What Can Happen to Sex Abuse Survivors When They Are Not Believed or Supported?

Sex abuse survivors need to be believed and supported

What happens when sex abuse survivors spend years trying to tell others of their abuse and it is met with deaf ears? What happens when family and friends turn their backs and ignore the abuse?

In the next personal story, we will read a response to an article I posted about Lorraine. IncestThrowaway1983 responded to Lorraine’s story sharing her personal story on Reddit and gave me permission to share it here. While reading this personal story, I’d like you to consider what happens when one spends a lifetime holding their dark secret alone. More importantly, what would have been the outcome had someone believed and supported this survivor? 

Tunnel mørk 007 til lyset

Tunnel mørk 007 til lyset

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IncestThrowaway1983’s Personal Story

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In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said,

‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

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I contemplated posting this under my regular Reddit name and I just couldn’t do it. I want so hard to embarrass the crap out of my family, but I still have this lingering shame inside of me, like I had done something wrong.

This isn’t a problem that is only for Christians. I mean while my family, which was involved deeply in politics in our home state, would profess Christianity behind closed doors, they were anything but.

It all started when I was seven. I had been orphaned at 7 years old and my brothers and I went to live with my grandparents. That was the summer everything started. My older brother began molesting me. He went to live with his father during the school year, but every summer up until I was 10, he would do deviant things to me.

I happened to have seen a special report on Nick News about molestation and realized suddenly and all at once that what had been happening to me was wrong. I felt it was wrong but couldn’t really put anything in words about how it was wrong.

So, I worked up some courage and told my school counselor. My family went thru the motions doing everything that the cops had them do. But every time they brought it up, it was, “You’ll laugh about this in the future,” and “You just have to get over this.” Come to find out from my younger brother, they believed I made all of it up.

They’ve hated me ever since. I finally got the balls to confront them about it when I was banned from coming to a family member’s funeral, but my rapist older brother was allowed to come. I mentioned how is it that I wasn’t allowed to come, but that my rapist brother was? And they said, “You really need to stop all that.” My grandfather, before he passed, told me that he didn’t believe that it had happened because I should have said something sooner.

And according to my younger brother, the ones that did believe me thought it looked bad on my family, and that i should have just kept it in the family and never told the school counselor, and because of that, I was (I’m paraphrasing her) a jerk.

All this is to say, it’s about keeping up stupid appearances, not religion. It’s about people who have this ridiculous belief that appearance is more important than truth. That it’s trivial – that what happened to me and others like me doesn’t have far-reaching consequences.

As a result of all that, I ended up with a bad drug problem, PTSD, self-harm issues, anxiety and a low self-worth. I still struggle with knowing if God loves me. I’m the only real Christian in my family and I’m probably the least sure of God’s existence. After all, I wonder where was He when those things were happening.

All this is to say, religion or none, it’s not about that, it’s about people who care more about what it looks like than what it actually is. (Source)

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Observations

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In both personal stories, we can see a common denominator of people who failed to help, listen, and believe these sex abuse survivors. These young ladies did not have advocates for them. They had to wrestle in their minds the messages that others told them.

When people don’t believe survivors, sometimes survivors ask themselves if they did something to cause the sex abuse. They might ask themselves if they were imaging it. Or they may question whether they could have done something differently to prevent it. And sometimes, they will begin to doubt their own recollection or reality of what happened to them. The inner turmoil a survivor must deal with can be paralyzing.

People I knew, loved, and trusted failed me.

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Although I was not a sex abuse survivor, I was a victim of child abuse at the hands of my father who legally adopted me (now deceased). He physically beat me from the age of 3 until 19 years old. I’ve shared parts of my story before. While some of the pain had to deal with my dad using me as a punching bag or an object to kick around, the most emotionally painful part of the abuse had to do with people that I knew, loved, and trusted who failed me, who turned the other way, who dismissed my story, and who defended my fun-loving dad instead. The real kicker for me was dealing with my mother, whom I adored. She stood by her man instead of defending me. Coming to grips with that shocking realization sent me on a very dangerous emotional downward spiral. It took several months of therapy to process that painful hurdle.

Untreated abuse can cause harm for survivors, the emotional toll sometimes lasting for years.

**

Are you seeing a pattern here? All three of us had trusted family members who did not believe us or help us. Some of our trusted family or friends actually put blame on us. All three of us – abuse survivors – have had to deal with difficult mental health issues which were diagnosed years after the abuse.

Untreated abuse can cause harm for survivors, the emotional toll sometimes lasting for years. If you recall, Lorraine has dealt with PTSD, anorexia nervosa, body dysmorphic disorder, anxiety, and depression. IncestThrowaway1983 has had to deal with the challenges of drug problem, PTSD, self-harm issues, anxiety and a low self-worth. I was diagnosed with PTSD and after treatment, recovered from it.

