Tag Archives: abuse

Wise as Serpents: If the Word You are Hearing Does not Set You Free, it is not the Word of God (Part 25 of Sermon Series)

A powerful read on how some church folks twist or distort Scripture to justify mistreatment.

A Cry For Justice

God’s truth brings believers into freedom.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Evil distorts, perverts, twists and morphs the Word of God into a wicked counterfeit which traumatizes people and brings them into bondage. Evil loves to quote God’s Word but always does so with the method and intent of using it to deceive and enslave.

We are surrounded by phoney religion today, just as was the case in Jesus’ day when the religious establishment in Israel was corrupt. The temple was not the Temple, but had become a den of robbers. The righteous were put out of the temple while the wicked not only remained members in good standing but were preeminent in it — exalted with trumpets. When the Lamb of God came…

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Q&A with former Solo Mama, Angela

Today I visited with Angela, who solo-parented for two years during her children’s formative years. I loved her insights…so many things she said resonated with me. Let’s sit down, sip some English Breakfast tea, and hear what she has to share with us.

tea pot

DVC: The verse Lamentations 2:19 was especially meaningful to me while raising my children alone. It says, “Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord; lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your children.” Was there a particular verse or passage that really encouraged or uplifted you during your single-parent years?

A: Oh yes! My favorite passages during that time came from the Psalms. I learned in Psalm 34 that the Lord would be my protector, provider, and He would answer me in my time of trouble. He would rescue me from my fears! Psalm 34:6 said I didn’t need to be ashamed. When I felt ashamed at the failure of my marriage, at the shortcomings of being a single mom, I could turn there and find hope.

DVC: Tell us how long you single-parented, and how old your kids were at the time.

A: I solo-parented for two years. My children were elementary through junior high at the time. But as many women experience, the weight of parenting fell on me throughout their earlier years as well.

DVC: During my single years, my parents and my ex’s parents really stepped in and helped with things like transportation and meals. Did you have a strong support network?

A: No, I didn’t really have a support network. Coming out of the abusive situation, I hadn’t been allowed friends and my family had been systematically alienated. It took a lot of prayer, work, and time to build a new support network. But I had a family friend who held my mortgage. She helped me by providing relief for a year of my $300/month mortgage. (That sounds low, but it was an inexpensive mobile home.) I paid off a ton of debt and then started paying on the mortgage again.

DVC: I know there were a few things I wish I’d done differently. Do you have any regrets from those years?

A: Absolutely. I’d do so many things differently. But then, I wouldn’t have the wisdom I do now to help others with what I learned. I think I made a ton of mistakes, flailing around trying to find my way. The dating thing, wow, so embarrassing. But loneliness, even from a bad marriage, is a difficult situation.  If I had it to do over again, I suppose the one thing I’d do is be single longer and not date for a lot longer. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to grow and heal.

DVC: But there were also things I did that turned out to be the best decision for them. I enrolled them in Christian school, taught them the gospel, enforced consequences, rewarded them for positive behavior. Looking back, what are some things you know you did right?

A: I love this question because we beat ourselves up for our mistakes too much. I think I did a good job connecting my children into healthy activities and church activities. I made sure my sons were around healthy men/coaches and my daughter had an outlet around healthy coaches, both men and women. I had to fight for those activities because my ex-spouse tried to force me to stop putting my children in any extra-curricular activities through the courts. He didn’t want to pay for them or take the kids to anything. He won in court, not having to pay, but he couldn’t win forcing me to stop enrolling and allowing my children those activities. So I paid. I worked extra to do it at night while they slept. But I do not regret it. My children explored their talents and callings because they could go to those activities. But they also had healthy adults pouring love and wisdom into them. I see them now, as adults, so much healthier for that decision. I knew I couldn’t be everything for them. I had to find others to help me provide healthy input and grow their talents.

DVC: Can you think of anything you’d like to tell other single moms to encourage them?

A: Don’t get so caught up in the financial support from the ex. That can too easily get construed as the battle when you’re really fighting for your children to have a healthy, happy life. My lawyer(s) couldn’t see the battle wasn’t money. Money was a symptom of the problem. In court, that’s where they wanted to start. By doing that, they lumped me into the exact place that didn’t fit. I felt painted into a character that had nothing to do with me. Instead of the funding issue, get creative with education and employment. I worked in sales and on weekend did craft fairs with my children. By working on weekends in craft fairs, my children did the activities with me (unless they were at a camp or kid event) and we spent time doing it together. That built relationship and a sense of working toward a goal together.

