A Cry For Justice

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

Going from anger to calm in an instant – a Red Flag of an abuser/psychopath

Guest post by James

Many ‘ordinary’ people can go from calm to angry very quickly given the right circumstances.

But only those with personality disorders (psychopaths etc) can go from anger to calm in an instant. It is a huge ‘tell-tale’.

[Update — James has clarified this even more: Going from anger to charming in an instant is a marker of psychopathy or similar personality disorder. See this comment by James.]

These people are life-time actors. They adopt roles to suit their circumstances and needs. And they know what they are doing yet will never admit it. It can do your head in. For anyone who hasn’t dealt with someone with a narcissistic or psychopathic disorder, I will try and give a verbal demonstration [an analogy / illustration].

The Actor’s deception

Imagine you are a fan of a certain TV actor in an ongoing soap opera. This actor is not very well known but you appreciate their talent. One day a friend says to you that they know this actor and can arrange a meeting if you like. You say ‘yes, of course’.

So you turn up for coffee at the pre-arranged time and place and sit down with this actor and are looking forward to talking about their role and how they approach it. But you find the actor is in character and will not come out of it to talk to you as he/she is in everyday life. You find it amusing and entertaining at first. But after a while when the actor will not acknowledge what they are doing, it starts to get weird and a little annoying and you are starting to wonder if this meeting was a good idea.

You thank the actor for their entertaining performance and say that you really would like to talk to the real person as you have many questions to ask. The actor stares at you feigning disbelief and shock and says to you, “I don’t understand. Are you suggesting I have been lying to you? Are you feeling ok? I am starting to feel insulted”!

Then, by chance and before you can think of how on earth to respond, a friend drops in and comes over to your table. You are about to introduce the actor when the actor jumps in and introduces him/herself as the character they play and has been playing to you. You don’t say anything to your friend. Your friend, not recognising the actor and not realising what is going on, is charmed and delighted with your ‘friend’ and their conversation.

After a little while, the actor excuses him/herself (while still in character) and leaves. Your friend tells you what a delightful person the actor was – still unaware that the actor was not being his/her true self. You try to explain, but your friend does not ‘get it’ and as you persist, your friend starts to look at you strangely and asks if you are ok. The actor was a perfectly fine person to them!

Your head is well and truly ‘done in’ by now and you are starting to sound and feel crazy even to yourself while trying to make sense of it all to your friend and to yourself.

That is what it is like dealing with personality disordered people and how you end up sounding crazy to others when you try to explain what is going on for you. And feeling crazy yourself by now.

These nasty people adopt roles and will not admit what they are doing even though they know that you know what they are doing. They persist because they know it is disorienting and distressing for you. Later they may drop the role and you may think you are dealing with the ‘real’ person now. But you aren’t. It is just another role. There is no ‘real person’ in there. Every encounter is with another acting role.

With personality disordered people [e.g. psychopaths] there is no true person there, no genuine empathy.

There is no genuine feeling there. They are just mimicking what they have seen others do. They are actors and very good ones. They study people to copy them when they need to.

People, and I have not been an exception, keep dealing with these psychopaths, narcissists etc thinking that they will get down to the real person. They keep trying to ‘connect’ with them but they are just getting conned again and again by another role, another act, because there is no real person under all the lies and manipulations.

There is no humanity there. No empathy, no compassion and no understanding or sympathy despite what they may say and despite how they may behave for the time being. They are consumed with meeting their needs now and nothing else.

Persisting in looking for, or appealing to, the ‘real person’ is a waste of time and will just do your head in. Expecting them to show sympathy towards you after they have abused you makes as much sense to them as you showing sympathy towards the tea cup you just dropped and broke.

Your feelings after you have broken your favourite tea cup are reserved for you and not the tea cup. It’s the same with these people. You’re a tea cup!

***

The text of this guest post was originally a comment made by James. Barb Roberts, the leader of this website, is grateful to James for giving permission for his comment to be featured as a guest post. The text has been slightly modified and added to, with James’s permission and contribution.

Additional note from Barb

It was Dr George Simon Jr’s writings which first gave me clear understanding that abusers pretend they have no insight into the fact that they treating you with disrespect. They pretend they don’t know they are abusive.

George Simon says that abusers (malignant narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, etc.) know full well that they are hurting others. They know…and they don’t care. When confronted about the way they mistreat you, they use a whole array of “responsibility resistance” tactics. One of their first tactics when confronted is to pretend they do not know they are abusing you.

Further reading

AbusedHusband’s comment about his “wife’s” ability to turn the abuse on and off, and the situations she chose to do so.

Barbara Roberts’ comment about how abusers use “Demonstration Anger” — and how they can turn their demonstration anger on and off at will.

78 Comments

  1. Finding Answers

    From the original post “….end up sounding crazy to others when you try to explain what is going on for you…..”

    ^That often applies to me, especially when I am searching for the words to communicate in a way another individual will understand me.

    From the original post “Many ‘ordinary’ people can go from calm to angry very quickly given the right circumstances.”

    ^That sometimes applies to me when I am (intentionally or unintentionally) pushed to an Asperger “melt-down”.

    From the original post “…..can go from anger to calm in an instant…..”

    ^That sometimes applies to me when another individual attempts to control (in any fashion) my unique-to-me style of communication.

    From the original post “…..end up sounding crazy to others when you try to explain what is going on for you….”

    ^That (intentionally repeated from my first citation) often applies to me when individuals who attempt to control (in any fashion) my communication style don’t understand how God created me.

    For those who may be new readers to the ACFJ blog:

    I am a Christian high-functioning Asperger’s woman who thinks in pictures.

    I have C-PTSD as a consequence of a lifetime of abuse, including extreme abuse from the day I was born.

    My unique-to-me communication style is different from many other individuals, yet discerning the difference between me and other individuals can be difficult.

    The (Triune) God knows my mind and my heart.

    • I tweeted this today:

      Sometimes folks who have suffered terrifying abuse go from anger to calm in an instant — they shut down to protect themselves from imminent danger.

      Abusers who go from anger to calm in an instant do that to
      1. recruit allies
      2. confuse their victims — the targets of their abuse.

      • Helovesme

        That was amazing, Barb. I like how you can condense a lot into a “tweet” sized insight. That is not easy to do.

        If any of us took a class on how to respond to an emergency, I would think that one of the strongest mandates would be to: stay calm.

        It’s important to stay calm for so many reasons in a sudden and/or chaotic situation. Getting “worked up” (angry, panicky) will likely make things worse, or certainly hinder the ability for things to get better. It’s hard to think straight, to think clearly otherwise.

        So it very much resonated with me to “shut down to protect themselves from imminent danger.”

        However I’m not sure if I “shut down” or “froze up” in such situations. But the end goal was the same: self-preservation.

        The end goal or goals for abusers (as you pointed out) are far different than for victims, even though they are both diffusing their anger. Sometimes an abuser’s diffusion of anger is most frightening, because it’s like a light switch. Emotional surges, from one end of the spectrum to another, happen so easily and so quickly—-you never know what to expect. The anxiety one lives with is unspeakable.

        Confusion for the victims, yes. As James talked about in the post: “Persisting in looking for, or appealing to, the ‘real person’ is a waste of time and will just do your head in.”

        James also mentioned such persons with these disorders: “They study people to copy them when they need to.”

        That is what caused me, personally, a LOT of confusion. I would study those who targeted me in order to dodge what I deemed to be thoroughly confusing: what is their strategy here, and how I can plan my own strategy to outmaneuver them? So it’s interesting that victims are studied in order to cause them pain and suffering. As a victim, I would study them in order to dodge any MORE pain and suffering.

        How abusers can and do recruit allies has always and still fascinates me. Sometimes I had the strongest hunch that those that sided with the real deal guilty party (and not the victim), knew exactly (or had enough information) what was going on—-even firsthand visible or audible knowledge. It would take too long to dive into all the reasons why this is so, but the conclusion is the same: the kingdom of darkness not only truly exists, its power is still alive and kicking. We can see its doings all around us.

        One of the most beautiful aspects about the Lord is His unchanging nature. He is always the same: yesterday, today and forevermore. You can count on it, depend on it, lean on that surefire stability—knowing the rug will never be pulled out from under you.

        This is perhaps one of the most comforting, NON-confusing blessings in belonging to His kingdom: there is true rest in Him there.

    • James

      Hi Finding Answers
      Thanks for commenting and making this point below –
      You wrote,
      From the original post “…..can go from anger to calm in an instant…..”

      ^That sometimes applies to me when another individual attempts to control (in any fashion) my unique-to-me style of communication.

      Thinking more about this, together with Barb’s comment I would have been better off saying, “Going from anger to charming in an instant” is a marker of psychopathy or similar personality disorder.

      The word “calm” in what I wrote can be ambiguous. “Going from anger to calm in an instant” can mean going from anger to shutting down in an instant which is not what I had in mind.

      • Finding Answers

        James,

        To provide some specific-to-me clarification to your comment (9TH MARCH 2020 – 8:35 PM):

        For me, going from ANY emotion to an instantaneous / near-instantaneous and complete / near-complete shut down is unintentional, and almost always unexpected. This shutting down can include my ability to communicate in ANY fashion, including intelligible speech.

        For me, shutting down is not usually a conscious effort to protect myself.

      • When reading your comments Finding Answers, I often learn more about what it is like to be you — I appreciate that because it stretches me.

      • James

        Thanks Finding Answers, I understand.

      • “Going from anger to charming in an instant is a marker of psychopathy or similar personality disorder.”

        Thank you James. You nailed it!

      • Helovesme

        That was a wonderful clarification, James—thank you!

        I still think a measure of “calm” can be included in your analysis, although adding more context was very helpful. I see what you mean about the differences in calm versus charming, however.

        I recall a terrible incident in America, years ago, about a mom that murdered her kids. In telling her story, it was revealed that people thought she had a very sunny personality—in fact, she was known for it and had such a nickname attached to her. She wouldn’t be labeled as “calm,” but “charming” would be a better fit.

        I don’t know if she ended up being diagnosed with a disorder. I do believe it was revealed that her life was anything but sunny. My guess is that she turned on the sunniness in public in order to effectively hide her private sufferings.

        I’ve had people compliment me in various ways that don’t reflect who I really am or what I’m really going through. I have struggled with feeling like I’m “putting on an act” because I hide a lot of my true feelings. The reasons for that are two fold: first of all, they are private and that is where they should remain. The other reason is because I’ve noticed no one seems to be really interested in seeing me as I really am. Stay sunny, or stay away. We aren’t interested in your “storms.” When the storm passes and the sun comes back out, then we’ll welcome you with open arms.

        This is what you would call: fair weather friendships or relationships, right?

        I had the honor of hearing from a non-Christian but very kind person who actually understood why it’s so hard to talk about what you’re really going through There’s an element of judgment when we try to open up, so we “censor” ourselves as a result.

        Ironically, I DO think my public and private personas are authentic—they aren’t working together at the same time, though. Sometimes while in public, I get triggered and it’s hard to maintain a measure of calm, or composure. I also lean on the protective side. It’s very hard to let anyone see me cry, because that’s somewhat humiliating to me, but also I don’t want anyone to see me like that.

        Ironically again, these things are not meant to confuse anyone (Barb talked about the abuser that “switches” on and off in a flash), but they DO indicate a lot of confusion that is going on within me.

        My abuser terrified me because he got angry so quickly. He barely needed a reason, or a motive, or a trigger, even. It was beyond comprehension. I wished he would have cared about me enough to not want me to see him like that. It wasn’t humiliating to him to be seen in such an unstable way, versus myself—who would rather keep that away from others—they shouldn’t be punished for what they are not responsible for.

        He could hide his anger in public but not always. He could appear very menacing. But when he wasn’t like that, I still saw him as primarily menacing, so I would treat him like that, even though others saw him as anything but. It made me look like a horrible person.

        Dealing with trauma is traumatic in of itself, especially in trying to have relationships. I have to work really hard to openly communicate about what I’m going through, but also not take anything out on anyone. Trauma is usually the result of unstable persons inflicting themselves on you, and then that has a way of creating instability in the aftermath. For me, it is one of the most frustrating aspects—I’m inflicted with a kind of “sickness” that I did not consent to, yet it was not something I could stop.