We absolutely must get rid of the wrong message of “mental-health-equals-Satan” stereotype that many leaders in the Christian church have spewed. The idea of forgiveness and repentance is appropriate when it comes to our spirituality, but when it comes to living a life where one needs to be able to trust again, to risk, to be intimate with others relationally, it’s going to be difficult to be a whole and healthy person without some help recovering from these damaging abuse issues.

There are a lot of messages that abuse survivors tell themselves in order to survive that pain. There are many techniques abuse survivors learned to protect themselves from harm or potential harm, and those methods no longer work; in fact, they can be detrimental in current-day relationships. How to respond appropriately to perceived threats need to be relearned, and with the help of skilled mental health professionals, people can get back on the right track and be free from the extra emotional baggage.

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How You Can Help

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Will you please be an advocate for survivors? Here are some ways you can help survivors:

  • The most important gift you can give a survivor is to believe them.
  • Encourage the person to get help from licensed mental health providers skilled in abuse issues.
  • If you know a crime was committed, report it to authorities. You can report anonymously.
  • Keep checking in with the survivor regularly.
  • Give of your time and let the survivor share their story without prodding.
  • If the survivor says untruths about themselves, putting blame on themselves, tell them the truth, it wasn’t their fault.
  • You do not need to have answers, the best gift you can give is a listening ear.

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photo credit: Tube Child via photopin (license)

146 comments on “What Can Happen to Sex Abuse Survivors When They Are Not Believed or Supported?

  1. The absolute worst trend in the modern church is the tendency of leadership to side with the perpetrator and ostracize the victim. It’s the sole and single reason why I will not attend church ever again, and why I detest modern evangelicals. They’re so focused on play-acting their evangelical script that they will actively try to bury any scandal within the church that doesn’t fit their narrative, and the victims be damned. It’s foul and disgusting and I detest everyone who perpetuates it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I am so sorry for the abuse you all suffered. I thank all however for the bravery of sharing it and Julie Anne thank you for posting it. It was just the encouragement I needed tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It disgusts me, too, Dash. And the really sad thing is that Jesus, whom they claim to follow, would not treat victims like this. The church needs to wake up and be imitators of Christ.

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  4. I have a female relative, who, years ago told my husband her husband had thrown her to the ground during a fight. She attempted to leave and he blocked her. My husband and I tried to intervene by talking to this lady and other close family who apparently knew all about it before we did and had done nothing.

    After things began looking too “serious”, i.e. the ramifications of this lady telling us were becoming too much for her as we debated calling police, she not-so-subtly told us to butt out. After one family meeting in which her husband apologized, and everyone was encouraged to keep quiet for the “sake of this couples’ ministry”, nothing was ever said or done again.

    I was furious with this lady for dragging us into such a situation and getting everyone so upset when she actually didn’t want anything changed. Was that a wrong attitude (being serious, not sarcastic)? I even questioned whether it happened (I can see her husband doing what she claimed), or if the lady made it up for attention (She has a history of doing this). They now live several states away and we don’t have much to do with them.

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  5. Excellent article, Julie Anne! Thank you, to all, for sharing your stories. Hopefully it is a start to helping people understand how difficult it is for victims to not be believed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loura – Domestic violence is a very complicated thing. It could be that she was at a point where she wanted to leave, but after really thinking it through, leaving actually scared her. Women decided to stay for various reasons: financial, health insurance, the kids are used against her, threatening physical safety, lack of support, etc. For some women who want to leave, the logistics of doing so can be very daunting. It is also well known that the most dangerous time for a woman is when she files restraining orders, files divorce papers or actually decides to walk out the door.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I sat in on a meeting recently where two women gave their stories about surviving domestic violence. One woman said that one of the reasons why she stayed so long was because they were very active with their church and her abuser threatened to tell the elders and pastors that she was the “problem” in the marriage.

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  8. Hmm..Interesting. Although in this case, the husband was known by the family to be the “problem”, and it was him they were protecting. I suspect, in this case, her reluctance to report was based around a fear of loss of status. You know how popular you are as a married person in fundy circles, and the name she got by being married to him who puts out a very convincing pastoral-ministry type personality. They do not have kids, although she wants them badly. She has severe endometriosis (spelling?) that went undiagnosed for too long. I can’t see him being a physically threatening person, but very manipulative and charming, yes.

    For the both of them, for the whole family, image is everything.

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  9. I keep hoping that something will finally crack that fake veneer so that real healing and change can happen with at least one of them. Nothing so far. They won’t let anyone in who sees past the masks.

    I am bipolar with them: one minute so very sorry for them to be living in such darkness and bondage to the idol of “image”. The next minute I am so angry that they persist in such lies, regardless of who (themselves included) gets hurt.

