Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc
Sunday, March 26, 2017
For Adult Daughters of Controlling or Abusive Birth-Families
MAY 2006 Newsletter
LUKE 17:3 Ministries
for adult daughters
A sisterhood for those who seek support in developing self-esteem, setting boundaries and limits, forgiveness, Godly confrontation, recognizing and cutting ties with reprobates, healing, and rejoicing in the peace and love of
the Lord, our Father
Happy Mother’s Day, Dear Sisters!
THE ONLY FORM OF ABUSE STILL CONDONED BY SOCIETY. THE ONLY ABUSE IN WHICH THE VICTIM IS CRITICIZED OR ABANDONED FOR TRYING TO PROTECT HERSELF. CHILD ABUSE THAT DIDN’T END WHEN ADULTHOOD BEGAN…THE CONTINUING ABUSE OF GROWN CHILDREN BY THEIR PARENTS.
If you have ever experienced Adult Child Abuse by a parent, sibling, or other relative, We Welcome You!
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WHEN IS IT EVER GOING TO BE MY TURN?
The Exploitation Habit- If You Start It, They Will Come!
By Rev. Renee Pittelli
Givers, Takers, And Family Dynamics
WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?
Remember when we were children, how our parents taught us to take turns and share? In fact, they insisted on it. Back then, it was important to our parents not to raise selfish kids. But now that we are adults, for some reason our parents don’t seem to mind if some of their kids are selfish, as long as at least one isn’t- so their needs and wants will still be taken care of. When you were growing up, your parents assigned chores. They made it clear that everyone was expected to contribute to the family and to pull their own weight. Didn’t they insist that you be responsible and do what was expected of you?- go to school, keep your grades up, help out around the house, babysit your little brother, work part-time, pay some of your own expenses?
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Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.” Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them….Nehemiah 8:9-12
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace….Ecclesiates 3:1-8
PRAISE THE LORD!
Back then, nobody wanted the embarrassment of raising a bum- but that doesn’t seem to bother the folks now.
In fact, the very parents who raised you to do your share, take turns, and pull your own weight now don’t want to do THEIR share. And they don’t it mind if your siblings don’t do their share either. In fact, they think YOU are wrong for expecting it! What ever happened to “Share with your sister” or “Now let your brother have a turn”? We were RAISED to share and take turns, but now we are the “troublemakers” for expecting everybody to share and take turns! When did everything change? Where did we go wrong?
In this series, I am not going to analyze what our families are doing wrong in detail- how they may have always spoiled the younger children and expected the oldest to do all the work, how they only want to take turns and share the good things- like ice cream and toys, not the bad things- like work, how they always had a “favorite” child who got away with everything, how birth-order dooms you to be the only responsible family member for the rest of your life, etc. Much is already written about these things, including many of the other articles on our website.
The sad fact is that they aren’t going to change, so analyzing our families’ motivations, personalities, and character deficits is pretty much a waste of time for the purposes of this discussion. Instead, I will concentrate on analyzing US, you and me- and just what it is about us that makes people walk all over us! If we want to stop being taken advantage of, WE are the ones who have to change what we are doing. We have to break the old patterns and relate to our birth-relatives in new ways. THEY have no motivation to change. They like everything just fine the way it is, because it is to their advantage, so they’re going to fight to maintain the status quo. WE are the ones who desire change; therefore, WE are the ones who have to implement it.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT IS…..
Every member of every family has a role to play, some are the “serious” ones, some are the “comedians”, some are the “wise ones” that others go to for advice, some are the ones who tend to take on a lot of responsibility (the givers) and some are those who happily let them (the takers). In non-abusive families, things are a little more equal, and relatives are fair and maintain give-and-take relationships. In normal families, although each person has a “role”, the roles are flexible as circumstances change. The giver may be the one cooking every family dinner most of the time, but if the giver gets the flu or goes away on a ski trip, those who normally eat the dinners will cheerfully take over and cook for a change. It is natural for them to give the giver a break, and to care for the giver when the need arises.