        Watching such persons be seen as cute or funny or charming by others is another angering aspect. As James said: “you end up sounding crazy to others when you try to explain what is going on for you. And feeling crazy yourself by now.”

  2. Helovesme

    I hope it’s okay to comment as I read your post section by section. I found it to be a little easier that way (to keep track of my thoughts) rather than trying to save it all up until the end.

    I loved the “actor” description and then the fictional scenario. I’m going to be very careful to not be an “armchair” psychologist (diagnosing this or that person I’ve dealt with as having a “disorder.”) I’m not qualified, but I can relate to the frustration described.

    (I realize you spoke of those with “personality disorders,” not using the word “abusers,” who may or may not have such a disorder. I wanted to make that disclaimer as I speak of abusers in reaction to your post. I’m splitting hairs, but I want to stay on the straight and narrow.)

    I think of abusers as having gold medals in the Olympic sport of “deception.” Think of the extreme, long term discipline and determination that athletes go through to reach Olympic worthy standards. And the expense: training, coaching and constant sacrifice. Competition is the name of the game, so it starts when they are very young.

    Not every athlete has what it takes to reach Olympic competition standards. Even if you are dedicated to your sport, you may not or may not have what it takes.

    I’ll use the sport of running as an example. I run on a treadmill, but those that compete in the Olympics would run circles around me before I even took a step. They are way ahead of me and there is likely NO way I could catch up with them. They have years of experience, training and practicing that I don’t have. They know their sport inside and out in a way that I do not have.

    They really DO deserve the gold medals, because they are really good at what they do! But it’s a “sport” that should never be allowed to exist, AND no one should ever be rewarded for being good at it! And by no means should anyone “help” them by cheering them on in the stands, encouraging a “talent” that only hurts those around them, and worst of all—turn a blind eye to the true cost of their doings: you may think they are reaping rewards (power, fame, money) but in reality they are only reaping death (the wages of sin).

    Now, I’m not not trying to “participate” with them in the sport of lying. I am looking to catch them to stop them, not compete with them! This is how I have felt in trying to explain what I have seen and experienced. The persons I am trying to expose are way ahead of me. They have their set of “fans” in the bleachers, cheering them on, encouraging something “good,” that they should never be good at.

    Real life actors win awards, achieve fame and make a lot of money because they were so believable in the roles they were playing. It is meant to recognize how hard they worked to translate into “being” that person on film, stage or TV—-in a way that captures and convinces those that watch their performances.

    A lot of actors will claim that they are typecast or stereotyped and cannot find acting roles that don’t fit a certain image they are famous and well known for. However, for a real life deceiver, I think this plays into their scheming very well. They are treated as though they are the character they are most recognized for: say, a beloved pastor, a loving spouse, a dedicated Christian.

    “Every encounter is with another acting role.”

    Wanted to make sure I acknowledged that. It’s not all about being one dimensional. I think deceivers have a certain range of abilities, but as with actual actors—it is limited. Even the most talented of actors cannot play a certain role and be believable. There are actors who were rejected for certain roles despite being truly talented—-they just weren’t the best “fit” to play the part.

    The only role that a deceiver cannot play is his or her “real self” as James described it: “There is no ‘real person’ in there”

    On a much, much lower level, I’ll use myself as example. I was never a romantic interest for the opposite sex in my childhood or young adult years. I often wondered what I had to do in order to get noticed or seem attractive to them. How should I act? How should I look? How should I communicate to them so they’d get the message?

    The one thing that I never thought of that should have been my first and only thought: be genuine. Be authentic. Be a real person. I likely would have laughed at loud at that. Who the heck would find THAT to be attractive?

    When I became a believer as a young woman, I was shocked at the level of dishonesty I saw either unintentionally or capriciously encouraged by professing Christians. No, no one would every SAY to be fake or phony or insincere—but the fear based, flesh encouraged, legalistic mindset was very much alive. It should have died on the cross when one “reckons” your old self dead in becoming born again, but so often we carry it right into our new lives in Him—-where it does not belong. It was not all their fault; I came from a background that is very merit based, outward focused, so I was responsible as well.

    Deception came easy to me: pretending in to be someone I was not. It was not to hurt others; it was how I survived—I tried to play all sorts of different roles in order to hide the pain. Tried to hide behind many masks of my own making. However, I was and still am a terrible actor. So no one would suggest I was Oscar worthy, or Olympic-like talented. By the time the Lord started reaching out to me, I was getting tired of putting on all those acts, not to mention failing as well. The curtain was coming down on my stage performances!

    By the way, it’s never a happy thought, but I DO appreciate when sites like this remind us how hard it can be to spot an abuser. Even professionals at their best can be duped. That is not meant to discourage or defeat our efforts. It’s just a fair and sober minded warning.

    I can testify to the real deal difficulties of exposing reality for what it is. It has nothing to do with a so-called lack of intelligence, which I have constantly accused myself of. One has to seek and let the Holy Spirit do His work without quenching or suppressing Him. Leave as much room as possible for Him to work. That can be a slow, patient work, but it is a work worthy of the time it may take.

    John 14:17: “The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (NLT)

    Those that suppress His righteousness are in that sort of boat as well. It’s not that they cannot receive His truth, it is that they are not interested. They’re not looking for it and therefore cannot recognize it. What can be done with persons like that? Nothing. Let them keep running in their chosen “sport.” When they reach the finish line, the only end for them is eternal destruction.

    • James

      Hi Helovesme,
      I appreciate you making the distinction between “abusers” and those with “personality disorders”. I’m sure you are sticking closely to your experience and knowledge in doing so.

      I am not advocating anyone diagnose an abuser to someone else. Most victims have quite a lot of experience but little training to diagnose. Ironically, most psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors have varying amounts of training but little personal knowledge, in my experience. But you can’t make sense of your experience (for your own future safety) without some seeking of knowledge and some discernment (i.e. judgement) on your part.

      The behaviour I described in the post is particular to psychopaths and similarly disordered people. ALL these people will be abusers of one kind or another. A feature they share is a lack of conscience and empathy. Therefore, by definition, they always seek only their own interests, at the expense of others, despite what they might say.

      Conversely, all abusers may not be personality disordered people but it is wise to treat all snakes as poisonous until you know otherwise for certain.

      All of the above is simply to try and make some distinctions that were not in the post to try and make my meaning clear.

      I think you are being too hard on yourself, Helovesme, about being someone you were not when a child. You were trying to survive. That is primary.

      In addition to what you were doing to survive, there is the ‘social deceit’ that you aptly described which may or may not be harmful and then there is the ‘exploitative deceit’ which is always harmful. I was never taught these distinctions and neither has anyone I’ve ever talked to about this.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you for the kind words, James. I often ask and pray if I am being too hard on myself, or on others, because it’s hard to make those distinctions. Especially while still holding fast to the Word; for me personally my emotions can cloud the need to cling to sound and sober minded Scripture.

        And I do appreciate the distinction you made between social and exploitative deceit. That was an excellent way with words.

        From James’s comment: “it is wise to treat all snakes as poisonous until you know otherwise for certain.”

        I had read another blog post referencing Christ’s commandment to be harmless as doves, wise as serpents—to encourage Christians in approaching abuse and abusers. The snake aspect brought back some of my previous readings.

        I need to credit a Facebook friend who posted an interesting insight. She brought up Acts 28 where a shipwrecked Paul was making a fire among the islanders. What follows is a combination of her insights and mine.

        A snake was drawn to the heat and clamped onto his hand. The islanders thought he must be a murderer and therefore deserved it—he survived the sea wreck but could not escape eventual punishment.

        But Paul shook off the snake into the fire. They watched him for a long time, but nothing bad happened to him. Then they thought he was a god.

        The Bible says these islanders showed them “unusual kindness” when they swept onto their shores. Warm and welcoming. They were harmless, like doves perhaps?

        But they were not wise—that snake was drawn to the heat and targeted Paul as a source of that heat, not to inflict God-ordained punishment. He had not sinned, but once they realized that, they assumed he was a god. They went from demonizing to idolizing in a very short span of time. He wasn’t a criminal, but he wasn’t a god, either.

        My Facebook friend encouraged us to ask if something snake-like had struck us as with Paul. Was it still “stuck” on us, or have we shook it off? Were we told that we must have deserved it somehow? Paul shook off that snake with NO ill effects. Maybe whatever has struck us does not have to harm us, if we believe He is not aiming to harm us.

        Shake it off. Don’t let it poison you when there is none in it to deliver to you. You did nothing wrong, the abuser is the culprit, and you can “shake off” the shame and blame that you are “stuck” on and holding onto.

        The rest of this comment are my thoughts:

        That snake targeted Paul because of the warmth emanating from him. How many sincere, loving Christians are targeted by abusers to exploit their Biblical warmth? Yet, they are blamed for being lit from within by His light. They were harmless, and a practiced predator was drawn to them.

        Snakes are living creatures who DO thrive on warmth. It is nothing to condemn them for. But to strike Paul as it did was no way to receive that warmth. That is how abusers work. They may be “drawn” to a warm-hearted person, but they aren’t interested in imitating their example, not to mention respecting that warmth. They only want it all for themselves, and often such persons are reduced to a flickering flame as a result.

        Isaiah 42:3: “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.”

        THIS is the sort of harmless, yet full of wisdom verse that victims need to hear. Yes, you are down to a few embers. He knows you did no harm, and are a harmless dove. But be wise and wait in the grass as that snake did: He will build a fire, and draw you to it, and give you His warmth. Cling and clamp onto Him. He will NEVER shake you off!

        You’re not a predatory creature like an abuser/snake, looking to harm. You are cold and shivering, looking for warmth.

        Oh, and He WILL bring justice—you get the warmth of His love. Abusers will get the fire of His fury.

      • Here is another take on the snake and Paul. As far as I can tell, Acts 28:1-3 does not say the snake actually bit Paul.

        NMB And when they had escaped, then they learned that the island was called Malta. And the people of the island showed us no little kindness, for they kindled a fire, and took us in every one, because of the falling rain and because of the cold.
        And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them into the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, which leapt upon his hand.

        NKJ Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

        I picture it like this: Paul picked up the bundle of sticks; the snake had been resting (maybe even sleeping) in the sticks; the snake was suddenly aware that it was in a fire — far too hot for comfort — and it responded instinctively to try to escape the danger. It wrapped its body around Paul’s arm which was the closest object that was not in the flames. It did not bite because it didn’t realise that Paul’s arm had delivered it to the flames. It wrapped itself around his arm to try to escape the fire.

        Can we apply that as an analogy to evildoers such as human-wolves, psychopaths, etc? If the psychopath is suddenly in a ‘hot spot’ he will try to get out of danger. He may leap to /or wrap himself around / the very person who put him in the hot spot. Being a snake, he may use his snake-musculature to grip that person tightly. The person he is gripping, the person he has fastened himself to, would be wise to shake the snake off – shake it back into the fire.

        In this analogy the fire – the ‘hot spot’ – may be the psychopath’s evil deeds being exposed and him being held to account publicly for his evildoing, or it may be God’s providence causing the psychopath to face some natural-justice consequences for his evildoing.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you for that distinction, Barb! The version I read (NIV) also said the snake “fastened” onto his hand. Then it says the islanders saw the snake “hanging from his hand.” No mention of biting was included.

        The text reads “viper” (aka snake) but whether it actually used its fangs to “fasten” or “hang” from his hand we don’t know. I may have assumed that in order to fasten or hang onto a hand—it involved the mouth. Your idea of the snake wrapping around his arm is just as permissible.

        Not all snakes are poisonous, but even without venom it’s terribly frightening to either encounter one or get bitten by one. I wasn’t sure if the word “viper” indicated a dangerous species of snakes. But whatever the case, the snake encounter made the islanders believe Paul was not going to live (“the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live; The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead”) They even watched him for a long time, not sure how things would turn out.

        Your narrative on Acts 28 is interesting. I can see how it comes together. The text I read said the viper was “driven out by the heat.” That does indicate that it might not have been the need for warmth as I first thought, but the danger of the heat of the fire.

        I liked your angle on the text. It is entirely possible it wrapped around his arm as you suggested. Great thoughts.