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  10. The whole idea that a married couple’s “ministry” takes precedent over the state of their relationship is ridiculous. It’s frankly nauseating. This is precisely the crap I’m referring to: It’s more important to people in the church to keep play-acting their little evangelical script for all the world to see than it is to acknowledge abuse. Good god. I’ll never get involved with that sort of lunacy again.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Dash, you have hit the nail on the head. Role playing and play acting seem central to the evangelical lifestyle. It is as if they can’t trust any personal instinct or intuition that would place their behavior “outside the evangelical box”. This story makes me so sad. I see many of my nieces and nephews struggle with living authentically as young adults because their parents can’t tolerate the individual differences each one has. Their parents would rather each child suffer in silence than help them wrestle with the pain and challenges that come with making adult decisions (which may include steps towards cutting out dangerous family members).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I posted this on The Wartburg Watch blog, but it is applicable here:

    The fallout on not being believed, heard, held is devastating.

    I am going to share one of the many devastating manifestations of being sexually abused as a child. Two of my abusers shamed me to my core because my body responded with orgasm, as God designed it to do. The first was my father, I was five years old, he was furious that my body responded, he screamed at me and said he would never touch me again. No more back rubs for me. Ugh.

    Second abuser told me I was a filthy animal & kicked me after he used me. There were other tramua’s that probably factor into my body shutting down & not being able to feel any desire when I was intimate. I am not proud of the fact that I slept with several men, I was so hungry for love that I believed sex would make them love me. O my god, I was messed up.

    After one failed marriage, I met a good man. I trusted him with all my heart, in our 5th or so year of marriage I started to feel desire when we made love, as soon as it happened, I would ask my husband, Am I being bad? He would reassure me that no I wasn’t bad. That happened over & over. Then I got some excellent counseling & understood why I kept asking if I was bad because I felt pleasure. It still stuns me that I had no idea why I would ask that question, as it is as clear as the blue sky to me today.

    Hubby & I have worked through so much, but, I still have to do self talk after we make love, telling myself that what we shared wasn’t dirty, I am not bad, nor am I a whore. I am 61 years old, my abuse started at five years old. So, Steve, you really need to educate yourself on what molesting does to the victims. The fallout is horrible evil. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the engulfing guilt, shame & worthlessness that one carries their whole life.

    Jesus helped me, but HE didn’t heal me, depression, anxiety tormented me for years as I served my fanny off in a John F. MacArthur wanna be boys church. Love that TWW & Eagle and Julie Anne and so many others keep the focus on the victims.

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  13. nobody,

    Thank you for sharing your story here. You’ve had a long and difficult journey. I’m glad to know you are with a husband who loves and cares for you and pray for your continuing recovery.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Another point to remember: stories of sexual abuse evolve over time, especially with children. At first, those whom are abused tell the basics so they can get the help they need. Details may emerge as time starts healing and the abused persom finds trusted confidants. This is very normal.

    Loura: I spent five years as a volunteer who took domestic abuse crisis line calls, and worked with abused women and their children. It sounds to me like this woman was threatened, and shut her mouth to save her life. Mind games are a prominent and important part of domestic abuse.

    Dash: You are so correct on the playacting. I can’t stand it, either. Authenticity is NOT welcome in most fundagelical churches!

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  15. You may be right, and I wouldn’t put it past the husband. But I’ve known this lady a long time and she was very manipulative for years before she ever met her husband. Not saying that she “deserves” to be abused, but if she won’t be honest, is there anything anyone can do?

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  16. If you are 19 and blame your problems and sins on some sin committed against you when you were were 10, it can make some sense, but most of you are adults.

    Surely you know the forgiveness in Christ and know the world is full of sin and can move forward whether others do or not.

    Maybe not at 19, but you are older, wiser.

    Why doesn’t someone explain to her how the world is?

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  17. And if Q is a part of the recent wave of “bunker” cretins invading this blog, my only regret is that I can’t hurl profanity-laced obscenities at them, because it would look unsporting. Believe you me, though, I’m thinking them, even if I can’t post them.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. “Moving on” and “holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes” are not mutually exclusive. Furthermore, the severity of injury that a person sustains due to a criminal act varies. If someone suffers neurological damage from abuse, the results can last for decades, sometimes until death. But as I said earlier, it’s uselsss to try and explain anything to you because you’re incapable of hearing reason.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. And by the way, you are doing an excellent job of demonstrating callousness and contempt for others here in your comments. Do you think that you demonstrate the love of Christ? You do not. You come across as a hardened, angry, bitter, callous, unremorseful sadist who enjoys seeing others squirm in their own pain.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Dash, You do not know me, I could point out some of your unwarranted accusations, probably should, but won’t now. And my reasoning is good.

    Dash, Are you saying, a person can have life without dying?

