A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Why Don’t Victims of Abuse “Just Get Over it?”

Should victims of abuse, if they are Christians, be able to “just get over it”? Are Christians immune to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Many Christians think so. I would suspect that some of our readers who have suffered abuse may have been given this advice from other believers: “Trust in Christ. Stop being depressed. Move on.”

Well, let’s take a look at Paul’s experience.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;  in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

The Apostle Paul suffered horrific trauma, shame, accusations, and murderous hatred. Just consider the list above. And we know this is not a complete recounting of all of his trials. His life ended in execution.

Paul was granted remarkable enablement by Christ so that he was sustained in his Apostolic calling through every hardship. It would seem that the Lord grants all of His people strength and comfort and gifting in accordance with the ministry he gives each one. Paul wrote of an amazing and unique experience:

2 Corinthians 12:1-4
I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

But even with this vision, did Paul completely escape all symptoms and effects of these traumatic events?  Let him answer the question —

2 Corinthians 4:8-10
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

No, Paul felt it. But the Lord sustained him through it. His faith did not fail. He was afflicted, crushed, persecuted, and struck down. Christ Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane sweated profusely in turmoil, yet submitted to the Father’s will.

It is therefore a grave error – and unfortunately a common one – to think that Christians who suffer trauma, whether it be from abuse or accident or terminal illness or tragic loss, ought to “buck up” and get over it. Christians are strengthened by Christ so that we will never have our faith in Him destroyed, but He permits us to experience trials and traumas and their effects. Many times, even Christian victims of abuse need therapy and counseling and help from someone who really understands trauma. We should never tell a suffering Christian to just “keep on the sunny side of life.”

35 Comments

  1. joepote01

    Anyone who would even ask that question must have a remarkably poor understanding of the human psyche. Both mourning and healing take time, and an abuse victim must deal with both, simultaneously. Through God’s grace, healing comes, but it takes time.

    Oh, and this trend toward thinking Christians are supposed to be always bright, chipper, eternal optimists? Not biblical. Jesus is described as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) If my goal is to be like Christ, then I should expect some measure of sorrow and grief in my life.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Right on, Joe. I must confess that years ago I was way too much “it is a sin to be sad or depressed” in my thinking. Ha! Until I got sad and depressed over years of time under the constant barrage of abuse from “godly” church members. Yes, that thinking is amazingly naive and absolutely unscriptural. I was thinking of Job – his “counselor” friends were of that simplistic school of thought. “Job, this is how it works. You sin, bad things happen to you. You do good, good things happen. So admit it, you sinned and that is why your family is toast.” At least Job’s friends had the good sense to come and sit with him for, what, 7 days before they even opened their mouths?

      • joepote01

        You know, when I was going thru a very difficult period, several years ago, I had several Christian brothers advise me to spend time reading encouraging psalms and to stay away from reading Job, because “Job is so depressing.”

        I found it to be quite the opposite. The book of Job fed my soul at a time I badly needed to feel kinship to someone else going thru extremely difficult circumstances for no obvious reason.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Joe – Pro 25:20 Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.

      • Amen. The book of Job is encouraging. In times of trial and troubles that seem to never end, it helps so much to know that God is in control. The book of Job shows that clearly.

      • I actually think that at times it’s a good thing to be sad and depressed. These times should be (ideally, but not necessarily) when you are alone before the Lord, or with trustworthy friends who have shoulders to cry on. God wants us to be real with him. If we keep denying what pains us, how can we face it in order for it to be healed? God took me through a dark patch in order for me to face what I had been pressing down for fifteen years. It’s really helped me clear things up, and now I’m at the point where I’m leaning towards His will for me, a will which is ultimately truthful and perfect and will give me new life. Although I am in a battle with sin/lies to fully give myself over to Him, and I admit I’m finding it tough and quite scary, I’m trying very hard to stick with my leap of faith. I keep telling myself it will be worth it, that it’s the very best thing for me.

    • One of my favourite verses is “Weep with those who weep.” (Rom. 12:15)
      Why do Christians ignore it so often?

      And Paul wept when exhorting his flock: “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31)
      If Paul stood in the pulpit now and began weeping with grief over the unbiblical thinking and practices of the congregation, would they tell him to bottle it and put on a bright cheery face?