I have to say that my children are all very good with many aspects of business. Doing these craft fairs together built their skills in sales, creativity, and relationships. But I also helped them do fundraisers for their dreams. If one wanted a certain camp, I helped them find a way to make and sell Christmas cards or chocolates or yard work. This way I didn’t have to say no, my child learned to work for what they wanted, and I did it with them to help them learn how and to stay safe in the process. I’d do that all over again! Because of these creative ways to earn money for activities and experience my children have ended up traveling around the country and world. They never felt like they couldn’t do something because we’d find a way to focus on the dream and work toward it.

Yes, there were many meals I ate what was left over after my children finished. Yes, I had to get creative and communicate a lot with bill collectors after the divorce. But one year after, I had gained a confidence that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Now, if someone says it can’t be done, I say, “Hmm, I bet there’s a way. I’ll give it a try.” I don’t take someone else’s negative opinion as my fact. Very rarely has that other opinion proved true. But most often, creativity has proven triumphant.

 

Finally…an e-zine for single parents.

narcissistic-mothers-sm

In my first year of single parenting, the internet was a mere infant. Most family and parenting magazines were targeted to intact families. Women who kicked their abusive husbands to the curb were still looked upon unfavorably in most evangelical circles, especially among the older generation. [Someday I plan to blog about that tough first year.] When I did find reading material targeted at me, it made me shudder. The statistics were dire: children of single moms were more likely to drop out of high school. Daughters were more likely to get pregnant as a teen, and sons were more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Both were more likely to use drugs.

I couldn’t win for losing.

But I also knew my sons didn’t HAVE to take the path to loserdom. Check back again for more on how, with the help of God and a support system, my sons overcame all those negative forces threatening to take them under.

How much easier if I’d had this:

http://singleparentfamiliesmagazine.com/

The founder is herself a single mother. If you are too, I encourage you to save this link and refer to it frequently.

Blessings to all,

~DVC~

Narcissistic mother.

This mother is just a shell of a person, like most narcissists. I bet Dr. Phil wanted to wring her neck. I wanted to say, “Repeat after me…It’s clear I screwed up and I’m terribly sorry.” I had to apologize to my own kids SO many times.

Narcissists are just highly trained monkeys.

Narcissism: Nature or nurture?

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Lucky Otters Haven

organ_grinder_monkey

It seems some people think narcissists are smarter than other people, because their mental and emotional abuse and manipulations appear so calculated and complex, and they seem to always be able to anticipate your actions and reactions. People also think you can’t outsmart a narcissist for the same reason.

While it’s true that outsmarting a narcissist means you always have to anticipate their actions ahead of time (which is difficult for a victim to do), it can be done, especially if the narcissist isn’t very smart. In fact, some of them are pretty stupid. The stupid ones are probably less dangerous, but even the highly manipulative and cunning ones who are experts at gaslighting and other mind games aren’t necessarily all that smart.

They’re more like highly trained monkeys. Some monkeys can perform very complex tasks that make it appear as if they’re incredibly smart. But this is an illusion…

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Wounded Children

“The ACE Study tells us that experiencing chronic, unpredictable toxic stress in childhood predisposes us to a constellation of chronic conditions in adulthood.” (Psychology Today)

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Have you ever wished for a way to measure your childhood adversity? If so, this is for you:

Finding your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score

While you were growing up, during your first 18 years of life:

1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

7. Was your mother or stepmother: Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or who used street drugs? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide? Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

10. Did a household member go to prison? Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _______ This is your ACE Score.

(downloaded from acestudy.org)

If you scored 4 or above, you definitely experienced adverse childhood conditions. To find out what your score means, go here.

How Many Narcissists?

lightbulbs

Q. How many narcissists does it take to change a lightbulb?

<drumroll>

A. Only one, but he has to wait for the whole world to revolve around him.

Those of us raised by narcissist parent(s) sometimes use humor to band-aid the pain. What do you use to cover the pain? For many years, I used alcohol. But I thank the Lord for the counseling I received during my recovery that opened my eyes. Twenty years ago, I hadn’t yet labelled the role I was forced into as scapegoating, one of the offshoots of narcissistic abuse. But you don’t need a label to recognize mistreatment.