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  21. Q,

    I personally have NEVER met an individual, saved-born again or unsaved, translated into Christian verses unchristian, that has ever truly, in this earthly life,

    ever totally and completely “died to self.” Having sat in a myriad of conferences, Bible studies, various church denominations my entire life, each and every person has ALWAYS brought up some aspect of their past that still hurts. ALWAYS. And it is their past concerning them-SELVES. The self. No one has had that perfect life here, that best life now.

    It is the sly questioning modes that people choose to engage in (I went through these same wicked communication patterns in my last abusive church system), that manipulates the conversations/emotions/thoughts/lifestyles of others in gaining followers after themselves. Please examine yourself in the hope that God, the Holy Spirit, will lead you and the rest of us in prayer for these people who have been sexually violated/abused/and abandoned for they are desperately in need of our interceding prayers, empathy, compassion, and Christ-like love.

    We must remember that none of us have “arrived” for we all struggle with something/sin in this life, and anytime I sit under leadership of any sort that believes they have arrived and boast of a life of “sola perfecta”, my heart breaks for them and under them I sit, no more.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Admin note: I had to clean up some of the comments that came in overnight. Please refrain from personal attacks; ie, “you are a _____.” It’s okay to say, “You are coming across like _______.”

    Also, Q, this is supposed to be a safe place for victims of abuse. It’s not appropriate for you to tell victims what their recovery process should look like. That’s neither kind, nor compassionate.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I posted this on another article, and thought it might answer your question.

    Almost 12 years ago, I lost an infant. A few years passed and a well-meaning family member (who was not around at the time of our baby’s death) suggested to us that God could bring wholeness into our lives again if we would let Him (what I assume you mean by “die to self”).

    My husband and I smiled politely and dismissed his view, because he didn’t really “know”. He didn’t see how deep the wound went, how life-altering the wound was. Yes, God can heal and does heal, and He gave us 3 more beautiful, healthy children as well. Our wounds have healed but they are deep scars that still cause pain on occasion. These scars are reminders of our love for our baby. They will never heal completely as if she didn’t exist, nor would I want them to. Our hearts were broken that day, we were changed forever, but it was after all, a good change, not a “good wound”.

    The same can be said of others’ deep wounds. There will be scarring of the heart and mind; they will never be the same person again. Just as healing from a surgery takes time, or certain physical wounds may never fully heal, these realities do not negate God’s love, compassion, or healing abilities. We are healed, but we are scarred. That is how God built people inside and out.

    The subject of forgiveness is another misunderstood topic. After reading the Bible carefully, I have come to the conclusion that forgiveness in Scripture could translate to reconciliation. I wrote more about that and why I believe that Biblical forgiveness is a 2-way process here: http://myfathershouse.squarespace.com/journal/2013/2/16/on-forgiveness.html

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  24. Loura: “Our wounds have healed but they are deep scars that still cause pain on occasion. These scars are reminders of our love for our baby. They will never heal completely as if she didn’t exist, nor would I want them to.”

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I think these words are beautiful. You will always remember your dear baby because why would you want to forget that precious life? And, when you remember, you will still grieve at the loss of that life. This is a natural response for people. Why would God give us the ability to experience these emotions if it were not a part of how he created us?

    I think the callous words of “just move on” are said by people who are uncomfortable and unable to deal with the grief and emotions of trauma. On the other hand, I think God is not unmoved by our expression and is able to handle the emotions that we present because he is the one who created us to experience them.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Kathi, I think you’ve nailed it. Many people are made uneasy and uncomfortable by people who have suffered a tragic loss or are suffering from disabilities or a long terminal illness. They, like all of us, want to fix things, to say just the right thing to being healing. But, they don’t want to accept that life is unfair and bad things happen to good people and that some things are not fixable or might take a long recovery period because that would mean something bad can happen to THEM.

    This attitude can lead to ugly theology with victim blaming. I first noticed this growing up when a close friend with muscular dystrophy attended a revival meeting, excited to share the experience with other people who loved God. Instead he was told that if he REALLY loved God then God would heal him and he would get up out of that wheelchair. Well he died more than forty years ago but I still remember him and know I will see him healed one day. God will heal and reunite and restore in the next world for certain, but we live in a fallen world right now.

    There is a reason why the prosperity gospel is so popular and many Christians will not help or even walk alongside the suffering. They are in denial about life. Life is not easy and the Gospel is not a Hallmark card.

    But if I have learned anything in my 62 years, it is that the fair weather friends are not living life to the fullest. They spend so much energy avoiding and blaming and trying to claim riches that they have no time for the joy that comes from unconditional love and friendship and service. When you truly love others, you cannot avoid sharing their pain. We cannot always ‘fix’ things but we can always choose to be there for each other.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I think JA “cleaning up comments” made by dash, misrepresents the reality of what was going on or what was said (heavy editing), the conversation could have been much different and perhaps productive.

