A Cry For Justice

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

Jay Adams taught counselors to side with male abusers and against female victims.

A guest post by Valerie Jacobsen.

Misogynistic bias is a real thing, and it is very obvious here. Painfully obvious.

from “The Christian Counselor’s Manual” by Jay E Adams

Jay Adams is TEACHING counselors to side with male abusers and against female victims. He is TEACHING them to overlook crimes.

So, if you have ever been in nouthetic counseling or “biblical” counseling and have been told that the problem is not that you are being abused, but that you are not dealing with it in a “Christian” (cheerful, pliant, uncomplaining, and pacifistic) manner, just know this: That was by the book.

And this book is STILL being used as a seminary textbook.

Amazon 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Sales rank indicates that it’s selling continually.

Goodreads 4.1 out of 5 stars

“A companion and sequel volume to ‘Competent to Counsel’, this volume includes indexes, a detailed table of contents, and many diagrams and forms, all of which make this one of the best reference books for Christian counselors.” — thomasnelson.com, current book summary

Featured title in LOGOS Bible software.

Used in many churches, taught in many seminaries, believed and supported by many.

We should weep and mourn. We should ask our pastors and elders if they are relying on this material to counsel people.

We should write to our denominational seminaries and ask if these books are still being used. My heart hurts, and I have read all I can for now.

***

The above text and photos are from this Facebook post by Valerie Jacobsen. Apart from the pics of what Jay Adams wrote, all the words are by Valerie Jacobsen and are published here with her permission. Thanks Valerie!

“The Christian Counselor’s Manual” was published in 1986. That is 33 years ago. It is reprehensible that it is still being recommended by seminaries!

I urge all our readers to call on church leaders & Christian organisations to say whether they are endorsing this book. And if they are endorsing it, demand they stop! Call on them to publicly denounce this book for the horrible misogynistic advice it gives.

Further Reading

Shattering Words and Crying to God by Ps Sam Powell

Whose tears are covering the altar in Malachi 2? The Matthew Bible vs. the Geneva Bible, Puritans and Calvin by Barbara Roberts

87 Comments

  1. Hello Sunshine

    It’s always surprising to look at things from the 80s and realize how pervasive and acceptable misogyny was, though people didn’t realize it in the same way at the time. Still. This is horrendous. He slapped her to prevent her harming herself? Right. Sure. A hit across the face from the bigger and stronger man who says he loves you is less physically and emotionally dangerous than hitting yourself? Sure. Right. Good thinking. Definitely the only loving option. No consideration of why she was in a rage? Just hysterics? Right. Sure. How is “I hit her for her own good” information that balances his cruelty? Yikes. The problem is that she expects sympathy and help from a counselor because her husband hits her in the face and isn’t sorry about it? Sorry, that sounds reasonable. One thing I do believe from that excerpt is that the counselor “may go off on an entirely wrong track.”

    (p.s. I think the two pics are shown in reverse order, that bottom pic begins the excerpt and should be read first.)

    • Artina

      This is very telling, I think:

      “No consideration of why she was in a rage? ”

      And it seems to me, too, to be a cultural bias, or was, and maybe, hopefully, is changing. I believe there are men who want it to change, too, maybe, especially a younger generation. How can it be problematic, in the long run, to open up a search for truth of what is truly going on in a dynamic between a couple? I guess that some abusers, though, are really dangerous enough that this might be problematic. It’s complex and I’m not a trained counselor. If a spouse can’t be themselves with the other spouse present it’s imperative for them to meet with the “currently trained” counselor separately, IMO.

      I really like the work of the Canadian group referenced at this site: honoring resistance.

      • Reaching Out

        The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is the Canadian group referred to in the comment by Artina.

        Two of their publications Honouring Resistance and Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence are listed on many of the ACFJ Resources pages.

      • Helovesme

        To Hello Sunshine and Artina: brilliant insights.

        Artina asked: “No consideration of why she was in a rage?”

        The reason why I think there was no consideration, is because there is was no interest at finding out.

        Think of some of excellent journalism and reporting we’ve seen. Good journalism is like an X-ray machine. It will show us what is not visible to the naked eye. Someone has to be deliberate and decisive about the need to expose what is going on. You have to be brave and get the courage to ask certain questions, have additional courage to ask the right people, and have the over the top courage to not quit until those questions are answered.

        We know for a fact that journalists are NOT always encouraged to dig deeper and expose what is usually ugly, unpleasant, and unwelcome. They are often vilified.

        Please note that I said GOOD journalism. I know there’s plenty of the opposite kind, but that is not where I’m focused.

        I know when there is no interest in what I’m going through, or why I’ve made certain choices—–because no one bothers to ask. And they don’t bother to ask:

        They don’t care, or they don’t want to know, or they’ve already assumed they know.

        So when you are not asked, take it seriously, because they are not taking you seriously. And that is serious.

    • Thanks for the heads up Hello Sunshine. I have now put the pics in the right order. 🙂

    • Helovesme

      Hello Sunshine I nearly broke down in tears when Barb shared a video of Patrick Stewart describing his mom being abused by his dad. He remembered the police telling his mom that you must have provoked him (which she didn’t).

      But then Patrick got very passionate and said even IF she did—-that is never an excuse for a man to hit a woman.

      I don’t know if I have ever heard an adult, or a male adult say those words. They meant such a great deal to to me. And make no mistake—words like that, said out loud—mean the world to someone who so badly needs to hear words like that.

      The males I have encountered, both those that profess or do not profess Christ—-emulated the attitude displayed by Mr. Adams. It was very painful to read his words; brought back many (too many) painful memories.

      A comment made here brought up a very important topic that the we desperately needs clarification on: Biblical pity, compassion and sympathy.

      There are no words to describe the sheer joy that one experiences when the Lord Himself, or someone He is working through—-wraps His comfort around you like a warm blanket. It is so satisfying and strengthening—–a drink of living water to a parched soul. It infuses you with hope. It is a reminder that God has not forgotten you, or forsaken you.

      But I believe that pity can also be weaponized in a way that the Lord never intended, never endorses. When it is used and applied in all the wrong ways, it ends up enabling the oppressor and/or condemning the oppressed.

      I don’t believe I could readily list all the ways this can occur. But we know it does. Abuse victims have spoken about this, over and over again. Words like submit, forgive, repent and reconcile are not used to help and heal. They do not reflect care and concern. They do not focus on safety and security.

      They are used to demean, demoralize and discourage. They are wielded in order to make the victim feel cornered—-and then to crush and condemn.

      The goal of offering Biblical pity is NOT to justify reckless and irresponsible behaviors. It is also not meant as an endorsement to continue reckless and irresponsible behaviors.

      I have encountered situations where it seems I was expected to pity others. However, I thought long and hard about it. I worked hard at it in prayer as well. Coming to this conclusion was not easy and it was not hastily made:

      Those in question did not deserve my pity. Bear with me, pity is not necessarily earned. It is not necessarily about whether it’s deserved or not.

      We don’t earn or deserve pity before the Lord. We are not never worthy of it; He gives it out because He is good, not because we are good. Never, ever is it anything else than a gift from Him—-given out of His love for us.

      But it is also not given out too carelessly and capriciously. You have to look at the situation as a whole before hastily handing it out as it there is no cost to you involved.

      The ones that seemed to be asking for my pity were also asking me to justify actions and attitudes that I found to be deeply offensive. Also included was the condition that if I pitied them, I would not find their behaviors to be offensive. And I would not take personal offense.

      And no doubt, they would still be free to engage in these behaviors, leaning on and expecting me to continue to show them pity. I would be pleasing to them if I did, so throw in the added “bonus” of their approval —and you have a nice “package deal” that supposedly benefits all parties involved.

      Their added awareness that I do enjoy blessing others, enjoy seeing others be blessed, and do consider blessing others to be a strong mandate from the Lord—-plays very strongly into what they were trying to sell me. Not only giving out blessings, but being a blessing as well.

      Those that claim to be servants of Him are fulfilled in service for Him. So, there is very little room to say “no” to those that have needs, because you will be robbing yourself of that fulfillment. You fill those needs, and you are fulfilled, right? So everyone is happy.

      There are a LOT of subtle traps in there, right? You have to tread carefully, or else you will fall into trap after trap—-and you’re no longer a servant of the Lord, you are a slave to people.

      There is great joy in actively loving others. However, my main and sole source of joy is rooted in the salvation He gave to me, and the ensuing relationship and fellowship I now get to have with Him as a result. I am truly fulfilled by His love for me—that is first and foremost.

      I have every right to say “no” when I feel the need to say “no.” That does mean that I am falling short of the second commandment. It’s manipulative to suggest otherwise, and it’s equally manipulative to suggest that I must pity you, or else you claim that you are not loved.

      I don’t need the approval of others to validate His approval of me. They are two completely separate issues. Don’t dangle your approval over me like that, more like a threat than a blessing. And a compliment is only worth the person giving it out, so if that’s the kind of person you are—-I don’t want your so-called compliments.

      So—you don’t have my pity because if I give it to you—-you will weaponize it. And not only will that hurt me personally, it will hurt others that I care about—-and it sets a bad example to both the saved and unsaved around me.

      I’m being very generalized and I apologize. I’m trying to boil it down to reflect the situation without offering too many details—both for the sake of privacy and trying to avoid a lengthy comment.

      I was deeply offended and outraged at Mr. Adams’ attitude about how to wield these very precious pillars of the Lord: pity, sympathy, comfort and compassion. For him, they were not used in ways that I believe He would approve of.

      Mr Adams may truly be ignorant, much like Paul spoke of himself before the Lord got a hold of him. I only throw that out there to be as fair as possible.

      But no matter what, he still guilty of weaponizing things that should never be weaponized at all. In fact, we need to be warned to NOT weaponize them, because I’ve noticed it’s very easy (even encouraged) to do just that.

  2. paescapee

    It is noticeable that he completely believes the man whereas he easily disbelieves the woman without hesitation. Why does the man’s explanation rank higher than hers?

    • Helovesme

      Extremely good point Paescapee.

      I would say that IF a woman wants to be believed, she has to fight for it. It’s an uphill climb. However, I would say that IF the only way she can believed is by constant efforts to prove herself, her efforts are likely futile from the start.

      If the choice is to automatically disbelieve her, likely you won’t be able to undo that. Such persons who CLAIM to want proof are likely stalling and aren’t sincere about loving the truth.

      I’ve said this about a woman who accuses a man of a crime of some kind. The automatic response is: what if she is lying? I’m not saying she is, but what if?

      No, the response should be: what if she is telling the truth? I’m not saying she is or is not, but what if she is? If there is any chance of that, we must take this seriously.

      AND, when you choose to automatically disbelieve the accuser, you are automatically believing the accused. It is as plain and simple as that. You don’t have to SAY that you believe the accused. Your silence will speak volumes.

      The reason WHY I think this is has nothing to do with a real concern or love for the truth. Scandals of any kind make us uncomfortable. They are disruptive. They challenge our belief system. They force us to consider the depth of our commitment to the Lord. It is impossible to NOT wonder if we are solid on His foundation, or on the shaky ground of man-made religion.

      Most of us don’t want to “go there,” right? That is why most victims won’t “go there” and speak up about what they went through. They are fairly certain of what they will face.

      • paescapee

        Thank you- yes, I agree. I think there are ‘official’ statistics in the legal profession showing that men are more likely to be automatically believed than women as witnesses, as women ‘exaggerate’ and are ’emotional’ and ‘hysterical’. This is a hard culture to change. 😦 This is also not much to do with ‘accuracy’, as, anyone with children will attest, both parties consider themselves injured and think they are in the right. The truth will vary in the eye of the beholder. The abuser may believe he is justified, but that doesn’t mean she is lying.

    • Anonymous

      Are we allowed to be honest and just say that it’s because a lot of people are sexist? And the fact that we are shut down or discounted when we say that only proves this explanation.

      • Helovesme

        I read an article the other day that described the difference between sexism and misogyny. I was going to email Barb because I was sure she’d relate to it. But your comment touched on it so I’ll include it here:

        Sexism is the belief that women can’t be in masculine-coded high prestige domains, because men are naturally and inevitably superior. Such as intellectual endeavors, sports, business, and politics.

        So you can have women in high authority, powerful positions, and therefore you are not sexist. But you still CAN be a misogynist.

        Misogyny is hating women who are outspoken, punishing women who don’t behave or act the way men want them to.

