave His only begotten Son for the sins of all mankind they reject that shed blood. It is a shame that the enemy of God has such powerful influence in men. It is a shame that so many have turned fists to heaven and swear by their own gods. Their god is self. If they refuse the Son of God there is only one alternative and he has been on the prowl more so now than ever before because he knows his time is short.
Those who follow the Son of God must stand strong and bold. They must watch for the ploys of the enemy and not be sucker-bunched by those who follow the enemy. For if they do not follow God through His Son Jesus Christ they are following Satan. They may not realize their self-righteous attitudes are those coming from Satan but they are. I pray to My Father that all will see My light and that none should perish. I come to the Father with love for all even though they reject and defy Me.
My children, you must be strong. You must focus on Me day and night for the times are about to change and things are not as they have been. My strength I give you if you will follow in My footsteps and let Me lead you through the turmoil. Trust Me as you have never done before. Pray for the lost but do not compromise My truth for any. Many shall belittle. Many shall call you atrocious names and throw the fiery darts so as to turn you from Me. That is the fiery darts of the enemy. Put on your armor and stand firm!
I am the Almighty I Am. Go with my love, joy and peace for I am with you.”
Given by the Holy Spirit 8-7-15
Blessings to you.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 8:1
“You aren’t worth the air you breath!” That was told to me as a young child.
Those of us that have experienced an abusive home life know all too well what being condemned means. We were yelled at for the slightest offense, and many times there was no offense on our part. We were just there! We were used as battering rams for those who could not express their anger at someone else. Maybe it was, or is, a parent, a boss, a poor driver, a spouse, boyfriend, etc. The anger gets directed at us. We’re blamed for the anger that arises. “It’s all your fault!” And the cuss word’s fly!
In some instances we were used for the cruel jokes of another, made fun of, called stupid, told we were never going to amount to a hill of beans. We were poked fun at in many ways, some were physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, and emotionally tormented as though we were no more than a pile of numb and dumb rocks.
Life isn’t easy and at times some of us have felt that life isn’t worth living. “They’d be better off without me.” Oh yes, we know what being condemned means and praise be to God that through Christ I am free forever from condemnation! (Ro.8:1,2)
God did not create us to be condemned by others. John 1:12 says that I am God’s child. That makes me think of when we see our first born immediately after he/she enters the world, the love that wells up inside. A love we cannot even express. How much more God must be filled when He looks down on His new child. The child He has adopted as His own. (Eph.1:5) I’ll bet’cha a months wages He was grinning like a Cheshire cat!
Because I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior He has forgiven me of my sins; past, present, and future. Praise God for that or I’d really be in big trouble! When we confess our sins and ask Him for forgiveness He forgives, and not only that, He never remembers them again! (Heb. 10:17) Then why the heck am I beating myself up over some sin that He doesn’t even remember any more!?
I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2Cor.1:21) Oh wow. He’s anointed me to do anything He calls me to do. Does that mean my little short fat legs can run a marathon or I can write a book or speak in front of thousands, or paint a portrait? Woooow. And I’m immediately a citizen of heaven. (Phil.3:20) Oh praise God, I hate really hot temperatures!
I’m now free from any condemning charges against me, by Him when I was an un-believer, and by those who have condemned me. (Ro. 8:33,34) See, they’re liars! The enemy tries to make me believe their lies. God says, “Oh My precious child, Sue, I created you and you are worthy of the air that I give you to breathe and so much more!” All of God’s children are precious in His sight and His heart and His mind. We children of God are worthy! We’re worthy because He has deemed it so through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
When the memories of abuse flood back I can find His grace and mercy. (Heb.4:16) I start crying to God and He’ll be right here to comfort me or to explain something I need to know to help me better understand. I don’t have to be afraid any more because Christ has given me power , love, and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear. (2Tim 1:7) I confess, at times I’m not so sure about the “sound mind.” But I definitely have the power to overcome all that was done to me because He is with me and loves me with an everlasting love that I can’t even fatham.