    I am not minimizing the pain or the scars and believe in listening and having empathy. I have pain and scars and yet now, in my case, I can see how God has used it in my life.

    I believe that we should not sin or hurt ourselves because of the pain.

    Some people have bought into believing they sin because of something that happened to them in the past becoming a victim forever and don’t want this to happen to anyone. I believe we sin because we are sinners, and as someone said life isn’t fair, does this minimize God’s love for us, no. I would not expect a young person to understand this, but hope older adults do.

    I come more from a Bobgan view than a Dobson. [mod note: JA removed link to site which refers to mental health as “heresy.”]

    Probably most here won’t agree.

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  27. I thought I showed a remarkable amount of restraint in my responses to Q last night. Q’s initial post here constitutes a general assault on all survivors everywhere. Why should I be meek and gracious to such a person if it’s ass-kicking that’s called for? I’m not representing anyone but myself here, if people want to point out how not-Christian I am being then let them, but I shouldn’t have to meek myself down in the face of cruelty.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Dash only uses manipulative rhetoric and ad hominem attacks, and apparently is not ashamed to use them, adding nothing to the conversation.

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  29. Some people have bought into believing they sin because of something that happened to them in the past becoming a victim forever and don’t want this to happen to anyone. I believe we sin because we are sinners, and as someone said life isn’t fair, does this minimize God’s love for us, no. I would not expect a young person to understand this, but hope older adults do.

    I don’t ever recall anyone coming to that conclusion on this blog in the 3+ yrs I’ve had it. Where are you finding this?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I thought I showed a remarkable amount of restraint in my responses to Q last night. Q’s initial post here constitutes a general assault on all survivors everywhere. Why should I be meek and gracious to such a person if it’s ass-kicking that’s called for? I’m not representing anyone but myself here, if people want to point out how not-Christian I am being then let them, but I shouldn’t have to meek myself down in the face of cruelty.

    We don’t attack one’s personhood here, regardless of what they say.

    You can say that someone’s comments are cruel, but please do not attack the person. You can also express how someone’s words make you feel. But ad hominem attacks are never productive. It’s helpful if you keep the conversation on the issues being debated, not the people debating.

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  31. I think the part that people tend to miss is that my invective is a larger commentary on the pointlessness of the exchange at large. To me, it is pointless to converse with Q. He can critique my debating style all he wants; I’m not debating him. He can point out that I’m not adding to the conversation; I’m not trying to. “Dash only uses manipulative rhetoric and ad hominem attacks”- Yes, in Q’s case, that is correct. What’s the point of conversing with someone who is clearly lacking in empathy?

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  32. The psychoheresy article is dreadful. It distorts psychology for no good reason. It misrepresents what clinical psychologists and clinical social workers do. And worse, it deprives Christians of a needed source of help by making them think that Christianity and psychotherapy are incompatible.

    Honestly, Q, I am profoundly shocked and dismayed by your recommendation of this article. I don’t understand how you can think like this.

    Do you and people who think like you seriously believe people go for treatment to feel better about sinning? Do you think that people go to therapy because they don’t want to take responsibility. Just the opposite! Therapy is HARD work.

    Everything is not a sin problem. First of all there is no reputable psychiatrist or psychologist who thinks that schizophrenia and other psychoses are anything but a brain disorder, a medical problem. The best that can be done is treatment with medication because schizophrenia is not currently treatable. Schizophrenics aren’t psychotic because they are sinners; they have a brain dysfunction.

    Second, most people see a therapist because they are depressed or anxious and sometimes both. We don’t choose to be that way and would like to feel better. We are all profoundly influenced by our pasts. Sometimes we learn ways of coping that are all we can manage when we are children. For example, children who are sexually abused may learn to dissociate just to survive. However, the same coping mechanisms that work for a child may not help an adult who will need to learn new skills to have a better life.

    Sometimes we internalize the wrong messages about ourselves or about how the world works. We may not even know what they are but they have a negative influence, causing us to be depressed or anxious or to have difficulty reaching our goals.

    A good therapist can help us figure these things out and help us to develop better strategies for living.

    I am not saying that people who are chronically sinning never go to therapists (although often they don’t). They do go and are helped to change. If someone goes to a therapist because they lose their temper and hurt people, the therapist is certainly not going to say that is okay because they are a victim of their childhood! Therapists want to help people become healthy, functioning adults and healthy adults do indeed take responsibility.

    An article like this lies about therapy and about why people need help. It is ugly and wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Thank you Marsha for posting a wonderful response, and for showing far more patience than me. I get tired of these ugly exchanges very quickly and it’s easier to just open fire.

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  34. ACK, Marsha, I didn’t even look at the link, but as soon as you said psychoheresy, I knew what it was all about.