        Misogyny is not about hating ALL women. Such a person can love their moms, wives, girlfriends, sisters and by a misogynist. It’s about hating a particular type of woman—likely ones who dare to challenge them. They are likely to be attacked on very personal levels: attacking their appearance and/or intelligence

        And likely these attacks will be done in a public way. In order to bring them down as far as possible, public humiliation is the way to go.

        So, imagine someone badmouthing you to family members, friends, co-workers, church congregation. Social media is another way to get your message out, in order to tear down a woman that you find to be offensive—-but likely you are more offended that she expressed thoughts or opinions or ideas that contradicted yours.

        It’s fair to ask if whether men in comparable positions would get the same treatment.

        I apologize if this has triggered anyone, especially Barb, who has had to deal with some difficulties in this area.

        I’ve had to deal with being badmouthed as well, behind my back and being portrayed in ways that were either incomplete, or totally unfair. It sinks a person down a very low level.

  3. Kind of Anonymous

    I remember slapping someone once who was hysterical. I got the idea that you needed to shock someone out of hysterics by slapping them from the movies. I was in my late teens and a sibling was flipping out, losing her head, not responding to attempts to calm her with compassion and so I slapped her once on the cheek. That shocked her back to the present. However, I never hit her otherwise and that sort of thing didn’t characterize our relationship. There are probably better means of creating the same effect without slapping someone’s face because a slap in the face is still demeaning and humiliating no matter what the reason and so for that reason best to be avoided in all but the most immediate and extreme circumstances.

    I don’t know that I would do that today. Probably rather I would treat her like someone having a seizure, remove dangerous objects from her path and stay nearby speaking in a soothing voice and letting her know that it will be okay. There were movies esp. older ones, where the female lead would become hysterical and the male lead would slap her in order that she would regain her senses, or one woman would slap another woman who was hysterical. It was also common to slap newborn babies sharply on the buttocks to get them to let out a wail, because then they were breathing and clearing their lungs. (What a nice welcome to the world.)

    I think it’s possible to slap someone once for such a reason, without it necessarily meaning abuse is taking place. And that’s the problem. Like Larry Nassar hiding behind legitimate medical practices as a cover for actual violations, an abuser may indeed use a genuine circumstance where someone is out of control and hurting themselves to get away with covering abuse. Phillip in his humanness, may have indeed been freaked out by actually present self harming behaviour. Or Phillip, in evilness, may have been doing a variant of trying to make Sally look like she was crazy by claiming she was doing something she wasn’t doing. Like the guy who provoked his wife into losing control by dumping her neatly organized craft basket on the floor and then hiding around the corner filming her reaction so he could characterize her as angry and out of control, when in reality he did stuff like this all the time.

    Adams doesn’t even consider that possibility. Which is odd, given how focused he is on the reality of sin and how he claims to be aware of the twists and turns of the evil nature. Apparently Sally has a sinful nature but Phillip doesn’t. It is possible that Sally has a problem with self harm that has nothing to do with Phillip and that he had never hit her before. It’s possible Phillip was freaked out by Sally’s actions if indeed it was true she was beating her own face with her fists. There isn’t enough information in the vignettes shown to determine what is really going on. If that’s all the information Adams had to make the determinations he makes, then I would say he is guilty of laziness, bias and lack of diligence to say the least! I don’t see him asking things like ” Sally, has Phillip ever hit you in other situations? What do you mean by cruel and harsh? Could you describe some situations where this has been the case? ” ” Do you regularly self harm like this? Why?”

    Any counselor worth their salt ought to be aware that self harming behaviour is at the very least, significant information that something is wrong and needs immediate attention. That sort of thing becomes a powerful stronghold soon enough. Adams doesn’t even investigate it. He doesn’t pursue the leads given him at all. He is just ready to stone Sally as a wicked woman and exonerate Phillip without due process. Like so many Christians today he is content to slap a judgement on her but otherwise leave her to bleed out on her own, content to say it is her own fault. There is no coming alongside, no bearing of one another’s burdens, just blame.

    As for the self pity thing, well, for some reason that seems to be a pet sin that Christians use to utterly dismiss someone’s humanity. Yes, self pity is one of the more pernicious and problematic self sins. But here’s the thing. Both my parents had serious self pity and bitterness problems. And both my parents had indeed suffered severe childhood abuse. In their marriage, my mom was being beaten and cheated on regularly. So did her self pity and bitterness mean it was her fault my dad hated women and had a sexual addiction problem? If mom became compliant and a sweet Christian wife would dad have then magically been relieved of his hatred and rage? I doubt it. Self pity is a sinful response to a real problem. Adams focuses on the real or imagined sinful response but avoids what the real problem is. Like those in the OT of whom God said they treated the wound of His people lightly, Adams fails to show real discernment and instead engages in surface pharisaical judgement.

    One thing that also stands out to me about this relates to something I read in one of his books. He was discussing why those who are charismatic and believe that we need to hear from God in order to help someone effectively are in error. He said that we are supposed to discover the depths of another’s heart through relationship over time and if God just instantly supplied intelligence, we wouldn’t do that or need to do that, so we would never know another’s heart in depth. Which is oddly man centered if you think about it. The bible speaks of a prophet in the assembly declaring the secrets of men’s hearts. This secret declaring can happen through word of knowledge also. Why doesn’t the bible say here that revelation of one’s inner life will only come over time through relationship, when clearly God thinks there is something important that needs revealing and that people’s need to know God is present is also equally important to God and to them?

    1 Cor. 14:24-26 But if an unbeliever or uninstructed person comes in while everyone is prophesying, he will be convicted and called to account by all, and the secrets of his heart will be revealed. So he will fall facedown and worship God, proclaiming, “God is truly among you!” What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a psalm or a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done to build up the church.…

    He doesn’t appear to apply his sentiment about the centrality of in-depth relational knowing over time here. There is no in depth attempt at knowing the hearts of both persons. Rather he resorts to equally shallow means of determining what’s what and so robs both Sally and Phillip of knowing a real God with real power who really knows their real hearts! What a bummer for both of them to be sent away with a whitewash job instead of a deep heart excavation that could heal. Adams appears to practice “formula faith” which always produces a shallow result, at least in this case. Rather a disappointing lack of knowledge displayed here I think.

    • Artina

      Kind Of Anonymous, your comment is so helpful to me and well written. I love this part:

      “As for the self pity thing, well, for some reason that seems to be a pet sin that Christians use to utterly dismiss someone’s humanity. Yes, self pity is one of the more pernicious and problematic self sins. But here’s the thing. Both my parents had serious self pity and bitterness problems. And both my parents had indeed suffered severe childhood abuse. In their marriage, my mom was being beaten and cheated on regularly. So did her self pity and bitterness mean it was her fault my dad hated women and had a sexual addiction problem? If mom became compliant and a sweet Christian wife would dad have then magically been relieved of his hatred and rage? I doubt it. Self pity is a sinful response to a real problem. Adams focuses on the real or imagined sinful response but avoids what the real problem is. Like those in the OT of whom God said they treated the wound of His people lightly, Adams fails to show real discernment and instead engages in surface pharisaical judgement.”

      and this:

      “What a bummer for both of them to be sent away with a whitewash job instead of a deep heart excavation that could heal.”

      Both my parents did have childhood abuse, probably my dad more severe than my mom. But then he was so much older than my mom, even though she was passive, she and her side of the family had more to offer a bundle of kids than my dad’s side. I view her as the better parent, but there were issues in upbringing also. But certainly sin leveling doesn’t seem right either. No doubt self pity is not a good place to get stuck, but I love how you point out, by focusing on that, it is used to “dismiss someone’s humanity” and a helper’s focus on that “avoids what the real problem is.”

      • Kind of Anonymous

        Thanks Artina, I am so glad that something I said was helpful to you 🙂 It’s great that we all sharpen one another!

    • Helovesme

      Really great thoughts Kind Of Anonymous as always.

      A lot of your thoughts echoed mine as well—-some of them probably are scattered around in the comments I’ve already left so I don’t want to leave you a lengthy but repetitious reply.

      I really like how you explore the many possibilities of WHY Sally might have been so upset. You actually brought some up that I hadn’t considered. It made me realize how complicated we can be as human beings. We are not linear beings—-but individual, living works of art.

      The self-pity notion keeps coming up in comments, and rightly so. I don’t think it’s an accident that it touched a nerve. It is something we have likely all dealt with or wrestled with—-depending on what was going on.

      “As for the self pity thing, well, for some reason that seems to be a pet sin that Christians use to utterly dismiss someone’s humanity.”

      Self-pity is something I struggle with. The way that I try to treat it is with very delicate tongs. If I feel bad for myself, okay—that’s not necessarily sinful. The trials of life can tend to cause pain and suffering. I did not come to the Lord to deceive myself, or be deceived anymore. So if it hurts, I’m going to say that it hurts—openly and honestly.

      But if it is leading me down a road of utter hopelessness and despair—I try to reach out and firmly but gently get a hold of myself. That is not a road I want to keep going down.

      However, that is not the endgame. THEN I ask the Lord to please have pity on me instead. Show me Your pity. It will strengthen me. It will acknowledge my pain but also give me a measure of Your hope as well. It will remind me that I’m not alone, and I’m loved. That is the point of pity. I need to know that while I’m hurting, I’m being held by You—held together by You.

      So I have very little pity (pun intended!) for professing Christians who slam the door shut on the concept of asking for pity, wanting pity, needing pity. Apparently a relationship with the Lord prohibits me from expressing real pain, real needs and real stress?

  4. Finding Answers

    Leaving out all the other pictures in my mind, as the descriptions will be MUCH better expressed by other commenters, the WHOLE discussion described by Jay Adams on self-harm is WAY out of line!!

    Speaking as a high-functioning Asperger individual, I can tell you hitting myself with my fists was almost completely uncontrollable, depending on the trigger. And I did NOT start hitting myself until AFTER my anti-x bailed out on me, but BEFORE the divorce was finalized. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    And my licensed non-Christian “counselor” at the time KNEW I occasionally hit myself because I TOLD this person. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    There were SO many reasons behind my response of self-harm, ALL of which were overlooked. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    There are vast quantities of secular / non-secular MISinformation in existence on why individuals self-harm. The book by Jay Adams merely perpetuates false teaching(s).

  5. Annie

    Here in Valerie’s previous post she states, “In 1970, in Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams wrote, “The conclusions in this book are not based upon scientific findings.”

    I wonder if much was revised between 1970 and 1986.

    As a 20-something, I remember meeting somewhere for one class. The book being promoted and used as the text was “Competent to Counsel” (1970). The idea was that lay people like me could counsel people. It was the only class I attended. I was the one needing counsel, I thought, having been raised in a home where verbal and emotional abuse was constant.

    I have since (not too recently) experienced nouthetic counseling and it IS just as Valerie noted.

    I am very grateful for Valerie’s contribution to Facebook and to ACFJ

    • Kind of Anonymous

      I too can say that nouthetic counselling lacks intimate knowledge of abuse and empathy towards victims. One male nouthetic guy I talked to informed me that when I was being molested I probably enjoyed the attention. I mean, little kids of course enjoy attention from an adult and don’t realize they are being groomed and acclimated to sexual touch. But he was totally clueless about the kind of anguish a statement like that would cause a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

      Most victims suffer anguish over the question of whether any response of sexual pleasure or relational pleasure indicates that the share the guilt of their abuser for what happened, or worse, they too ARE an abuser. I’ve found most of the ones I have interacted with to be so smugly certain they have the answers and anyone who disagrees does so because they are not willing to accept strong and right doctrine, that it’s impossible to show them why they are not being fair. They don’t see themselves as one hungry beggar showing another where to find food, or one sinner assisting another. The lack of humility, the lack of ” hmm, let’s work with this and see if we can get down to what is at the root here together” meant they really weren’t much help and only added to the distress of making you feel as if not agreeing with them was tantamount to not agreeing with God.

      Thankfully I think God is a lot more creative in the ways He reaches people than they are.

      • “One male nouthetic guy I talked to informed me that when I was being molested I probably enjoyed the attention.”

        Aarrrggghhh! I am so sorry Kind of Anonymous. That would have been awful!

      • Helovesme

        Oh my goodness KoA how horrible how you were spoken to! (echoing Barb’s comment)

        What the heck do you say to something like that I wonder?

        I have heard about the understandable confusion you spoke of: “whether any response of sexual pleasure or relational pleasure indicates that the share the guilt of their abuser for what happened, or worse, they too ARE an abuser.”