Hey Satan, guess what? You can’t touch me any more! I am born of God (1Jn.5:18) I can be influenced, I can have demonic oppression but I belong to God and there’s not a flippin’ thing the enemy can do about it except try to turn me away from God. That ain’t going to happen! So Get behind me, Satan! And God has told me that all things will work together for good (Ro. 8:28) and I’m confident that what God started in me will be perfected. (Phil.1:6) So back off, devil, I’m God’s and I believe Him!
If all of this is true, and it is, then why do we continue to hang onto the lies and judgments and condemnation that others have placed on us through childhood and even adulthood? By continuing to believe the lies of the past we are calling God a liar. Sorry, but that’s true. His word tells us just the opposite of the crap, (excuse my language) that others told us so why do we hold on to the crap and refuse to believe what God tells us? He loves us! He loves us unconditionally. He isn’t the one who lied, called us names, told us we were as stupid as a door knob or as dumb as a rock. He isn’t the one who used us as His tool in unspeakable ways. So why are we willing to continue to believe the evil one who worked through others to destroy us? God said,
“… that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.…”
Blessings to you.
Written by Ann – Angels by Grace Pub. Feb. 1998
In my work as a counselor I have had the opportunity to work with many young people and their parents. Unfortunately, in my role I have also witnessed many children living in abusive or impoverished homes.
Some children have had to be removed from their own families for various reasons, including sexual abuse, deprivation of basic needs, neglect, severe cigarette burns, and other forms of physical abuse.
In many cases, sadly, the abuse took place by a biological parent or relative. It is not uncommon for the child to remain a victim into adulthood because his/her primary care-givers do not support her not take measures to ensure that these occurrences do not continue.
Care-givers can also have their own prior mistreatment that they have not dealt with. Fear, lack of compassion, lack of appropriate parenting skills, can also be a factor. At times their own denial that a problem exists that hurts the child will cause them to be unable, or unwilling to stand by the child. The child’s problems will then be magnified because she feels emotionally, and /or, physically abandoned.
A female acquaintance recently shared with me her own story of healing the wounds from years of physical and sexual abuse from her father.
For years she has held these secrets inside. Just like many children have said, “Because I was afraid.” Afraid that she would be blamed. Afraid that no one would believe her. Afraid that her Mom would not love her anymore and her mother wouldn’t be able to support the family, emotionally or financially.
She also stated that she feared what would happen to her family. Where would they live? Afraid that her father would beat her, afraid of the impact on the entire family.
She was afraid that her father would go back to jail, he had previously served a prison sentence for physically assaulting and attempting rape on a woman. She also stated that she felt guilty for the time her father did spend time in jail. He couldn’t hurt then.
She felt guilty for feeling grateful for her father’s jail time because his jail time made the rest of the family feel sad. Could she have come forward with her own truth and cause him to return to jail? She felt such enormous shame and guilt.
As she works with youngsters now, she can see where her thinking had been illogical. I reminded her that she was seeing through the eyes of a child. The child experience and lack of resources.
She explained that she wanted to go public with her story but asked me instead, to tell about her experiences. It is her desire to protect the privacy of each family member. She feels it would cause them suffering.
My acquaintance wants you, the readers, to understand the suffering and long lasting impact on her life that the scars carry. As she described to me the current trauma, a growing cancer inside her body, she gained strength and courage from being able to finally, step out of her isolating silence.
I also explained to her that she is one of the “lucky ones.” Through her faith in God, her strength, and personal resilience, she made it. She has made her life’s work helping children to have healthy self-esteem. She helps them to develop their own inner resources to become survivors.
With tremendous support from several close friends, her church, her therapist, and God’s help, she is finally healing.
Our children of today need to be listened to, heard, and understood. They do not have to suffer alone and in silence. The painful memories can haunt them forever. Children should not have to carry such a heavy burden through life by themselves. Help IS available!
Blessings to you.
Written by Kelley – Angels by Grace Publication-June 1998
Have you ever been bombarded with questions stemming from abuse, in any form, and there was nowhere to turn? Opening up to friends or your counselor just didn’t seem to help at all? Yet the questions do not go away and it is torment. Every person needs a safe place to turn when dealing with any issue. Yet, I have come to realize friends or counselors aren’t always aware of our needs to open up, no matter how childish it seems.
