Tag Archives: neglect

Delicious and Deadly: Cycles of Self-Defeat and God’s Solution

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

After searching the store for turkey roast, my son, who was with me,  finally found one.  Yesterday, I threw it, various vegetables, and some cream of chicken into my crock pot.  Almost everything but the soup was frozen. 

On the low setting, I allowed it all to cook for 10 hours. This is a no-brainer. Dozens of times I have cooked frozen ingredients on low for long periods, both in the crock pot and in the oven.   It always works, and everything is tender. 

No one in 37 years of home cooking has become sick on my food. (That is not to say my boys did not hate spinach when they were little!) However, after chilling the turkey stew in the refrigerator for 2 hours, I ate a bowlful and was sorry very quickly.

I have no idea what, if anything, I did wrong. Possibly the ingredients were already bad, and in their frozen state I could not tell. This one thing I do know – it was delicious and deadly.  (I am ok, by the way.)

Pacifiers are delicious

This stew is not the only time something delicious has been deadly in my life.  By “delicious” I am describing temptations of any kind.  In our humanness, we feel needs and wants. From a distance the solutions we choose appear delightful. 

For example, some of us live with a giant hole in our psyche left there by neglect, abandonment, rejection, abuse, or any type of lack of nurture.  That is hard, and learning to deal with it can lead to many tempting forms of relief. 

You know what they are – substances, food, sex, workaholism, co-dependencies … the list is endless. Chosen pacifiers that we come to believe we must have to survive, unfortunately are many times delicious, and emotionally, spiritually, and even physically deadly. 

Letting go of the temporary for the permanent

I am not going to sidestep what is of the essence with this issue. We are, (I too many, many times) trying to lean on toppling fences.  Because we see them and understand their power of relief, we assume they can hold us up.  Then comes the day that they do not. 

This week, I had to let one such pacifier go.  It was interfering with my ability (oh let’s be honest – my willingness) to trust Jesus in all situations. This dependency has served as a false god,  idol worship if you will.  It seemed easier and more substantial to run to it than to lean on the solid fence of God’s unchanging good (holy, love) nature. 

I feel freer, less burdened.

The good question to ask is, what have any of us gained by returning to those wobbly fences? The answer is pain, exhaustion, confusion, sorrow, and threats of death  because fake gods, or temporary pacifiers, will let us down.  Yuck.  Still, like a yo-yo I kept spinning back to this specific “solution”  as if the result would be different after a while. Insane. 

It makes much more sense to rely on God’s unfailing love, and the eternal salvation offered through faith in Jesus. This week, my emotions, mentality, and even physicality are taking on the challenge of letting go. It is rough, but I am full of praise for the loving arms of Jesus who has never let me fall without lifting me in his compassionate love and meeting every need. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Jeremiah 4 :1,2

 “… says the Lord, if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols  and stray away no more. Then when you swear by my name, saying,  ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ you could do so  with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing …”

***** 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.

*pics by ALEXBRUDA of rgbstock.com

 

 

Is Laughter the Best Medicine for America’s National Mood Disorder? Part 2

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries  

A national leader, buffeted by war and assassination attempts against his life, once wrote poetry and songs as a means of dealing with his emotions.  He was a war hero who struggled with depression. Responsibility for his country weighed heavy on his mind while he prayed. 

He was a king who did not come from royal blood. His family broke apart in explosive and tragic ways.  First, his father-in-law, king before him, hunted him down for years out of jealous rage. HIs first wife mocked him and left. He lost three sons, one to stillbirth and the others murdered.

Two of his sons tried to overthrow their father’s kingdom. Another son raped his own sister. It is no exaggeration calling this preeminent family majorly dysfunctional.

Here is a clue to the trouble. About the second son who tried to overthrow the king, it is written, “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, ‘Why are you doing that?’ “

Yes, it was David, King of Israel in roughly 970 to 930 BC, who reigned well in public and terribly at home.  

King David’s grief and plea for mercy

Some of his songs are filled with grief over his crime and failures. For example, one follows his adultery and murder of his lover’s innocent husband.* 

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love…
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night…
  Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me…
 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves…

Sometimes it is easy to sit back in our armchairs or at our computer screens judging leaders who seem to have two faces. King David was flawed, yet he never stopped seeking God. I know religious people who have miserably failed at parenting, marriage, or leadership. I am divorced, and certainly imperfect, yet my heart is after God. 

 How God views our personal failings

God does not look at us like we see each other. I see positive and negative behaviors in myself, family members, friends, strangers, and national leaders. He sees our hearts. When our desire is for God, he knows it.

That is why we can laugh. No, what happened to David’s family is not funny. Harm brought to any of us through family dysfunction is not amusing. National and global crises are no joke. Tragedy is not fodder for entertainment. 

Laughter can come from a place of peace when we know the ultimate judge (Jesus) sees us as forgivable. He does not enable or endorse our sins, however will respond to sincere hearts who break over them. We have a chance (not a loophole making sin ok), for the repurchase of our soul that we sold to the highest bidder.  