The difference with abusive families is that these roles are rigid and unchanging, NO MATTER WHAT! With selfish people who take advantage and exploit others for their own ends, once you allow yourself to take on the role of family “giver”, that will be your assigned role FOR LIFE- and you will be giving until it hurts! Not only will your family fail to do anything for you in return, they will also resist you doing anything for yourself. Don’t plan on taking a dream vacation, retiring and relocating, getting sick, going back to college, or doing anything for yourself, especially if it will interfere with being a slave to your relatives.
We have heard numerous testimonies from sisters who have gotten up out of their sick beds to do favors for relatives, or hosted major holidays within a couple of weeks of having major surgery. The selfish demands of these relatives knows no bounds. There seems to be few limits on how far they will go. One could almost imagine lying in a hospital bed, deathly ill, and having a relative call you up and demand that you come home to take her shopping!
I speak from personal experience when I say that any attempt on your part to give up some of the “giving”, once the habit is entrenched, will result in hostility, resentment, escalating demands, and possibly end with some of your relatives not speaking to you. There is no logic to it, there will be no sense of fairness, and you will not be able to reason with them because they will be completely irrational. In their minds, this is the way we’ve always done things, this is the way it’s always been, and this is the way it’s going to stay! You have no right to change anything!
That is not to say that you shouldn’t change anything, just because selfish relatives aren’t going to like it. If you find yourself caught in this role far longer than you signed on for, and want and need to make some changes, by all means go for it. There are no slaves anymore- it’s time you enjoyed the freedom you deserve. Just be forewarned and prepared for the fallout from those selfish relatives, but don’t let it stop you. It’s never too late to make some changes and enjoy some of your own life.
Learn to set and enforce limits and boundaries (see the section about this on our website) and get some supportive therapy to get you over the hump. Learn to accept your family’s disapproval, say “Oh, well”, and move on. If your relatives only “love” you because you allow them to use you, you are better off without them. Exploitation is not love. Domination is not love. Loving relationships do not break up because a giving person needs to take care of herself for a change, or expects a little in return once in a while.
TWO KINDS OF TAKERS
The first kind of taker is the person who has ALWAYS been a taker. There are no surprises here- as long as anyone can remember, this was the “spoiled” brat relative- only now he may be 80 years old instead of 8! People have kissed up to him, catered to him, and treated him like he was special his whole life. Now, not only does he believe he’s more special than anyone else, everyone else believes it, too! He thinks he’s the king, and the others are his subjects. With someone like this, you need to lay low and avoid too much connection. Make yourself scarce, stay in the background and let others cater to him if they want to. This taker is almost easy to avoid. He is easy to recognize because there is no doubt about what he is. You can spot him a mile away. He doesn’t even try to disguise his nature, and if he does, you can still see through him, so you have the advantage of seeing him for what he always was. Avoid getting involved. With this person, as with all takers, you will be sucked dry! As soon as you see him coming, that’s your chance to run for the hills!
The second type of taker is more difficult to recognize and deal with, because she wasn’t always a taker. She developed into one over time. Somehow she discovered it was much more gratifying to receive than to give, so she’s decided to make a career out of taking. Some have turned it into an art form, developing their talents of manipulation, guilt, and appearing pitiful so you will keep the attention and favors coming their way.
Deep in your heart, you remember the way it used to be, when you had fun together, when you had a two-sided relationship that you enjoyed and benefited from as well. The change may have been sudden, or it may have occurred gradually. Without realizing it, you got sucked into the giver role with this person. You’re not quite sure when and where you lost it, you don’t want to believe it’s gone, and you’re hoping any day now, things will go back to normal and you will enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship once again. This is the taker who does take you by surprise, and it is a very unpleasant surprise. You just wake up one day and realize that everything has changed, that your loving, give-and-take relationship has gone south, and the person you thought you could count on for support, caring, and advice, is now a full-fledged, blood-sucking, taker.
NOT ENOUGH GIVERS TO GO AROUND
The stubborn, rigid resistance to a change in the status quo is overwhelming in abusive families, and anyone who “rocks the boat” can expect to draw the ire of the other members, and be the target of their manipulation and abuse. In any given family group, because so few members allow themselves to be exploited to this extent, most of the relatives fall into the “taker” category; hence, there are too few “givers” to go around. Unconsciously, the family knows this and realizes their ability to keep on taking depends on keeping the giver in her place. The stability and survival of the “pack” is at stake.