        I can’t imagine trying to sort out the trauma—-so many variables and so few answers.

        But I can’t say “amen” to this enough:

        “They really weren’t much help and only added to the distress of making you feel as if not agreeing with them was tantamount to not agreeing with God.”

        That speaks volumes. VOLUMES. I think that sort of thing is extremely common—not just with counselors. There is a lot of room for abuse when you claim to know the Lord, so you are part of His “inner circle” (as close to BEING Him, without actually saying that you are), but at the very least you are spiritually superior—-so your’e out of your element. So you can’t possibly know what you’re talking about.

        A counselor may be educated or trained or whatever—-but they should treat their patients as an equal—-not academically per say—but in the human sense. Don’t forget this is a person, before you see them as a patient. And even though they are a patient, they never cease being a person.

  6. Helovesme

    I had to read the screen shots twice because it was unthinkable that I was reading what I was reading. Wait, the author is on HIS side??

    Pastor Sam once posted on Facebook about the ridiculous, so called “scientific” notion about female hysteria. I can’t recall the details. It was a very sexist and silly concept, in a nutshell. And of course, it was limited to females only.

    My husband asked me an interesting question once. He was watching an older movie. I don’t recall which one. Compared to the more modern movies of today, those movies tend to be on the tamer side.

    He asked me why men were slapping women across the face when they were very emotional or upset—-or hysterical. He didn’t give me the context of the scene. But I HIGHLY doubt it had anything to do with trying to stop her from beating her chest in frustration.

    I answered him the best I could. And I speak for what I saw as the movie’s INTENT, not what is truthful. So keep in mind that what I’m about to write is utter nonsense:

    Men seem to believe that the only way to handle what they see as an unstable, unruly, uncontrollable woman is to “bring her back to sanity” by hitting her. It is meant to startle her so much that she stops screaming or crying or whatever. The goal is less about hurting her and more about trying to bring her back to reality. It’s justified because such a technique is used when they feel they must. Only when it’s absolutely necessary. The slapping is not a consistent thing, and it’s not meant to be callous. It’s meant to control the situation as a whole, and to bring a measure of self-control back to the woman—-who is perceived as being “out of control.”

    By the way, you don’t tend to see men hitting men in order to bring them back down to earth. That is called assault and battery. When it’s done towards women, it’s just doing what needed to be done.

    If you’re like me you likely felt a little sick to your stomach, reading that. Now, movies are not real, they are fiction and they don’t reflect the real world, right?

    Not always. It is not always easy for me, a woman, to try to remain as sober-minded and self-controlled as possible when trying to talk to both men AND women about a very sensitive or traumatic issue. I feel the need to keep emotion as minimized as possible in order to be taken seriously. This especially applies to people in authority, which tend to be men.

    If I do give way to excessive tears, dare to raise my voice or become “too” emotional, I fear that will erase any believability factor that I am usually seeking. I’m not sure how I can expect to be taken seriously, if I do not remain as serious as possible.

    Plus, a certain level of emotion has a strong tendency to make others uncomfortable. This isn’t always true, of course. Sometimes people are very responsive when someone breaks down in tears. However, that takes a very special and sensitive person, IMO.

    Imagine a child throwing a tantrum in a public place. Everyone does their best to NOT stare! It will make the discomfort of the entire situation even worse.

    I realize the people in the store are likely strangers, but I do have to say that this is potentially applicable with those you know. I’ve experienced this sort of thing. A certain level of pain and suffering is seen as disruptive to their somewhat peaceful lives. Plus, if they do not know what to do or say, they likely do and say nothing.

    This all feels like a slap in the face, even if you are not being directly slapped. So, if you are in hysterics or experiencing hysteria—-we are likely to try to normalize it somehow—-so that it doesn’t supposedly provoke a slap, or provoke a silent slap.

    I re-read the screen shots one more time.
    “Hysterical rage” justifies hitting someone? “Half truths” means she is lying?
    She “distorted the facts about him” means that with his side of things, it all makes sense?
    “Slanted and twisted viewpoint” means that she had no business professing pain?
    “Trying to gain sympathy for herself” means that it’s evil to show pity if you’ve been hit?
    “Balancing data that Philip provided” means his viewpoint cancelled out hers?
    “Problem of self-pity in Sally” means she should have taken that hit “like a man?”

    Conclusion: “Sally’s failure to handle life’s problems in a Christian manner rather than on the cruelty of her husband.”

    So she needs to apologize for being upset. He owes no apology for anything.
    She needs to apologize for not being Christ-like. He is right on track with the Lord.
    She needs to apolgize for attempting to lead the counselor astray. He is the victim, not her.
    She needs to apologize for lying/distorting. He needs to be commended for telling his side.
    She needs to apologize that he hit her. He needs to be validated for doing what he did.
    She needs to apologize for thinking of him as cruel. He needs to be coddled while he cries.
    She needs to apologize for asking for sympathy. He needs to be given all the sympathy.
    She needs to apolgize for telling her side. He needs to shout his side from the rooftops.

    By the way, the author was extremely wishy washy. At first he tries to claim the husband was only being painted as cruel. At the end, he points out the “cruelty” of her husband as if it was the real deal.

    These are the sort of excuses that cause so much confusion. On the one hand, they were led to be abusive. So they’re not at fault. On the other hand, they ARE abusive. So they are only abusive as long as it’s acknowledged that they are not responsible for being abusive.

    • Artina

      Helovesme, I always get a lot out of your comments. This,

      “So keep in mind that what I’m about to write is utter nonsense:” made me LOL!

      before I continued on to read your description of what particular ideas may be presented to us through movies.

      And near the end of your comment, this is a very good concise description of the “playbook” for confusion and I’m very appreciative:

      “These are the sort of excuses that cause so much confusion. On the one hand, they were led to be abusive. So they’re not at fault. On the other hand, they ARE abusive. So they are only abusive as long as it’s acknowledged that they are not responsible for being abusive.”

      I think I’d add to the playbook, though, the superficial pastoral counseling “shotgun” approach….there may be unforgiveness (detached from remorse, genuine repentence and justice), don’t forget gossip (without a clarifying definition) is a sin, the goal should always be restoration of the relationship, the marriage comes first, to name a few.

      In my consumption of couples counseling, we went through four, I think, the last more at length. The early ones were pretty dismissive and not helpful to me in speaking in such a way to help me find more clarity in the confusion. They were not condemning, though, either – and that was good. Looking back, now with reading information on this site, the counseling that we went through was not a good approach and was not the best that could have been done. But it was not as biased as Adams, either. It was more, “we’re here to listen and help you find your way.” They were reflective of what they heard me say (in individual sessions) but not providing insight and language, definitions of abuse to help me in the midst of confusion. But, I also blamed myself for not being able to have better focus and sense of direction in the midst of the confusion and that the counseling wasn’t helping sort out the confusion. It did help meet the need to be heard, though. From outside counseling settings, I encountered some of the blacklist books, quite a few actually, although I could somewhat tell, as I read, that they were ‘off’, so I didn’t really fully try to put the ideas into action. I didn’t have faith in them. Then I started reading better books and started having better awareness of the context I was in.

      • Helovesme

        Those were really good additions to the “playbook,” Artina.

        I think you’re far kinder than I am, though! I am glad you got some comfort from counselors who listened, but did little else. I appreciate a listener for sure, but I would REALLY appreciate more than just being heard. However, I do agree that there is a cathartic element to getting things off your chest.

        And I hear your about the “middle ground.” They are not as biased as Mr. Adams, but they are still woefully lacking. Someone who can’t guide you OUT of confusion is likely only adding to it.

        You’re a bit hard on yourself, if I can suggest that: “But, I also blamed myself for not being able to have better focus and sense of direction in the midst of the confusion”

        Don’t blame yourself. We are too hard on ourselves when it comes to these issues. Perfectly fine to admit there is a lack of focus and direction—-but how you got there likely took a long time. Getting out of it is a also a slow process. And you were looking for answers, not coming at them with all the answers.

        A doctor who has to assess a person’s body has to ask a lot of questions. Sometimes that drives you nuts, because they have to be meticulous. Based on your answers, that will narrow down the possibilities, which are likely vast and varied.

        If they don’t ask, they will likely diagnose you wrongly. And then if you start treatment based on that wrongness, they have caused you suffering that could have been avoided—-had they taken the time and trouble to ask you lots and lots of questions. They’ve also robbed you of time, money and efforts that would be better served in healing you, not further harming you.

        That is another reason why Mr Adams has upset me so. He made a TON of wrong diagnoses based on flimsy information. Fine, he added a few details. There were still a TON of questions he should have asked—-and yes, they are all relevant.

        Do not go into counseling if you find talking to people to be tiresome and time consuming. That’s not the job for you.

        A doctor will ask every single question on the menu, even if they think they already know the answer, because they have to hear it themselves. From the patient him or herself. And sometimes patients aren’t telling the truth. You have to pick up on that, too.

        Do not go into medicine if you find the human body to be too complicated and confusing to deal with. That’s not the job for you.

  7. In his blog post today
    Shattering Words and Crying to God, Sam Powell mentions Jay Adams as well as Malachi and the altar covered with tears. His post is well worth reading.

    I am updating this post with ‘Further Reading’ links at the bottom. I will give Sam’s post. And my post Whose tears are covering the altar in Malachi 2? The Matthew Bible vs. the Geneva Bible, Puritans and Calvin

    • Helovesme

      Thank you I look forward to reading Pastor’s blog post!

    • Finding Answers

      Shattering Words and Crying to God (The title of Sam Powell’s sermon.)

      As an infant, I had no words and I was punished for crying. And even prior to being punished for crying, I did not shed many tears. One of the ways Asperger’s manifests in me is a physical response, rather than the “normal” tears. My eyes will hurt and / or my heart will hurt and / or I will double over in non-physical pain.

      My inability to express myself in any recognizable fashion caused two of my senses to overlap – hearing and smell. The overlapping of senses in some fashion such as this is called synesthesia.

      My hyper-vigilance has decreased enough for me to be able to discern / clarify some of the stronger hearing-smell associations. So far, I have identified:

      Abusive words aimed at me smell like raw sewage.

      Anger (my own) smells like a dirty urinal.

      Accusations of sin smell like I need a bath.

      Talk of God smells like dust.

      Hearing of some forms of abuse (Omitting details for my protection.) smells like a metallic robot.

      Artina quoted (from a movie) “When is a table not a table?”

      Intending no offence, and replying with my own quirky sense of humour: When an individual has some form of synesthesia.

      • haha — I like your quirky sense of humour, Finding Answers! 🙂

      • Finding Answers

        Adding on to my own comment regarding my hearing-smell associations…….

        Gaslighting (when someone insinuates I am “crazy”) smells like cigarette smoke.

      • The association between gaslighting and the smell of cigarette smoke seems very apt!

        I speak as a former cigarette smoker.

        But the stench of death is apt too. The only difference (for me) is that the stench of death is easy for me to detect. My sense of smell is not as sharp as some other people, but I can easily recognise the stench of death. However, it’s not so easy to recognise when I’m being gaslighted.

        And one thing I realised is that having a poor sense of smell is a bit of an advantage when you are a nurse!

      • Artina

        Hi, Finding Answers, with your additional comment here, I reread your prior reply, too, and understand your humor better, and the term synesthesia! No offense before or now, for me anyway. And I hope you are not offended by my being slow to “get it” and respond…

        Comments along this line also make me think of abuse induced amnesia.

        When is a table not a table? When synesthesia and amnesia , as well as others, are the responses. I like James answers, a lot, too, “when the whitewashed tombs are opened”, “when experience trumps instruction”, “when it is seen for what it really is.”

      • Helovesme

        Hi Finding Answers just wanted to agree with you about the gas lighting.

        I actually try not to let anyone know that my memory has suffered and struggled in recent years. I’m too afraid that someone will try to use that info to start messing with my head (or just add onto what is already going on).

        It’s actually more like the stench of death (to me) than cigarette smoke (although smoking isn’t good for your health).

  8. Hello Sunshine

    I find it really disturbing that the woman is accused of self pity in this excerpt. How is self pity a crime anyway? It is perfectly reasonable to feel hurt when sinned against. Grief does follow loss. It is good to be compassionate with oneself. It is legit to seek justice and to flee evil.

    Yes, there are people who seek to manipulate others and bypass responsibilities through complaining. And there are people who feel so entitled that they treat others badly while wrapped up in and nursing personal resentments that seem to have little merit. These are sins of relating to others, though; it is possible to feel a lousy emotion and then choose a good action.