God has allowed me to see that I have been looking to people to meet the emotional needs in my life. Needs such as, knowing what it’s like to have someone put their arms around me and say they love me when I feel crappy about myself. Having someone to hold me and let me cry out without judging me, or reassuring me when things aren’t going well. We all need this.
All these needs stem from what we didn’t get growing up. If we are saved, spiritually, then in that regard we know (or should know) who we are in Christ. If we are a man or a woman, we know because the evidence is there.
Where is the turmoil at? It is our emotions. There is a big gap between our spirit and our physical bodies. The emotions are there and they are damaged, which brings doubt, insecurity, fears, etc. Satan has his fun by doing everything in his power to prevent us from getting out what we really feel. He does this by getting us to focus on the situations in our lives, instead of focusing on Christ.
A good example of this is me being without a job for a little over six months. The first thought is survival and that results into not tithing, for example. It is easy for me to trust God when things are going great because I feel like He loves me. However, when a trial hits that means depending on Him, it is now the hardest thing to tithe. But tithing is my responsibility no matter what happens.
After the not tithing issue, my value as a person takes a beating as never before. Satan will use looking for a job as a way to compound the emotions of rejection, feelings of not having any abilities that would interest someone enough to hire me, etc.
Who does a person turn to after finding out that the things of the world, friends or counselors can’t help or stop the pain? The Person to turn to is God! As much as I cover my true emotions up with anger, He is the only One I can turn to. I honestly can’t say the blank feeling with people is His fault because God knows the right people to bring into my life.
However, when there is no other safe place to turn, He is our refuge. Kirk Talley does a song called, “Sometimes a Soldier Cries.” Its message is that it is okay for a soldier to cry, not feel strong, etc. And that we can turn to God’s arms of love.
Do I ever feel His arms around me or His love? No! However, God really uses music to comfort me, to remind me of His love, that His arms are really there. Yes, I have been frustrated with things I have gone through involving job hunting, things in life, and counseling. I can honestly say that God’s purpose was to get me to realize He is the only place I can truly turn and just be me. I really believe that His love is going to flood my emotional hurts in such a way that I will never be the same and that the torments of thoughts will be less and less.
Recently, God allowed me to attend a funeral of a nine-year old boy. One of the preachers there shared a very touching sermon and it hit home for me. He talked about Job and how Job never blamed God. The preacher also shared about God’s Sovereignty in the boy’s death. He pointed out that in God’s Word that our days are numbered and that the car accident was the means of God calling His child home.
How does this relate to abuse of any nature? Very simple. We have a Sovereign God who is in control. Yes, we could go into the question of if He’s so Sovereign, why did He let it happen? I have wanted to do that many times in an angry way because it hurts so much. God understands me doing that but, it would be my way of covering up the tears, the pain, and the need to release these feelings even though I’m scared.
There is no reason to blame God and get into the “What if’s” concerning myself or any circumstances that contributed to it. There is only forgiveness and letting His love flood my emotions. I know that God will always remind me of these things daily as a source of encouragement because He knows that I have the worst habit of focusing in on the circumstances and other people instead of focusing on Him.
Blessings to you.
An inner vow is a solemn promise we make to ourselves. Those vows lodge into our subconscious and although we may totally forget we made such a vow, it is there and will control parts of our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
As children, and even as adults, we make vows that start with “I will never.” Usually it stems from hurt or pain. “I’ll never get married again!” “I’ll never be like my Dad!” These inner vows stem from a spirit of rejection and open the door to the enemy.
As a child being abused I learned that by crying it created great satisfaction to my abuser. Upon my realizing that fact the devil stepped through that open door and whispered, “Show her, don’t cry!” I immediately vowed, “No-one will ever see me cry again!” That not only shut the door to my true emotions but caused me more physical pain because the beatings lasted longer in order to draw tears. For 45+ years no-one saw me cry! Not tears of joy, not tears of pain.