If one giver, or worse yet, the ONLY giver, rebels and decides to stop giving, or to not give as much or as often, then who is going to take over that role? No one else wants to volunteer to be victimized all the time, that’s for sure. If givers are permitted to stop giving, eventually the takers aren’t going to have anyone to take from.
No one can be permitted to disrupt the family hierarchy by deviating from her assigned role. The “pecking order” has been established long ago and must be respected! The kindest and most generous (translate: “weakest”) member is ganged up on by the others. Think “Leave It To Beaver” meets “Lord of the Flies”. The family bands together and lays on the guilt and pressure to discourage the giver from abandoning her assigned role, so they will still have someone left to use and exploit. They want everything to remain as it has always been- advantageous to the takers, exhausting to the giver! And they will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.
THE “SUPERWOMAN” EXCUSES
It is a HUGE MISTAKE to allow your family to think of you as “Super-Woman”, who can multi-task a dozen different chores, never get stressed out or exhausted, and handle anything and everything that gets thrown her way.
There are two excuses that takers and freeloaders often use to justify their selfishness. These excuses cause a “mental block” in their minds when it comes to reciprocating or sharing the burdens. At times, they may even voice these thoughts to you, in so many words.
One is that they convince themselves that you really ENJOY doing all the work and WANT to do it all. A variation on this theme is that they decide you like to CONTROL everything and don’t really WANT anyone else to “interfere” (translate: pitch in). So they are actually DOING YOU A FAVOR by not helping out or taking any responsibility!
The second roadblock that often causes others to hesitate about taking their turn at family obligations is that you appear so competent, you intimidate them. They feel that their efforts will be compared to yours and they will come up short, either in their own minds, your mind, or other people’s minds, and their egos cannot handle that risk.
If they don’t do what they consider as good as job as you, it usually won’t be because of incompetence, but because they really didn’t want to spend all the money, devote all the time, or do all the work that you did- so they did a half-hearted job. They pressure themselves to be competitive with you, but they really don’t want to expend the effort, so they just forget the whole thing and let you continue doing it all.
NIP EXPLOITATION IN THE BUD
To the many younger Sisters who are just starting out in their adult lives, who perhaps are just getting married and starting to have children, or have started working and are living on their own for the first time, I have some advice for you. DO NOT START ANY HABITS WITH YOUR FAMILY THAT YOU DO NOT PLAN ON CONTINUING FOR THE REST OF YOUR ADULT LIFE. Do not allow something you don’t mind doing once in a while, or something you like to do occasionally, to turn into an obligation which you MUST do. Sometimes, you are doing it willingly and enjoying it, never realizing that is it turning into your permanent job. This is what happened to me. Exploitation sneaks up on you. One day you will wake up and find out that you no longer have a choice, and even if your circumstances change, you are still expected to do what you have always done, whether it is living in a certain location, hosting all the holidays, or being the one everyone else comes to for advice or money.
Although you can change things down the road, it will be much more difficult and cause you much more pain than if you just refuse to allow being the family “giver” to become a habit in the first place. If you start your adult life right off alternating taking your parents to their doctor’s appointments with your brother, you will not be expected to shoulder the entire responsibility for their health care in the future. If you move into your first new home, and start right off alternating the holidays between your house and your mother’s and sister’s, you have made known that you expect everyone to share the burdens as well as the pleasures of family gatherings equally, and you have established that routine right from the get-go. It is much easier to never allow a particular routine to take root than it will be to undo the damage years down the line. Prevention is nine-tenths of the cure.
In the testimonies we’ve discussed in this series, the truth is that each victim could have avoided volunteering for the victim role in the first place, right from the beginning. The trouble, as I’ve mentioned, is that exploitation tends to sneak up on you.