    But a feeling of hopelessness is a defining characteristic of depression. Confusion is a normal part of trauma. The healing process may require increased attention to one’s needs and preferences. The person who is suffering grief, trauma, and/or fear is unlikely to appear at every moment as the spunky, self-sufficient, generous, productive, cheerful heroine pulling herself up by the bootstraps with overflowing faith and hope that others like to see. People are so quick to criticize the faith and character of a sufferer when a little protection, encouragement, respect, or understanding from them could go a long way to helping her get back on her feet.

    Yes, there are times one is likely to feel better by being active, letting go, focusing on others, and getting on with it rather than thinking or feeling, but I think an accusation of self-pity is coming from some stoical philosophy, or victim blaming/silencing, and is not the role of a Christian counselor…especially when speaking with a woman who just told you her husband hit her across the face!

    An abused spouse who is overly concerned about being self-pitying may wind up more isolated and less able to see situations clearly and protect herself. An abused spouse who gets accused of self-pity when she reaches out for help…well, that’s like pushing her back in the pit.

    • Finding Answers

      In reply to the entirety of Hello Sunshine’s comment ( 6TH JUNE 2019 – 7:57 AM)

      ^^^THAT!!!

      The biggest difference is I am the one accusing myself of wallowing in self-pity.

    • Artina

      Hello Sunshine, This seems to be true when I look back:

      “An abused spouse who is overly concerned about being self-pitying may wind up more isolated and less able to see situations clearly and protect herself.” (Although I was intent on connecting with friends, so I wasn’t isolated totally, but internally being overly concerned that I was a “whiner”/complainer caused a lot of self doubt.)

      One manipulative counselor that we worked with used the terminology, “making mountains out of molehills”, another inconsistent counselor used the terminology, “bleeding on the playground” (if I bleed help will come). Both of these, I think are negatively biased against women’s emotion rather that acknowledging and clarifying underlying problems in relationship dynamics and offering clarifying information on definitions of and types of abuse and accurate scriptural concepts.

      I did a lot of examination and intentional work on “taming the tongue”, but did not have really good awareness early on, in the midst of the confusion, and practice at asking quality questions. Then I had an experience much later (a situation not related to marriage), but did involve a manipulator in a power role. I mentioned to my helper that I wish I could spot the manipulation in the moment and speak to it well, right then and there. My helper rightly put the blame where it belonged and encouraged me by saying that even they would not be able to do that, but rather that is how manipulators operate.

      I’ve come across information where a speaker said that “women grieve and men replace.” I’ve thought about that a lot. I do believe that childhood trauma is pervasively common and both men and women are negatively impacted by it. I’ve know some women who believe that , for them, looking back, would do more harm than good. So, I think it depends on the person and the context. I think, for some, maybe, God “calibrates” possible “self-pity” to grief, a bearable grief with the help of Jesus, that needs to happen and “calibrates” false shame to self compassion and offers information that helps reduce confusion.

    • Bravo Hello Sunshine! This comment is superb.

      Reaching Out can you please add this to the Gems?

      “An abused spouse who gets accused of self-pity when she reaches out for help…well, that’s like pushing her back in the pit.”

      • Reaching Out

        The quote by Hello Sunshine has been added to the GEMS page.

      • Helovesme

        I really like that quote; glad it’s been added to the page!

  9. Helovesme

    You always offer such wonderful thoughts, Hello Sunshine.

    Our minds seem to run parallel. The pity/self-pity narratives stuck with me, as well. Kind of Anonymous picked up on it too, possibly others as well (hard to keep track!)

    “How is self pity a crime anyway?”

    It’s not always a crime, but it is treated as such so quickly, so easily.

    But you pointed out something so relevant yet so ignored. A person who is seriously suffering who never, ever shows it in public, and works hard to make SURE no one sees it—-is not what I would call being hypocritical, phony or even deceptive—-in the sense that they don’t intend to cause any harm.

    But it is deeply concerning that such a person feels the need to work so hard to hide what he or she has no reason to be ashamed of. That is where I think we are falling short, falling flat. You said it wonderfully:

    “People are so quick to criticize the faith and character of a sufferer when a little protection, encouragement, respect, or understanding from them could go a long way to helping her get back on her feet.”

    Your last line also nailed it very well, too. I won’t copy and paste that part, just to save time and space. But I encourage everyone to scroll up and take notice of her whole comment!

    It is not a sin to ask for pity. That is where I too got riled up at the book excerpt. It is also not a sin to feel sorrow and even righteous anger at being treated so pitifully.

    Ask yourself how the Lord would feel—watching a precious human being, made in His image, bought and paid for with His blood—being treated with such contempt and disregard.

    Do you really think, really believe He was in no way moved by what He saw (and make no mistake, HE SAW. Nothing escapes His sight).

    A few “rule of thumb” guidelines I try to use when it comes to pity. Asking for it myself or giving it out to others.

    Crying does not mean I will immediately take your side, or agree with your side. I take your tears seriously, but I need to hear your words as well. I will hand you Kleenex and my face will register a real reaction to your tears.

    This is also applicable if you are angry, upset or whatever emotion you are displaying. They mean something but they don’t mean everything.

    The reason I work hard to be this way: abusive persons are capable of “working” you over in order to entrap you into their web of deception.

    Even though Phillip told his side of things, he seemed extremely nonchalant about it. On the very extreme, very slight, very improbable notion that hitting her “had to be done,” it should still have caused that person a great deal of grief and even confusion.

    I did something awful. I did something that hurt her. I did something that caused her to be scared of me. I thought I had to do it, but did I? Could I have chosen to splash a bit of cold water into her face to get her attention? Could I have taken her by the shoulders and gently shook her, speaking firmly but gently? Could I have taken her into my arms as she sobbed uncontrollably, calming her down as I comfort her?

    Someone else noticed that the counselor never bothered to dig any deeper into WHY she was so upset. The book excerpt claimed the counselor had the full story, but I found that hard to believe. Even with those added details, it still left a lot of open ended questions.

    My other rule of thumb is to work hard to disregard WHO this person is as they try to make their case. A family friend, family member, or close friend does not mean I will immediately take your side. I have chosen to side with a person on the “fringe” rather than family or closer relationships. I did it because they were in the wrong, and this person was in the right.

    I also don’t care if you are male or female. It is too easy for males to side with an abusive male, out of club loyalty or something like that. I will not do the same regarding my own gender. If a female is in the wrong, you’re in the wrong—-period.

    You have my deepest sympathy if you’ve come from a troubled background, but if you’re using it in order to “use” my sympathy to justify hurting yourself or others—I put my foot down. Work on your issues. Don’t blame the rest of the world, which does not revolve around you and never will. I’ll work to be patient as the Lord works on you, but if you have no interest in that—-you’re likely using your troubled past in order to justify causing trouble in the present. That is pitiful, because those who are in the Lord are in good Hands that can heal your brokenness.

    Even though your brokenness is the real deal, you only want others around you to be as broken as you are—even worse so—-and you actively work to make that a reality. That is not just pitiful, that is pathetic. I will work hard to KEEP people away from you, so you cannot play around with them like that.

    The ones that I choose to show pity to are not sinless. They are not perfect. There is no such thing, first of all. It is also not necessarily because they are a “better person” than the other or others in questions. It has to do with His righteousness, which is very different from our self-righteousness. His is perfect. Compared to that, ours is like filthy rags.

    It’s also not about siding with the one that has more people power. That must mean that they are in the right, because so many people have gathered on that side. WRONG. I stuck with this “fringe” person against a fair number of persons. And that fringe person had nearly no one. Adding myself didn’t really boost her power. But again, if it’s all about power, then you’re sadly in stark contradiction to the Word of God, who warns us that His power is best and perfectly displayed in love.

    I DO have pity for those that are in the wrong. I spent 5 1/2 years praying for a group of them to repent. They never budged. I quit praying when I sensed the Lord told me to quit. I don’t regret the praying, but sometimes I do. I haven’t gotten it figured out yet.

    Most of all, I worry about the example we are setting for the saved AND unsaved. Mr. Adam’s views are setting a horrible example for so many. Victims and non-victims will read his work and might be led to believe that this represents the Living God. It doesn’t, but it’s hard to get that message out, when we’re outnumbered by people like him and his supporters.

    But like I said, numbers don’t always equal victory. Even a small chorus of protesters can be heard, if there are ears to listen. And there likely are at least a few open ears that are begging to be assured that they’re not bad people for being victimized, or asking for pity, or seeking justice. In fact, they should be commended!

  10. James

    When a woman is physically assaulted by her husband, she will suffer one of the worst, if not the worst, emotions a human being can experience – betrayal. The same applies when there is adultery. A child also experiences this worst of emotions when they are sexually assaulted and I submit that the same applies to a child when they are physically assaulted by a parent or trusted one.

    I believe Dante in his book, “Inferno”, describes the various levels of Hell and at the bottom of these levels is the one reserved for those who betrayed others. The worst crime you can commit as far as any nation’s criminal code is concerned is treason. It is a betrayal of a whole nation. Yet, how many look upon adultery or assault as a very real form of treason?

    Our psychological well being is founded on having a consistent ‘world view’ – a set of paradigms which we rarely, if ever, question. When we experience betrayal, we experience our world view shifting underneath our feet. The one you put all your trust in, the one you made yourself most vulnerable to, betrays your trust – betrays you.

    In this state of extreme confusion, we start to wonder about everything else we think we understand about the world around us. What else have we not understood?

    We go to those we think we can trust in the hope of understanding the pain and confusion of a world turned upside down. And what do we find? We are blamed for not only the initial betrayal but for our natural reaction to being overwhelmed by the worst of human behaviour towards us.

    This is yet another level of betrayal and we are supposed to carry on as before as if nothing, or nothing of great importance, has happened. Yet we know, or at least intensely feel, that more paradigms, the ones our Christianity is founded on, are being tossed aside by the very people who preach these paradigms and principles.

    We are profoundly ‘punch drunk’ by this stage. No wonder we can’t decide whether we are the crazy ones or that everyone talking to us is crazy.

    • Artina

      There’s a movie I watched recently about abuse and one line, repeated by the abused, who seemed to not want to be unkind, that haunted me. “When is a table not a table?”

      • James

        I’m not sure I understand your question, Artina, but my guess is that when a table is not a table is when it is seen for what it really is – something very different from a table. When experience trumps instruction. When the whitewashed tomb is opened.

      • Hi Artina, what was the name of that movie? It sounds interesting.

      • Artina

        Yes, James I think I agree with your answer to the question.

        I should have clarified better that this question was repeatedly asked by a female victim of abuse, in the movie, and she did not expect an answer, I don’t think. So it was a rhetorical question. I think it was just given as a picture of the mental after effects of confusion about reality when abused by someone you’ve entrusted yourself to be loved by. That is, for someone confused by betrayal, their reality becomes illogical or incoherent, “punch drunk.” For me, logic is one tool for trying to undo the damage and come back to truth, lovingly spoken and acted. A table is really a table and abuse is not love.

        The victim in the movie was called to testify against the abuser (having escaped the abuse back into the arms of a caring family of origin for several years). The case was not brought by her, but rather another woman that had been hurt after her by the same abuser. So, she was reluctant to testify, but she did, and she also met privately with the abuser, at his request one more time before he was finally incarcerated. The abuser was appreciative of her meeting with him so he could thank her for something, I’m not sure of, seeing his humanity or something, her kindness maybe. I wonder if this scene was meant to represent, somewhat, the lure of an abuser and this woman’s kindness or waffling about how to view her abuser. Maybe I missed his apology and remorse in the movie…I’m pretty sure I didn’t see any.

        I can relate to the waffling of how to view an abuser. It is much more clear to me now. I am sure now that I needed physical and emotional distance to get a clearer, healthier picture. It is harder to get emotional distance, especially if the abusive environment lasted a long time without loving support and Christian concepts helping sort it out. And especially without family of origin knowing how to help, or….as we are talking about here, without paid professionals and church leaders knowing how, or being unwilling, to help in ways that are needed. Elie Wiesel said that “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

        The movie was not as clear a model of steps toward justice and voicing Christian concepts as Rachel Denhollander’s example and her abuse situations were not family of origin or spousal abuse. But like you have said, any of these types of abuse/ betrayal, including child/adult causes the view of the world, for the abused, to not make sense, especially in the midst of it, but even after escaping it. It seems to me that this movie was more of a display, especially with the rhetorical question, of the fog and confusion after being abused.