      • I think Westerners are very uncomfortable with public displays of grief. For that matter, we seem to be uncomfortable with private displays of grief, also. We do not weep with those who weep because we don’t want to–they make us uncomfortable, ruin our fun, make us feel that all isn’t well. All ISN’T well but we so like to pretend it is. We go through life with blinders on. Sad.

      • joepote01

        The shortest verse of the Bible has become one of my favorites, “Jesus wept.” And why did He weep? Surely not for Lazarus, since He knew Lazarus would be resurrected that same day. He wept, joining in the sorrow of His friends, Mary and Martha, who were mourning the loss of their brother…and He wept for a world lost in sin, darkness and death.

        But He did not tell them to buck up and get over it! No…Jesus wept.

  2. I renewed my relationship with the Lord after my second child was born; I realized I couldn’t be of this world. My spouse had told me he was a Christian, but when it came down to it, he told me just to pick a church. I am the woman of 2Tim 3:6. I was gullible when I married him; experienced a loaded gun being held to my head. I turned to the church that I knew at the time. And I got out of the abuse by the grace of God. I am in a different place now. But when we came here, we tried to find a home church; we had nothing, only some clothes, a few toys. I went to a mega church, didn’t really get to know anyone. Then I didn’t have a car, no way to get to church. When to one close by, told the pastor I had PTSD, asked to have a call from the counseling pastor, but she never called me back. I live 3 weeks out of the month, sometimes less. That means that I try to continue on for 3 weeks of the month and the 4th week I have to deal with my exspouse and my PTSD kicks in. It is hard to concentrate, I pray nonstop. My whole body tenses from fear and I end up hurting afterwards. The court has made me experience this. And justice, well, I am experiencing litigation abuse. When you turn to a church, I would hope that there would be outreach, but there hasn’t been. And in this small town, (in Oregon) I would like to find a way to educate the Judges, Lawyers, Educators, and most of all the Pastors and churches. The church I went to had an offering box; so since I didn’t have money at the time, I would place a prayer in the box. I am still having my morning coffee as I write this; hope it makes sense.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Dear Teresa- Thank you for sharing some of you life with us here. Many other readers will certainly identify with what you describe, including the ongoing litigation abuse. Might I suggest that, if you haven’t, you contact your nearest women’s resource center and ask about counseling they provide? The center here in Tillamook, for example, provides counseling services for no charge. Don’t think it is selfish to take care of yourself first.

      Yes, the Christian church is so very often in the dark regarding abuse. In addition, the whole scenario of abuse, the trauma it causes, the convoluted and complicate situations it creates (poverty, PTSD, hurting children, and more) can be daunting to people who just don’t understand it. Then factor in the deceptive tactics of the abuser, especially if he claims to be a Christian, and you have a really tough case to deal with.

      Let us know how things proceed with you and keep reading the posts here, interacting with other readers, and updating us on your search for a church.

