Category Archives: Boundaries

Are You Handling Your Complicated Life, Or is It Handling You?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

person standing on slope glacier mountain
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

Most of us want to be the type of person others can count on. We hope we are a good friend, spouse, parent, and worker.  

Life’s dramas and stressors sometimes overshadow these most important parts of living.  Are you the person you want to be? 

Think about your challenges with life balance, and with making positive and meaningful connections. Then ask if your way is working.  If it is not, perhaps you would like to join me in trying a different way, one proven successful.

How Jesus handled his complicated life

One of the reasons Jesus could serve as he did is because of his boundaries. Jesus loved well and practiced self-care. Unless we embrace his how-to, we cannot expect to experience the effectiveness, freedom, and wisdom he did.

1. He knew his mission; do you know yours?

One morning, while it was still dark, Jesus left where he was staying and went off alone to pray.  Later, several men went to look for him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Paraphrased from Mark 1:35-38)

Notice Jesus did not serve everyone when it would detain him from his priorities. He knew when to say yes or no regardless of pressure from others.

2. His getaways versus your getaways

In the Bible book of Matthew, we read an account of one of Jesus’ very busy days. As it was growing dusk,  he decided to feed the crowd gathered to hear him preach. They had been together for three days and were hungry.

After he miraculously stretched a few fish and loaves of bread into enough meals to satisfy about 8000 people, he dismissed everyone and went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  It is recorded that shortly before dawn he came back down and joined his disciples. (Paraphrase of Matthew 14: 15 -25 )

Israel, where this took place, generally experiences dusk at 7pm and dawn at 6am. Allowing time for his disciples to pass out the food and to clean-up, it appears Jesus was in prayer for about 8 hours.  This is how he re-energized, by spending time with His Heavenly Father. 

3. Joy was his source of strength.

It was the prophet Nehemiah who encouraged his people to choose joy because it would give them strength to do God’s will. He said, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8: 8-10)

Jesus came right out and said, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12

His joy was complete due to obedience to God his Father, and by giving and receiving love. Is this where you find joy?

4. Jesus’ choices versus your choices

John the Baptist was a great preacher in Jesus’ time. He was a relative of Jesus and a friend.  He was murdered when they both were about 31 years old. When Jesus heard what happened, he withdrew to a private place, no doubt to grieve and pray. 

Crowds followed anyway. When Jesus saw them, he “had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Paraphrase of Matthew 14:12-14)

Jesus made room for service when it was inconvenient, setting aside his personal grief momentarily.  However, this was not his only response.

5. Jesus held to boundaries. Do you?

Jesus was a celebrity, with clamoring fans from all over his country and beyond. Huge crowds wanted to hear him and have him heal their sick bodies, and ill sons, daughters, friends, servants, and other loved ones.  Some wanted him to raise their dead. 

Look at what Jesus did. He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Paraphrase of Luke 5:15-16 Sometimes he simply withdrew from the needs and demands of a hurting world, and made room for self-care.

You can see it is not selfish to balance your life. Not everyone needs you all the time.  It is wise to weigh your priorities and pro-actively seek joy. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

 Amos 4:13
“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind … the Lord God Almighty is his name.”

 

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

Follow this Plan for Stronger Emotional Health and Relationships

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

pexels-photo-975436.jpeg
Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

You live inside a cube with a window and door. Each of us does.

With you in your cube are what you value, and what makes you who you are. Your family, church, job, and hobby are in there. So are your favorite entertainments, and deep thoughts. In one corner is a dark spot of flaws and selfish behaviors.

All our cubes are filled in the same manner.

As you go throughout your day, bumping into other cubes, maybe annoyance grows.  Inside your private space with unchallenged ideas, you feel safe.

It is simple to dehumanize others we refuse to see.

Observe and connect

Open your window and watch from a distance superficially.  Possibly some faces look back at you making assumptions. You presume to know what they are thinking.

Communication is empty of understanding.

Ah, the door. Swing it wide and invite others in! Expose the real you. Take responsibility for your decisions. When you and at least one other person are welcome to enter and leave each other’s cubes freely, your basic human need for positive, meaningful connection will be met!

There is joyous give and take, generous communication, forgiveness, and honesty about darker egos. That is how we learn and grow.