How I wish abusive parents understood the following diagram:

Abused Children—> Mean, angry adults/Substance abusers—> Child abusers—> The Incarcerated.

See the vicious cycle? Abused children grow up mean and angry. They are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and even abuse their own children. Often leading to incarceration.

Instead of Imagining no more heaven (a tragic visual), imagine no more abuse. Now that will be heaven!

I’ll close with the following quote from the attached link: “..behind closed doors, all pretense falls away. Only you, their child, knows what it’s like to endure their cold shoulders for days on end over a minor infraction, or bear the brunt of constant, age-inappropriate demands for perfection and strength. You know what it’s like to be parented by a narcissist.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/6-ways-to-know-you-were-raised-by-narcissists_5616b091e4b0082030a18f72?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063&section=australia&adsSiteOverride=au

~DVC~

KL Dierking – Featured Author

It’s always fun to get to know fellow authors. KL Dierking speaks and blogs about overcoming the negative effects of abuse. Find out more about Victorious Living Team, and her new release, No Longer a Victim – Made to Be Victorious – here.

Preliminary results of the Parental Narcissism Survey are here!

Many adults were raised by one or more narcissistic parents. Were you one of them? And did life often not make sense? There’s a good reason for it.

Lucky Otters Haven

narcissistic-mothers-sm

Back in February, I was approached by a researcher, Ph.D candidate Valerie Berenice Coles of the University of Georgia, who asked me to post a survey on this site to collect data from ACONs about parental narcissism and the effects it had on participants. In June, I was asked to repost the survey again, because more participants were needed to complete the study. I promised to post the results when I had them. This morning I received an email from Valerie, with the preliminary results, so here they are.

Thanks again to everyone for helping us develop and validate a measure of parental narcissism! The response from the ACON community was tremendous and we are the envy of our colleagues that so many of you took time out of your lives to help us with this research.

We currently have a paper from the questionnaire out at an academic…

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Recipe for Single Moms

Many years ago, my three-year-old son discovered a love for food preparation. He’d come up with all kinds of concoctions. Here’s one of them:

½ gallon of milk

2/3 quart chocolate milk powder

Approx 8 tbsp salt

¼ can of pepper

¼ jar of onion powder

½ box of petit fours

 In a saucepan, mix all ingredients together on medium-high heat, stir, and enjoy. Note: In order to capture every subtle flavor of each ingredient, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to prepare before 6:00 am, before anyone else is up. I promise it will fill your home with a mysterious yet enticing scent, and will bring the rest of the family scurrying to the kitchen.

chocolate shake

Doesn’t that look scrumptious? A half-gallon of milk mixed with chocolate powder sounds like a promising beginning, doesn’t it? Funny how life can imitate recipes. In my own case, life as a single parent started out not so bad. Once I rid my home of my alcoholic husband’s toxic influence, the atmosphere lightened as if the house itself breathed a big sigh of relief.

But then life threw a lot of salt into the mix. And way too much pepper. One of my sons began getting in trouble at school for disruptive behavior, and he was only 6 years old. His grades nosedived and his behavior grew increasingly unruly as the long year wore on. As this was happening,  another son, the chef wannabe, was diagnosed with delayed development.

Sweet had turned to bitter.

I had eliminated one problem – abusive husband – but had acquired umpteen more. Child support was erratic, at best. Financial problems, like onion powder, is only tolerable in small doses.

Life had turned into a disaster that made me gag.

I decided I needed a way to sweeten up my life, and came up with the perfect solution: a delicious new romance! A purely selfish, yet pleasurable way to make life bearable again.

petit fours

Of course, it didn’t work. Petit fours soaked in salt, pepper and onions aren’t so tasty anymore. Neither is romance when the rest of life isn’t working.

But here I am, twenty years later, my sanity still intact—at least, I hope it is. My son the aspiring chef is on the verge of graduating from college. My unruly son made it through school and has been on his own for many years.

So, you might wonder, how did I get from there to here?

It’s a long story, one I’ll have to save for next time. But it’s a testament to God’s grace. His merciful concern for the widow and the orphan.

Be sure to come back for the rest of the story.

~~Dawn V. Cahill~~