At the start of your adult life, when you are setting the course for your future adult relationships, you may love being the giver. It usually makes you very popular with the rest of the family (the takers), and wins you much approval from them. You are trying to demonstrate your love, and let’s face it, doing so many things so well makes you feel proud, competent, and good about yourself. But one day you will regret it, and being trapped into repeating the same “jobs” forever will get really old. It may take decades before you wake up and realize that your kindnesses are no longer appreciated, but expected. You will be stuck in the “giver” role, and it will be very hard to escape.
In Part 3, we will review the testimonies we’ve talked about, and discuss various steps our sisters could have taken and the changes they could have made in their own behavior, at any point over the years, to avoid finally being victimized by their families to such an outrageous degree.
Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness …..Proverbs 25: 4-5
WHY DO I PUT UP WITH THIS GARBAGE?
GIVING UP THE NEED FOR APPROVAL,
FEARS OF ABANDONMENT, & OUR OWN HIDDEN MOTIVATIONS
By Rev. Renee
At one time or another, most of us have asked ourselves why we put up with this garbage from those we love and who are supposed to love us- why we tolerate being continually mistreated by those whom we treat very well. Of course, no article can adequately substitute for some therapy in helping us to discover the reasons we allow ourselves to be abused. However, in this article we will discuss three common issues, which are often referred to as signs of co-dependency. If the thoughts expressed by these questions ever enter our heads, then we need to understand that it is indeed possible that they are influencing us to remain in abusive situations. As you read on, consider whether there is in reality some pay-off to you which keeps you enmeshed in your abusive relationship.
OUR NEED FOR THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS
Is our need for approval and to be liked holding us back from the life of freedom and joy we deserve as a child of the King? Let’s consider the following questions:
Do I want people to like me?
Do I want people to think I’m nice?
Am I afraid of sounding harsh?
Is what others think important to me?
Do I believe that people think a strong woman is bitchy?
Am I afraid of hurting the feelings of those who abuse me?
Do I think what I want isn’t really that important?
Do I “not really mind” putting others’ needs first?
Am I usually the one taking care of everyone else?
Do I pride myself on being dependable?
Do I not really expect others to do for me what I am willing to do for them?
Is my role the “giver” in most of my relationships?
Am I proud of being the giver?
Do I avoid conflicts?
Am I afraid of other people’s anger?
Am I afraid of showing my anger?
Am I uncomfortable if someone disapproves of something I say or do?
Do I avoid controversial discussions?
Am I afraid if I speak my mind others will stop loving me?
Do I want everyone to think I’m lovable?
Do I not want others to think I’m a whiner or a complainer?
Do I think it’s unladylike or unfeminine to stand up for myself?
Are other people’s needs, wants, thoughts or feelings more important than mine?
Am I embarrassed or uncomfortable when someone compliments me, thanks me, gives me a gift, or does something nice for me?
Am I more comfortable trying to think of nice things to do for others instead of having them do nice things for me?
Do I avoid rocking the boat?
Do I hate inconveniencing anyone?
Is other people’s happiness my responsibility?
Am I always apologizing, even for things that are not my fault or that I didn’t do?
Do I like being a “peacemaker?” (My birth-mother’s definition of “peacemaker” was “abuse-tolerator”. Her “peacemaking” consisted of convincing the victim to continue accepting mistreatment without ever expecting anything at all from the abuser. This is not what is meant by “peace-making.”)
Do I feel that if I speak the truth, people will not like me?
Do I feel that if I speak the truth, people will withdraw their love?
Will I feel guilty if I speak the truth and it upsets someone?
Do I think putting up with mistreatment makes me look like a “good” person to others?
Our need for the approval of others has been ingrained in us since early childhood. Our abusive relatives controlled us by dangling that approval just out of our reach- to keep us trying harder and harder to please them. Witholding their approval is a tactic that control-freaks use against us. Striving to please unpleaseable people is like running endlessly on a treadmill and going absolutely nowhere.
We need to fight our inclination to equate approval with love. Our families should love us UNCONDITIONALLY. If they don’t, then something is wrong with THEM, NOT US. Their love is not supposed to be dependent on whether or not we obey them, accept their criticism, allow them to control, manipulate, or degrade us, etc. If people only “love” us when we tolerate their mistreatment, then we really don’t need that kind of love. If relatives only “love” us when we allow them to use or exploit us, then we don’t need that kind of love, either.