Be emotionally healthy

You have no control over whether other cubes open. Let them go. You will not have freedom with everyone. However, it is not healthy to stay hidden inside, never reaching out, sharing, or helping.

It is not healthy to allow someone else to live in your cube trying to meet all your needs. It is equally not healthy and is dangerous to stay in another person’s cube, living for his or her happiness.

Whether family, friends, or romance, choose relationships wisely.  Within a positive and meaningful connection you need validation, to know someone values you enough to be involved, and genuine acceptance. Look for these.

A connection is ready 

Jesus offers all three.  He knows every second of your existence. This validation and acceptance is proven in Psalm 139. Jesus also showed how much he values you when he left heaven to sacrifice his body for your eternal soul.

If people in your life refuse to connect, remember you have One who always wants you to know him as he knows you.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 139: 1, 16 

“You have searched me, Lord and you know me… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

For One of the Least of These: Helping The Stranger

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

woman in black long sleeved shirt
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Dehumanizing a person in our thoughts or speech makes it easier to fear and hate. Dehumanizing a people group works the same way. Equating a race or gender with animals is one way in which society has dehumanized people. Another form of such dehumanization occurs when struggles with mental health are demonized or wrapped up in one word- crazy. 

Fear of people with histories of mental illness is reaching new extremes. Reporting on the very few violent types carelessly connects mental illness with murder. Truth is, the vast majority of people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence. Those who have attempted suicide are not going to “go off” and attack others. 

We need to better understand what brings a person to the point they are homicidal. Mental illness may be a factor, but is not a predictor. 

For example, a recent mass shooter was reported to have seen a psychiatrist. I believe the article said he had visited this doctor one time. The story implied that because he had seen a psychiatrist he must be crazy, and therefore ended up killing people. Here is another way of looking at it. He saw a psychiatrist only once, and did not follow through with treatment, hence did not accept the help offered to him. 

By equating “he saw a psychiatrist” with murderous behavior, stigma is encouraged. People who will benefit from psychiatric care may feel shamed into not going. 

Beyond mass shooters and other criminals are millions of people who for one reason or another struggle with mental illness to varying degrees. Instead of being knowledgeable and learning to practice healthy boundaries, we run away or ignore them.

We have each been a stranger. For whatever reason, we have each been judged. It has never benefited us to feel misunderstood. In this way, we can relate to those who are ostracized because of their mental health history. 

Here is today’s invitation. If you know someone with a past of mental illness, say hello.  This website offers information on how to be supportive. Simple internet searches will lead you to such information as well.

Be wise. I am not suggesting we ignore one’s history of violent behavior and invite them to hang out with our families. I am simply inviting you to avoid dehumanizing someone based on a history of mental illness. Let’s drop the negative assumptions and fear. Let’s drop the hate and “lock ’em all up” attitude which is growing in the U.S.

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 25: 37

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (and sisters), you did it to me.’

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

For One of the Least of These: Helping Those Who Hunger for Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Sarah felt lost. Her thoughts fluctuated between I do not need anyone, to I am bad for needing anyone, to why does no one care?

Her sense of aloneness and guilt exacerbated her doubt she was lovable at all. Shame joined the mental torture.

At the same time, her behavior told a different story. She was friendly and funny. Her need for affirmation was great. At times she realized she was fishing for approval, yet most often was unaware.

Her spirit had been crushed by absence of love from significant family members. Early in life she learned she was on her own. In second grade, a friend apologized that she would not be able to attend Sarah’s birthday party. Sarah cried, not because she was sad, but because she was in awe that someone cared enough to consider coming to her party.

The hole in her heart caused her to search for love in unhealthy ways. She truly did not know better. She was hungry, starving really, and the only solution was love.

Jesus said that when we see “one of the least of these” who is hungry and feed them, it is the same as doing it for him. That is because his love for hungry people is so great, he is blessed when their needs are met. He also loves givers, and rewards us when we become so.

He was speaking of those who are poor financially. He meant literal hunger and literal food. In another place he spoke of those who hunger for righteousness.* That is, people who desire to honor God.  In the same teaching, he promised blessing for those who mourn.**

God is one who cares intimately about our inner being. We can care too when someone like Sarah enters our sphere.  One way to do this is to offer time and listening. Perhaps we can help her find a good counselor or therapist and get her there. A simple and meaningful way to let a person know they matter is to say so. Emails, texts, calls, visits… all make a difference.