  3. It’s been two years since we left the abuse. I wanted to get out, didn’t think he would care. He got what he wanted out of me. I thought I could start over. I got a job within a month; but lost that job after nine months; it was in a nursing home and I was in whistle blower mode. They told me I was not a good fit, that they needed to keep their beds full. I witnessed people dying in pain unecessarily, I worked 48 hours a week with three kids at home that I was trying to homeschool. I did not think that my exspouse would want anything to do with us, since his mission was accomplished. Indeed, he didn’t start coming around until the car I had that was in both our names broke down, it was only four years old, and I couldn’t afford to have it fixed. You see, during our marriage his second wife came around, he told me they had never been married, but I found the divorce papers in the shed. And with her he had a child, and ended up being DNA tested, which proved positive. He said he had babysat for her a couple times and she called him uncle. But then she took him to court for back child support and current medical and child support. I made 3 times as much money as he did, so all his wages went to pay for that, and mine went to pay for everything else, including his credit cards, he had about 7 of them at the time and told me he had 13 at one time. He was a credit card gambler. He did not want visitations with his daughter, so when we left I did not think he would want anything to do with us either. He graduated with a Master’s degree that I paid for that year we left. But he came around and I had a restraining order; he contested it and my legal aide lawyer lost my case, she had never done restraining orders before. I won the restraining order back in future hearings. Then the legal aide lawyer told me to put my divorce papers on hold and just deal with the restraining order which I did, and he got a lawyer with his credit cards and filed for divorce first. Then I had no lawyer to represent me, because legal aide here only helps with restraining orders. Most lawyers want minimum 3500 with a retaining fee up front of minimum 1500. I didn’t have it. But I won against his lawyer for custody, he was suing me for custody and wanted spousal support. I had reported the abuse when I got out, and my children had to undergo physical exams, because I was not so sure that he hadn’t harmed them in other ways. When I went to court and produced the affidavits signed by the medical professionals that stated the children had been subjected to domestic violence, the judge threw it out because I had not subpoened them to be at the hearings. We have a crisis center here; they help people get out of the abuse, food, clothing, shelter. They help you fill out restraining orders. That’s it. It is not because they don’t have the money, they just bought a second house a year ago, and recently received the donation of a motel that they refurbished. But there is no legal help here. And ever so often, out of the U of O, and programs like “Voices of Women” you will see that there is some education about domestic violence; but you can’t force Judges and lawyers and educators to go to these. Even the educators are a problem; they are taught how to recognize children that are being abused. But when there are continuing issues with the abuser, well, they don’t know what they’re doing. My children are in school now and they love it, but the Principal allows the abuser to come on the day of pick up for visitation, she pulls my children from their classes and allows him to have a private visit in her office, even though the court has said he cannot do this. There is still so much. I would love to move on, have a wonderful life. But sometimes it is minute by minute. You know, we make people uncomfortable that are having a wonderful life, no worries. They are really shallow. I used to think, why don’t women just get out of the abuse; well I never thought I would experience 9 years of it myself, and now I know how hard it is. And I coordinated all the appts. for my kids, I reported him for abuse, I had a detective on the case investigating the guns etc. But because I would not go back to WA according to the DHS worker, they dropped the case. I found out, that even if you have a report and the detective turns it in, that the District Atty. picks and chooses who to prosecute. And my children get handed back to their abuser once a month. Who will speak for them?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Dear Teresa – Hard, very, very hard, isn’t it. Your story has many elements that are common to the experience of abuse victims: 1) Financial irresponsibility of the abuser, 2) Deceptions and lies by the abuser early on in the relationship, 3) Ongoing legal battles and expenses, 4) Courts granting visitation to the abuser, 5) Restraining orders. And in the end, a lack of justice. That is why we are all gathering together in places like this blog (and there are other excellent blogs on the same subject as well). It is why Anna and I wrote A Cry For Justice and it is why others are writing too. It sounds like you made a transition from homeschooling to public school. I wonder if you could share with us your process of coming to that decision? I suspect this is an issue that many other mothers in your situation are struggling with and it sounds like your decision has had a good outcome. You love your children and you are persevering as a mother in a very hard situation – and that tells me you are getting stronger, and that the Lord is sustaining you. It is indeed, minute by minute. Blessings on you and your children.

    • Dear Teresa,

      My heart breaks for you. You are amazingly strong, however. I am amazed by your strength. It has to be God. He alone sustains. I will be praying for you. ~ Anna

  4. I really pray that through all of this that the Lord will find some way for me to help somebody else. I have been in contact with other women, I know that my stories are not unique. I watched helplessly as another woman’s child was given back to her exspouse abuser. The car I now own (it is old, the judge gave the other two vehicles I paid for to my exspouse, I got nothing) I purchased from another woman who was going through the aftermath of abuse and needed money. She was on welfare with 3 kids. I bought the car from her in nonworking order. She was an acquaintance only; the next thing I hear she has taken her children to DHS because she couldn’t find a job, couldn’t make it in the system. You know what, they put her in jail for 3 months for failure to protect. She lives at the mission now. I pray for her. There are so many bad things happening that I hear about. And the VAWA funds, most of the money stays in management. We can get help with food, clothing and temporary shelter. Nothing else. The churches here leave printed flyers at the crisis center inviting survivors to church, but they do nothing else when you get there, even if you’re like I have been, standing in the pews crying. They say, get over it. Well, I am here to tell you, denial can be a protective function, that’s the only way I survived during the abuse. And when I went to the crisis center for help with a restraining order, I couldn’t get words out of my mouth, all I could do was cry. You see, after renewing my faith in Jesus, I did not think that he took an active role in my life. So I still tried to be self-sufficient which doesn’t work. Prayer works. That’s all. People don’t understand, like in the book of Job and his friends. I now have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that’s the only thing that helps, not going to church, not asking for help, not the govt. and not the judicial system. Jesus come quickly!!! I do believe we are in the end times.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Dear Teresa – I hope that you will find a “church” here in this little blogging community – at least for now. The body of Christ does indeed help, immensely, IF it is made up of genuine believers who understand the nature of evil. You have many other sisters in Christ (and even some brothers too!) who have suffered as you have and who, therefore, can show compassion and try to bear your burden with you. And they are actually willing to do so! So don’t despair. Christ’s church is real. You just have to find it. Elijah thought he alone was left – but it turned out that the Lord has a 7,000 member congregation spread around in Israel.