      • The word ‘viper’ can mean:
        1. Any of various venomous snakes of the family Viperidae, having a thick heavy body and a single pair of long hollow fangs, especially the Eurasian and African species of the subfamily Viperinae, which lack the sensory pits of the pit vipers.
        2. Any of several harmless snakes sometimes believed to be venomous.
        3. A person regarded as malicious or treacherous.

        source: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/viper

  3. Helovesme

    From the original post:

    “There is no humanity there. No empathy, no compassion and no understanding or sympathy despite what they may say and despite how they may behave for the time being. They are consumed with meeting their needs now and nothing else.”

    I had to read the post in two parts, time wise and comment wise. 🙂 When I read that part—goodness, a few Bible verses came right into my mind:

    “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:3)

    (Another word for seared is “cauterized” in case that helps get a better picture.)

    The book of Jude is one chapter long, but there is so much that would illustrate those words. I’ll quote verse 12 that holds some of the strongest description:

    “These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.”

    My understanding is that these are people within in the church. “Love feasts” would refer to a potluck dinner that believers would attend to feast and fellowship. And yet this is some seriously powerful, potent language—-these are persons that are not there to bond with believers, they are there to prey on them.

    In verse 11 they are likened to Cain, Balaam and Korah—-when I read Jude with a commentary, it referenced their individual passages in the Old Testament to give clarity.

    The message is extremely powerful, when put that together with the fact that such persons are potentially AT your churches.

    2 Peter 2 also illustrates this. And again, it’s clear they are in our fellowships (“they feast with you”). I’d read the entire chapter to get the full picture, but I’ll reference verse 13:

    “They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.”

    In both books (Jude and 2 Peter), previous to the verses I referenced, there is something that stands out to me:

    “But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand.” (2 Peter 2:12)

    “Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct” (Jude 1:10)

    I can attest to this personally as a younger woman and believer—-pride is truly a rock that only the Rock can conquer within us. I’m still a work in progress, as we all are. I am NOT a psychopath or sociopath; I am just illustrating how a lack of Biblical humility is truly equal to spiritual death.

    Proverbs speaks of humility coming before honor. There is no blessing in pride. Nothing to be gained, everything to be lost. There is always blessing in humility. It is a slow and steady work of Him that only He can do in us, but it does happen, and it is an honor to watch Him work.

    For the ones that James has described so well, the Bible speaks of their impending doom. I can also attest to being slandered and mocked—by people who slander and mock what they don’t understand, nor will they bother to try.

  4. James

    Helovesme you wrote-
    Proverbs speaks of humility coming before honor. There is no blessing in pride. Nothing to be gained, everything to be lost. There is always blessing in humility”

    Indeed! We can’t learn without some humility. And we are here on earth to learn. Anything worth learning is going to change our view of ourselves and the world to some extent.

    Hubris means we don’t need to change which means we know all we need to know!

    Those are some great quotes from Timothy, Peter and Jude, Helovesme. Thank you. This essential knowledge of Sheep, Shepherds and Wolves is all through the New Testament. Why is it that we never heard much about it on all those Sundays?

  5. Sister

    Hi Barb,

    Before publishing this, can you please edit my comment below to reflect the formatting in the attachment to an email I just sent you or maybe Reaching Out could if you forward it.. (I lose the bold and underlining when I put it in the comment section here.)

    James and Barbara,

    I agree with much of the post, but I have bolded the words in the following excerpts, which I disagree with. I mean no disrespect to either of you. I just want to present my alternate view for your consideration.

    James said,

    “With personality disordered people [e.g. psychopaths] there is no true person there, no genuine empathy.

    There is no genuine feeling there. They are just mimicking what they have seen others do. They are actors and very good ones. They study people to copy them when they need to.

    People, and I have not been an exception, keep dealing with these psychopaths, narcissists etc thinking that they will get down to the real person. They keep trying to ‘connect’ with them but they are just getting conned again and again by another role, another act, because there is no real person under all the lies and manipulations.

    There is no humanity there. No empathy, no compassion and no understanding or sympathy despite what they may say and despite how they may behave for the time being. They are consumed with meeting their needs now and nothing else.”

    Barbara said,

    “George Simon says that abusers (malignant narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, etc.) know full well that they are hurting others. They know…and they don’t care. When confronted about the way they mistreat you, they use a whole array of “responsibility resistance” tactics. One of their first tactics when confronted is to pretend they do not know they are abusing you.”

    Specifically, in the illustration given in the post, the actor is a real person. The one who is conning is the real person. The real person enjoys the con causing you to feel crazy. I do not believe in personality disorders in regard to abusers. I believe they are evil pure and simple and they relish it. We are indoctrinated to believe people are not evil by choice, which means they must have a disorder which suggests they cannot help it. I don’t think either of you believe they can’t help it, but that’s what the word suggests.

    It is my opinion that we have been/continue to be short changed in our education both within the Christian and secular communities about abusers.

    In the Christian communities we are taught that everybody is evil so nobody is really evil. In the secular community, we are also led to believe no one deep down is evil. If they are, they must have a disorder.

    When I consciously shed those filters when reading the Bible, which I did when I realized a certain professing Christian I know is a complete fraud, vile, and someone who loves to cause pan, then the glaringly obvious verses that I had previously read, but not absorbed jumped out at me. We must come to terms with the fact that some people are evil, they delight in causing suffering. As my sister pointed out to me, people often say or think, “I don’t know how so and so can sleep at night after what they did,” but here’s what the Bible says.

    Psalm 36:4 “He plans wickedness upon his bed; He sets himself on a path that is not good; He does not despise evil.”

    Proverbs 4:16-17 “For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; and they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.”

    Micah 2:1 “Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, for it is in the power of their hands.”

    My point is this, there is a real person there and he or she is not disordered. Abusers are real people who like their father, the devil, are evil. They choose and delight in doing evil/causing pain. Disordered suggests it’s not their fault as if it were a physical condition that they cannot help. Again, I don’t believe that is what you’re intending to say James because your comment also has many on target statements that the abuser knows exactly what he or she is doing. I would say it’s a choice not a disorder and the abusers relish the pain they are causing.

    Similarly, Barbara where you say the abuser knows and doesn’t care: Yes, he or she does know, but I believe they do care in that they purposely do it because they relish the pain they cause. They are sadistic. They are born with consciences, but they sear them.

    Also, I believe it’s a complete myth that they have to study and mimic. They know. They are born with all their senses and emotions and conscience. They certainly express anger, they feel pain (their own), they laugh, etc.

    Bill Cosby is the perfect illustration of this. I do not know if The Cosby Show was as well known/popular in Australia as it was in the United States. The show was consistently #1 in TV ratings because of Cosby’s writing and acting-his timing, his facial expressions, he nailed every nuance. He understands human nature inside and out and it made him a boat load of money. He didn’t have to mimic it. He was known as “America’s Dad” before we knew what we know now, that he’s a vile rapist.

    He also had two other shows, one of which was a reprise of an old show called Kids Say the Darnedest Things. I’m not going to include any links here as I certainly don’t endorse Cosby. Nonetheless, I am torn/encourage readers to Google Cosby and the show’s title and watch some of the videos that come up. I’m saying this not to endorse him, but to illustrate my point.

    The children he interviews are not professional actors and are not told what to say. Watch Cosby, he’s a natural. He does not have to mimic. Note his facial expressions, his comedic timing. He knows humanity to his core and he enjoyed raping women and getting away with it because nobody would believe the women over “America’s Dad.”

    I’ll close my comment with something else my sister pointed out to me some time ago. When Jesus and John the Baptist called the Pharisees, hypocrites, they were calling them out as actors not merely people who say one thing and do another. In Jesus’ day, hypocrite was the word for actor or more specifically one who wears a mask in a play. The Pharisees/religious leaders were pretending to be people that they were not. Jesus said they were sons of their Father the devil who was a liar from the beginning. John the Baptist called them a brood of vipers (snakes/serpents). Satan is known as the Serpent.

    We have to realize that just as Christians strive to become more Christ like, the children of Satan are like their father who seeks whom he may devour. Once that really sank into me, it was literally an epiphany. I previously never could grasp why they didn’t follow Jesus when they saw the miracles he performed. They even wanted to kill Lazarus after Jesus raised him from the dead. Satan’s children love being evil, relish having the power to manipulate people, and hurt people/inflict pain. They do not value truth at all.

    John 3:19-21 NASB, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

    It is very disconcerting to me how much the above verses apply to many if not most churches/ministries, how so many are unapologetic in their complicity of enabling/not confronting/and/or endorsing predators in their midst while showing little regard for victims.

    It often brings to mind a couple of my least favorite verses Matthew 7:13-14 NASB.

    “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

    I don’t quote that to scare anyone. It is my belief, those entering by the Narrow Gate value what’s true and just, those entering the wide gate have little regard for truth and justice. It’s the only way I can wrap my head around how professing Christians/Christian organizations embrace lies over truth. Nothing has changed in 2000 years. There are many hypocrite (actors) today in our churches, just as there were in the synagogues in Jesus’ day.

    • Hi Sister, thanks for your comment! I will give it much thought and I’m pretty confident James will too.

      If you want us Eds to change any of the formatting in your published comment, just let us know.

      There are ways to for commenters to put formatting into their comments in a way that will show when the comment is published. Some time ago we published a post which explains how to do that; I’ll try to find it and give the link here.

      • Reaching Out

        Barb,

        Here is the link to the ACFJ blog post discussing Markdown.

        One thing to remember: Markdown works differently from the way in which many (long-time) Windows-platform users may be familiar, and perhaps explains why many commenters prefer to use other methods for emphasizing their text.

    • James

      Hi Sister,
      This response is long, I’m afraid. But as Oscar Wilde once said, “Please forgive my long letter as I didn’t have time to write a short one”. So it’s probably a bit ‘rambly’.

      You make some very good points, many of which I agree with. However, I think you are making some mistakes about what I have actually written and making some assumptions about what I have implied from what I have written. Or even what others might imply from what I’ve written.

      First of all, the post is derived from a comment that I injected into a discussion between Barb and another commenter in the comment stream of another post. So my comment as a stand-alone post lacks some context and perhaps some broader explanation.

      You wrote, “…in the illustration given in the post, the actor is a real person. The one who is conning is the real person.”

      No, the actor is not a real person. None of the characters in my story are real persons. I made the story up. It’s fiction. More specifically, it is an analogy and, as such, it cannot be used to make an argument because it is fiction. It is a rhetorical device to illustrate a point from a parallel (fictional) scenario that the audience might relate to and so cast light on an actual situation i.e. the experience of the victim being messed with and not the perpetrator.

      I wrote in my comment, ”These people are life-time actors. They adopt roles to suit their circumstances and needs. And they know what they are doing yet will never admit it. It can do your head in. For anyone who hasn’t dealt with someone with a narcissistic or psychopathic disorder, I will try and give a verbal demonstration [an analogy / illustration].” (emphasis added)

      The situation I was wanting to cast light on with my comment was the experience of ‘having your head done in’ by someone indulging in obvious but unacknowledged lies and then you having difficulty in explaining this to someone who has some awareness of the situation but is unaware of the lies. The analogy purposely did not make any comment on the character of the actor telling the lies because that was not the purpose of the story. It is an analogy not an argument.

      You follow on by saying, “I do not believe in personality disorders in regard to abusers. I believe they are evil pure and simple and they relish it.”

      You write as if the second sentence is consistent with the first sentence. I agree wholeheartedly with your second sentence (“I believe they are evil pure and simple and they relish it.”) but disagree with the first one (”I do not believe in personality disorders in regard to abusers.”)

      How could this be? I suggest this is possible because we have different ideas or definitions as to what a “personality disorder” is and implies. I am roughly using the term as it is used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association and how it is commonly used by the psychological and psychiatric professions. It is used to describe a cluster of conditions or ‘disorders’ that have as a common trait a demonstrated lack of conscience. I used that term because it is a convenient, though obviously imperfect, ‘umbrella term’ and does not refer to a person’s responsibility level or culpability.

      I have my own problems with the use of the term “personality disorders” which I mention in a further comment on that same thread that this post was lifted from. There are “personality disorders” such as the now defunct Multiple Personality Disorder and current Bipolar Disorder which do not necessitate a lack of conscience and therefore do not fall under ‘the umbrella’ yet have those words “personality disorder” in their titles.