Hatred replaced forgiveness. “Forgive others so you’ll be forgiven” flew right out the window of my heart. “Come hell or high water I’ll get revenge! No-one will ever hurt me like that again!” Satan was well pleased with my vow. He instilled hatred instead of love. He accomplished his purpose to rob, steal, and destroy.
God has a purpose for all of us and unholy inner vows thwart, separate us from God’s purposes. We’re saying, “My will, not God’s.”
Our anger, unforgiveness, pride, issues of control and manipulation all stem from that spirit of rejection.
Many times we use anger to cover the hurt we are feeling. We stomp off making yet another vow. We try to control people and things by building walls. Walls that leave us in a prison of not knowing, feeling, or exhibiting love. We think we are protecting ourselves from being rejected but in reality we are shutting God and others out. “No-one will ever hurt me again!” “I’ll never show my true feelings.” “I’ll never trust _____ again!”
Inner vows is where “people pleasing” comes from. If we can be what someone wants us to be then they won’t reject us. If I can make everyone laugh, regardless of the turmoil I’m feeling, then they will love me. “Don’t rock the boat” and I won’t be rejected. “I’ll never say what I really think.” “I never count so make them happy.”
In order to hide the feelings of rejection we also try to manipulate others and circumstances. Instead of trusting God with the situation we usurp Him by “making things happen my way.” That’s pride! Pride feeds right into the vows we have made. “I don’t need God to tell me what to do.” Authority issues stem from the issues of rejection.
There are many vows we have made knowingly or unknowingly and in order to be set free from them and come closer to who God created us to be each and every vow must be renounced and repented of.
Ask the Lord to bring to mind the unholy inner vows you have made. Don’t be surprised if there are many. Take the time to write them down and begin renouncing them.
Here’s a sample prayer of renunciation:
Heavenly Father, I come to You in Jesus name, I repent and renounce the vow I made (describe what the vow entailed and any person you may have made the vow to). I realize this was foolish and rash on my behalf, and I ask that you will forgive me and release me from the bondage that this vow has brought me under.
In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I now renounce, break and nullify the vow (name the vow and any person the vow was made to), and I confess that I am released from this vow and it’s bondage in Jesus name.
I now command any evil spirits which have taken advantage of this unholy vow to leave me now in Jesus name!
(Repeat this prayer if you have more than one unholy vow to break.)
Feel free to e-mail me with any confidential questions or comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings to you.
“Therefore if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
One of the first articles I wrote for the new Cyber Support Group blog (Rocks in my Garden) was with an assignment of placing rocks in a basket as each issue was healed. Survivors carry much guilt, shame, unforgiveness, low self-esteem, anger, etc. The healing of these many issues takes time and much work. They did not happen over night and will not be healed over night. As each issue is looked at we go through the pain of having to relive some of the events of the past but as we do so the Lord is with us and helping us to delve into the deep dark secrets and the effects it has in our present life.
Shame is something that is placed on us through acts that defy what we are created to be. God did not create us to walk with shame or guilt or rage because of what was done to us. He wishes each of us to be free to laugh, love, and rejoice in Him with the freedom much like a child happily playing.
If we have these issues bearing down on us we cannot be free to be as He created us to be. We must take each issue and deal with it. We cannot do it alone! We need Christ’s wisdom, guidance, and insight. We need the support of others and possibly a good counselor that is willing to walk with us through the pain.
Anger is a volatile emotion that can debilitate us and affects every relationship we have. It’s as though we have a volcano deep inside just waiting to erupt. Healing the issues we have to deal with helps in easing the effects of the volcano. It brings about forgiveness and as forgiveness is granted, for us and our abuser/s, we are set free from the devastating effects. I have seen survivors who felt as though a million pounds had been lifted from their shoulders by the act of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is difficult when we have been so violated by another human being that we trusted. Betrayal of the deepest level is difficult to forgive but it is absolutely necessary for us to be able to move forward and become free. It is the most important step in gaining freedom. It is the goal that we can set before us – to be able to forgive the one/ones that so harmed us. I’m not talking about lip service forgiveness but the kind of forgiveness that truly comes from the heart. We can start by telling the Lord that because He forgives us we choose to forgive (abuser name) and eventually we will be able to forgive from the heart.