    • Dear Teresa
      Here are some hugs from me: ((((hug))) ((((hug))))
      You write very clearly and I believe all you’ve shared. The justice system often makes appalling rulings, and the resources for welfare and counselling are minimal as you’ve described. The lack of support from the churches you’ve tried is reprehensible. Many survivors I know say that the way the church handled the abuse causes them as much or even more pain than the actual abuse from the abuser.
      Churches, and by that I mean almost every adult in the pews, needs to learn a lot about trauma, post-traumatic stress and recovery therefrom. Not to mention present-and-continuing-traumatic stress disorder – because that’s what people like your have to suffer. Forget the “post” bit. It’s not post, it’s doggone PRESENT. I had that for years myself while I was complying with the court-ordered visitation. Life only started to become manageable (‘normal’ even!) after visitation ceased. (Long story)
      It sounds like you are doing everything you can to survive and thrive under the circumstances and you’re taking the best care of your children that you’re able to. Well done, sister!

      Please keep coming back here and other sites where you will find support. Your desire to help other survivors is a feeling that many other survivors share. I’ve actually written a post about that very thing:
      The Survivor’s Desire to Help Other Survivors

  5. Sheryl

    Teresa,
    Holding you up in prayer.
    Sheryl

  6. Sometimes my writing feels fragmented because there are so many components to my story that it seems like I have a hard time communicating the picture. But thank you to all of you who have responded for the last couple of days. Today, I was reading an essay from Dr. Bill Long about retraumatization; and although it was not comprehensive for me, it did spur my thoughts to follow up on what retrauma is. I began a search on retrauma, and found a helpful website called, “The Anna Foundation.” It addresses some of the issues that I have been dealing with in regards to survivors and the public school system. As survivors, we need support from the teachers, but one teacher in particular is (quite possibly unknowingly) retraumatizing this family. I think that teachers get a minimal amount of inservice education regarding abuse, and what they do get is focused on the child that is still being abused. My child’s teacher has taken it upon herself with the schedule provided to her by my exspouse to constantly remind my son of upcoming visitations, and the schedule she evidently has recently changed, so she was not accurate anyway. But it produces sadness and anger in my son, because he and his sisters do not want to go on these visitations; and they become apprehensive with anxiety and the sibling rivalry increases just before and after visitations. So I am not sure how to approach this subject with her, conferences are next week. It’s not the first time, last year a teacher took it upon herself to email my exspouse a bunch of worksheets to supposedly help the kids on visitations with schoolwork; she never told me about this. As I have stated before, the principal allows him to have private visits in her office. I told her that he is not allowed to remove them from their classes for this. He is allowed to go to their classes like any other parent. I feel bad because I am unable to protect my kids from his constant badgering. He does not call them his children, to him they are his “progeny.” That’s all. Pawns. So anyway, I am also focused today on the concept of the LIVING GOD. I guess I have heard that some denominations believe that after God created us, he left us to our own demise and does not participate in our daily affairs. I do not believe this, as I have experienced MIRACLES in my life, by the Grace of God, and that came through prayer. I do not believe that poor decisions on my part were the sole antecedents to the abuse we ended up in. I could write more about this trauma thing and retrauma, but I have made plans with the kids this a.m. and so I need to go now. Hope you all have as Paul always said, a Peaceful and Grace filled Sunday.

    • cindy burrell

      Hello, Teresa. Under the circumstances, I think you have worked every angle to good advantage, but as you know that doesn’t mean that things always work out the way they should. Legally, if your kids are at an age where the state courts might allow them to decide whether to have time with their father or not, then you might want to get them in to a mediator, who can give them the right to see their father or not. Where I live there is no charge for mediation.