      Had my comment been a formal argument, I would have needed to define my use of the term “personality disorder”. Perhaps when it went from a comment to a post, I should have added that definition. Or better still, upon reflection, removed the term.

      It appears to me, though, that you are using the term “personality disorder” in a more common or conversational way – “Disordered suggests it’s not their fault as if it were a physical condition that they cannot help.

      Now, I did not write that and nor did I imply that and, indeed, you go on to say that you are not suggesting that I necessarily meant that, which is all a little confusing to me. I can only assume that you think others reading my words will assume that. If so, then your argument is perhaps with them.

      How much choice, agency, responsibility and accountability abusers have in their behaviour was outside the topic of my comment/post. Though, for the record, I insist (to anyone who will listen!) that abusers (psychopaths or not), like anybody else, must be held 100% accountable for their actions. So I think, Sister, that we are on the same page there.

      Plus, depending on the circumstances of the abuse, I believe the abusers must be removed from the family, the church and/or the society.

      You also introduced the topic of our poor education about evil, by saying:

      It is my opinion that we have been/continue to be short changed in our education both within the Christian and secular communities about abusers.
      In the Christian communities we are taught that everybody is evil so nobody is really evil. In the secular community, we are also led to believe no one deep down is evil. If they are, they must have a disorder.

      I agree with this as well. I suggest there are two main reasons for this. Speaking generally (i.e. not to you, Sister) our institutions have been captured by-and-large by evil people. These wolves have no interest in revealing their true, evil nature to the sheep. That’s counter productive for them.
      The second reason is that most of those leaders who are not evil (shepherds) would not recognise real evil if it stood up in their soup.

      No matter how much you may have read or listened to, unless you have had your life turned into a living nightmare by someone close to you, you do not know evil. Unless you have had that cold, remorseless, pitiless malevolence right up close in your face, you do not know what real evil looks like or smells like.

      So the sad irony is that if you are at church listening to a sermon about evil, it is almost certain that you are being deceived; either through the preacher’s ignorance or through the preacher’s malevolence. But, hey, don’t get me started!

      Sister, here is a point that I disagree with you (and you with me). You raised the issue of Bill Cosby as an example of someone who is a ‘real person’ committing heinous abuses. To you, the ‘real person’ was evident in his unscripted interactions with small children who were not actors. But Bill Cosby is an actor and a very good one.

      Acting, by its nature is about mimicking behaviours to convince the audience that the actor is experiencing the internal emotional states that are portrayed through the external behaviour. It is the presumed internal emotional states that we actually empathise with.

      Cosby’s skill, and how he became famous, was telling stories in which he mimicked the different characters in the story as he was telling it. His mimicry was very clear and obvious. How do you mimic someone? You study them very closely to copy their expressions and body language. I don’t know of any other way.

      How can you fake emotions that, as a psychopath, you are incapable of experiencing? You study the physical manifestations of someone who is experiencing those emotions. Same with actors. They study others and even themselves (if they are not psychopaths). Regardless, they must study, practice and test it out on audiences (formal and informal).

      In watching Cosby interact with these children you mention, how do you know he was not acting in his interactions with them? He has had plenty of practice. Doesn’t the abusive behaviour towards many women throughout his life demonstrate that the person we knew as “Bill Cosby” was not a real person but a ‘persona’ – an act and incapable of true empathy? His whole life may now be seen as an act.

      I am saying that abusers, those who are psychopaths at least, spend their whole life acting —— and you will never find ‘the real person’ underneath this life-long act —— and you are wasting your time (and possibly causing harm to yourself and others) in looking for and hoping for this presumption of a ‘real person’ to emerge.

      The two points I wished to make with my initial comment were:

      1. Dealing with obvious but unacknowledged deceit over a period of time can ‘do your head in’.
      2. Abusers who are also psychopaths or narcissists are lifetime actors and you will never encounter the ‘real person’ underneath all the deception.

      You make a lot of good points about responsibility/accountability, hypocrites and enablers, the nature of evil, and the Narrow Gate, that are outside the scope of my post. All these points would make a good post in themselves. It is a complex subject.

      • Finding Answers

        James commented (13TH MARCH 2020 – 7:17 PM) “This response is long, I’m afraid. But as Oscar Wilde once said, “Please forgive my long letter as I didn’t have time to write a short one”. So it’s probably a bit ‘rambly’.”

        I did NOT find your response long, James. Indeed, I like the final paragraph in your comment “You make a lot of good points about responsibility/accountability, about hypocrites and enablers and about the nature of evil and the Narrow Gate that are outside the scope of my post. All these points would make a good post in themselves. It is a complex subject.”

        I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughtful response to Sister. Thank you for taking the time.

      • James

        Thank you Finding Answers
        It is kind of you to say such nice things 🙂

      • Helovesme

        Finally got a chance to read your reply, James.

        Nicely said. With no disrespect to either or any commentators, this VERY subject often makes me feel it can “do my head in!” But not out of a desire to deceive, but in a desire to uncover and untangle deception.

        When trying to describe HOW I became drawn to becoming born again (as He drew me to Him), I often use a “performer on a stage” analogy.

        I can’t act to save my life, so that sort of description would not resonate with me. I also can’t sing or dance, but since those sorts of crafts always appealed to me, that was what I liken it to. This was ALL In my head, since I lack any iota of talent.

        But living in my head was how I survived living in the real world, so keep that in mind.

        Performing on a stage, for a crowd of people cheering you on and loving you can be intoxicating. The attention and glory that (in my mind’s eye) I received, fed me in a way that people in the real world never would and never did.

        Some real life performers might say it’s exhausting, but worth it to showcase their talent. They really enjoy what they do.

        Others might say they are one kind of person on stage, a different person in real life. Their “stage” persona is real, but only up to a certain point. But they are content with this sort of “back and forth” lifestyle. They keep their work self and real self separated fairly well. Those who are close to them are also aware of these differences and understand how it works.

        Even more might say that after a long time, they weren’t sure WHO they really were anymore: they had spent so much time performing on stage, that their whole LIVES had become performance-oriented. There was no time or ability to be that “other” person that is off-stage and therefore, much closer to their authentic self.

        But the fame, the NEED for fame, the crowds that applaud you and seem to love you keep drawing you back, night after night.

        But WHO do these crowds really love? Do they even know, or care? Do you care about what you are like OFF stage? If you are getting worn out and want to quit for good, will they hate you for it, and turn their backs on you for good? What then?

        Let’s say you’ve had enough, no matter what the cost. The curtain comes down on that stage, the lights go dark. Yours shows are cancelled, never to return. It’s all silent now. No more cheers from the crowd. No more rush of excitement and energy on your part.

        In real life, some performers are never happier when this happens. Yes, they lost out on fame and fortune, but they are also free from the COST of all of that fame and fortune. Now they don’t have to be a performer and perform on a stage. They can be a real person only when there is NO stage at all. It was a fake world they lived in for so long, that they realized they had become a fake person in the process. Now they’ve come home, taken off all the costumes of glitz and glamour, and now their authentic self is allowed to live, uncaged and unhindered. The performance persona is gone for GOOD. And good riddance. It wasn’t worth the cost. You are now free to be loved by those that really love the person you really are.

        In real life, other performers are not so happy. They MISS who they were on stage, pandering to the crowds, heart pounding with excitement, being that OTHER person that only got a chance to shine when the lights went on and the curtain came up. Sure, it was all fake, but it fed a part of you that couldn’t be fed in any other way.

        To bring it back to my salvation story: I was tired of performing, trying to put on an act that wasn’t fooling anyone, especially myself. I acted one way on stage, another way off stage. I put on an act in order to hide my brokenness, and even though I thought both persons were the same—-one was clearly not working out for me.

        And guess which person the Lord really saw? And really loved? No amount of “fans” can love you as you really are, as He really DOES.

        I thought back to your fictional analogy. That fictional fan wanted to see the real person, not the actor. The latter wasn’t interested in that (and as you said, who the heck IS the real person, anyway? All that actor is a flip book of various characters he or she pulls out on a whim, as needed).

        When I said to myself (and to Him)—I’m done. The show is over—I never want to come back to this stage (or any other!) ever again.

        Okay, truth be told that didn’t’ work out QUITE as well—-the sentiment was real, but the success factor wasn’t AS easy to achieve. In supposed “zeal” for the Lord I found myself struggling to abandon any and all “masks” that I was hoarding inside, trying to give them up and let Him see me naked and unashamed, and apart from any stage I attempted to get back on.

        For abuse victims, how OFTEN I have seen them wearing masks, performing on various public stages, hiding their true selves out of sheer fear and a driving desire to merely survive. That was my life. My prayer is that they will see what the Lord sees.

        And I do not mean to imply the need for salvation in their cases as it was with mine—one can be born again and get trapped into this “lifestyle.” Even after I became born again, I have gotten “caught up” in various deceptions and it took a long time for the fog to clear. The Holy Spirit can be quenched, but when you cry out for Him, He will flow like a river.

        OTHERS were putting on some dang convincing stage performances, and I didn’t realize it. I was cheering them on, even participating in their stage acts, not knowing they were not authentic, aka originating from an honest heart that radiated His truth.

        One good example is a pastor I trusted who turned out to be more like a politician than a pastor. And if you’ve read up or are aware of the world of politics, you can see what I mean. He or she seemed so sincere, but in reality it was all for show.

        Recall to mind that I DID say that actual performers can pull out a stage persona in order to perform, but revert back to their real self once they’ve done their job. That’s not ALWAYS evil, meant to lead astray and abuse. When I need to drive my car, I think like a driver in order to perform well, but I don’t think that way when I am not behind the wheel.

        In the Christian world, I noticed that the “joy of the Lord” often involved being a very joyful person. Aka no sorrow or sighing, at least not in public. So I would put on an outgoing, even obnoxious public persona when I had to be around people, so I could interact with them and “perform” as a person that everyone would want to be around. Be an entertainer, and they’ll cheer you on.

        But in real life, I was withdrawn and anything but entertaining. And I knew no one would “cheer” such a person on. No one would want to see the tears, the fears, the agony of living but not really having much of a life. And my many wounds from my many abusive incidents would not go away with a few clever jokes or quips.

        When I chose to STOP being the “clown,” the crowds DID leave. I was right. Just as it was before I was saved, no one wanted to see me as I really was—and in both cases I don’t think I could blame them. What was left was not much to look at.

        WELL, Someone thought what was left of me was worth looking at. 🙂 No stage, no act, no mask, and BEST yet—-no performing required, in fact—-performing was actively discouraged, even denounced.

        The blessings that abound from this are WORTH closing down any and every stage you ever performed on or any other stages that are calling you.

    • Helovesme

      Hi Sister. I haven’t read the responses to your comment but just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your thoughts. You did an excellent job in describing your thoughts.

  6. Finding Answers

    Helovesme commented (14TH MARCH 2020 – 1:45 PM) “…..With no disrespect to either or any commentators, this VERY subject often makes me feel it can “do my head in!” But not out of a desire to deceive, but in a desire to uncover and untangle deception.”

    Amen to ^That (which is one of the reasons I so frequently mention Barb’s Blindness series). 🙂

    In the same comment, Helovesme commented “For abuse victims, how OFTEN I have seen them wearing masks, performing on various public stages, hiding their true selves out of sheer fear and a driving desire to merely survive. That was my life. My prayer is that they will see what the Lord sees.”

    Amen to ^That.

    In the same comment, Helovesme commented “In the Christian world, I noticed that the “joy of the Lord” often involved being a very joyful person. Aka no sorrow or sighing, at least not in public…..”

    ^That.

    In the same comment, Helovesme commented “But in real life, I was withdrawn and anything but entertaining. And I knew no one would “cheer” such a person on. No one would want to see the tears, the fears, the agony of living but not really having much of a life. And my many wounds from my many abusive incidents would not go away with a few clever jokes or quips.”

    Amen to ^That.

    • HeLovesMe

      Thank you Finding Answers you are always so gracious and encouraging. You’ve been open about your unspeakable abuse inflicted on you and so honest about your long and difficult journey as a result. That really does make a huge difference.