Another way of looking at this is to consider our relationship with our abuser and ask ourselves this question- if the love is only present as long as abuse is allowed, then how come WE don’t get to abuse our relative and still have him love us? How come the abuse only goes one way? By this logic, we should get to treat our abuser just like he treats us, and everybody should claim they love each other anyway and be happy as clams. But of course, it never works that way. The abuse only goes in one direction.
Love and approval cannot be equated with each other, and certainly not with abuse- they are opposites, not the same. Those who really love us may at times disapprove of our decisions, but they love us anyway. They don’t have to like everything we do, but they do have to understand that that does not give them the right to criticize or control us. We need to run our own lives whether they approve or not. We do not need their permission to be an adult. Normal love is not dependent on approval or disapproval. Nobody who truly loves you will stop loving you just because you don’t always do what they want you to do.
None of us should care so much about the approval of men- certainly not to the point that we will excuse evil just to win someone’s approval. The only approval we need to concern ourselves with is God’s.
AM I NOW TRYING TO WIN THE APPROVAL OF MEN, OR OF GOD? OR AM I TRYING TO PLEASE MEN? IF I WERE STILL TRYING TO PLEASE MEN, I WOULD NOT BE A SERVANT OF CHRIST….Galatians 1: 10
THE SPIRITUAL MAN MAKES JUDGMENTS ABOUT ALL THINGS, BUT HE HIMSELF IS NOT SUBJECT TO ANY MAN’S JUDGMENT: “FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?” BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST….1 Corinthians 2:15-16
WE ARE NOT TRYING TO PLEASE MEN BUT GOD, WHO TESTS OUR HEARTS. YOU KNOW WE NEVER USED FLATTERY, NOR DID WE PUT ON A MASK TO COVER UP GREED- GOD IS OUR WITNESS. WE WERE NOT LOOKING FOR PRAISE FROM MEN, NOT FROM YOU OR ANYONE ELSE….1 Thessalonians 1:4-6.
I CARE VERY LITTLE IF I
AM JUDGED BY YOU OR BY ANY
OUR FEARS OF ABANDONMENT AND BEING ALONE
Many of us would rather stick with the familiar, even if it is destructive, than face the unknown- being without our abuser. Sister, are you fearful that if you start to defend yourself and set limits, your relative will disown you? Many abusive relatives use this as a threat to keep us in line- often coming right out and saying that they will stop speaking to us or “cut us out of the will” unless we obey them unquestioningly.
Others are not so direct, but our fear that they will cut us off is still there. The reason for this is that we sense the truth- that they do not really love us for ourselves, but are only interested in having a relationship with us as long as they can dominate, use, and control us.
Sister, you deserve your family’s love without having to be anybody’s doormat. After all, would YOU stop speaking to a relative just because they didn’t always give in to your demands? No- because normal people do not resort to extortion or blackmail to get what they want from people who love them.
When considering the following questions, ask yourself if you really want to spend your life trying to please someone just so that they won’t dump you, or is it time to hold your head up high and reclaim your dignity?:
Am I afraid my relative will disown me if I start defending myself or setting limits?
Am I afraid I will be abandoned or betrayed by other relatives who will take my abuser’s side?
Is my whole family so enmeshed in the sickness of the abuser that they will outcast me if I speak up?
Would I rather keep quiet and endure a lifetime of abuse than risk losing my family? If this is a genuine fear of mine, do I understand that if it is true, it means that my family doesn’t really love me after all? That they don’t really care about me or want what’s best for me? That their “love” is conditional on me continuing to accept their abuse or control?
Do I believe that I could never survive if my abuser was out of my life?
Do I fear her leaving and think it would devastate me to lose her?
Do I fear the loss of her love if I start setting limits on her behavior?
Do I fear losing the love of other relatives if I speak up?
Do I think that I could never live if my family abandoned me for speaking the truth or defending myself? Would the betrayal or abandonment of other relatives devastate me?
Am I afraid of being alone?
Do I realize that there is life after “divorce” and I will make it just fine?
Am I afraid of having no one to depend on, or to take care of me?