      And I would call that principal and teacher to task for their actions. They don’t have a clue. I am amazed at how abusers know how to work the system and collect new enablers and advocates. I’ve been there, too. It is often an uphill battle, but one worth fighting.

      Truth wins in the end. That much I know. Keep track of your abuser’s behaviors, your kids comments or responses to situations, and keep on standing up for your children. As you have done so well here, you will have to paint a picture for those who won’t otherwise get it.

      I’ll be praying for you – for wisdom, strength and intercession.

      Cindy

    • Dear Teresa,

      I’m so sorry for your pain. It’s hard to see your children suffer additionally. It is wonderful to see that you lean on the grace and mercy of God. He alone heals. I will hold you in prayers. ~ Anna

  7. cindy burrell

    Ah, yes. Post Traumatic Stress. For many years I didn’t know why I would panic in certain situations, in the presence of certain people (men in particular), even places.

    Years after the incident, a stoplight near my home used to trigger painful memories of my then-husband blasting me in the car while waiting for the light to turn. Familiar vacation spots where he turned on me can bring on a low-level depression. And since we still live in the house where the abuse occurred, just the sound of my new husband’s footsteps on the stairs can still set my heart pounding. And ten years have passed since my abuser left… Now, my husband calls out to me as he comes downstairs just to break the tension. It works.

    In our home we call it “bad juju.” We never know when it will show up, but show up it does.

    Now we work to identify those situations and allow the light in to enable those wounded places to begin to heal. I wrote a piece on this if anyone is interested. (It was originally named, “Bad Juju,” but E-Zines wouldn’t let us publish with the word “juju” in the title.) 🙂 http://ezinearticles.com/?Working-Through-Bad-Memories&id=6602804

    As believers, we are taught to forgive and forget. We can forgive, but forget? No – not completely. But, we can let those memories foster compassion in us – so that we can minister to others in similar situations. And remembering what it was like to live in the darkness reminds us how desperately we need the light!

    And sometimes we just need permission to admit where we’ve been and how we’ve been affected – that’s where healing begins.

    Cindy

    • Good article, Cindy. Thank you for posting the link. I have experienced similar situations. Nothing is wrong and yet panic bells go off and I can hardly breath, can barely function. It’s awful. Only God’s grace gets me through such times. Turning and finding my husband in the room with me when I hadn’t heard him come in was enough to send my heart and head pounding. Day by day, God’s mercy heals the pain but the memories never quite disappear. I don’t think they’re supposed to disappear. They are reminders to spur us onward towards more healing and towards making us useful to others in their healing. Thank you for your work. May God continue to bless it. ~ Anna

  8. Barnabasintraining

    Hi Teresa,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I don’t really have anything to say at this point. I just want you to know I’m listening and I hear you.

    I think I know what you mean about your story sounding fragmented. I have found with our victim that because there is so much, her story can sound like that too, and it is all but impossible to recount, at least for me. She can do it if she has enough time but it’s taken her many hours to recount it to me. And hers is relatively simple, as far as they go. And the more people you add (children and systems like legal and educational, etc.) the more complicated it gets. So even that is not at all unusual, apparently.

    How can we pray for you? Is there anything in particular that the Lord has laid on your heart that we can ask for?

  9. Yes to what everyone has said!
    I still sometimes get triggered. I left my ex for the last time in 1999, and visitation ceased in 2001. So that’s more than ten years.
    What helps? Sharing with others who believe me, especially other survivors who’ve been thru similar types of abuse. Acknowledging “I’ve just been triggered” when it happens, and not feeling guilty about it. Having someone near me who understands triggering and doesn’t take my reaction personally. Praying while the emotions and memories flood me, and asking Jesus to heal the wounded places deep inside. Letting Him do that in whatever way he sees fit, and letting myself go with the flow of whatever I’m feeling and whatever is happening inside me SO LONG AS I’M IN A SAFE PLACE at the time, preferably the loving arms of my darling new husband, but if not in his arms, at least somewhere safe where I won’t be too judged for showing emotion. A good listener is wonderful!

    When I couldn’t find safe places to share or go into the emotions, it was far more difficult. And if the trauma was ongoing rather than just from the past it was FAR FAR more difficult to manage. At those times, what helped was to pat myself on the back for just managing to tread water, even if I didn’t seem to be making much progress. And fighting tooth and nail to obtain more safe places, more support for myself. And working towards having zero contact with the abuser and his allies.