    Here is where Q gets his idea about victimhood in order to avoid sin:

    One of the main goals of much counseling psychology is to relieve guilt so that individuals can feel better about themselves and thereby supposedly handle their lives more effectively. Helping an individual see himself as needy, emotionally wounded, and having been harmed or disappointed by others is one convenient way to sidestep personal responsibility, sin, and guilt. This is the opposite of the Bible, which provides the true remedy for sin and the only remedy for the human condition through Jesus Christ and all He accomplished to rid one of sin and guilt.

    People like Q, and I’ve seen it especially in Calvinist circles, are so focused on sin, they can’t seem to get a grip on the reality that someone else’s abuse can cause mental health issues. If someone was driving recklessly and caused bodily harm to another person, would they intervene with the medical doctors? I think not.

    I think it’s a control thing. When church leaders get to label it as sin, then it’s under their authority, but if it’s labeled as mental health, their hands are tied.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Thank you Marsha and JA for explaining. I hadn’t read Q’s article either and was a bit confused.

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  36. “I think it’s a control thing. When church leaders get to label it as sin, then it’s under their authority”

    It’s also an issue of basic stupidity. Let’s face it, many evangelical/Calvinist/fundamentalist preachers lack the intellectual capability to understand the intricacies and finer points of mental illness.

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  37. I still get that horrid Psychoheresy newsletter. My former pastor must have signed me up. He told my girlfriend that trying to get a psychology degree was bordering on sin, and that she shouldn’t do it. She finished her master’s degree in May and has already landed both a good job and a teaching position. Meanwhile, he was booted from his church position. Satan came back to bite him in the back end.

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  38. Let’s face it, many evangelical/Calvinist/fundamentalist preachers lack the intellectual capability to understand the intricacies and finer points of mental illness.

    For so many of these leaders, they believe the same things, and so if they go against the common group thought, they will lose credibility and BFFs.

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  39. “BFFs” HA

    I may be lonely and single in my middle age with nothing to show for myself but a couple of grumpy cats and a large guitar collection, but I can say with absolute conviction that I don’t live and die at the mercy of other people’s opinions.

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  40. Julie Anne,

    I not focused on sin, but freedom from sin and growing in grace.

    Oh and by the way you remember I am not a calvinist, right? I sent you the Brenda Nickel’s Basic Reformed Theology Exposed.

    Marsha,

    I believe psychology is very good at diagnosing behavior and even stepping in and saving lives with the help of the authorities…but do not believe they have the correct answers, how could they, the mind is not like the body.

    The body can be correctly diagnosed and treated because it is observable and can be done scientifically, the mind cannot. Perhaps that is why so many conditions of the mind are not curable with psychology, like Schizophrenics, as you mentioned.

    The article may be hard, truth sometimes can be.

    [mod note: JA removed link which promotes nouthetic Biblical counseling and can be harmful to survivors]

    Like

  41. I believe psychology is very good at diagnosing behavior and even stepping in and saving lives with the help of the authorities…but do not believe they have the correct answers, how could they, the mind is not like the body.

    I was a barely surviving mother of 2 with PTSD 25 years ago (spouse overseas). My therapist knew what he was doing and I’ve recovered completely. I’m not buying it, Q. Many, many people are helped by mental health help.

    Please stop dismissing it on my site.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Q, that’s the last link you will be posting here promoting Biblical counseling. I will not promote it here because I have seen it do more harm with abuse survivors. It might work well with normal sin issues, but a survivor is not dealing with their sin issues, they are dealing with the consequences of someone else’s sin. I believe we’ve discussed this already. Why you would want a survivor to focus on their sin when they are just trying survive each day is beyond me. Please read up more on abuse issues.

    Like

  43. Q. “1+1=2”

    Dash. “You are not a Mathematician so anything you say on the subject is ridiculous and should be ignored!”

    Now that’s laughable nonsense. ^

    Like

  44. Q, your lack of intelligent discourse and stubborn insistence on stone-age rhetoric is no different from Islamic clerics insisting on the implementation of Shari’a Law. And quit pretending that we’re debating, because we aren’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. And actually, I happen to have a degree in higher math, so you’ve gone and put your foot in it again. Do you claim to be an expert in subjects for which you have no degree?

    Like

  46. JA, with all due respect, we all know that Q’s intention is to hurt people as deeply as possible in order to promote a twisted depiction of Christ. Why must we mince words? Q is a Pharisee. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are..”

    Liked by 1 person

  47. JA, I have, I’ve been a victim of abuse. My healing came from personal study of the bible, since we are going by experience, mine is as valid as any.

    Like

  48. Matthew 23:1-4 “1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Q, your experience is worthless because you lack empathy. Your opinion on this subject has no value because you show yourself by your words to be a cold, callous, uncaring, remorseless person.