Beware becoming someone’s sole support. Sarah did not need a human savior, although she felt she did. One way to tell if a line is crossed, is to check if the relationship is changing. Friends do not become therapists. Pastors do not become on-call servants. Parents do not become doctors. Discourage dependence on you by not saying yes to every plea.

We can point someone to Christ and God’s love without judgment and criticism. By expressing sincere acceptance, we extend his compassion.  God’s love is so vast that our sins, flaws, mistakes, and even negative self-talk are not enough to make it stop.

Without question, God says we have to believe he exists. It is also imperative to believe that his Son Jesus, paid for our sins on the cross. This same Jesus resurrected and lives now as our Lord and Savior. These are foundational and necessary tenets of saving faith.

People like Sarah will begin to experience joy when they realize their inherent value. God’s love shines through the Bible and in our spirits. It is big enough to fill the emptiest caverns of need.

Counseling helped Sarah begin to see her worth as God sees her. Eventually she no longer yearned for people to meet her deepest need. God’s love has filled her to the brim, and even difficult circumstances no longer diminish her peace of mind. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 25: 37, 40 

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you…?’  … The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

**Matthew 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.

-empty heart by XYMONAU; cross heart BA1969, both of rgbstock.com

 

 

 

 

isaih 61: esv The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;[a]afflicted
  he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
  to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

I Can’t, You Can

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

Gravelly and broken. The parking lot’s many potholes threaten to open wider in the next big storm. Miniscule pebbles sprinkle a patchwork of old and newer asphalt. 

Walking toward my car, my mind races with everything on my to-do list.  A familiar sense of helplessness and fear creep into the thought process. “I can’t!” I said to myself. “I can’t do it all!”

Staring down, I notice my feet are not touching all the patches. Little stones lay everywhere and I am not considering which ones to walk on.  Going over all the rough spots in the lot would take hours – a frantic attempt at a task that is not mine or necessary. Millions of pebbles prove that trying to touch them all is a wasteful and ridiculous idea. My job is simply to keep walking.

Sometimes there are too many obligations. I and many of us lock ourselves into more than is necessary, more than we can reasonably do.

This time, I quit. 

It’s a familiar feeling, being  overwhelmed.  My reaction has to change.  Plopping in a chair in near defeat, I focus on God and ask for wisdom. The prayer, I can’t but You can enters my thoughts.

Life and mind for each of us seems gravelly and broken sometimes. Just as we finish one repair, another pothole appears. We chase flaws instead of dreams. That pace will last for only so long.  

My to-do list is up for reassessment, for sure!  First, a break is top priority. I will sit back and wait on the Lord, and allow Him to heal my spirit. He will teach me what steps to take, and give me the strength to take them. 

Maybe someone else wants to hit every patch of cement and pebble in the parking lot. Not me. Endeavors succeed when we are free to focus. Mental health can flourish in a balanced life.  

I can’t means God can, and I’ll let him.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 27:14 

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*potholes by TACLUDA; woman by MOKRA, both of rgbstock.com

Help Hurting People Without Hurting Yourself: Summary of a Plan that Works

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Your family member, co-worker, spouse, romantic partner, friend, employee, or student is depressed. Majorly depressed.  You wonder how you can help, if you should become involved, and when life will return to normal.

What can you do with all the mixed emotions you are experiencing? You fear too much stress, and perhaps even a case of your own depression. The key is insight.

Insight guides your compassion 

Before we can operate in a meaningful way, we have to start with knowledge. Depression is one word with two definitions. You may hear, “I am so depressed, this weather makes me want to stay home in bed.” That is an example of the first definition: a state of being sad, low mood, feeling down.

Depression under the second definition is a potentially disabling or fatal condition. Several serious, combined symptoms, causing observable struggles with daily functioning, will occur most of the day most days for at least two weeks before a clinician will diagnose major depression.

Every one of us has nights we wish we did not have to wake up in the morning. Grief, burnout, and bad days are part of life.  Yet most people will never experience anything more than these blues. This is why  understanding the difference is beneficial as you care for your loved one who is majorly depressed.  