    I would often try to educate people who’d been enlisted by him, but I have to say I was pretty unsuccessful at changing their minds. A few did change their minds years afterwards, long after it would have been of help to me. One even apologised for having judged me. What a wonderful moment that was. I instantly thanked her and told her I forgave her. I was so grateful for that small vindication.

    Another thing that helped was reading accounts from others who’ve been abused, but I learned to choose my reading-time judiciously as it could sometimes make me feel so flat that I’d be like a steam-roller had run over me for several days.
    Also, reminding myself that all the trauma was/is real, I didn’t imagine it or exaggerate it, so it’s silly and unkind to tell myself “Just get over it!”

    • Yes to everyone’s comments also. And yes, it helps to read other stories, but I’m like you, it makes me tired, and sometimes triggers for me also. So, I still think that the best benefit would be someone to look at my case comprehensively, which has never been done because I can’t afford a lawyer here. And places like this, there are one or two I know of, not very many. Thank you to everyone. If I ever have a way, I would hope to start a legal defense fund.

  10. Thank you Anna and everyone for your prayers and comments. You know, I try to find a frame of reference in understanding the whys behind what I have experienced, and how far I have come since I left. It amazed me at first when people would tell me that so many women don’t get out of the abuse, that as survivors we are rare. It took me a long time to get out. I wish I could have planned better, but I notice there is a focus for women on some websites that helps some to plan so they can get out safely. There is more info. these days than even 2 years ago. I wonder where we’ll be in two more years! I remember feeling, we’re free!!! And now, we’re dealing with the aftermath. And many women do not want to get out when they hear these stories, of what they have to deal with when they get out. It’s like the old adage, “there is no stupid question,” at least that’s what my teachers used to say. But it feels like if we raise our hands for help, we get beaten down again, mostly by the system. I can deal with family and friends who do not understand; and unfortunately, some of them don’t understand because of their refusal to accept that they have gone through, or are going through, similar situations. Like I said I have a hard time dealing with the lack of support in the judicial system, the educators, and sometimes medical people. I am currently searching the book of Luke for a scripture I read not too long ago and forgot to commit it to memory; it was about a widow and a judge. It was comforting, and so I’m on a search for it. And to those of you who are talking about the startle response and panic attacks, well, I’ve only had one full blown panic attack without warning, in a grocery store like Cindy talks about; I don’t even know what the trigger was, but my heart was pounding and I couldn’t breathe. Had to leave the store. And, I guess, I have a horrible time going to court. My heart pounds, my hands shake; but I take a clipboard in with me and I doodle, and I write the Lord’s prayer. And I do this over and over. And it helps. And the last time in court, I finally spoke out to the Judge, because I never have before-and I’m trying to be proactive for myself. And, I am okay until the visitation time occurs and I have to deal with my exspouse. Or if he calls threateningly on the phone. I become jumpy. The kids can walk up behind me during those times and I yell out if I don’t hear them. I also have hypervigilance; I am sensitive to noises=my neighbors have lots of traffic because they have a repair business; I keep thinking someone is coming to get me-so I find myself looking out the windows a lot, it’s when I am having to deal with my abuser, not at other times.

    • Barnabasintraining

      There’s the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. Is that the one you’re thinking of?

  11. So, to those people who think, why can’t we just get on with it, it doesn’t work that way. I know a woman who was a war bride in Germany during WWII; she passed this last year. She used to live in North Portland; there were meat factories there, and she had to live with the reminders of the things that happened during the holocaust. She also had a hard time with the planes flying overhead from the airport. You see, she was in Germany when the sirens went off, and she had her young son with her, he was not quite two, barely walking. And she knew she had to get to a shelter, but she didn’t have enough time, and knocked on doors but no one would let her in, so she headed for the woods with him as the bombs came down. We don’t have enough support and research related to trauma and PTSD. Our poor soldiers in WA state, 283 of them taken off the medical rolls recently for a lack of funds. Yeah, we don’t get over it alone. We get through it, by the grace of God. And he has been merciful to me.

  12. joepote01

    Praying for you, Teresa!