    Like

  50. JA, I have, I’ve been a victim of abuse. My healing came from personal study of the bible, since we are going by experience, mine is as valid as any.

    You are free to share what worked for you, but you are not free to put down what has been a real help to others.

    Like

  51. Dash, You are correct, I am not debating you, only pointing out how you are attempting to divert using fallacies of logic, manipulative rhetoric, and ad hominem attacks. which last I saw you just did at least three more times.

    Perhaps you lack the ability to make or defend your position.

    Like

  52. “You are free to share what worked for you, but you are not free to put down what has been a real help to others.”

    Ah but this is the real issue here isn’t it? Q isn’t here to share his own story, he’s here to belittle the experiences of others which may differ from his own.

    Liked by 2 people

  53. Q, how spectacularly you fail to even address the scripture which condemns your position. You sicken me, you truly do.

    Like

  54. It’s not OK for someone to have the veiled threat of guns hanging in the background as an implicit part of their theological stance, and this needs to be recognized and pointed out.

    Like

  55. The article may be hard, truth sometimes can be.

    I’m removing this link. I think it can lead victims into more harm.

    Actually, I removed the psychoheresy link, too.

    Like

  56. JA, with the greatest respect for you and the rules you have set in play, I do not believe that I have crossed any lines. If I am correct in my information about the other party involved in this exchange, then persistent claims of ownership of a huge collection of guns with the intent of armed resistance of the government is an integral part of this person’s stance, and it cannot be overlooked. The implication here is that, given the opportunity, this person will *force* his beliefs on everyone else by violent insurrection, and I’m not going to ignore that part of his stance. It is integral to his every argument.

    Like

  57. JA, I don’t lack empathy, I just don’t agree with the majority, I guess.

    And what in the world is Dash talking about?

    I guess if someone acts strange enough you could make a case for psychology but it is a weird way to win that point of view. I think it may be making my point.

    Like

  58. “I’m removing this link. I think it can lead victims into more harm.

    Actually, I removed the psychoheresy link, too.”

    Book burning isn’t the answer, I’ll drop it for now.

    Like

  59. You can feign ignorance if you want to. It doesn’t change much.
    Thus far in this exchange, you certainly haven’t demonstrated any empathy. Whether you agree with the majority or not is irrelevant.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. then persistent claims of ownership of a huge collection of guns with the intent of armed resistance of the government is an integral part of this person’s stance,

    Please give me an exact quote where you are seeing this, Dash.

    Like

  61. And if it’s not JD, it’s one of his followers. I listened to one of JD’s podcasts in which he explicitly stated that fundamentalist Christians must be ready to resist their local magistrate with armed force if necessary; he was talking about marriage equality.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Do whatever you feel is best, but when dealing with a group for which the implication of violence looms ever-present in the background of the exchange, I find that it’s best not to mince words, even if I turn out to be wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. I guess I am a fundie in that I believe in the 5 fundamentals of the faith.

    1.The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2. The Virgin Birth.
    3. The Blood Atonement.
    4. The Bodily Resurrection.
    5. The inerrancy of the scriptures.

    I thought I was an evangelical, but that word doesn’t mean much anymore.

    JA, Does that make you a fundie too?

    And Calvinist or Arminian, are those my only two choices? 🙂

    Like

  64. Those articles are NOT the truth. The hard truth is that people suffer from mental illness for reasons other than sin and some of it is not cureable and some of it takes a lot of therapy to ameliorate. We need to acknowledge that depression or schizophrenia is no more a result of sin than cancer or pneumonia.

    And if we are throwing degrees around, I have a BA in psychology and sociology. I got my Ph.D. In sociology in one of the top five programs in the country. Also I have had therapy. I know what I am talking about.

    You miss my point about schizophrenia. I said it is a brain disease that can be managed with medication but there is no cure at this time. Just like there is no cure for neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s disease or Pick’s disease, both of which cause psychiatric problems.

    On the other hand, people can suffer from anxiety or depression or be unable to cope with problems. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and clinical social workers can be of great help in those cases.

    The mind can certainly be observed. That is what psychotherapy is all about. Talking about how you reacted in a certain situation and what you were thinking lets the therapist know about the beliefs and assumptions that could be causing you problems.

    The brain can also be observed. Here is an interesting study about schizophrenia. You may know that unused brain cells die (apoptosis) at about three years of life. It turns out that there is another die off of cells that occurs in late adolescence. However, in schizophrenia, apoptosis goes too far and too many cells are destroyed. There are other documented problems in schizophrenia but this is one of the more recent results of observational study.

    You think it is always wrong to discourage people from feeling guilty. Not if they have done nothing to feel guilty about! Victims of abuse are innocent. It is vile to say otherwise.