Many of us have had our self-esteem literally criticized out of us, until we no longer believe we can take care of ourselves. We have also been abused into believing we are unlovable, and that we don’t deserve to be loved for ourselves. Our abuser may have spent a lifetime (ours!) doing everything possible to convince us that we can’t make it without her. We panic at the thought of displeasing and possibly losing her, mistakenly feeling that at least she is there for us, to take care of us, or to help us if we need her.
But if we really think about it, we will often realize that abusers and controllers were never taking care of us in the first place. On the contrary, we were always the ones they could depend on to take care of their needs, while our needs usually went unmet.
If we stop and think, we will often see that WE were taking care of EVERYBODY’S needs all along, including our own, while nobody was ever taking care of us, anyway. In fact, if the time ever arose in the past that we did need to be taken care of, supported, and loved, most likely our abuser was either nowhere to be found, or actually added to our troubles in some way instead of helping or comforting us. The only difference it will make in our lives to be rid of selfish, narcissistic, controlling people, is that there will be that many fewer demands put upon US.
In the light of this truth, being “alone” becomes an attractive alternative. Being without users and abusers is an IMPROVEMENT in our lives, not a detriment. Sometimes we can’t imagine life without our controller- but Sister, in my experience, if she does decide to disown you for setting limits, after a short adjustment period, life without her will be just great! Once you taste freedom, you will never go back.
Even if our families choose to cut us off, being alone only lasts a little while, because the Lord sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). He will always put people in our lives to comfort and care for us. Many times we need to break our bondage to our abusers in order to be free to enjoy these new, Godly relationships.
Above all, we must never forget that in reality we are NEVER alone. The Lord is always with us, and no one else really matters. Jesus walks right beside us all day, every day of our lives. His Holy Spirit is always within us. Our blessed Father does not take his eyes off us for a second. He has engraved us on the palm of his hand (Isaiah 49:16), and no one can snatch us out of his hand (John -29). He is always caring for us and providing for our every need (Matthew -34). Our Father knows what we need before we ask him (Matthew 6:8). Being less dependent on other people frees us from demanding or controlling relationships, and also allows us to depend more fully on the Lord, and to grow in our relationship with him. We need to increase our faith and have full confidence that he is in control at every moment, and that he is taking care of everything and will always work all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
Best of all, no matter who else leaves us or forsakes us, including our own birth-parents, our heavenly Father has promised that he will NEVER leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5, Psalm 37:25, Deuteronomy 31:6). In truth, he alone is the only person we can completely trust to be there for us no matter what, and to always take care of us. We need not remain in bondage to any man, especially not out of fear of being alone, because as long as we have God, we are never alone.
THOUGH MY FATHER AND MOTHER FORSAKE ME, THE LORD WILL RECEIVE ME….Psalm 27: 10
IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?....Romans
THIS IS WHAT THE LORD SAYS:
“CURSED IS THE ONE WHO TRUSTS IN MAN, WHO DEPENDS ON FLESH FOR HIS
STRENGTH AND WHOSE HEART TURNS AWAY FROM THE LORD. HE WILL BE LIKE A BUSH IN THE
WASTELANDS; HE WILL NOT SEE PROSPERITY WHEN IT COMES. HE WILL DWELL IN THE PARCHED PLACES OF
THE DESERT, IN A
BECAUSE GOD HAS SAID, “NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU; NEVER WILL I FORSAKE YOU.” SO WE SAY WITH CONFIDENCE, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME?”....Hebrews 13: 5-6.
THE HARDEST QUESTIONS OF ALL
Could it be possible that those who abuse, control, or manipulate us aren’t the only ones with hidden agendas and ulterior motives? Sometimes those of us who are perpetual victims have hidden motivations of our own. Such secret reasons are often so thoroughly buried in our minds that they are hidden even from ourselves. Prayerfully and honestly searching our hearts, with a willingness to understand and admit our part in our own victimization, will unveil our eyes and allow us to see ourselves, and what may be driving us, more clearly. By the grace of God, all will be revealed to us, so that we may begin our healing process, and rejoice in becoming free from abuse.