Insight into personal boundaries helps you and your loved one cope

Thoughtfully established boundaries protect you from losing peace of mind. Contrary to a familiar definition of “lines in the sand,” boundaries are not about stopping someone else’s negativity or demands. Think about it – you have no control over other people’s choices or over external events. None.   

Your power begins when you draw a circle around yourself. Ask, “What will I allow in here with me? What will I accept from others? What will I carry, and how will I respond?” 

Healthy boundaries are not selfish! They are doable and successful. Compassionate Boundaries, a nine-part series of posts, shows the way.  As you develop your yeses and nos, freedom will surprise you.

Meanwhile, boundaries based on realistic limitations protect you from burnout. You remain present and able to help your depressed loved one without resentment.  

Insight into what to do or say heals your fear

We want to do what is right. Stigma and myths cause us to hesitate out of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. The gold standard of support is letting  one who struggles know you care. 

No, talking about depression does not make it worse. No, your loved one cannot snap out of it.  Yes, professional treatment works for most people. Yes, you can confidently know what to do if a person speaks of suicide. Yes, you have many options. 

Non-critical acceptance is important. Scolding does not help. Invitations, gifts, acts of service and more, provide some water in the wilderness of depression. Anything you have to offer matters, even if you think it is little.

__________________________________________

BookThis Practical Seminar: How to Help Hurting People without Hurting Yourself

This seminar is designed to shed insight into depression and anxiety,  show practical ways supports do help, and provide necessary tools for healthy boundaries which protect everyone concerned.   
  • Analogies and stories
  • Interactive 
  • Practical answers to common questions 
  • Factual responses to stigmas and myths 

Please email Nancy at NancyVirden.hope@gmail.com, or use this convenient form.   For more information follow these links:   Testimonials      Bio       

___________________________________________

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

Dear Pastors and Church Leaders, You Matter Too

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Pastors and other church leaders, here’s an announcement.

You cannot do it all.

You do not read minds, know the will of God for each person, comprehend all marriages or families, or see through walls.  You do not understand all things. So, give yourself a break. 

You are only human

Some people treat you like you are superhuman. Don’t believe that lie or accede to every demand. Hoops they want you to jump through will cost your peace of mind, and drive a wedge in your family. Don’t respond to every need. 

Some will treat you as less than human.  Don’t believe that lie, either. Grant yourself permission to make mistakes and be forgiven. Allow God to redeem the day without you begging for mercy from those who would dehumanize you.

You have a teacher

Take a breath. Take a break. Sit with God, and listen. Put down study for a while; it will not be forever. Let the Holy Spirit wash you with grace.  We never learn much from God when our focus is on stress, deadlines, pleasing people, holding on to our jobs, satisfying the board, anxiety, or panic.  

Focus on him. He sees you.

Practice what you preach about trusting God when times are tough. Read about his provision, sovereignty, mercy, and grace. This is the God who promises to lead you down the best path for your life. Listen.

Take care 

I was going to write about how much the church-at-large needs to change in its general approach to mental illness and abuse. You may not want to hear that now. Maybe you need to know that you matter too.

Leaders of churches also have trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health challenges. You need self-care, and perhaps professional care as much as anyone.  Do not be afraid to pursue what is best for you.  You matter too. 

Dear Pastor, you are called to a high purpose, not as God’s right-hand assistant.  Church leaders, you are servants, not gods.  I know you know this intellectually and in your spirit, but is your mind at rest?  You matter too.

Take care of yourself first. That includes vacations, time-outs, and days off.  Nurture family  relationships.  If this seems impossible, maybe you have forgotten that you matter too. 

So very much.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 27:13, 14

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

 

******COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

Platitude Cemetary: For Unhelpful Comments Said to Abuse Victims

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

While abusers and abuse victims have some predictable commonalities with others who share their positions,  healthy responses are unique to each person.

Abuse is in a separate class from normal relational conflict.  Platitudes take a one-size-fits-all-problems approach.    

Platitudes are not harmless

The worst platitudes are those who send an abuser’s target back into the abusive relationship.  Even so-called innocent platitudes can encourage a victim to retreat into the shadows.  

Apathy, feeling helpless to change anything,  and false beliefs create platitudes. Good-hearted folks say them, uselessly trying to help.  Here are several that may sound familiar, and the good reasons to not repeat them anymore. 