  7. Firstly I want to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to comment on this post.

    Secondly, as the lady who runs this blog, I want to reassure all readers that I am still here! I’m still reading, I’m still giving thought to all the comments that are submitted, and although I’ve not been saying or doing much that is publicly visible in the last few weeks, I am okay. The deep sadness and fatigue I was experiencing in the last few weeks has lifted.

    Thirdly, I will do my best to respond to some or all of the longer comments on this post. I may respond by replying to comments. Or I may respond by writing a new post.

    Thanks your patience.

    • Helovesme

      Am glad you are doing better!

  8. In my observation, ‘personality disorder’ is a phrase that is used and understood in many different ways.

    Professionals in the mental health field — psychology, psychiatry, the DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association) use the term ‘disorder’ very inconsistently.

    People who egotistically, selfishly and/or maliciously disrespect the legitimate rights and needs of others are labelled by psychologists as having personality disorders:—— sociopathic/ psychopathic/ narcissistic/ or histrionic personality disorders.

    People who have been gravely mistreated by others are labelled as having post traumatic stress disorder.

    My understanding is that when mental health professionals use the word ‘disorder’ they do not mean to convey anything about the person’s choice or fault or guilt or personal responsibility.

    Mental health professionals tend to shy away from ascribing moral judgements. This is understandable to some degree; but in my view it is neither right nor good nor wise to avoid making any kind of moral judgements.

    Psychology is a fairly young discipline / science / field of study. Physics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, biology, philosophy, theology, mathematics, history, geography are fields of study & knowledge that have been around a lot longer than psychology has.

    Psychology is reaching in the dark, blindfolded by its aversion to making moral or ethical judgements, shy of conceiving that God or Satan have anything to do with human behavior and human experience. Psychology is trying to claim it is a science when perhaps it is more like the proverbial blind men who tried to describe and categorise an elephant by feeling its trunk, legs, feet, back, tail, eyelashes, mouth, tusks, and hearing the noises the elephant made.

    Psychologists ascribe labels to clusters of people who show somewhat similar behaviours and patterns of thinking. These labels are the shorthand that psychologists use to talk to each other. When lay people hear a label like ‘disorder’ or ‘personality disorder’ the lay people may (quite reasonably) think that the psychologists are implying that the person with the disorder is to be excused for the way they behave because they can’t help what they do or don’t do…. rather like the guy with a broken leg, or the guy with a brain tumour, who can’t help what he can and can’t do.

    That is a BIG misunderstanding.

    Some examples of the inconsistent way health professionals use the term ‘disorder’ ——

    If you have a broken leg, do the health professionals say you have ‘broken leg disorder’? NO.

    If you have a bacterial or viral infection, do they say you have an ‘infection disorder? NO.

    If you have post traumatic stress that makes your life very difficult for months, years, decades, the psychologists might say you have ‘post traumatic stress disorder’. But it would be more logical and comprehensible if they said you have ‘post traumatic injury’.

    If someone repeatedly, maliciously and intentionally deceives, manipulates and takes advantage of other people, the psychologists might say that person has a ‘personality disorder’. But it would be more logical and FAR more comprehensible to the lay person if the psychologists said that person is malicious and selfish and wicked. Psychologists usually don’t want to go there, because that would mean making value judgements and recognising the reality of evil.

    I grieve about the misunderstandings that commonly arise because lay people understand the term ‘disorder’ very differently from how health professionals use it. I think the mental health profession bears the main responsibility for explaining and smoothing out this misunderstanding.

    • Finding Answers

      Barb commented (17TH MARCH 2020 – 6:09 AM) “If you have post traumatic stress that makes your life very difficult for months, years, decades, the psychologists might say you have ‘post traumatic stress disorder’. But it would be more logical and comprehensible if they said you have ‘post traumatic injury’.”

      For some of us with C-PTSD, a more accurate term than “post traumatic injury” would be “post traumatic disability”.

      Injury implies something might eventually heal, leaving behind nothing but a scar as a reminder.

      Disability implies a greater degree of (sometimes permanent) damage.

      I would fit in BOTH categories: “post traumatic injury” AND “post traumatic disability”, but then I’ve NEVER fit in ANYONE’S box (label).

      Except, that is, the name of Christian: a regenerate child of the (Triune) God.

    • James noted in his comment that, on reflection, it would have been better if he had removed the term ‘personality’ disorder’ from the post.

      I take responsibility too, as the Editor of this blog, for not thinking in advance about how much the term ‘personality disorder’ as used in this post might lead to misunderstandings.

      Sister said: “Disordered suggests it’s not their fault as if it were a physical condition that they cannot help.” Sister’s view is a common one.

      This is my take on the discussion. James said, “there is no real person there”:

      People, and I have not been an exception, keep dealing with these [nasty people] thinking that they will get down to the real person. They keep trying to ‘connect’ with them but they are just getting conned again and again by another role, another act, because there is no real person under all the lies and manipulations [emphasis Barb’s].

      There is no humanity there. No empathy, no compassion and no understanding or sympathy despite what they may say and despite how they may behave for the time being. They are consumed with meeting their needs now and nothing else.

      Persisting in looking for, or appealing to, the ‘real person’ is a waste of time and will just do your head in.

      James’s point, as I understand it, was that if you are interacting with one of these nasty people and you realise that some of what they do is acting but you keep on looking for a real person who has humanity, who truly cares for your well-being — it will do your head in, because there is no ‘real person’ there who truly cares about you. Your idea that there is a humane person there who can be found/ influenced/ appealed to is an idea that is not based in reality. It is a myth. Clinging to that idea will do your head in.

      Sister responded by saying that there IS a real person there — and the real person is evil. The real person is the one who enjoys conning others and hurting others and getting away with it… who gloats about doing evil.

      I think James and Sister may have more in common than they may have realised, and the seeming road-bumps in the discussion may be because of misunderstandings about words and terms.

      I appreciate Sister giving us those scriptures about wicked people! 🙂 They are very appropriate to this discussion.

    • Helovesme

      I tried to post a comment in reply but it told me it could not be posted. Usually I can go back and my comment is still sitting there but this time it was gone. Did it get lost in cyberspace?

      • Reaching Out

        Hi Helovesme,

        Unfortunately, your comment seems to have gotten lost in cyberspace. If you have a copy of your original comment, try and re-submit it. I will keep my (virtual) eyes open for your comment.

    • Helovesme

      Wanted to thank Barb for her words:

      “My understanding is that when mental health professionals use the word ‘disorder’ they do not mean to convey anything about the person’s choice or fault or guilt or personal responsibility.”

      “Psychologists usually don’t want to go there, because that would mean making value judgements and recognising the reality of evil.”

      My original reply was lost in cyberspace; to be honest I’m not quite sure what I had said.

      My abuser is not saved. I don’t believe he has a “disorder” even though he has never been evaluated. I would honestly wonder if he was mentally unstable, sick in the head, suffering from something I couldn’t see but was obviously seriously problematic.

      It IS somewhat confusing and contradictory as Barb explained it:

      “When lay people hear a label like ‘disorder’ or ‘personality disorder’ the lay people may (quite reasonably) think that the psychologists are implying that the person with the disorder is to be excused for the way they behave because they can’t help what they do or don’t do…. rather like the guy with a broken leg, or the guy with a brain tumour, who can’t help what he can and can’t do.”

      Being unsaved is NOT a “disorder.” That was the impression I got from untrained professing Christians who probably meant well. But being unsaved does not mean you “can’t help yourself.” Being a slave to sin, imprisoned by sin (as the Bible speaks of) does NOT mean you have no choice but to blindly obey its commands.

      Genesis 4:7: “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

      Those were His words to Cain, who was intending to murder his own brother, and did. These words still stand. You do not HAVE to let sin be your master.

      Being unsaved is NOT a “handicap.” That was another impression I got. If a person can’t walk, he can’t be blamed if he needs special attention: a special parking spot, a device to enable him to walk, additional human hands for support and strength.

      Living in the kingdom of darkness (aka being unsaved) is hopefully something those of us who have escaped it, never want to go BACK to.

      That kingdom, however, is full of people who are blinded by the darkness. Whether or not they can walk is irrelevant. They don’t even know where they are going.

      I DO want to insert a note of compassion, but hopefully in an accurate way: sin equals brokenness. It broke our connection with the Lord. It was the reason why humanity lost what was lost in the Garden of Eden. Sin breaks us, because its wages are death. It doesn’t add to our lives, it takes away. It never brings us closer to the Lord—-it never has and never will and never can. It only puts more and more enmity between us.

      Abuse is sin, but for the the abused—they have nothing to be repentant of in being sinned against. The darkness, the brokenness, the suffering are things victims unfortunately deal with, but they have no one to blame but the abuser for what they caused.

      When I was in the kingdom of darkness, I suffered from my own sins (which were many) AND from the sins of others (which were also many). Nevertheless, one did not trump the other. No matter how much or how often I was abused, none of it reduced the culpability of my own personal sin. And no matter how much or how often I sinned, none of it reduced the culpability of who sinned against me.

      That shouldn’t be labeled as a disorder, a handicap or a sickness. Being unsaved, IMO, is NOT on par with “spiritual sickness” or “soul sickness” or an “addiction to sin.”

      Abusers are often defined in such ways: they simply can’t help themselves. Sin is in the driver’s seat, driving them at dangerous speeds, onto dangerous roads, plowing into innocents—and the abuser is sitting in the passenger side—unable to steer or brake. I don’t know if there is a “disorder” label for this sort of thing—-perhaps a fancy word for severe mood swings, which my abuser engaged in frequently. He could be “driving” at calm, pleasant speeds and then he could slam on the accelerator and become very scary.

      All the while, though, it was like his anger was driving him, not actually him. This is what likely caused me to wonder if he was mentally unsound. Problem is, I was in the backseat. Too young to drive, too dependent on him to leave the car, and too powerless to make the car slow down.

      Wherever his “moods” went, I went with them.

      Can you imagine the Lord telling me, as unsaved person, that because I was abused, the severity of my own sins were “decreased” in His eyes? Sure, I get it: you were hurt by bad people and that’s why you are so bad yourself. Huh?!

      Let’s say this really happened (it didn’t!). My repentance, and becoming born again, would have been something of a joke. My old self, that Christ told us to “reckon” as dead, would not have been fully reckoned as dead, because I had just been given permission to downgrade my own sins, and upgrade the sins done to me—sort of like a “spiritual” bargain. So I’d only be sort of born again, kind of forgiven and possibly a new creation in Him. If I had refused to be held fully accountable for my sins, that would not have fully exited me from the kingdom of darkness—where excuses and denial of sin rules and reigns.

      God doesn’t make deals, nor does He barter with His creation! Just to be clear, since there IS such a thing as real deal disorders out there, I’m not including that in my comment. Barb did an excellent job explaining how it’s a complicated field (psychology) that needs some serious tweaking. It’s way above my pay grade to know who may truly be sick in the head, and who is truly “malicious and selfish and wicked.” (from Barb’s words).

      • Thank you Helovesme. I really like the way you put this:

        Genesis 4:7: “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

        Those were His words to Cain, who was intending to murder his own brother, and did. These words still stand. You do not HAVE to let sin be your master.

    • Helovesme

      Barb’s second comment was excellent as well. I had the honor of commenting on a Facebook post that got a reply that reminded me of how carefully we must choose our words in matters such as this.

      Like Sister and James, who I agree probably were on the same page more than they realized—the person who responded to me fell into the same category.

      I mused that professing Christians would likely agree that if someone was guilty of theft, they should be held accountable. You stole something that didn’t belong to you. You should pay for your crime, do your time and potentially restore what you stole.

      However, professing Christians seem to go all over the board when it comes to sexual assault, which (IMO) is theft on a very serious level—stealing a person’s sense of dignity and worth. Dehumanizing them and it’s not so simple to restore that. You took something that didn’t belong to you.

      The person who replied said that a victim’s dignity is NOT taken; victims need to know that while they were victimized, their dignity remains.

      I saw her point. I used to see myself as “damaged goods.” It’s a common term applied to humans, even though we are not merchandise!

      However, it is not a good idea to think of oneself like that. So I try to avoid it. It IS viable, however, to understand you are broken, but still 100% of value. AND, even if you feel as strongly as one can feel, that you ARE of lesser or little or no worth—you are wrong. You ARE of worth. That never changed, never has and never will.

      So I can see how words must be so carefully chosen when it comes to this. I did insert that if you admit you are broken, the One who heals brokenness will respond.

      From Barb’s comment;

      “Sister responded by saying that there IS a real person there — and the real person is evil. The real person is the one who enjoys conning others and hurting others and getting away with it… who gloats about doing evil.”

      Why don’t I flip that around a bit to comfort victims:

      You ARE a real person there. That real person is not evil (because of what was done to you). The real person is the one who SUFFERED from the one who “enjoys conning others and hurting others and getting away with it… who gloats about doing evil.”

      Using Barb’s words, who was paraphrasing James’s words from the original post:

      “James’s point, as I understand it, was that if you are interacting with one of these nasty people and you realise that some of what they do is acting but you keep on looking for a real person who has humanity, who truly cares for your well-being — it will do your head in, because there is no ‘real person’ there who truly cares about you.”

      Flip it around to comfort victims:

      You interacted with a very nasty person (or persons). You looked or kept looking for a real person “who has humanity, who truly cares for your well-being.” The harder you tried, the more it did your head in. You did not, see, nor did you understand that there is no “‘real person’ there who truly cares about you,” only a practiced, professional actor or actress, who is trained to trick and fool others, while coming off as believable, convincing, even sincere.

      Most important thing to know, is that the reality of your humanity was never diminished or compromised in any way, shape or form. Rest in Him, and rest assured He will take care of this real person that did really bad things to you, and by proxy to Him as well.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (24TH MARCH 2020 – 1:18 PM) “You interacted with a very nasty person (or persons). You looked or kept looking for a real person “who has humanity, who truly cares for your well-being.” The harder you tried, the more it did your head in. You did not, see, nor did you understand that there is no “‘real person’ there who truly cares about you,” only a practiced, professional actor or actress, who is trained to trick and fool others, while coming off as believable, convincing, even sincere.”

        (Bold added by me.)

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “You ARE a real person there. That real person is not evil (because of what was done to you). The real person is the one who SUFFERED from the one who “enjoys conning others and hurting others and getting away with it… who gloats about doing evil.””

        (Bold added by me.)

        ^That is SO hard for me to remember about myself.

        I am SO used to being treated as “the robot that never rests”, especially since I’ve had a lifetime of keeping unusual hours and have a storehouse of pictures in my mind (including those “delightful” nightmares, flashbacks, and memories).

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “Most important thing to know, is that the reality of your humanity was never diminished or compromised in any way, shape or form. Rest in Him, and rest assured He will take care of this real person that did really bad things to you, and by proxy to Him as well.”

        ^That is something I have yet to believe for me, although I have no problems believing it of many other individuals.

      • I really appreciate the last two paragraphs of your comment, Helovesme. 🙂

      • Helovesme

        Thank you, Barb!

  9. Helovesme

    I lost the comment. 🙂 I’l try again if I can!

    • Reaching Out

      I’m so sorry cyberspace “ate” your comment, Helovesme.

      The reason I could be fairly certain cyberspace likely “ate” your comment, is Akismet (which you may or may not remember) sometimes “spontaneously” sends non-Spam comments to the Spam folder and I had already checked the Spam folder prior to my earlier reply.

      • Helovesme

        It may have been my fault. If I don’t hit “refresh” before posting (so that it refreshes to include any new comments added) it can’t or won’t post my comment.

        Heck, I’ll try again if I can. 🙂 Maybe I’ll write a better comment this time around!

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (19TH MARCH 2020 – 1:20 PM) “Heck, I’ll try again if I can.”

        YAY! ^That! 🙂

  10. Helovesme

    Finding Answers said:

    “^That is something I have yet to believe for me, although I have no problems believing it of many other individuals.”

    It’s hard to put into words how true that is for me, too! The words flow SO easily out of me to either bless or comfort or encourage others—-a strong protective vibe might accompany those sentiments as well. How dare so and so treat you so shamefully, so sinfully!

    But I will personally feel racked with guilt, shame and self-loathing concerning my own issues. I can use the “sword” of words to fight for and defend others, but I use that same sword inward to inflict pain and suffering onto myself.

    And even worse, I know just where to hurt myself the most. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Terminator 2”, the cyborg knew human antimony inside and out. Why? It made him a more effective killer. On the flip side, he could (and did) use that same knowledge to fix the wounded (key in the scene where he expertly stitched up Sarah Conner’s knife wound).

    It’s just as important to relieve yourself of burdens you were not meant to carry, as it is to encourage others to do the same. If you can explain WHY the burdens they are carrying are not their responsibility, why is it so hard to explain it to ourselves?

    There’s no easy answers to that! It may be that it’s harder to fight the pain we actually live with, versus the pain of what others live with. What you carry around feels a LOT heavier and certainly more consequential, because it is yours. That is what I think I struggle with.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme commented (25TH MARCH 2020 – 11:26 AM) “….The words flow SO easily out of me to either bless or comfort or encourage others—-a strong protective vibe might accompany those sentiments as well. How dare so and so treat you so shamefully, so sinfully!”

      ^That.

      I think of it as Don’t annoy the Mama Bear., although “annoy” is a politer version of the words I (and most other individuals) actually use in the phrase.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “But I will personally feel racked with guilt, shame and self-loathing concerning my own issues. I can use the “sword” of words to fight for and defend others, but I use that same sword inward to inflict pain and suffering onto myself.

      (Bold added by me.)

      I can SO relate to ^That, especially the phrase I placed in bold text.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “…..I know just where to hurt myself the most…..”

      Amen to ^That!

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “It’s just as important to relieve yourself of burdens you were not meant to carry, as it is to encourage others to do the same…..”

      I’m WAY better at encouraging other individuals in relieving themselves of burdens they were not meant to carry.

      I sometimes encourage individuals by suggesting they might try repeating the (commonly used) phrase to themselves: Not my circus, not my monkeys.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “…..If you can explain WHY the burdens they are carrying are not their responsibility, why is it so hard to explain it to ourselves?”

      Using Helovesme’s words to answer the question (and NO offence or “sass” intended) “There’s no easy answers to that!…..”

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “…..it’s [WAY] harder to fight the pain we actually live with, versus the pain of what others live with.”

      (The word “[WAY]” inserted by me.)

      ^That.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you Finding Answers for this:

        “I sometimes encourage individuals by suggesting they might try repeating the (commonly used) phrase to themselves: Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

        That’s really nicely said. And there no “sass” to your reply to my rhetorical question. That is exactly right.

        Reactions to the unthinkable (aka abuse) are not linear. Human beings, even though we are made by the same Maker, are very complex and individualized.

        For me—I used to cut myself and attempted suicide. This was my way of dealing with what I couldn’t understand (why is this happening to me?). What I couldn’t control (the abuser does). And I didn’t know how to make it stop or go away.

        As the pain and shame and anger kept piling on top of one another, the toxicity became unbearable. I needed an outlet. Think of a “stress ball” that you are supposed to squeeze and squeeze in order to relieve your stress. Thankfully, stress balls have no feelings and so you can squeeze away to your hearts content.

        There is no “stress” ball that will ease the stress of abuse, however. I had to get it out of me (hence the cutting) and eventually I tried to take my life. Think of it like a simmering volcano. When an actual volcano erupts, it is never a pretty sight.

        Not everyone deals with their abuse and the trauma ensuing from it as I did. Abuse chips away at your sense of intrinsic worth and value as a human being, so I was very hard on myself for how I dealt with the abuse. Sinking as “low” as I did by attempting suicide (again, not every victim goes down that path). So I saw myself as particularly weak and pathetic—-“unable” to bear my burdens with maturity and grace.

        Not only was I a victim, but I had victimized myself (if that makes sense). Cutting and hurting your body is no way to treat yourself.

        Okay. I am not proud of how I chose to deal with the abuse; it helped no one and only made things worse.

        We can be kinder to others for their pain, but that is not always the case. Sometimes people look at you, from the outside looking in, and dare to criticize you instead.

        The questions that no one has been able to to answer me are these:

        How should I have dealt with it, or now deal with it? How should I react, respond and make sense of this? How do I make this pain go away? How do I become mentally sound, emotionally whole, spiritually at peace?

        Finding Answers put it the best: there are no easy answers to such hard and heavy questions.

        Those critical-type persons are pretty good at telling others how wrong they are in dealing with trauma and/or tragedy.

        Even if they are right, however, they don’t offer much else—-if that is wrong way, then what IS the right way?

        Anyone who really cares about you will offer something besides pointing out all the ways you fell short. They will offer you ways to stand tall again!

      • James

        I hope this ‘nests’ properly. It is in response to Helovesme 26th Mar 11:03am.

        Reading your comment, Helovesme, and others you have just written, leaves me very aware of the inadequacy of words. I am very sorry for the extreme suffering you endured that drove you to attempt suicide. To be mercilessly bullied and treated as a pariah is appalling. To then be convinced (by others) that you somehow deserve this treatment and this judgement leaves you with no where to go.

        You raise some profound issues and ask many profound questions some of which I often think I have answers for. Then, just as often, I realise that the answers are way beyond me and I am left dazed and dumbstruck at the horror that people perpetrate on each other.

        Thank you for writing, for pointing out, for asking. I don’t feel quite so alone in my bewilderment and confusion at this world and its suffering.

      • 🙂

      • Helovesme

        Hi, James. Wanted to specifically thank for your words:

        “I am very sorry for the extreme suffering you endured that drove you to attempt suicide. To be mercilessly bullied and treated as a pariah is appalling. To then be convinced (by others) that you somehow deserve this treatment and this judgement leaves you with no where to go.”

        The hardest person to forgive in all of this is NOT necessarily those that hurt me (although that’s a big one!)—it is actually myself. I’ll explain why:

        When one is abused at home, bullied at school—-you don’t know who is the monster making-scientist and who is the actual monster—Frankenstein.

        I don’t think it’s possible to emerge from that life as a warm, well adjusted human being. The inventor that made Frankenstein, if I recall correctly, did NOT realize he had created such a monstrous monster. A virtual killing machine. But was he responsible for the monster’s choosing to kill or was the monster responsible for his own deeds?

        My abuser AND those bullies treatment of me often felt like they were creating a monster (aka me). A person who was hateful, hurtful and full of anger and pride and very, very unpleasant to be around. And I wasn’t a safe or stable person. Sometimes i really understood why I didn’t have any friends, or no one wanted to be around me. Or, wished I would just go away (hence the lead up to my suicide attempt).

        So there were times I really felt like I deserved their treatment. But had they “made” me this way, or was I responsible for feeling like (and acting like) a humanly made but unfit for humanity sort of “creature?”

        So I have had a hard time forgiving myself for turning out to be such a “monster,” but then I look back at who DID “contribute” to my unhappiness. You treated me like a freak, unfit and only fit for slinging mud at me—it’s going to hurt. It’s going to matter. It’s going to scar me for life.

        But as you pointed out, no one should have treated me like that I stick to your words AND I believe them. Insert the complicated and confusing mindset of—no one loved me because I was unlovable—which is a lie, of course—-but working through it is a layer by layer lifetime of work!

      • James

        Helovesme you wrote –

        ”—no one loved me because I was unlovable—which is a lie, of course—-but working through it is a layer by layer lifetime of work!
        It IS a lie and it IS hard to live with. These lies were put into you when your mind, personality and self-image were still forming. Our environment has an incredibly powerful influence on that formation. But you have not succumbed to it!

        You have chosen to go the opposite way, to be and do good, against the force that was trying to turn you into a monster. You chose humanity; you chose God and rejected evil. Will that leave you with scars? Yes.

        But is a soldier who returns from battle against the enemy ashamed of his scars? Your scars, viewed from heaven, are testament to your courage and tenacity in resisting evil and saving others from the effects of it during your life as a consequence.

        Seen from heaven, your scars are medals of honour. The scars still hurt but are nothing to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite.

        It has been said that the torturer’s primary aim is to replace God in the life of the victim with himself, the torturer(s). You did not allow that to happen. You remained faithful to God. And if we can give a gift to God, that is it. Do you think he loves us all the more for doing that, for loving him above our own safety and avoidance of pain? By choosing him and not becoming evil in spite of all the pressure and temptation? I definitely think so.

        We are not in Heaven yet, but we will be. Having chosen God, Jesus, over everything else, he will never let us go. This is love.

    • I am in my mid-60s, I’ve been walking as a Christian for about 25 years, and sometimes I think I am only beginning to learn how to be kind to myself.

  11. Finding Answers

    Helovesme,

    I am intentionally starting a new nesting sequence to your 26TH MARCH 2020 – 11:03 AM comment.

    You wrote: “For me—I used to cut myself and attempted suicide. This was my way of dealing with what I couldn’t understand (why is this happening to me?). What I couldn’t control (the abuser does). And I didn’t know how to make it stop or go away.”

    I was never a cutter, nor did I directly attempt suicide, but as you also wrote: “…..Human beings, even though we are made by the same Maker, are very complex and individualized.”

    I can empathize with you, Helovesme.

    I was not an addict in the traditional sense, although there were times the Holy Spirit led me to extreme amounts of physical exercise as a way to cope, a way for me to survive and stay alive.

    Had I not had (for me) extreme amounts of physical exercise as an outlet, I would likely have looked for the nearest high structure from which to jump (and there would not have been any second chances).

    When I reached the point where my physical body could no longer recover from the extreme amounts of physical exercise (just after my then “husband” literally abandoned me, but before our divorce was finalized), I started hitting myself whenever I had an Asperger “melt-down”.

    When I was in university, I was (mis)labelled anorexic. The Holy Spirit, however, was using that time to start teaching me how to feed myself foods that were (for me) healthy.

    A short time prior to my then “husband” literally abandoning me, I started to relapse. I was attempting to make financial ends meet, as my then “husband” was not only fiscally irresponsible, he would either eat out or eat us out of food.

    When ^That happened, the Holy Spirit led me to start making boundaries, purchasing food in such a fashion as to ensure I would get the food I needed to keep myself alive and survive.

    Until I started writing my reply to you, Helovesme, I had always thought my being anorexic was a slow form of suicide, a (for me) unconscious method of suicide that allowed for second chances.

    I mentioned ^That to one of my really bad “counsellors”, and the (for me) really bad “counsellor” did not disagree with me. We both had the wrong perspective, but for different reasons.

    The (for me) really bad “counsellor” hadn’t encountered the complexity posed by an individual like me, while I hadn’t understood the Holy Spirit was leading me to help me survive and stay alive.

    You wrote: “How should I have dealt with it, or now deal with it? How should I react, respond and make sense of this? How do I make this pain go away? How do I become mentally sound, emotionally whole, spiritually at peace?”

    In answering ^Those questions, Helovesme, and based on your ACFJ blog comments, might I suggest the Holy Spirit has been leading you to the answers to your questions?

    As is frequently written on the ACFJ blog, healing is non-linear, and becoming mentally sound, emotionally whole, spiritually at peace takes time.

    • Helovesme

      There were such great responses; please bear with me if I single one out but am adamant to read the rest. The virus is spreading fast in America, and we’ve been hard at work to help those that need food or supplies. I’m all over the place but so blessed to watch people so willing to love and labor for those who need it. So I’m a bit frazzled and my Facebook or Messenger keeps alerting me!

      Thank you for that sweet comment, James. That was such a kind and compassionate response; not at all a rarity on this website—but always welcomed and yours was particularly warm and comforting! I might copy and paste it to store away in my email for posterity!

      • James

        Thank you, Helovesme

    • I am so glad you started a new nesting sequence for this, Finding Answers. Self harm is a really important topic to discuss.

      Your realisation that the ‘anorexia’ label didn’t and doesn’t fit you — that sounds like a significant realisation. 🙂 🙂

    • Helovesme

      That was such a wonderful reply, Finding Answers! I just wanted to say thank you (just got a chance to read it). WOW, I resonated with it, but I need to mull it over and put this to bed for now (it’s late here and I’m bushed!).

      You have a great way of articulating and expressing yourself.

      Barb’s replies too were very encouraging and kind. I had thoughts running through my mind but again, will give them the attention they deserve.

      It’s good to know we can connect and not feel so isolated.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme,

        You replied to me (28TH MARCH 2020 – 10:00 PM) “You have a great way of articulating and expressing yourself.”

        Thank you so much for ^Those kind, life-giving, and Life-giving words.

        Almost all of my life has been filled with individuals (no matter what the individuals “label”) telling me my communication style(s) is (are): Meaningless, inadequate, confusing, redundant, unnecessary, repetitive, unhelpful, wrong (or wrong-minded), outright lies, manipulative, not “normal”, not life giving (aka encouraging), devoid of Life, etc..

        The smallest kindnesses of mine have been misinterpreted (in any number of ways, for any number of reasons), while I was expected to endlessly “recycle” a single kind (or unkind) kindness to me.

    • Helovesme

      So to better answer your comment, Finding Answers, here is a starting point!

      “When I was in university, I was (mis)labelled anorexic.”

      I have had a LOT of issues with my looks. I was nonathletic, which likely contributed to being targeted specifically in gym classes. As far as I can recall, gym class throughout my school life was an absolute nightmare.

      I wasn’t directly teased about my weight, but I did lean to being heavier, and tended to be hugely ashamed of my looks in every way: clothing, skin color and body shape.

      Being abused and bullied did lead me to being something of a junk food junkie: empty calories to try to fill all of that emptiness. Of course, it never can and never did.

      Long story short—I did eventually work to lose weight (I needed to). When your looks change, people do notice and it’s not a bad thing, but it can be a complex thing.

      I noticed I was starting to have unhealthy thoughts about eating and exercise. I was starting to feel more afraid of food, or portions of food, and noticed I was starting to obsess over it as well. My identity was starting to revolve around size, shape and making sure I was in control.

      Taylor Swift recently said that if she was complimented on her looks (regarding her clothing size and/or weight), she wouldn’t stop eating completely, but she would start to eat just a little less. That was similar to my battle. I wasn’t going down the road to becoming skin and bones, but I could see my thoughts going down some very bad roads.

      Another long story short, when I DID start to stop fitting into certain clothes, I really did want to die. I was so scared to get dressed. I didn’t want to DO anything to actually leave this world, but I had that deep, dark downward spiral thinking.

      Taylor Swift mentioned something similar to you, Finding Answers. She realized she couldn’t do her job if she didn’t have proper nutrition. She started to see food as an ally, not an enemy. Same with me, so your words here resonated with me:

      “purchasing food in such a fashion as to ensure I would get the food I needed to keep myself alive and survive.”

      I still struggle with pro or anti food thoughts but since I DO want to live, I know I have to eat to live—and if you want to live, you must treat food with respect. Don’t hate its existence, or that you won’t survive without it. Most of all, food can be a blessing to you AND others. Feeding others, if you can now and then, can be a form of love—you care that they live, and food is essential to being able to live.

      I also DID worry that I was exercising (or trying to be active) too often—and wasn’t letting my body rest and recover. Sometimes I thought it was a stress reliever (and it can be) but sometimes I wondered if it WAS the cause of my stress (pushing myself too hard).

      As Barb said, it’s dang important to talk about self-harm. You can see how it plays out long after the abuse is over.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme, you wrote (and have written) many things that have resonated with me, as has James.

        On 29TH MARCH 2020 – 10:08 PM, you wrote: “…..it’s dang important to talk about self-harm.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, you wrote: “…..here is a starting point!”

        ^That.

        On 29TH MARCH 2020 – 10:48 PM, James wrote: ” Is this because you are only too aware of your own imperfections?…..”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, you wrote: “….. You do realise that being aware of your shortcomings is a sign that you are good?”

        I had never thought of it ^That way.

        I can know I am imperfect, but I often feel (in the emotional sense) irretrievably broken.

        In the same comment, you wrote: “But I do know there is often a gap between knowing something and feeling it. It is part of the scarring, I think.”

        ^That.

      • James

        Finding Answers,
        In my battle against my own scarring in this regard, I have found the following definition of Faith to be helpful-

        “Faith is holding on that which I know to be true when every feeling within me says otherwise”.

      • Finding Answers

        James,

        You wrote (30TH MARCH 2020 – 5:54 PM): ““Faith is holding on that which I know to be true when every feeling within me says otherwise”.”

        Thank you for sharing ^Those words of wisdom with me.

        When I read your words, I was reminded of a vision I had a number of years ago, although I don’t mean a vision in the prophetic sense, nor the visions some individuals have while asleep.

        In my vision, I was clinging desperately by my fingernails to the side of a rocky crag. I saw no clear path to climb up, down, or sideways. I saw no ledges or places to rest. When I was asked by another individual why I was stuck, I commented that I had nowhere to go and I did not have a safety net.

        After commenting I did not have a safety net, I felt (in a physical sense) a firm touch on my lower legs, and I was able to let go of the side of the rocky crag and enter free fall.

        Until now, I had not realized that after letting go of the rocky crag in my vision, I NEVER PHYSICALLY HIT THE GROUND! (Pardon my yelling in all capital letters.)

        With your wisdom-words, James, you have helped me associate the picture in my mind for the word “faith” with the vision I had of me letting go of the side of the rocky crag to which I had been so desperately clinging by my fingernails.

      • James

        Wow, Finding Answers. I am so glad you were able to make those connections. And what a vision and picture! You were falling but you were safe.
        That is an image for me to remember. Thank you.

      • I second what James said!

      • Finding Answers

        James commented (30TH MARCH 2020 – 10:50 PM) “……You were falling but you were safe.”

        The Holy Spirit leads me to make a correction to ^That sentence, changing the wording to indicate the present, rather than the past.

        With the correction, the modified sentence would then read You were falling but you are safe.

        ^That modified sentence is not something I can cling to in the same fashion as I clung so desperately to the rocky crag wall.

        This afternoon I had a short nap, and I did not dream, yet I could feel (in the physical sense) the physical impact as I hit the bottom at the base of the rocky crag.

        In my comment (30TH MARCH 2020 – 7:41 PM), I wrote: “….the picture in my mind for the word “faith” with the vision I had of me letting go of the side of the rocky crag to which I had been so desperately clinging by my fingernails.”

        For me, the word faith no longer has meaning.

      • Dear Finding Answers, my first feeling when reading your comment was concern. It’s hard for me to put my concerns into words, and I’m writing this reply with trepidation in case I get something wrong. If anything I say doesn’t sit right with you, please forgive me and disregard my words.

        My knowledge of you is that you are very sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and that you choose to follow His leading, often on a moment by moment basis. I’m thinking that even if the word ‘faith’ no longer has meaning for you, the word ‘faith’ has meaning to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit can and will continue to lead you even though that word has no meaning for you.

        If someone else who was born again and had been walking as a Christian for a long time said “The word faith no longer has meaning for me”, the average Joe-Blow-Christian who heard that would think the person was either backsliding or renouncing their faith.

        I’m now going to speak for those of us who have followed your comments on this blog for some time (I hope no one minds me taking that liberty for a moment) — I think we would be unkind and foolish to even suspect that you were backsliding…or that you were renouncing Christianity/God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit…or you had made a decision to no longer follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

        Faith is a gift (Ephesians 2:8). The giver of that gift is God. When He gives us the gift of faith, He makes us one with Him. He understands the words even if we don’t.

        It would be untrue to say: “The word ‘faith’ must have meaning to a person if that person is to receive the gift of faith.”

        It would be untrue to say: “The word ‘faith’ must have meaning to a person if that person is to continue in the faith.”

        Again, bear in mind that I’ve written this comment in trepidation in case any of my words are wrong. If any readers want to suggest amendments to my words, feel free. 🙂

  12. Finding Answers

    James,

    In the reply you wrote to Helovesme (26TH MARCH 2020 – 5:28 PM, and which I have slightly modified), you wrote: “Reading your comment, Helovesme James, and others you have just written, leaves me very aware of the inadequacy of words. I am very sorry for the extreme suffering you endured….”

    (Strikethrough added by me, as well as the name of Helovesme replaced with James’ name.)

    ^That.

    In the same comment, you wrote: “…..I realise that the answers are way beyond me and I am left dazed and dumbstruck at the horror that people perpetrate on each other.”

    ^That.

    In the same comment, you wrote: “….I don’t feel quite so alone in my bewilderment and confusion at this world and its suffering.”

    ^That.

    • James

      Thank you, Finding Answers

  13. Finding Answers

    James,

    You wrote (29TH MARCH 2020 – 6:46 PM): “You have chosen to go the opposite way, to be and do good, against the force that was trying to turn you into a monster. You chose humanity; you chose God and rejected evil. Will that leave you with scars? Yes.”

    ^That.

    In the same comment, you wrote: “Seen from heaven, your scars are medals of honour. The scars still hurt but are nothing to be ashamed of…..”

    For me, I find ^That hard to believe of myself, although I have absolutely no difficulty believing it of other individuals.

    For me, I tend to believe (using your words in the same comment, but out of context) “….Quite the opposite.”

    In the same comment, you wrote: “It has been said that the torturer’s primary aim is to replace God in the life of the victim with himself, the torturer(s). You did not allow that to happen. You remained faithful to God. And if we can give a gift to God, that is it…..”

    ^That.

    In the same comment, you wrote: “……Do you think he loves us all the more for doing that, for loving him above our own safety and avoidance of pain? By choosing him and not becoming evil in spite of all the pressure and temptation? I definitely think so.”

    For me, I find ^That hard to believe of myself, although I have absolutely no difficulty believing it of other individuals.

    • Helovesme

      I’m so sorry you were put down for how you communicate, Finding Answers. I found that to be particularly disturbing at all that negativity you described.

      Their minds must be very limited and narrow to be so careless and cruel to someone who just may have a different style of communicating, which should add real flavor to humanity.

      I don’t understand why humanity tends or tries to “homogenize” society. Everyone should look, act and communicate in the exact same ways. The standards are set for beauty, fashion and behaviors—-and we all must comply and conform.

      The church would do well to resist this as much as possible. The body of Christ should be appalled at such a notion. It’s clear that we are supposed to be individuals, but learn how to function as a whole. Sadly, it’s not uncommon to experience the “cookie cutter” craze: everyone must be cut out in the same shape so we all look alike.

      So if a person or persons tells you that you are “weirdly” shaped, it may just be that God is using a specific “cookie cutter” just for you. We love to tout how He works in mysterious ways, but then we scoff at Him when He dares to display His own individuality?

      And His “individuality” is in a completely, separate arena from us—it is His arena alone. Meaning, He does what He wants as He sees fit and no one can or should dare to instruct or interfere with Him.

  14. James

    Hi Finding Answers

    “For me, I find ^That hard to believe of myself, although I have absolutely no difficulty believing it of other individuals.”

    Is this because you are only too aware of your own imperfections? You do realise that being aware of your shortcomings is a sign that you are good?

    Evil people justify their evil behaviour at every turn. They are never to blame, if you listen to them.

    But I do know there is often a gap between knowing something and feeling it. It is part of the scarring, I think.

    • James said: “I know there is often a gap between knowing something and feeling it. It is part of the scarring, I think.”

      Yes! ^That!

    • Helovesme

      Yep I totally agree with Barb; that was an awesome insight, James.

      That is why I admonish others: it doesn’t matter how strongly you FEEL you are unloved, unwanted and unworthy of Him—if He says you belong to Him, you belong to Him. All the strongest, most passionate feelings in the world that tell you otherwise—are WRONG.

      No, you’re not wrong for feeling them per se, but you are wrong in believing that they are true. They’re not. You can be convinced of them up and down the ladder. You can be “tortured” by person after person that tells you and confirms to you that you don’t count, you don’t matter—-if you disappeared forever no one would notice, and no one would even miss you. In a nutshell, there is no positive justification for your existence.

      I recall Mary J Blige, a black singer, talking about her childhood. She was called a lot of bad names regarding her looks—one of them was “big lips.” She got to the point where she concluded: no one loves me. This led her down a path to using drugs to escape her pain.

      When you feel like no one loves you, you can start to treat yourself with great disdain. Using drugs, or cutting, or being scared to eat or attempting suicide are examples of how we inflict hate on ourselves due to believing no one can or does love you. We don’t understand that hate-filled people are incapable of treating others with the respect they inherently deserve.

      Perhaps she was like me and “locked” into a bubble that excluded the big world that went beyond her personal environment. When I finally left public school and went to university, I saw a LOT more people who didn’t fit or conform—they marched to the beat of their own drum and—here’s the catch—no one called them names or put them down.

      Back to the “big lips” taunt. This singer is quite lovely. She DOES have full, pouting lips, but they were used to insult her based on her skin color, which is why it hurt her so much. As it was meant to do.

      Two white famous women come to mind: Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts, who are famous for their full, pouting lips. I can’t say for sure, but I would guess they weren’t called “big lips” as youngsters. And don’t people pay a lot of money to get lip injections? They insulted her lips only to take a pot shot at her skin color, but in reality, skin color notwithstanding, those lips of hers are actually honored in the beauty world.

      For one to come to these conclusions and thereby putting away such a cruel taunt—you would have to break out of that bubble and see that there is a big world out there that might see your looks (and your lips) and dare to HONOR them instead of mock them.

      My skin color was always used as a put down. Well, actually, a large amount of fair skinned persons would love to have my skin color. They pay tons of money to self-tan, go to tanning salons, lay out in the sun or use lotions to darken up their skin. I got it naturally, but they would have pay to get it unnaturally.

      This is something I didn’t find out for years—long after my childhood. You have to break out of the “coffin” you were put in, and that can take years—-they kept nailing you into that coffin every time you tried to break out of it.

      FYI, fair skin is just as lovely as any other shade of skin. It’s not a beauty debate! It’s to show the absolute foolishness of those who think of themselves as anything BUT. It can actually amuse you when you think about how superior and smart they thought of themselves as they cleverly and cruelly tore you down from the inside out.

      But in reality, they were about as ridiculous and out of touch with reality as it can get. You look back on those persons and shake your head in absolute wonder that they could ever see themselves as qualified to be your judge, jury and executioner.

      In reality (and this is a spiritual metaphor!) I think they were digging their own graves, not mine. The shovels they used to try to bury me will instead reveal the dark pits they themselves were trapped in, and probably still are—unless they’ve experienced some deep and drastic revelations.

      What I mean is that when you denigrate humanity as they did, you ARE in a dark place spiritually. You may think you’re above the ground, digging graves and pushing innocents into them, but in reality it is they themselves that are buried in their own hate.

  15. Helovesme

    (Broke this up into 2 comments)

    “You do realise that being aware of your shortcomings is a sign that you are good?

    Evil people justify their evil behaviour at every turn. They are never to blame, if you listen to them.”

    Take these words to heart. It is NEVER easy to face yourself in the mirror, but in Christ you say that you would not have it any other way. And that is the truth. You left the kingdom of darkness for all the right reasons; you never want to go back there.

    James caveat should not be minimized: “IF you listen to them.”

    I would say abusers, but also toxic, abusive persons (who do not quite fit the abuser label, but are still dangerous)—-would describe themselves something along the lines like this:

    I’m generally a nice person. I’m easygoing, easy to be around, easy to talk to, easy to like and I’m generally at ease with and around others. My personality is usually laid back: I’m fairly mellow, mild mannered, mild tempered.

    The allies of these persons would heartily agree: He or she wouldn’t hurt a fly! He or should would never hit or hurt their spouse or child. That. Is. Not. Who. They. Are.

    The “IF” factor is this, and exactly this: Yes, I wouldn’t hurt a fly, No, I wouldn’t hit or hurt my spouse or child—unless that fly, or spouse or child—-DESERVED it.

    About a dozen years ago, I found this out the hard way. Some professing Christians hurt someone in such a cruel way without missing a beat, and before this happened I would have thought similarly: they wouldn’t hurt a fly!

    But then I had to add on that all too crucial addition: unless that fly (or person) deserved it. Then, there is nothing to repent of. Why would you repent for giving that “fly” what it deserved?

    “IF you listen to them” as I tried to (I couldn’t understand their thinking), you’ll find out more than you want to know, OR you will believe their justifications (as James pointed out). Most persons around me fell into the latter category.

    The other crucial phrase James used is this: “at every turn.”

    It doesn’t matter how many different angles or viewpoints or pinpoints or ANY point you try to introduce—at every turn, there is always an alibi to justify their evil. And the alibis don’t have to be an honorable or truthful one! They just have to be convincing enough to BE believable.

    And in my situation, the “alibis” were mostly emotional: feeling hurt, being sensitive, acting out so strongly that those around them don’t dare to question the validity of their feelings. How do you ask someone to “use their words” when they are worked up with anger and supposed pain? It scares you to ask them use to use “reason” to explain themselves. You just want to comfort them, not condemn them.

    If you can play on and tug at the heartstrings of those around you to gain allies—forget trying to use your words to explain why you feel this or that person “deserved” what they got. It doesn’t even matter anymore.

    Strong emotions can also be displayed in judging others with a measuring stick that was one sided and only went one direction—at anyone else BUT themselves. That also happened in my case. There were threats, intimidation and manipulations. Being “cut out” of relationships, being excluded, being told no one does or will side with you.

    I was not the main person being attacked, but when I tried to befriend this person, that is when I realized how badly they were treating this main person. And whatever they gave her, they gave me a taste of as well. Mine was hard, so you can imagine what they did to her.

    To this day I believe that they believe that they did nothing wrong: I wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless that fly deserved it.

    • James

      “To this day I believe that they believe that they did nothing wrong: I wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless that fly deserved it.”

      I am sure you are right, Helovesme. You have described this common (but I think largely unrecognised) phenomenon extremely well.

      I believe it is a process of self deception. There is a strong element of self deception in the corruption of power and also addiction. In fact, I think it is the foundation of these corruptions in thinking and perception.

      The deception starts in wanting not to feel uncomfortable whether it is embarrassment or conscience or just wanting to feel better for a whole host of reasons; many of them quite understandable. But at some level we know what we have done and now we have the problem of having deceived ourselves, and probably others as well, added to the original uncomfortable situation.

      So now we are even more uncomfortable and we need to avoid that, too. Plus, we have further weakened ourselves. So more self deceit and we need to shut our self-awareness down to avoid the increasing inner turmoil.

      When shutting down our self awareness, we also shut down our ability to read the reality going on around us. Think of power leading to megalomania and alcoholism leading to a state of dereliction. We readily see the weakness of addicts but it is harder to see the weakness in those who indulge in power. The self importance is the cover.

      But nobody is immune to this process. This process of self deception leads us away from the truth and if God is The Truth, then we lead ourselves away from God and into the hands of you-know-who; the ultimate disaster.

      “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed on him, If you continue in my words, then you are my very disciples, and shall know the truth; and the truth shall make you free.”. (John 8;31-32 NMB)

      So how do we know the truth? I suggest we have to start the recovery at the same place the slide into delusion started – with ourselves and the little seemingly comfortable lies we tell ourselves. Be accurate in our thinking and our speech.

      We become free from our own self manipulations and, because our self awareness is being restored, we become far more aware of others’ little (and big) lies and manipulations. And there is no shortage of lies in our culture – in ‘the world’.

      Telling the truth to ourselves and others (if it is their business to know), of course, feels uncomfortable, even excruciating. But after a while we feel stronger. We become stronger. God’s healing has begun. “Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7 NMB)

      P.S. I didn’t set out to go on about all that, but there you are. I think I needed to be reminded of the foundational necessity for Truth 🙂

  16. Finding Answers

    In reply to Barb’s comment (2ND APRIL 2020 – 11:38 PM), and quoting some of Barb’s words in my reply:

    I am absolutely NOT “renouncing Christianity / God / Jesus / The Holy Spirit”.

    I have absolutely NOT “made a decision to no longer follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.”

    The only words I have to explain the hell-on-earth / deep clinical depression / etc. I am re-living / reprocessing / etc. is to compare my experience to simultaneously living through the Old Testament and the New Testament.

    • Gany T.

      I am so sorry for your suffering and anguish, Finding Answers. I am praying for you.

    • Finding Answers

      The underlying Biblical concept contained in my comment (3RD APRIL 2020 – 11:39 AM) is this:

      The Battle Belongs to God. (intentional use of the present tense of the word “belongs”) because The Battle Belonged to God (intentional use of the past tense of the word “belonged”).

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