And now for the hardest questions of all:
Do I get more mileage out of appearing sweet, soft, timid, or “feminine” instead of strong, brave, independent and competent?
Am I using “vulnerability” to manipulate either my abuser or other people into taking care of me or being with me?
Do I consider being taken advantage of, criticized, used, or abused simply the price I have to pay for remaining dependent on others and their approval? Am I reluctant to make changes because I really prefer it this way? Even though I might complain, do I not really mind being exploited by others because in reality I am exploiting them as well?
Do I enjoy the attention or sympathy being a “victim” gets me from other people? Do I secretly like it when others listen to my tales of woe and consider me a “saint” to put up with the abuse my family (or spouse) heaps on me? Am I actually using my abuser to elicit approval or love from outsiders?
Do I enjoy it when outsiders disapprove of my relatives’ behavior towards me? Do I feel validated when outsiders defend me or pity me?
Do I like others to feel sorry for me? Do I think it means they care about me? Do I have a “martyr complex”? (This is something my birth-mother got a lot of mileage out of .)
Do I pride myself on being the one everyone else can count on? Do I like being “needed”?
As difficult as it may be to believe, most of us do have a choice in allowing ourselves to be victimized. It is one thing if bad behavior towards us is an infrequent occurrence. But if it is a pattern, then we need to ask ourselves why we allow it. Fool me once, shame on you- fool me twice, shame on me. What exactly we are getting out of this relationship, that is causing us to keep coming back for more? And more precisely, what exactly are we getting out of the dynamics of this relationship? Why do we prefer the negative status quo and resist positive change and freedom from abuse or exploitation?
If there were not some physical, mental, emotional, or even financial benefit to us, we would be much more inclined to simply put a stop to our mistreatment in some way- either by setting and enforcing boundaries, or by avoiding our abuser, ending the relationship, or otherwise getting free from her.
In order to understand our own willingness to be repeatedly victimized, we need to admit to ourselves what the payoff is, and then we need to decide if it is really worth it. Dear Sister, if you have recognized yourself in any of the things we have discussed, or if you suspect you may have other co-dependent characteristics, we encourage you to get into therapy and begin your recovery. With God’s grace you can and will heal, and claim the victory of an abuse-free life.
BUT WHATEVER WAS TO MY PROFIT I NOW CONSIDER LOSS FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST. WHAT IS MORE, I CONSIDER EVERYTHING A LOSS COMPARED TO THE SURPASSING GREATNESS OF KNOWING CHRIST JESUS MY LORD, FOR WHOSE SAKE I HAVE LOST ALL THINGS. I CONSIDER THEM RUBBISH, THAT I MAY GAIN CHRIST AND BE FOUND IN HIM, NOT HAVING A RIGHTEOUSNESS OF MY OWN THAT COMES FROM THE LAW, BUT THAT WHICH IS THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST….Philippians 3: 7-9.
“NO EYE HAS SEEN, NO EAR HAS HEARD, NO MIND HAS CONCEIVED WHAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM” BUT GOD HAS REVEALED IT TO US BY HIS SPIRIT…1 Corinthians 2: 9-10
To those with children of their own, enjoy every minute of your special day with your family. May you feel your father’s love in your heart all day, and may he bless you with the peace and joy that only he can give.
Love, your sisters
Renee & Denise
Lord brought back the captives to
We were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
Our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
Those who sow in tears
Will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
Will return with song of joy,
Thank you, Father, for all our blessings. Because of your loving kindness, our tears have been dried and we have smiles on our faces. Thank you Holy Ghost, for dwelling within us so that we may daily feel the presence of God. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your healing and restoration. Without you, nothing is possible, but with you, all things are possible. We love you , Lord. We bless your Wonderful Name! To God goes all the glory!
Copyright 2002-2016.-All articles on this site are copyrighted. Permission to copy is granted for non-profit use only.Please help yourself to anything we write if you can use it to help others. A link back to this site is our only requirement. Please contact us for any commercial or other use. All e-mails, letters, and other correspondence become the property of Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc. Due to the large volume of e-mails, we're sorry that we are unable to personally answer every one, but we do lift everyone who writes to us in prayer to the Lord.
The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues.
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships. We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.