        Barb, the name of the movie is “Loved.”
        [This movie may need a potential trigger warning. Editors.]

        There is another movie about a different kind of abuse, torture of POWs, based on a true story, and work toward reconciliation that this discussion brings to mind. This movie highlights and resolves, somewhat, genuine repentance, clear acknowledgement of the abuse and healing and forgiveness and acknowledging reconciliation steps, IMO. Let me know if you want the title.

      • Thanks Artina, for the name of the movie. And yes, I’d like to know the name of the movie about the POWs too.

        Reaching Out, can you please add the two Elie Wiesel quotes to our Gems if they are not already listed there. Thanks. 🙂

      • Reaching Out

        The two Elie Wiesel quotes have been added to the GEMS page.

      • Artina

        Barb, the name of the second movie I referred to is “Railway Man” and both movies need a trigger warning. I’m sorry I didn’t think of the trigger warning aspect before. And I hope my comments are helpful and not hurtful.

        [Bold and italics added to note both movies may need a potential trigger warning. Editors.]

    • James

      Perhaps I should note that in using the pronoun “we” I’m not inferring that I am a woman, which I am obviously not, nor was I physically assaulted in my marriage. I used it in the sense that I have been betrayed by a spouse and then subsequently by many Christians who I had looked to for help and understanding. It’s a common pattern, as many know and are attesting to.

      • Finding Answers

        Hijacking part of James’ comment “…….I used it in the sense that I have been betrayed by a spouse and then subsequently by many Christians who I had looked to for help and understanding……..”

        ^That.

        The pictures in my mind include whether an individual is male or female, but that is a small part of the total picture. I understand how some of the differences between men and women affect life, and incorporate the information into my responses.

        There are SO many aspects to the pictures in my mind, oftentimes including something ascribed to input from one (or more) of the senses, providing me with a multi-dimensional individual.

        What I don’t understand is “Why?” I don’t have ANY picture of me in my mind.

      • Helovesme

        Potential Trigger Warning

        Speaking of movies, I was much younger when I saw a movie called “The General’s Daughter.” I wouldn’t recommend it at all. It’s a secular movie with John Travolta, and I don’t think it was very successful. I was much more desensitized back then; at this point I can barely handle any sort of violence on film, but especially sexual violence.

        And Barb and Reaching Out, I apologize for referring to a movie that I again don’t believe anyone should watch. I know we are careful about what we reference here.

        But I never forgot the ending. They were investigating the murder of the daughter of a high ranking general. She also served in the military. It was revealed that she had been brutally raped by a handful of men in her unit. Her father asked her to forget it ever happened, for the sake of his rising career.

        John Travolta’s character asked a witness: What’s worse than rape? He was trying to figure out some motive for killing her, and he was offering any and all suggestions. The witness kept saying “worse,” which prompted that question.

        The witness answered: when you find out, then you’ll understand everything.

        At the end, when all was revealed, he said to the woman’s father: now I know what’s worse than rape. Betrayal.

        To this very day, I can’t believe that a secular movie, made in a very secular world (entertainment industry), full of secular actors and possibly written by a secular person: understood something that supposed “enlightened” people who profess Christ (who also was betrayed) barely have an inkling about.

        [The movie reference is appropriate to the comment. A Potential Trigger Warning has been added for the reader’s protection. Editors.]

    • James

      Finding Answers wrote –
      “What I don’t understand is “Why?” I don’t have ANY picture of me in my mind.”

      Assuming I have understood your question rightly, Finding Answers, perhaps it is like the mirror that is taught to reflect other people. In time, with growing awareness, the mirror ‘sees’ that the people are different to the images they are projecting and telling the mirror to reflect. This is a more accurate awareness of others and a growing self awareness for the mirror.

      But when the mirror looks into itself, it still sees others’ reflections (albeit more accurately). The mirror cannot still see itself until it changes the depth of perception to see that which is doing the reflecting and seeing that as quite separate from the subjects in the reflection. This is another level of self awareness.

      But to further understand itself, perhaps it becomes more like a kinaesthetic thing. The mirror makes itself more real to itself (and separate from the reflections) by using another sense than what it was taught to use to make itself useful (exploitable) to others.

      The mirror becomes aware it is separate from everything and everybody else through feeling. This can be scary for the mirror that is used to vision until it senses that there is another being within the frame of the mirror itself. A Being that cannot be seen but only felt. It is the Creator of all things. The mirror finally relaxes and finds blessed rest. The Creator now shines his light through the mirror and it comes alive and is now reflecting “a light unto the world”.

      The mirror feels itself by virtue of the light passing through it and can see all before it now with crystal clear clarity using the light.

      The mirror may not ultimately know the entirety of itself but it has meaning, purpose and the comfort of the light. The darkness has gone.

      • Finding Answers

        James commented “……A Being that cannot be seen but only felt……..”

        ^That.

        I need to find the words to formulate the rest of the picture in my mind, as this includes the distortions reflected by a mirror that has been damaged / reflects the world through different lenses.

        Thank you for the mirror analogy. It makes complete sense to me and eases the fear(s) I had about why there was no picture in my mind for me.

      • James

        Finding Answers, I am very pleased the analogy made sense and was helpful 🙂

      • Helovesme

        I don’t like to try to add to some of James’s analogies, especially since Finding Answers felt more clarity. I’m nervous that I might add confusion rather than more clarity.

        That being said, I love 2 Corinthians 3:16: “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

        It speaks of being born again of course—so it’s more precisely applied to the state of conversion.

        However, there is no doubt that if we are still held down or held back if we insist on living a rule-based, rule-making lifestyle that contradicts the freedom we have in Him. In a sense, we are technically free in Him, but a veil-based lifestyle will keep us from enjoying that blessed freedom.

        Moving onto 2 Corinthians 3:18 (another favorite): “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

        I’ll speak for myself here. I don’t like mirrors much, because I don’t always like what I see—-both inside and out. In a nutshell, I don’t see myself as He does. I don’t see HIM as He is (loving me as thoroughly and sincerely and consistently as He does).

        I see the abusers or abusive persons. I “see” their insults and put downs. I see how cheap and worthless I have been made to feel.

        I don’t see “Christ in me, the hope of His glory” (Colossians 1:27)

        However understandable my perceptions may or may not be—-it’s imperative to see Him as He really is, see myself IN Him as I really am—in order to be changed from glory to glory. I’ve noticed a great deal of stagnation in my life if I cling to, or insist on clinging to the wrong and inaccurate reflections in a distorted mirror.

        The “thief of unbelief” is a real thing. It does rob you and strip you of what an active, growing belief in Him can give us. This is NOT meant to condemn, or infer that a lack of faith means you deserve to feel ashamed. No, you ALREADY feel ashamed—-do not to add to that. God’s not like that.

        BUT, you have nothing to be ashamed of——people you trusted heaped the shame on you, which makes it all the harder to get rid of it, or resist it.

        In a nutshell, those that abused you don’t know you like He does. They don’t see what He does. They don’t love you like He does. They don’t deserve to be a part of that mirror, and they should not dare be a part of the image you see in that mirror.

        It’s all right to see a broken person in that mirror. If it’s truthful, it’s imperative that it gets acknowledged! Or, if the mirror you look at is broken, you see a distorted image.

        But Christ is not broken, He was broken FOR us. So you can see a broken person in the mirror, and Christ understands how that feels. The Christ that looks back at you is whole, not broken, and He will hold you together as you admit how broken you are, not to mention WHO caused you to be so broken.

        “In Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17)

        There is nothing more joy inducing that knowing that even though you are broken, He is holding you together. Holding you still, holding you near. Truly, truly there is none like Him. None more glorious, none more worthy of our praises.

      • Amen.

    • James there is so much truth in this comment of yours. The shift of tectonic plates (our fundamental understandings of the world) and how that makes us doubt ourselves. (Oh how I remember feeling that so intensely when my first marriage broke down for the final time.) Then the secondary betrayal by those we turn to for support. All of which leaves us profoundly ‘punch drunk’.

      In this video, Allan Wade talks about the responses victims receive when they seek help and support:
      On Violence, Resistance, and Power in Language by Dr. Allan Wade

      • James

        Thanks Barb. Dr Allan Wade spoke very well. He said a lot in a few minutes.

      • Artina

        Barb, the video by Dr. Wade is good. I just want to share, for others, that I had to go over one section twice just to understand what he was really saying, because I have been steeped in the “bad use” of language. That is, I couldn’t tell what he was saying at first listening, it was only a second listening that helped me get it. This is the part at 6:00 , the questioner asks the abused if the incident was the first time that the woman had had sexual relations (instead of calling it assault/rape) with the accused.

        One type of scenario he doesn’t talk about is spousal deception or betrayal. When an abuser is manipulative and pretends to say and do all the right things, but then relevant information, in conflict with what was said before, becomes clear and this is a repetitive cycle. What is clear precise language for this that trained professionals and society, especially church environments, would agree with? If it’s hard enough to get trained professionals to be willing to change their language for examples as clear as he gave, how hard will it be for change to happen with the scenario of gaslighting, manipulative, disingenuous spouses. It seems to me that in a pervasive manipulative environment true consent, mutuality (a term that Dr. Wade uses as the right way to relate to others) can’t happen.

      • “In a pervasive manipulative environment true consent, mutuality, can’t happen.”

        Yep. That’s the truth.

      • Kind of Anonymous

        Wow, James. That mirror analogy is such a good description of what it’s like to grow up in a profoundly abusive and unhealthy home or environment and what it does to you. Our survival depends on their approval and avoidance of their anger or disapproval and so we learn to reflect what they want to see whether it’s reflecting their viewpoint, expectations or values. It all becomes the same in the end, their personality wipes out ours.

        I immediately thought of an old Christian book by one Florence Littauer, she wrote some stuff about personality and motivation, and other related things. I remember her doing an assessment with one person and the results showed that the person had a completely obliterated personality. And myself, when I turned to Jesus in a real more serious way, I had the distinct impression that my own personality was also completely flattened by a virtual football team of others’ personalities. I felt like I was under an invisible dogpile of some sort. I could not even identify my own values and the few times I attempted to declare them I got viciously verbally attacked.

        When I was growing up I would take note of what garnered affection, approval, being liked or wanted and try to emulate those elements. What I didn’t know was that I was already operating from the assumption that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t wanted, wasn’t beautiful and wasn’t legitimate. My paternal grandmother once informed me that I was a “bastard”, of illegitimate birth. Somehow that rumor whether true or not, got around in our community and I was once banned from playing with some kids on our block because of my supposed illegitimacy.

        It cut at the core of my being. I understand what that meant. You have no right to be here. It had such an effect on my sense of being and self that even in my early twenties, if others were coming down the sidewalk and I was coming the other way, I would automatically get off the sidewalk. Partially out of courtesy; but also because deep down I felt as if they had more legitimate value and right to be there than I did.

        As time went on in my early years I took note of who was popular, who was approved of, who was liked and what it seemed to be that made them occupy such favored space. I was seldom so favored and usually bullied. It seemed as if when God was handing out favor and place, others got in the lineup but there was no place for me other than to hold the door for everyone else. So I would attempt to “add” whatever components of the other’s personalities, gifting and mannerisms that seemed to make them so favored. It was as if I was building a patchwork personality . Much like Cinderella attempting to make a ballgown out of begged borrowed or found bits and pieces so she, too could be welcome at the ball and fit in. I had no idea what kind of damage this was doing to me. It didn’t matter. It was ME and so why should it matter if I was being hurt. It would matter if it were someone else but not if it was me.

        The truly odd thing was that looking back, I actually did like some of the same things I artificially took on to be acceptable and fit in with my friends. I liked them in a different way for a different reason but that interest was already there. But my own personhood and existence was so negated that I was completely unaware of myself.

        In very early childhood, a violent incident in which I had had a part led to the conclusion that I was irredeemably bad, evil and responsible for causing people I loved to be harmed. And something very evil seemed to piggyback on that incident, directly speaking to me that I was the cause of the problem, and was making everyone miserable, and that if I didn’t exist, things would be better for everyone. I had to pay for ruining my mom’s existence by giving up my right to life and agreeing to be as miserable and downtrodden as she was. I had to disappear.