12 platitudes to bury for good

“Time will heal.”   No, it won’t. Unless one escapes the abuse, time does not help.  The only way to recover from abuse is to stop it. After one escapes, becoming whole again requires more than time.

“It could be worse.”    This is a subjective statement.  It’s dismissive and unhelpful.  People in pain have substantial reason to care about their struggles and no need to invalidate the experiences as if they, as humans, do not matter. 

“It’s not about marrying the right person, it’s about being the right person.”   An abuser’s target already tries to “be the right person” to the point of losing herself, and sometimes her life.  

“Jesus said forgive 70 times 70.”    Forgiveness and trust are not the same animal.  We can forgive and say ‘no more’ at the same time.  John 8:58-59  John 2:23-25

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”   We better speak up! Otherwise we become enablers and help protect the abuser. 

“Just give it to God” or “Pray harder.”   “Just” is a word of dismissal. It says the victim is spiritually weak, and has no real cause to continue suffering. Besides, prayer is not a matter of begging. God hears us the first time.  Matthew 6:6-8

 “If you respect him, he will love you.”   Nah, he won’t.  Abuse is all about power and control.   

“God hates divorce.”  He also hates abuse, lying, slander, adultery, bragging, pride, and insolence. He loves the abused, brokenhearted, contrite, and troubled. He tells us to practice justice and help the oppressed.  Proverbs 6:16-19   Romans 1:28-32   Psalm 9:8-10

“There are two sides to every story.”  Everyone has their version, yes. The narcissist will see his/her entitlement, and fault the victim whether true or not.  The abuser’s side of the story is often a mix of regret, promises to change, tears of remorse,  even prayer and submission to counseling. Missing are repentance, lasting change, deep understanding of the problem,  a blame-the-victim ceasefire,  and honest confession.  

“All couples have problems.”  Yes and no. All couples have times of disappointment, maybe even years of it. Not all couples have an abuser in the mix. This is beyond “couple problems.”  It is an abuser problem.  

“Let the past stay in the past.”  The past is often all an abuse victim has to present his/her case, to seek justice, or find needed help. Even more so, the past shows us patterns. These can lead to better awareness for the victim and others. 

“God can save any marriage”  ie:  “God can change anyone.”   When a narcissist will not see his/her sin and is unwilling to change (despite words to the contrary), God will not force  his salvation or Spirit on them.  1 John 1:8-9    Matthew 18: 17 

The next blog will offer options to these platitudes to arm you with truthful and effective responses. Stay tuned! 

Today’s Helpful Word

Ephesians  4: 29

Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.

 

******COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.
Most of these platitudes were borrowed from readers of https://cryingoutforjustice.com

If Dad’s Love Falls Short: 3 Ways to Move Beyond the Pain

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

A narcissist dad thought it was everyone else’s responsibility to reach out to him. If friends or family did not,  it was their loss.

One child’s personality allowed him to take initiative and make compromises trying to find a relationship with his father. Another child was an introvert, and did not understand his father’s rules.

The first child received some attention. It was especially apparent in public because that is where narcissist’s shine. The other child was almost completely ignored except when his dad yelled at him for daring to cause an inconvenience.

This dad’s behavior was not faithfulness. This is not what love looks like.

Yet many of us have experienced fathers like this and much worse. The picture of love ingrained in our thoughts since childhood is drawn of betrayal, broken promises,  and neglect. Our fathers left us empty, angry, and lost.

Love is…

Kelly Clarkson sings a song to her dad who abandoned her when she was six.  Her lyrics compare him to the father of her children. *

He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece, he restores my faith
That a man can be kind and the father could, stay

These words remind me that behind every negative message from a faithless dad, there exists a basic truth. We are each worthy of a better love. No one can decide differently. If they try, we do not have to believe them.

Exchange false for true

The trick to changing negative core beliefs is to replace them. We will not overcome habitual thought processes by trying to ‘get over it.’ Our power is in switching to a new narrative.

