|Flowers in my neighborhood
This has been an interesting week or so, none like we’ve ever had before on this blog, that is for sure. (If you are just coming to the blog for the first time, we had some great discussion in the three previous posts which are linked at the bottom of this post.) Because I had already dealt with Mr. Butler on this topic on his own blog, I had an idea what responses to expect from him when I made a post highlighting his comment. I thought long and hard before doing it.
During that time, I received a handful of e-mails from people expressing strong emotions and opinions, some even asking me to move along to another topic. Other e-mails from people said they were very uncomfortable and the blog did not feel safe anymore. Some even told me that the condescending attitude and harshness was triggering them – reminding them of their painful experiences. I intentionally allowed the topic to continue and did not put up more posts for a purpose (also allowing time for Fred to answer questions).
Some of you have not exposed your spiritual abuse story to anyone. It has remained private. I used the dialogue between Fred and me to illustrate a point. One aspect I hope you have been able to pick up is discerning who you can trust. It’s so important to have support, but clearly, some people are not willing to to hear, do not want to hear, do not want to believe your story. They instead want to focus on other side issues unrelated to your story: sin in your life, where was your husband, why you weren’t in the Word, etc.
Let your speech always be with grace,
as though seasoned with salt,
so that you will know how you should respond
Those grumblers and complainers Fred spoke about probably do have sin issues that need to be dealt with. But in cases of true abuse, the abuse was not incurred because of our sins, but the sins of the perpetrator. People who believe that we are the cause of the abuse are not safe people. It will be a risk to share with them and we will have to decide if it’s worth the battle. For others, who suffered deep abuse, dealing with someone who rejects their story could be devastating emotionally and can cause symptoms of PTSD (flashbacks, very bad memories), so those folks need to be very prudent in their awareness of what is happening in conversations, looking for clues to determine if a person is safe or not.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, I have strength.
By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
I want to open it up for discussion, but with a couple rules and this might prove to be challenging. But it’s worth it and I think a lot of you will agree with me. Fred Butler is absolutely right about one thing (and I’m actually thankful that he underscored this very loudly and clearly for me). If you search the internet and read spiritual abuse blogs, a lot of them are complaining and whining and seem to wallow in misery, getting nowhere. I do not see the fruit in that. Can our blog be an exception? I think it can. Can we keep our comments honoring Christ, yet speaking the truth in love? I would like to issue that challenge for this blog. Sharing our (your) stories is truthful and sometimes it is not pretty. I’m not saying we cannot discuss truthful stories at all. What I’m talking about is personal attacks on people. Here’s an example of how we can define that fine line:
“Mickey Mouse is a bully” = personal attack
“Interfering with someone’s life to that degree is treating them like a bully” = not a personal attack
“I feel threatened when being around this person: = not a personal attack
In light of the last few posts, I want to bring some closure. There were some important lessons to be learned and you might find it helpful to skim over the last three posts. What can you take from those conversations (in the posts themselves and especially the comments) that will help you and others here? We will run into people who don’t believe us, want to accuse us of being the cause of the problem, etc. So what can we learn from this? What are some clues in determining who is safe or not? What knowledge have we gained that will be helpful in the future in dealing with people who don’t believe us, who don’t want to hear us?
Additionally, we can use this time to discuss what happened to you personally during this time? Were you bothered by the conversation? Some people shared their feelings with me privately. Would you be willing to share them publicly (of course with an anonymous name if you prefer)? Chances are, you are not the only one and by sharing your comment, others will be able to relate with you and discover they weren’t alone.
And finally, feel free to discuss the parameters I suggested for blog discussions. Is this the right direction for our blog? Do you have any other ideas how to keep this place Christ-honoring? I don’t know if you caught it, but I’m using the pronoun “our” with blog. The blog is not here for me. It’s here for us.
Here are the previous three posts up for discussion:
If we have enough participation, we can use this info for the Spiritual Abuse Help area above.