        Looking at pictures of myself as I got older, I was far from a ugly child, once I lost the terrible out of style glasses, done with a lawnmower haircut, and not in style clothes my adult family members foisted upon me. My parents and grand parents dressed us in stuff that was either not in style in our area or that would get you looking like an extra on revenge of the nerds. It didn’t help. The pronouncement from my grandmother that I was an ugly duckling who could hope one day to be a beautiful swan stayed stuck at “ugly”. I was artistic, even musical but somehow when the ability was mine it wasn’t good enough, didn’t count or couldn’t stack up to so and so’s gift who was so much better than me in that area. I stayed down and flattened, the few efforts I made to stand on my own and be myself, take initiative or protect what was mine crushed aborning.

        Having experienced all of this, I can confidently say that this isn’t just crap that happens to us, as awful as it is. It is most definitely spiritual warfare. What’s the message of the mirrors, the arrows shot at us? You exist to be a reflection of others, they matter you don’t. It separates us from God, family, ourselves so we are adrift and terrified, uncertain how to get back to safe harbor. And the things we do to try and fix that problem only seem to widen destructive ripples. It’s a lie but one etched in pain and trauma that is hard to erase. Something must be more real and more true than the evil. You spoke the truth spot on, about existing to reflect our creator and finding rest in that. There is no rest in a harsh taskmaster who won’t let his captives go home. These things attack identity, value and the one true Source of those things .

        Thinking of personal invisibility, despite denial in my family, pictures of everyone were displayed but seldom of me. My family blamed me saying I hadn’t given them any pictures but there were enough of them in the family photo box. I suspect that had something to do with the violent incident for which I was blamed and never forgiven though the right words were spoken: You were just a kid. It wasn’t your fault. An unspoken agreement existed. You are to blame and because of this, we will never forgive you for telling.

        And I agreed: I am to blame. This is my fault. I caused this by telling of a sinful situation, but being too young did not know that there was more going on and so serious harm was done. So it laid ugly under the tablecloth at family meals where I tried to earn a place by being a servant, a baker, a subservient and submissive second class citizen who had to yield to the controlling and jealous adults. When a visiting relative apologized to me in front of everyone, because he had sat with his back to me during conversation, it was a sight to see. The offended looks on my family’s faces; he had violated their rules somehow by treating me like I counted. I almost cried at this touch of value. I was used to being told I didn’t have rights because I was just a kid. All in all, all of these things resulted in my being invisible.

        I nested this comment below Barbara’s because frankly I didn’t want to get in the middle of what seemed to be an almost sacred transmission of life giving words to Finding Answers. Sorry for the length of my musings, I can so relate to the not being able to find an image of oneself and the mirrors. Your comment on the mirrors and on our relationship to Christ is full of depth and bears more pondering.

      • Thank you Kind of Anonymous. I took a long time reading your comment; there are so many good concepts in it and they are all so well expressed. ‘Words like apples of wisdom’ comes to mind.

        And I marvelled especially at the words in your last paragraph – “I didn’t want to get in the middle of what seemed to be an almost sacred transmission of life giving words to Finding Answers” – because that is exactly how I felt when I read James’s comment and published it, but I couldn’t find words to say how I felt.

      • James

        Kind of Anonymous, thank you for you very kind words. And thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences. It would have taken some time and I imagine it was not easy.

        I am so sorry you had to endure such an appalling atmosphere throughout your childhood. You express well the effect of your personality being buried under those of many others. Smothered.

        To enlarge on my words to Finding Answers in my previous comment, we have little to no boundaries when we are children and consequently we have relatively little self awareness except for the fact that we exist and we feel pain. We reflect the images we are given.

        As we become more aware of nature of the people in our surroundings, we become more aware of ourselves and our boundaries. Boundaries separate. The more awareness, the more separation. The separation scares some people and they opt for belonging at the cost of their peace.

        Others rebel, lashing out and causing more harm. Yet others pursue truth and the truth of themselves and not finding it in the world outside them. Eventually they turn away from the distractions and values of the world and turn inwards to find God waiting for them. Their self awareness and self worth is now dependent on joining with God who always accepts us. Jesus calls us out of the world of mirrors to join with Him and to enjoy some sanity at last.

        I borrowed some of these words from a recent conversation with someone else. But they are not really my words. I know this because I have learnt from them, too.

        Take care Kind of Anonymous,
        James

    • Helovesme

      Wonderfully put, James. That is just about as bad as it is, and as bad as it gets.

      The “betrayal” aspect is an important one—maybe THE most important one. One reason we may not talk about it too often is because it’s too painful to even admit to ourselves, much less express it to anyone else.

      The other reason you brought up is just as valid: we will likely be blamed for being betrayed, or at least be told to take partial responsibility.

      However, even IF you’re not blamed for the actual betrayal, never fear—-there is something else they’ll try to pile on you: It was your fault for trusting him or her in the first place. If you had known better or done better, this person would not have had a chance to betray you at all (which technically wasn’t your fault).

      This is the true heart and horror of domestic abuse (whether it’s your partner or parent, or anyone that you trusted in a significant way: pastors, teachers, coaches, etc.)

      You trusted them, which ALSO means you had a strong and significant bond with them. And likely you assumed they felt the same way about you.

      SO, you are also “self-betrayed” as well as betrayed by another. Not only do you have to face that, but you may question your sense of judgement or ability to assess the character of others. You were betrayed, which means they lied to you. They earned your trust not to cherish it, but exploit it.

      The massive level of confusion in dealing with BOTH of these arenas is enough to crush someone from the inside out.

      As you put it: ” What else have we not understood?”

      You cannot put abuse in a box, hide it under the bed or deep in the garage, and go on with your life. The aftermath of abuse is just as hard and painful, maybe even more so—than the actual abuse itself. Because you have to admit that you were betrayed. And that person you had a powerful bond with, did not love you in return. And you thought they did.

      I think this is one the biggest reasons why victims blame themselves. It doesn’t help that others may join that chorus, but certainly we can blame ourselves with no help from the outside world!

      It’s easier to blame yourself than admit you were betrayed. It’s easier to admit that it was your fault (at least partially so) than admit that someone you loved, does not and still does not love you in return.

      Go even further: you may still harbor some level of affection or attachment to that abuser, even when it’s all been revealed for what it is. And I just don’t mean through mutual children, if that is the case. I mean—you still have work to do in separating the person you thought he or she was, from the person he or she really is.

      But again—-even if you DO see them as they really are—that doesn’t make your strong feelings towards them magically disappear. Love is not a switch that you turn on and off. The abusers work that way (they can switch from dark to light, light to dark in a heartbeat). But you don’t. Your love for them was the real deal. That makes all the difference in the world.

      I wish the world but especially the church could see that, or would at least be open to seeing that. I’m not writing this comment to ask for pity, and I”m not experiencing self-pity, either.

      BUT, if hearts are so cold and hard that they don’t get a glimpse of the pain that victims go through (and a glimpse is all we ask for; it’s a start!)—-then it’s now obvious that you either don’t want to see, or you simply don’t care. And THAT makes all the difference in the world as well.

      • James

        Helovesme, you pack a lot into this comment!

        “But again—-even if you DO see them as they really are—that doesn’t make your strong feelings towards them magically disappear. Love is not a switch that you turn on and off. The abusers work that way (they can switch from dark to light, light to dark in a heartbeat). (YES!) But you don’t. Your love for them was the real deal. That makes all the difference in the world.

        I wish the world but especially the church could see that, or would at least be open to seeing that.

        It is supremely ironic to me that so many church people do not want to look at or look for evil. In your average group of 100 people, you will have 5 psychopaths – “But perhaps if we don’t look, we will be all right”.

        “BUT, if hearts are so cold and hard that they don’t get a glimpse of the pain that victims go through (and a glimpse is all we ask for; it’s a start!)—-then it’s now obvious that you either don’t want to see, or you simply don’t care. And THAT makes all the difference in the world as well.”

        Well said. I wonder, at base, if they are just scared rabbits.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you for the kind words, James. It was a very difficult comment to write out.

        Being unfairly blamed is like being handed bag after bag of heavy groceries—you only have two hands—-but they won’t stop handing them to you.

        This causes what I label as “buckling under the strain.” Sooner or later, you will collapse under all that weight. Again, you only have TWO hands. There is no such thing as growing another pair of arms and hands in order to compensate.

        I don’t believe that a victim is ever to be blamed for the abuse. I have read comments from others (including myself) where they acknowledged their shortcomings, but that that does not mean they are responsible for being abused.

        A victim is a frail, flawed individual. Born into this world as a sinner, just like anyone else, and saved by the same (and the only) Savior—-just like anyone else.

        I get tired of that basic “fact of life” used as an excuse to pile the blame onto the victim for being abused.

        A lack of perfection in a victim does not excuse the lack of perfection of an abuser. I have heard the phrase “I’m not perfect” from victims as they helplessly try to defend themselves.

        My response to them is this: Stop stating the obvious. We know the sky is blue; no one has to say it out loud! It’s just as obvious that you are not perfect, nor should anyone expect you to be.

        Not only that, but you can never be and will never be perfect. There is only One who is perfect, without one sin or stain—-and they crucified Him. So a lack of bad behavior on your part, or a excessive amount of good behavior on your part—does not necessarily matter. The abuser chose to hurt you regardless. It works along the same lines as we chose to crucify our Savior regardless of Him being 100% innocent of any sin.

        Stop putting victims into some vacuum that they don’t belong in. They’re suddenly held to a higher standard, more than likely a double standard, not to mention impossible ones—-while the abuser is barely held (if at all) to any reasonable expectations.

        If Christ were still in human form today, walking the Earth—-I honestly wonder which of His professing believers would recognize and embrace Him, and which of those would seek to kill Him, by any means necessary.

  11. Artina

    Here’s another Elie Wiesel quote: “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, it is the silence of the bystander.”

  12. Finding Answers

    OH WOW, Kind Of Anonymous (7TH JUNE 2019 – 10:24 AM)!!!!

    You described SO MANY pictures in my mind!! THANK YOU!

    • Helovesme

      Reply to Kind Of Anonymous 7TH JUNE 2019 – 10:24 AM

      From the first paragraph you spoke my language (I enjoy how others get a lot out of your insights as well as myself).

      ” It all becomes the same in the end, their personality wipes out ours.”

      This is something that is really hard explain to others, much less understand ourselves. But it’s not uncommon or unusual for a victim to say things like: I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am like.

      Here is my experience of it: I am standing in the center of a circle of people. I am rooted to that spot, unable to move. If I DID try to move, I would not make it through that tight circle of people surrounding me.

      The people in that circle are holding various objects. Maybe on their own, they are fairly harmless, but in their hands—-they are weapons. They throw them at me from all sides. I try to deflect, duck or even DENY that anything is being hurled at me. I try to use my arms to cover my head. I sit down, trying to make myself a smaller target. At worst—I plead and cry and try to negotiate with these people—–but they won’t stop.

      I know who these people are, which makes it all the worse. I’m not sure WHAT is worse: what they are doing to me, or the fact that they won’t stop no matter what I do or say.

      I’ll leave it there and if it’s okay I’d like to read and possibly comment on the rest of your comment. That was just my reaction from the first paragraph of what you wrote!

  13. Finding Answers

    In reply to Helovesme (7TH JUNE 2019 – 11:42 AM), who wrote “I don’t like to try to add to some of James’s analogies, especially since Finding Answers felt more clarity. I’m nervous that I might add confusion rather than more clarity.”

    Your addition to the mirror analogy, Helovesme, reflected (pardon the intentional pun 🙂 ) other pictures in my mind.

    The confusion is NOT coming from your addition to James’ mirror analogy. In actuality, your description(s) lead me to understand why the pictures in my mind can reflect (pardon the intentional pun 🙂 ) the (sometimes distorted) images seen in a House of Mirrors at a fairground.

    • Helovesme

      Finding Answers, thanks for that kind reply.

    • Helovesme

      Back to KofA:

      “I could not even identify my own values and the few times I attempted to declare them I got viciously verbally attacked.”

      I should have attached that to my response about the balls being hurled at me. When you DO try to fight back, it usually becomes so much worse.

      Nothing enrages an abuser more than daring to challenge them.

      “When I was growing up I would take note of what garnered affection, approval, being liked or wanted and try to emulate those elements.”

      Your home or environment is all about survival. So imagine a hiker who has to adapt to a difficult environment. He or she would look for and mark the best sources of water, the safest places to bed down, and what food is likely to sustain them. But you are never completely at rest. Someone or something might jump at you unexpectedly. So your reflexes have to be [in] as [good a] shape as possible.