  1. Stop the abuse. If you are an adult and your dad is still toxic, find a way to  draw boundaries and stand by them. Talk to him about the situation. Explain what words or behaviors are deal-breakers.  You decide how often or if you meet, and how long you stay in the same room. He threw away his authority.  You have the human right to emotional safety.
  2. Challenge your self-talk. Ask why you repeat self-defeating cycles. What can you do differently? Pay attention to what language goes through your mind. If you think (or start to say) “I’m a loser,” exchange the phrase for something positive whether you believe it yet or not. For example,  “I’m a fighter” points out how you continue to try.
  3. Reach out to the Father of Fathers. God promises to never abandon us, no matter what our parents do. He is good, faithful, and full of love for those who trust him. He made it possible, no matter how messed-up we are, to come to him. The way God designed is through his Son Jesus.  The New Testament (Bible) states plainly that by believing God sent his one and only Son to die and rise again,  we can ask for and find forgiveness and peace.

Instead of “I am abandoned,” try, “God loves me.” Take in positive truth and watch your pain recede.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*Piece By Piece

 

It’s Obvious, Obviously. 3 Daily Practices for Building a Legacy of Integrity (Even on Social Media)

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

An ex-friend once trolled me on Twitter using a fake name. She miscalculated when she thought I would miss the obvious. Of course I knew it was her.

Trolls. Social media, while intended to join diverse worlds and connect friends, early became a pawn for gossips, rumor mills, conspiracy theorists, and opinions without facts. What struck me in the case of my ex-friend, was the wicked-witch style joy she found in trolling and shutting out the free speech of others.  If she could cause a website she did not like to shut down, she actually rejoiced!

Masked Bandits. Not everyone is vicious and calculating like her. However, plenty of people cause harm with their ignorance.  Behind the social media “mask” of no eye-contact,  voice inflection, or body language, those who would judge and rebuke make assumptions based on emotions, projection, or limited experience.

Cowards Perceived anonymity makes a coward bold.  Bragadociousness is a cover.  Anyone can say “I would have done differently” when not faced with another person’s challenge.  Identifiable false accusers will do almost anything to save face in hopes that someone, anyone will see them for who they are not – brave.

The above characters are people you do not want to quote if you wish to maintain integrity. Somewhere, inside the brains of people who relish  fleeting moments of power by being “in the know,” is a disconnect. Being proved wrong repeatedly does not faze them. I do not know about you, but making a fool of myself is something I try to avoid.

Do you want to bypass momentary flashes of power and gain actual respect?  LISTEN.

Each time you are tempted to think, “I know already” or “I don’t need to know,” pause and listen.  Grasp humility with all your might. It requires  less sheer will power to stop talking, stop moving, stop processing and listen when you know you cannot know everything about any situation.

By listening we gain insight we would not otherwise have.  Listen to your family, customers, friends, and those who would influence you.  Make mental or actual notes. These will help prepare you for daily practice number two.

Do you want to avoid dying the thousand deaths of a coward?  ASK.  

Proactively asking questions, maybe especially when it seems unnecessary,  opens windows into what lay beyond the surface.  Cowards avoid perceived conflict at all costs unless they know they can win.  Instead, ask for clarification when uncertain. Face difficult facts and take responsiblity when wrong. Exercising genuine interest in others and their points of view will leave you smarter in the end.

Ask the hard questions of a claim or situation to protect yourself and others.  Ask why and how, and follow the rewards if you wonder who is telling the truth. Look  at whole persons instead of moments in time. Be wise.

Would you like your legacy to be one of knowledge and strength of character?  DOUBLE CHECK FACTS and CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES. 

Question ALL marketing.  Look for scholarly journals on topics instead of believing what you see. Use Snopes.com and other fact-checking sources before repeating what you hear.  Do not panic when the “latest” sounds horrific. Wait. The facts will rise. Truth can withstand scrutiny. 

There is a reason the boy who cried wolf eventually could not find anyone to believe him. Too many words and opinions will lead to other people tuning you out. Save your voice for the most important issues. If you have something vital to say, it will be more effective if you have an audience left to hear it.

Not every idea is a good one. Not every good idea is a best one. Unless you are in a purposeful brain-storming session, not every thought is important to repeat.

It’s obvious, obviously

Not everything we read, hear, or believe is the truth.  By listening in humility, asking with genuine interest, double checking the facts, and choosing our battles, we leave the world of the petty behind and reach for integrity that inspires others.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 19:14

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.