Laughter follows mourning

King David’s song continues:

then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness…
 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God…

Our country needs to laugh. Here’s the thing – we need to mourn first. Charlottesville, human trafficking, racism, sexism, stigmas, hate toward anyone who is different or who does not agree with our pet ideas, national infighting, infidelity in marriage, abuse in the home, and so much more, are national and personal sins for which we need to repent. 

It is clear we fail each other and God. Fallout from our poor and unkind decisions can be great. Painful consequences will occur. Even at our best we fall short of perfect love, absolute unselfishness, and wisdom. 

Let us allow difficulty to bring us to our knees in prayer. God will answer us. King David was not always a great man, and his family and nation suffered. In the end, he consistently pursued God. HIs life is an example of divine mercy and answered prayer. His honest and revealing songs and poems became part of one of the most read and quoted books in history, the Book of Psalms. 

Each of us can choose, regardless of pain and worry, to surrender to Jesus Christ, and laugh with joy in his love. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 16:11

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

 

**********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 is yours.

*Psalm 51

*earth pic by NAZRETH on rgbstock.com; crowd from kozzi.com

What Am I Supposed to Do With My Life? Why Am I Here? Who Am I?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-24774846-a-mans-face-looking-awayYou’ve seen them; there are those people who seem to know from a fairly young age what it is they want to do. They take the right courses in High School and college, graduate with good grades, and step right into their future. Their passion and drive steer them to meet goal after goal.

I’ve envied those people. Have you?

Then there are some of us who for whatever reason cannot seem to pinpoint a target. We flit from one idea to the next, experience success intermittently, and our motivation wavers. It’s possible we have a specific dream circumstances do not allow us to chase, but more likely we don’t stick to passing fancies.

What I am describing is a confused identity, a loss of self. If anyone asked me what I wanted to do to make a living, for most of my life I would have said “I don’t know” or named the most current project. I really didn’t know. How could one choose who to be when she does not know who she is?

This blog is not about blame, however clearly there are influencing factors. If parents and other significant people neglect a child’s basic physical and emotional needs, the child will grow up without a definition of ‘need’ or how to fulfill it.

During the Ferguson, Missouri riots, television showed man-on-the-street interviews. One of those questioned said, “Broken people break things.” That is not a moral excuse, yet is too often true. Brokenness breeds brokenness breeds brokenness.

 

Not until the big 5-0 was staring me down did an idea of who I am begin to emerge. Then I had to find out what my needs are. Failing to understand these concepts had allowed for little development of purpose or goals, and no reason to be.

Quite simply, having truth explained in a way that made sense changed everything. 

“If you aim at nothing you will surely hit it.” is a paraphrase of a quote from an unknown source. It’s meaning is as old as time. Here are 4 goals to help kickstart discovery. 

  • Ask God to lead
  • Find wise, knowledgeable, and experienced counsel
  • Dig in to apply suggested changes
  • Practice self-care

Life has purpose. Having a sense of who you are makes the journey much more fulfilling.

Go ahead, look for you.

*****

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 is yours.

*picture from qualitystockphotos.com

 

For an Adult Child of Neglect, Trust is a Stretch

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

You know that moment when  stretching and maneuvering finally lands your fingertips on that mug on the top shelf? Skin touches the answer to your need while you feel hopeful and taste victory!

Suddenly it is gone, slipped beyond your reach, and no amount of fumbling about will bring it back. Your choice is to give up or fetch a footstool and try again.

If you are an adult child of neglect, you may experience relationships to be like reaching for an elusive mug. It may seem undeniably impossible that one day someone could know you and care about your well-being. Your self-doubt, history, and even self-hatred does not allow for that hope. Your eyes are always searching for traps.

In your mind, smiles from people are not sincere or are offered in ignorance. Love, kindness, empathy, a helping hand – none are to be trusted because what you have known is for those to be temporary and unpredictable.

Nonetheless, one day you realize that your nemesis is actually your perceptions and beliefs. Learning to challenge those familiar enemies is difficult with many small advances, huge fall-backs, and so on. It takes a decision, determination, willingness, and support to challenge your worldview. 

You are so extraordinarily vulnerable now because one foot is in the grave called “can’t,” and the other is barely interested in doubling its efforts. Those who have come into your life to help, temporarily have enormous power because one wrong move and you’re doomed. You’ve no idea how to stand on your own anymore.

It is new to rely on someone else. Their consistency, boundaries, kindness, and God-forbid investment in you is unnerving. These are foreign concepts and you are certain you do not belong in this area of the world. Admitting you do not know what to do, suspiciously you reach for their hands anyway, and begin to gain some balance.

Then a conflict. A disappointment. A misunderstanding. New life has begun to seem achievable, you touch it, and then feel it slip away. Guilt returns in force, “Look what you did, you pushed too hard.”

One option is to give up. Another is to decide to reconnect with possibilities,  grab the footstool of trust, and try again.

***********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences 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 can be yours.

*picture from qualitystockphotos.com