      “It seemed as if when God was handing out favor and place, others got in the lineup but there was no place for me other than to hold the door for everyone else.”

      It’s rare for me to read and connect with someone as strongly as I am with you. I too became fully aware that I was not wanted. I am the middle child. I have an older sister and a younger brother. I got the strong impression that my parents wanted a boy, but got me instead. But the third try was the charm—but I was the superfluous one. I had neither the privilege of being born first, or being the youngest and a male.

      I tried to kill myself when I was 18. Since that time, I’ve been treated by various people in various ways over the last 2 decades—-that make me think that they wished it had worked. It is an incredibly hard and difficult burden to face and deal with.

      However, God’s not interested in what they think. If I am here, which I am (last I checked!), He has a plan for me, and for my life.

      However, on the flip side—how do you respond to that sort of attitude: I wish you did not exist? I wish you had never existed. I wish you would go away and never come back.

      “if I was being hurt. It would matter if it were someone else but not if it was me.”

      This reflects much of the “seared consciences” I saw around me, not to mention my own. People could go around sticking knives into your front or back without batting an eye, but they would scream bloody murder if they experienced something as minor as a paper cut.

      So I tried to sear my own conscience in order to endure those knives. But I was not allowed to have a weapon of my own. Those in power were entitled to weaponize anything and everything as they saw fit, but I had no such leverage.

      Love the phrase “patchwork personality” by the way. But I was never invited to the ball. 🙂 I couldn’t pull it together enough to get past the door!

      Oh, dear what you described about your looks and clothing again rings 100% with me. What you described is 100% of what I experienced. I was considered ugly for a large part of my life, fueling the idea that not only should you never have existed, you’re too ugly to be allowed to live. No one likes or loves ugly people, inside AND out (as you mentioned; you were seen as no prettier on the inside than on the outside).

      (to be continued in another comment).

      • Kind of Anonymous

        Hi HeLovesMe, It’s a privilege to hear that my descriptions resonate in a way that is helpful! I just got back home after being away for a day or two so I’ve been a bit out of the conversation. But I am thinking about your question about dealing with being unwanted.

        My mom would often tell us of the wonderful life she could have had, were she not raising us. Major martyrdom. She did things that were so disrespectful and downright dysfunctional to me at times that others had a hard time believing it and instead castigated me for telling of it. And of course I suffered abuse, abandonment and rejection from my father as well. Both parents were sick and abusive that way. I felt very much ugly and very unwanted and invisible, just as I thought I was supposed to be.

        The whole story of what I experienced that began to counter this evil would be long to tell here. But one thing that helped for me was finding something more authoritative than how I felt. And realizing that as much as this was human sin against me, that from early childhood I had been experiencing the voice of the evil one speaking to me through these things, sowing lies into my mind and heart before I even had an idea that there was a God a devil and a spiritual realm. I realized that Jesus paid not only for sins done BY me but also for sins done AGAINST me.

        That was a starting point for me, as before my attempts at faith never seemed able to gain traction. I looked to my feelings to prove to me that God was real and He loved me and I hated it when people would talk of believing God’s word as if my feelings didn’t matter. I didn’t believe much of anything or anyone. My feelings were based on messed up stuff however so one day I somehow had the grace to believe a portion of God’s word over and above these awful feelings. That was the first time I experienced what I had only heard about in church. And the first time I experienced love that made it from the outside to the inside. Prior to this nothing ever touched that dark, deep crack running down the center of my being that was always bleeding and never stopped.

        Of course after a lifetime of abuse engendered lies this didn’t mean all was now wonderful and the battle over. It had only begun in earnest as warfare began over a colossal stronghold in my life. But I got a taste of how God meant it to be, what the universe looked like when in proper order and with Jesus at the center. I realized that there is no such thing as real identity outside of Jesus. He holds our blueprints and only He knows who He made us to be. Others can offer valid observations or unkind lies but only He truly knows what He made. That’s just a snapshot of what began to shift that awful dark mountain towering over my life. I hope it is not trite or pat. It took years to get to the point where I would even attempt to truly trust God.

        But responding to their message I wish you didn’t exist etc. Hmm, Not a one size fits all answer. But I did realize that it didn’t mean something was wrong with me. It was that something was wrong with THEM, in THEM, quite the opposite of what I had believed all my life and what they projected to me. My mom said to me once that I was a demanding child. She said it as if I was abnormal and a problem. But actually, her ability to pay attention was what was deficient.

        My need for a mother was not abnormal. She was too needy and too stuck in her development from years of abuse in early childhood to be able to nurture a child properly though she did some things right. Her own PTSD from the abuse and from being married to a wife beater further shut down her ability to be a cheerful focused mother. Her own mother had issues with her womanhood and ran the house like a military hospital. She did not like womanly things very much and she was not nurturing and affirming as much as she was functionally caring.

        Not sure if what you mean by “how do you respond” is “what do you say to them” or “what do you tell yourself in response”. Off the top of my head, I would say that when someone tries to make another human being feel as if they have no value and no one wants them, that person is speaking the devil’s words, and reflecting his or her own sadly impoverished spiritual state; a sick soul. That person is, in fact, agreeing with satan.

        One person I knew would say in response to sinful speech of that nature “I rebuke that in Jesus’s name, or I reject that in Jesus name” and then openly declare what God’s word said in its place. Needless to say whoever was trying that with him didn’t keep it up very long. I have to laugh at his “I don’t care what you think” boldness! Right on. I think that when someone insists on throwing words around like firebrands, they are in fact fitting the scriptural definition of the fool. Our only defense against lies is truth and Christ’s love for us. Positive feelings don’t last if they aren’t anchored in truth.

        It is a privilege to be able to enjoy relating to one another so much. I hope I haven’t said stuff that sounds trite but is helpful. I know this dark mountain all too well and how hard it is to overcome it. I have only responded to a portion of what you wrote but will think on the rest some more, as my post is getting long. I am glad you are still here 🙂 Hugs to you, fellow soldier.

  14. James

    Thank you Barb, Finding Answers, Kind of Anonymous, Artina and Helovesme for your comments and insights.

    Unfortunately I have not left myself time this morning to reply properly as I have to dash out. I will reply when I can.

    Thank you all again
    James

  15. Finding Answers

    Excerpts from Kind Of Anonymous’ comment (7TH JUNE 2019 – 10:24 AM)

    “…That mirror analogy is such a good description of what it’s like to grow up in a profoundly abusive and unhealthy home or environment and what it does to you…..”

    ^That.

    “….It all becomes the same in the end, their personality wipes out ours…..”

    ^That.

    “…..the results showed that the person had a completely obliterated personality…..”

    ^That.

    “….. You have no right to be here…..”

    ^That.

    “……..It was ME and so why should it matter if I was being hurt. It would matter if it were someone else but not if it was me……..”

    ^That.

    “…….the conclusion that I was irredeemably bad, evil and responsible for causing people I loved to be harmed…….”

    ^That.

    “…….directly speaking to me that I was the cause of the problem, and was making everyone miserable, and that if I didn’t exist, things would be better for everyone…….”

    ^That.

    “…..I had to disappear……”

    ^That.

    “…….but somehow when the ability was mine it wasn’t good enough, didn’t count or couldn’t stack up to so and so’s gift who was so much better than me in that area. I stayed down and flattened, the few efforts I made to stand on my own and be myself, take initiative or protect what was mine crushed aborning.”

    ^That.

    “Thinking of personal invisibility, despite denial in my family, pictures of everyone were displayed but seldom of me…….”

    ^That.

    “……And the things we do to try and fix that problem only seem to widen destructive ripples. It’s a lie but one etched in pain and trauma that is hard to erase. Something must be more real and more true than the evil. You spoke the truth spot on, about existing to reflect our creator and finding rest in that. There is no rest in a harsh taskmaster who won’t let his captives go home. These things attack identity, value and the one true Source of those things.”

    ^That.

    “……life giving words…..”

    ^That.

    “…..our relationship to Christ……”

    ^That.

    The Holy Spirit shattered the distorting mirrors when my walls crumbled less than two years ago, and has been leading me through “The House of Mirrors” (aka memories) to identify the evil underneath all the pain and trauma (aka C-PTSD).

    The distorting mirrors reflect back what all my abusers wanted me to see, not the God-given truth of the me He created.

    Helovesme commented (7TH JUNE 2019 – 11:42 AM) “There is nothing more joy inducing that knowing that even though you are broken, He is holding you together. Holding you still, holding you near. Truly, truly there is none like Him. None more glorious, none more worthy of our praises.”

    ^That.

  16. Helovesme

    KofA I am sorry for giving you a lot to read, if you are even able to time wise, and of course to Barb and Reaching Out.

    But I have to say how uplifting but also saddening to realize how closely linked our experiences have been.

    “”It is most definitely spiritual warfare.”

    Absolutely. We don’t fight flesh and blood. It is the crazy philosophies and doctrines that we are up against. What gives others the right to call us ugly? To demean and devalue us? To blame us for merely existing; for being born? For insisting that we are the ultimate source of suffering for those that were already unhappy before we ever came along? To call us names and treat us with such contempt?

    “There is no rest in a harsh taskmaster who won’t let his captives go home.”

    In Greek mythology, they brought up entities called the Furies. They would relentlessly pursue their victims, never leaving them be. Always chasing them. Always looking for ways to hurt them. That was much of my experience with the bullying at school and at home.

    “he had violated their rules somehow by treating me like I counted. I almost cried at this touch of value”

    I didn’t know then (and still don’t) how to react if I was ever treated with value. I had no idea if they were making fun of me, or trying to make a joke at my expense. So I had no idea how to experience anything that may or may not have reflected a sincere effort towards me.

    Worse yet, that made me extremely exploitable. A person could easily disguise evil intent simply by putting on a false front of giving me positive attention. It’s not hard to see how desperate and empty I was—-starved for even a bread crumb thrown my way.

    My angel fur baby was a foodie in no uncertain terms. The prospect of even one french fry or a potato chip (he loved carbs!) would cause him to sit, lie down and roll over even BEFORE I asked him to do anything. And truly, he didn’t need to do all that for a small piece of food, but the mere possibility of a yum yum took over.

    I too would likely go above and beyond in response, so people did not have to do or say much to win me over. And then they could loop the leash over my neck and start leading me around to do or be whatever they wanted, whatever they needed me to be.

    I’m going to state the obvious for the mere reason that it’s NOT always obvious to people like me:

    Anyone who asks, demands or expects you to constantly shift, adjust, bend over or backwards, strike all sorts of different poses at their discretion, all the while you never dare to complain or protest:

    In order for you to be minimally accepted, barely loved and at best—-grudgingly tolerated:

    Is not worthy of YOUR time, efforts and attention. They aren’t worth it.

    In case there is any misunderstanding, I don’t mean that these people are beneath you. This isn’t about putting them down. This is about lifting YOU up.

    I know that you might think: but if I let them go, I won’t have anything. Right now I have something, even though it’s bringing me down, but it’s better than nothing, right? A cold, dark and empty void is unbearable to consider, much less experience.

    I won’t argue with you, because if and when you let them go, it has to be your choice, your decision and done ONLY in the strength of the Lord. Because you’re right in a way—that void is going to hurt like crazy. You might consider and reconsider going back to them, over and over again—because the void is just that—-a void. It demands to be filled.

    It is impossible to bear that void apart from Him. He will hold you and He will help you. And He will fill that void with everything that it is. But I won’t dumb it down. It does hurt. It is hard.

    But as James and KoA have alluded to: there is rest in Him when that mirror is cleared up and cleaned up of all those dark, invisible spiritual forces that plagued you before. You are engaging in spiritual warfare in getting rid of what does not belong in that mirror. It’s okay to admit you have picked up some bumps and bruises as you fought the good fight (as the Bible asks us to do).

    Fight the good fight. Some of the best words of wisdom from the Word.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme commented “In Greek mythology, they brought up entities called the Furies. They would relentlessly pursue their victims, never leaving them be. Always chasing them. Always looking for ways to hurt them. That was much of my experience with the bullying at school and at home.”

      ^That.

      The words for the pictures in my mind always came too late (Omitting details for my protection.), and no one knew I cannot lie. I could tell the truth and be punished for being a “tattletale” / “gossip”, or I could choose to remain silent and save my life.

      Needless to say, I chose silence.

      Helovesme also commented “I didn’t know then (and still don’t) how to react if I was ever treated with value.”

      ^That.