Forgiveness is a choice! It does not mean what was done was right. It does not mean you have to have a relationship, or even contact, with this person. It does not mean that you will forget what was done. It means you release the consequences and judgment to God. Unforgiveness is wanting revenge. Forgiveness means that you have broken the ties that your abuser has you bound up with. It means you have taken a most important step in being able to move forward and live the life that God wants you to have. It means freedom.
Here are some scriptures to help you with various issues you may be facing:
Eph. 4:31, 32
If you have confidential questions/comments feel free to e-mail me at: email@example.com
Blessings to you.
Every person has things that they will tolerate and those things that they will not tolerate. From ourselves and others. It’s called setting boundaries. But are the boundaries we set healthy boundaries?
Children that grow up in dysfunctional families are not given a choice, or not taught what healthy boundaries are. There are not usually boundaries set in dysfunctional homes. Sexual abuse is tolerated or hidden, beating Mom when the dinner isn’t ready on time, cussing and screaming, slapping, verbal attacks, degradation. There are all forms of abuse being tolerated. If there are any boundaries at all they are usually unhealthy.
What is a boundary? According to Webster’s dictionary it is “A limit. Anything marking a limit.” It’s as though we draw a line in the sand and say, “Don’t cross this line!” As Christians we can set healthy boundaries by refusing to listen to dirty jokes and gossip for example. Those are healthy boundaries. Once we have let others know that we will not tolerate filthy language, gossip, dirty jokes or whatever it is that offends us we must stick to those boundaries.
What are unhealthy boundaries? Allowing someone to verbally abuse us is one example of an unhealthy boundary. For example, I tell my husband that he can cuss all he wants but I just won’t tolerate the “F” word. Is that really a healthy boundary? No! Or for example, “Just don’t hit me in the face.”
There are many many examples of healthy and unhealthy boundaries but what it boils down to is what and how much I will tolerate, not just from others but from myself. Will I allow someone barging into the bathroom while I soak in the tub? Will I allow someone to continually verbally abuse me and say nothing? Will I continue to be degraded in front of my co-workers? Boundaries are set so that we may be treated with dignity and respect. If I allow others to belittle me or in some way show less than the respect that I deserve then I have not set boundaries. I am accepting that I am “less than.”
Children that have been abused have not been taught boundaries. As adults we tend to allow others to abuse us verbally, emotionally, or physically because we have not been taught that we are loved and respected as another human being. We expect less of people and of ourselves because that’s what our life experiences taught us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In Gen. 1:28 God told Adam and Eve about ownership. We are not to only take control of the things of the earth but that we are to take control and responsibility for our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives. “We are made in the image of God, we were created to take responsibility for certain tasks. Taking responsibility, or ownership, is knowing what is our job, and what isn’t.”* In other words, are we going to allow certain unhealthy things to control us? “It takes wisdom to know what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t.” *
In Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend book, “Boundaries” he states, “Any confusion of responsibility and ownership in our lives is a problem of boundaries. Just as homeowners set physical property lines around their land, we need to set physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries for our lives to help us distinguish what is our responsibility and what isn’t.” *
They go on to discuss attitudes, feelings, behaviors, choices, values, limits, talents, thoughts, desires, and love. All have boundaries. “Boundaries are built and you can’t develop or set boundaries apart from supportive relationships with God and others.”
Many people feel they are being disobedient, will hurt others feelings, people may think I’m controlling, or angry if I set boundaries. But setting healthy boundaries are none of these. All children need healthy boundaries set in place not only for their safety but for learning they are loved and respected and we as adults also need to put in place healthy boundaries.
As a survivor of childhood physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse I had to learn to create healthy boundaries in order to live an emotionally healthy life. All of our relationships are affected by the boundaries we set or the lack of boundaries. What we tolerate is what will continue!
One of books that was of great help in my understanding and learning how to put in place healthy boundaries is:
I highly recommend it and the workbook. (available at http://www.amazon.com)
If you have confidential comments or questions feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings to you.