  13. To Barbarasintraining: YES, that’s the one, Luke 18:1-8. God got me out of the abuse. I have been given scriptures each step of the way; first, I was 2Tim. 3:6 the gullible woman. Then I was given Acts 14, when Paul and Barnabas heard they were going to be abused/stoned, they dusted themselves off and left-more recently, I was given these verses in Luke. God is so amazing!!

  14. God bless your mission.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Marie. Blessings in Christ upon you as well.

  15. Anonymous

    I love looking at the date of these posts…realizing that the truth was here and still is. It’s very comforting and helps it feel like a safe haven. Thank you all for (I would imagine) diligently striving to ensure it stays that way.

    I’m currently reading the book by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M. D., “The Body Keeps The Score.” It builds on the book by Judith Herman about trauma, and he actually uses her studies as examples. [Note from Barb: I have never had time to read Bessel Van Der Kolk but I now his work on trauma is highly respected by professionals who work in the field.]

    Jeff wrote, “It is therefore a grave error – and unfortunately a common one, to think that Christians who suffer trauma….[should] “buck up” and get over it.”

    We know that one of the things Jesus did when he came was to fulfill the Old Testament covenants, not throw them out. (Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”) But some things DID change after His coming (and His subsequent death and resurrection). … We have the veil being torn in two–no mean feat considering how extremely well-made this curtain was. From another website, “The veil was not a small curtain like you see in some movies. The veil was 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and was about one inch thick. The veil was so massive and heavy that it took 300 priests to manipulate it. An important point here is that no one could simply tear the veil themselves. It would take more than human strength to tear it. The analogy is that it took the mighty hand of God Himself to tear it supernaturally and this tearing, which represents the removal of the separation of God and man, could not be done by humans.”

    In Van Der Kolk’s book there’s a section on PTSD / trauma and how the mental health field (in the U.S. as well as European societies) has tried over and over again to squelch the truth of the effects of this and how detrimental this squelching was for the victims directly exposed to it, as well as society at large. (Pgs. 186-189.)

    After WWI and then WWII, there were entire campaigns set up to keep those who suffered from “shell shock” from receiving benefits as well as being told that it was these individual soldiers own fault if they suffered from it was because they were, “…undisciplined and unwilling soldiers.” More from the book, “The Germans were even more punitive and treated shell shock as a character defect, which they managed with a variety of painful treatments, including electroshock.” SWEET! Let me survive war so that I can then be “helped” with electroshock….makes me feel all tingly inside — pun intended!

    Some other quotes from the book:

    Denial of the consequences of trauma can wreak havoc with the social fabric of society….This cascade of humiliations of the powerless set the stage for the ultimate debasement of human rights under the Nazi regime: the moral justification for the strong to vanquish the inferior—the rationale for the ensuing war.

    But what I found extremely interesting was that the way the soldiers DISPLAYED shell shock after WWI that was different from the way it was displayed by victims of WWII. (The book lists Youtube videos that show proof of this manifestation.)

    Page 189:

    In Huston’s film….the doctors are still patriarchal and the patients are still terrified young men. But they manifest their trauma differently: While the World War I soldiers flail, have facial tics, and collapse with paralyzed bodies, the following generation talks and cringes. [It’s mentioned that hypnosis was used so soldiers were able to put words to their terror etc.]…It also struck me that these soldiers seemed to keep a much tighter lid on their anger and hostility than the younger veterans I’d worked with. Culture shapes the expression of traumatic stress.

    And all I could think was, what if there are simply so many psychopaths now and as such this is what happens when they are sent into the horror show of war? 2 Timothy 3 tells us what kind of people will make our lives miserable in the end times, and what if this is just the way it is? Is it culture that shapes our “expression of traumatic stress” or is it simply that we have more of a certain type of human? One God assured us would be here in the last days? That since Jesus came and died there has been a moving toward this place in history and a narrowing down, conical effect (for lack of better way to explain it) that is simply the repercussion of humanity….of us being human we ended up here? And God (of course) knew this?

    Anyway, if you print this I hope that God can help the reader make sense out of it. He’s always working in my mind and heart and it gets exhausting but once I’m able to write it out, there is a sense of release and relief for me and I pray this is due to His being able to use it to glorify himself and bless and help His true children. Thanks!

  16. Finding Answers

    Cindy Burrell wrote: “And sometimes we just need permission to admit where we’ve been and how we’ve been affected – that’s where healing begins.”

    Amen.

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