      Helovesme also commented “It is impossible to bear that void apart from Him. He will hold you and He will help you. And He will fill that void with everything that it is. But I won’t dumb it down. It does hurt. It is hard.”

      ^That. (Omitting details to protect myself from re-entering MASSIVE catatonic state and dizziness memories.)

      Helovesme also commented “Fight the good fight. Some of the best words of wisdom from the Word.”

      ^That.

  17. Helovesme

    So well said, James:

    “Boundaries separate. The more awareness, the more separation. The separation scares some people and they opt for belonging at the cost of their peace….Others rebel, lashing out and causing more harm.”

    I’ve done both. Please, hear me when I say that both or either or some combination of the two are not right, not healthy, and most importantly—not Biblical.

    “Eventually they turn away from the distractions and values of the world and turn inwards to find God waiting for them.”

    Absolutely. I would just insert a slight but significant addition—-He sought you first; before you were even born—-this is part of the enormous beauty and blessing of the Gospel.

    I’ll say it again—-He came looking for you first. He loved you first. He reached out to you first. He not only initiated that connection, He also made having a relationship with Him possible. He paved the path, prepared the way, and as we all know—He IS the way.

    I was asked once how I found Him. My answer was simple: I didn’t find Him; He found me first.

    Ironically, a child of His might experience feeling lost, even though you are technically “found” in Him.

    But a broken child of His is still His child. That is where our hope lies—who we are in Him, not merely the current state of our condition.

    • Thank you for adding that ‘slight but significant addition’, Helovesme.

      I know what you added is True: true because it’s what the Bible teaches, and true because it fits with my experience.

      I did not seek Jesus Christ. I sought ‘spiritual truth’ but I was seeking down all sorts of other tracks (New Age, Eastern religions, the occult), and I had firmly made up my mind that Christianity was a load of codswallop — thanks in no small measure to the hypocritical behaviour of the teachers and Principal at Presbyterian Ladies College where I did my secondary education until year 11 when the Principal asked me to leave and told me that if I didn’t leave they would expel me.

      (Sorry for that long run-on sentence!)

      So when Jesus revealed Himself to me in my twenties, I was stunned, amazed… it was the last thing I was looking for but I knew He was real and that He was alive and He loved me.

      Years later, when I got into studying the Bible, when I read the passages about election I had no trouble believing they were true.

      • Finding Answers

        Barb commented “……true because it fits with my experience.”

        ^That.

        And in a coma at six months old, if He hadn’t chosen me I would be dead.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you for sharing that, Barb. And I do understand how you can be searching, seeking for inspiration or enlightenment or spirituality—-and (for me) I got nowhere. Then the Lord stepped in and moved in His mysterious ways on my heart.

        I too was searching before the Lord got a hold of me. I messed around with something called “objectivism” when I got to college. This is Ayn Rand’s philosophy.

        The biggest turn-off about the Lord turned out to be the biggest turn-on (I do not mean to use that phrase sexually). Spiritually, it turned on a light switch in me.

        The Lord commands that we be born again in Him in order to be saved by Him. That is intense. That is heavy. That is huge.

        My life as I knew it needed to be “reckoned as dead” in order to be made alive in Him.

        That caused me to resist Him even more, but at the same time it drew me to Him. I was starting to understand that it was exactly what I needed to hear, and it needed to be done.

        It is fair to ask what my life would have been like had the Lord NOT drawn me to Him, or if I decided to resist Him for good and walked away, determined to figure it all out on my own, apart from Him.

        My life in Him has, in many ways, been much harder than my life had been before I met Him. It has not been a “bouncing along the pretty path,” holding hands with the Lord as we we hopped and skipped and kicked up our heels. Prancing, dancing—feeling frisky and fabulous and loving life to the fullest.

        My conclusion, even now, is this: good riddance to that old life. It wasn’t worth holding onto, and no matter what transpired or transpires since then—it needed to die. It needed to be reckoned as dead. It was a life that was no life at all.

        There are areas in which I would not want my life any other way, and other ways it has been much harder than I’d ever dreamed it would be.

        The thread of hope is this: if the Lord was not with me through everything, I would rather be dead—literally. Trying to face the trials of life as a spiritually dead person was hell, and would be—-because Hell is (simply put)—-being apart from His presence. Apart from everything you need. Apart from everything that matters.

        Apart from everything that makes you whole, even as you feel like you are falling apart; crumbing away, slowly disintegrating.

        Reckon that old life as spiritually dead. Embrace life in Him that is not at all easy, but far far preferable than continuing to live in spiritual death.

  18. Finding Answers

    James commented (6TH JUNE 2019 – 8:44 PM) “……A child also experiences this worst of emotions when they are sexually assaulted and I submit that the same applies to a child when they are physically assaulted by a parent or trusted one.”

    ^That.

    James also commented “…..When we experience betrayal, we experience our world view shifting underneath our feet…..”

    ^That.

    James also commented “In this state of extreme confusion, we start to wonder about everything else we think we understand about the world around us. What else have we not understood?”

    ^That.

    James also commented “This is yet another level of betrayal and we are supposed to carry on as before as if nothing, or nothing of great importance, has happened…..”

    ^That.

    Helovesme commented (7TH JUNE 2019 – 11:18 AM) “At the end, when all was revealed, he said to the woman’s father: now I know what’s worse than rape. Betrayal.”

    ^That.

    And when the rape is BY the woman’s “father”, the betrayal is complete.

    And when the rape is by the woman’s siblings, the betrayal is complete.

    Any rape after that ceases to feel like rape.

    Kind Of Anonymous commented (5TH JUNE 2019 – 10:33 AM) “……a deep heart excavation that could heal….”

    ^That.

    James commented (7TH JUNE 2019 – 12:48 AM) “…….A Being that cannot be seen but only felt…….”

    ^That.

    AND He sees my heart.

    • Helovesme

      I’m so sorry Finding Answers. What you’ve described is unspeakable, not to mention intensely heartbreaking.

  19. Finding Answers

    I commented (6TH JUNE 2019 – 11:32 PM) “What I don’t understand is “Why?” I don’t have ANY picture of me in my mind.”

    At one time, I THOUGHT I had part of a picture of me in my mind. But those parts came from my paper friends, the books I was led by the Holy Spirit to give away / throw out not long before my walls crumbled.

    And I STILL grieve and weep and hurt over the loss of my paper friends, dearer than any pet. My paper friends stayed with / by me from the time they were born with the publisher’s ink. And I never had time to mourn – who would believe how intensely I feel the loss of my paper friends?

    In a way, I have lost a part of myself, a part of the picture in my mind. I lost cherished descriptions for the pictures in my mind that ARE me.

    I no longer have the words to know who I am.

  20. Princesa

    Last year, I helped a friend move away from a long-term, abusive relationship. This morning, when we were exchanging messages, she said, “Giving in to self-pity is worse than anything else.” That just seemed wrong to me, as if she were saying, “I shouldn’t feel bad about being treated badly.”

    I suggested that, instead of “self-pity,” a loaded term, she think in terms of “self-compassion,” recognizing that it’s normal to feel hurt if you’re treated badly, and your pain deserves some care, at least from you!

    In Spanish, when we say “piedad” – “pity” – it means “merciful love” or “compassion. “Senor, ten piedad de nosotros,” “Lord, have mercy on us.” Or it means the duty of care each of us owes to others … just being a decent person when others are weaker or vulnerable. We’re all allowed to show some merciful love to ourselves!

    Is it possible to go overboard with this? Sure, if prevents you from acting in your own interest. Suppose a person lost everything to a tornado. Wouldn’t everyone understand if that person cried, if that person felt really sad, if the person felt sorry for himself and expected others would as well? Of course. However, if the person stopped there and didn’t move on to, “What can I do to start making things better?” that could be described as dysfunctional “self-pity.”

  21. Helovesme

    Replying to: Kind Of Anonymous
    9TH JUNE 2019 – 10:03 PM

    Thanks so much for the kind words and profound thoughts. No, you weren’t at all trite or trivial in your response. You brought up tons of on-point perceptions that again resonated with me.

    Barb has posted about suicide prevention, so I’ve tried to express my feelings about being unloved and unwanted, which of course can lead to wanting to die. Or at least not wanting to live if this what I had to deal with. If something didn’t give, then I would give in and give up.

    “I realized that Jesus paid not only for sins done BY me but also for sins done AGAINST me.”

    Yes, this was profound for me, too. That wasn’t fully explained to me when I became born again, so I experienced years of confusion about it. Then I experienced real joy that the Lord was more than able and willing to help me sort out which were my personal sins (requiring me to repent), and which were the personal sins of others against me (NOT requiring me to repent).

    The solution was the same for both cases: bring all those burdens to the foot of the cross. His blood will take away your personal sins (and heal you from them), and His blood will heal you of the sins from others (and enable you to forgive them as well).

    Pretty much right away after my conversion, the “feeling” versus “faith” factor was prominent. Regardless of how you feel, God loves you (and so on). That both cheered AND annoyed me! Nice to know I’m loved, but not so nice if you don’t feel loved. I had to get to the place that you spoke of: if He said He loves you, He means it. If you belong to Him, you do. Your feelings may not register with that, but your faith can.

    As much as I understand the ideas of “I can’t believe He loves me so I won’t. Or, “I hate myself so He must hate me, too” those are lies. That is playing right into the devil’s hands. At some point, you decide to believe Him because He doesn’t lie. At some point, you refuse to believe the devil, because all he does is lie. One is 100% trustworthy. The other is 0% trustworthy.

    And you cannot trust them both at the same time. It’s one or the other. Either you are intending to go “all in” with the Lord (which means being “all out” from the devil), or the opposite will happen.

    And I did like how you pointed out who says things that agree with the devil—call it out and call it as it is. Doesn’t matter WHO it is. If they are speaking lies, they are speaking his language. Since Peter did just that, without meaning to when he tried to rebuke the Lord—we know that not everyone is an agent of evil. They just have in mind the “things of man, not of the Lord.”

    But still, call it out. The Lord cares about intention (Peter really thought he was helping), but it had to be rebuked. If He did not go to the cross, we would not have life in Him. So it was imperative to realize and rebuke—-and remind Peter that the mind of God is NOT the same thing as the mind of man.

    I actually endorse what might be labeled as “sassy.” The “I don’t care what you think because it doesn’t line up with the Lord” attitude may come off as brazen, but I consider that to be bold and brave to stand firm in Him.

  22. Kind of Anonymous

    Hi HeLovesMe, glad I didn’t come off as trite, that’s a relief. I hear you regarding the faith vs. feelings thing, it ticked me off too when people would say it because I’d think, “well, that is wonderful but when do I get to feel loved?” No one can live forever without feelings lining up with reality at some point and it’s a problem when our feelings are saying the opposite of truth. If it didn’t feel so real and actually advertised itself as a lie attempting to look like truth, it would hardly be problematic to deal with. But our feelings trumpet themselves as “THIS IS REALITY, if it were not truth why then do you feel this way?” I’ve actually experienced being terrorized, bullied and pushed around by feelings and thoughts that kept insisting they were truth and reality no matter what. OCD perhaps? Don’t know for sure but torment would be a great word for it.

    I like the sassy idea too. It’s true. There are times when we have to go with what we know to be true or right no matter what someone else thinks. Esp. when we realize that satan is speaking through someone else’s mouth or someone is trying to bind us with wrong stuff. Otherwise we can find ourselves tolerating something passively that just grows on us.

  23. Finding Answers

    Helovesme commented (13TH JUNE 2019 – 6:33 PM) “……I’m too afraid that someone will try to use that info to start messing with my head (or just add onto what is already going on).”

    ^That. For example, part of the difficulty I had with identifying the hearing-smell overlap for gaslighting was because some abusers who called me “crazy” (etc.) smoked cigarettes or there were cigarette smokers in the vicinity. (I never smoked anything because I can’t stand the smell.)

    Artina commented (13TH JUNE 2019 – 5:59 PM) “When is a table not a table?….” and re-quoted James’ comment “……“when experience trumps instruction”, “when it is seen for what it really is.””

    ^That.

    Once my hyper-vigilance decreased AND I was no longer surrounded by cigarette smoke, I began to question why I smelled cigarette smoke when there was no identifiable source.

    Helovesme also commented “It’s actually more like the stench of death (to me)…..”

    And the stench of death is certainly more indicative of the verbal murder caused by gaslighting.

    • Helovesme

      “And the stench of death is certainly more indicative of the verbal murder caused by gaslighting.”

      Brilliant! Well said.

Leave a Reply to Artina Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: