Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Unit 2 Lesson 4, Symptoms of Abuse, Part 2

So, I felt like there was a lot to take in yesterday... This is my 3rd time through this study. I saw counselors regularly from age 12-20, then counseled a little more again around age 30. I still check-in with a counselor a couple times a year, but no longer for things specifically related to sexual abuse. Anyway, my point is... Even with all that counseling under my belt, the specifics of how a person can hurt another makes me sick at my stomach - especially when we're talking about child abuse. So, if you've had a hard time reading the last couple of entries and are having some flashbacks, insomnia, etc. - know that you are not alone. Read the entries at your own pace -- this is not about speed reading, it's about HEALING. And to heal we must go through this painful process of dealing with things...

For the second half of the symptoms:
  • Perfectionism - Do you want everyone and everything to be in order? Do you have rigid or high standards? Do you expect everyone to meet your standards and become angry or disappointed when they don't? Do you get stressed out when your home/appearance/children/etc. are not "perfect"?
  • Performance/need for achievement - Are you highly driven to succeed? Do you find that being good is not good enough, you must be the best? Do you feel that you must earn the right to be happy or worthy?
  • Repeatedly feeling betrayed - Do you feel like everything that goes "wrong" has gone wrong because someone wanted to hurt/offend you on purpose? Do you feel that everyone is against you? Do you feel that if your husband/roommate/children leaves the kitchen a mess that it was some sort of personal attack on you?
  • Fear - Is your mind full of all the bad things that could go wrong? Do you fear the dark, being alone, being abandoned, getting sick? Are you unable to do certain things because of your fears?
  • Withdrawal - Do you isolate yourself from others? Do you avoid social situations? Are you nervous and uncomfortable in a crowd, thinking that no one will like you so you should not even be there? Do you make yourself "too busy" so that you can politely turn down invitations and then privately feel sad that "no one likes you" or that "you're not part of the in crowd"?
  • Anxiety/sense of doom - Do you become anxious for what appears to be no good reason? Do you feel like you can't try anything because you're just sure you'll mess it up? Do you feel like you're just one big mistake?
  • Repeated victimization - Have you been victimized over and over again? Do you blame yourself, telling yourself that you must be doing something to cause all of this mistreatment?
  • Seductive behavior - Do you dress to call attention to yourself? Do you enjoy the attention you get from others when you dress sexy? Does it somehow prove that you are attractive?
  • Anger and depression - Do you go through periods where you have no energy? Do you just want to lie down? Do you want to avoid people and relationships? Do you feel angry when others try to get you to do things with them? Do you just want to go to your room and shut the blinds?
  • Codependency - In your relationships, are you either being controlled or controlling? Do you impose your expectations on those you are in relationships with? Are you jealous when your friends have other friends? Do you want people to need you? Do you feel important when you are helping your friends? Does that validate you?
  • Self-destructive behavior - Do you go from one conflict to another with your friends and family? Do you lie, knowing that you will get caught? Do you eat when you're not hungry? Or hurt yourself because you think it's the only way to relieve the emotional torment, and justify the hurting behavior saying that you deserve whatever physical pain comes your way?
Thinking about these symptoms and how they are affecting your life has hopefully given you a powerful start to your recovery. Your feelings and behaviors should be making more sense to you... Identifying the symptoms in your life will help you to set specific goals for recovery.

I can carry on about the many symptoms above that have played out in my life, but it's getting late and I've been feeling a bit under the weather today. Please write in the comments or email me privately if you'd like to "talk" about how these things have or are impacting your life. I'm all ears.

I want to close with this excerpt from the book -

The Overcomer's Hopes
In Christ I can -
  • live without fear controlling me.
  • live without being controlled by others.
  • live without needing to control others.
  • live without condemnation or condemning others.
  • live without shame and guilt.
  • live where I know the difference between what is safe and what is not safe.
  • live without rage, hate and depression.
  • live with stable emotions.
  • live with joy and happiness - even in the midst of trails.
  • live with peace and love.
  • live without helplessness.
  • live understanding my value in Christ.
  • live where I can be intimate with others.
  • live where I can trust others who are trustworthy.
  • live with a deep relationship with God.
I made a new blogger friend today. We've been reading each others blogs and something she wrote just reached into the depths of my heart so I had to email her to "chat" a little in private. She sent me a nice note back and then mentioned me in her blog tonight. She called me "an amazing person". And while I am deeply humbled that she would say that, I want you all to know that I am a super ordinary person. I do not have some extra special Leigh-only gift that enabled me to overcome my abusive childhood. I AM JUST LIKE YOU. I was a big mess and fought most of my recovery tooth and nail. The LAST recovery thing I did was to forgive my mom, and there are still days where I have to forgive it all over again. And I have days when I don't want to - when I want to be mad, hold a grudge, get even, etc... I am soooooo very normal, average and ordinary. My recovery has not been made possible by anything I did, but by everything that Jesus did. Well, I guess I did choose to let Him handle things, and I choose to believe all that the Bible tells me about Him and me. But, from where I'm sitting, why wouldn't I? From a purely selfish standpoint, the Bible is the place that tells me that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, that the Lord is just and justice will be His, and that He knows the plans he has for me - not to hurt me but to prosper me. So, I'm not amazing - God is. As my pastor recently put it, I hope that you are not impressed with me, but with the JESUS IN ME. A bit cheesy, but so true.


Colleen said...

I like that quote from your pastor. Like you said, so true. God is amazing. But remember that you said Yes to God. You cooperated with His grace. How cool is that? Blessings!

Sparkle said...

The list of symptoms on both entries are so true - at least for me anyway. I can relate to all of them in one way or another.

*hugs to my new friend*