    Liked by 3 people

  65. On another thread I talked about a long ago friend with muscular dystrophy. He was excited to go to a revival meeting and be with other Christians. Unfortunately they were idiots and told him if he really loved Jesus he would be healed and able to get out of his wheelchair and walk. As far as I am concerned, taking this same tack about people who need psychotherapy is just more of the same kind of cruelty.

    Like

  66. You linked to an article which criticized psychology for having the goal of ridding people of guilt and said it represented your view.

    Of course that is NOT the general goal of psychology. However, it WILL be a goal when people feel guilty for things that are not their fault/things which have been done by others. Often that is an abuse victim.

    Thus I disagree with the article that represents your views in two ways: first that ridding each patient of guilt is the goal of psychology and secondly that this is never an appropriate goal.

    Again, the writer either does not understand psychology or is willfully misrepresenting it in service of their own agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Here is something to think about. When Christians discourage a depressed or anxious person from getting psychiatric treatment (medication and psychotherapy), we are promoting progressive brain damage. Depressed and anxious people were compared to healthy controls and it turns out that over time the former progressively lose brain volume in the prefrontal cortex (where planning and execution of activities take place), the anterior cingulate (the conflict resolution center), and the hippocampus (where memories are processed).

    Early intervention can interrupt this process. Delaying treatment just makes everything worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. “Right, Marsha, and it’s not just the person who is affected, but all close relationships, too.”

    That is a what sin does.

    In a sense the article is saying (not that the abused should feel guilty for what someone else did, which a person should not) that if a person blames their personal sin or sins on past victimization, how will they come to grips of their own need of a savior i.e. Jesus, and find salvation (eternal salvation).

    Some peoples livelihood depends on psychology and it been said ‘never get between someone and their livelihood’ (in which case, said person should recuse themselves) Others just care about the victims and truth, without pay.

    Like

  69. My living never depended on doing psychotherapy. I evaluated the effectiveness of programs for states and nonprofits and later I did some medical science writing.

    My caring for victims and truth is entirely unpaid. However, when a friend’s problems are beyond my capacity to help, I don’t hesitate to refer them to a competent therapist who is paid (as I am sure you are for your own professional work and as pastors are for theirs).

    Like

  70. “Why are you assuming that the Survivor is not already a Believer?”

    Good point.

    Why is the surviving believer looking to psychology?

    Like

  71. The surviving believer is looking to psychology and psychotherapists and psychiatrists to help them just like people with cancer or heart disease are looking to medicine and doctors.

    Do you think believing in Christ magically takes away the believer’s problems?

    Liked by 1 person

  72. “Do you think believing in Christ magically takes away the believer’s problems?”

    No.

    Paul suffered greatly, did he need psychology and psychotherapists and psychiatrists. No.

    The mind is outside of science, it is God’s domain and Paul relied on it?

    Like

  73. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that Paul thought that he should suffer for the sake of suffering. If physicians in his time could have cured him, I am sure he would have sought treatment even if only to have more energy for his mission.

    The mind is not outside of science. Of course it is God’s domain. The body is also God’s domain. 1st Corinthians 6:19-21 says our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and yet we do not forgo medical treatment when we need it.

    I have always liked the old joke about the man in the flood who climbed to the roof of his house as the flood waters rose, refusing help numerous times and telling each would-be rescuer that God would rescue him. He drowned and when he got to Heaven he asked why God didn’t save him and God said, “What do you mean? I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Knowing Jesus will never add to your psychological problems. External problems are another matter of course. We see our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East being beheaded for their faith by ISIS and we know the fates of the Apostles. However, following Jesus will never cause mental illness.

    Liked by 1 person

  75. Why is the surviving believer looking to psychology?

    Because sometimes there is a mental health crisis that needs to be addressed, just as I’d go to a doctor if I had a heart problem.

    You are confusing emotional or mental health issues with spiritual and sin issues. Please read this: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2015/06/01/my-personal-mental-health-story-when-christians-say-potentially-harmful-words-to-someone-in-a-mental-health-crisis/

    Liked by 1 person

  76. In fact believing In Jesus may greatly add to your problems.

    Not the believing part, but focusing on sin as the root problem of a survivor’s mental health could definitely add to problems.

    Like

  77. “However, following Jesus will never cause mental illness.”

    Exactly.

    ” I am sure he would have sought treatment even if only to have more energy for his mission.”

    Hmmm. Well since you are sure, that settles it. Not.

    Maybe God just left the whole psychology thing out for some mysterious reason, or maybe psychology is bogus and wants to usurp the word of God.

    Again it is not science, it is not observable.

    But God’s word is true.

    God’s word is true. Right JA?

    Like

  78. Julie Anne, Paul said if our only hope in in Christ was for this life we should be most pitied, because believing in Jesus will bring many tribulations.

    Can psychology remedy what Jesus said?

    Like

  79. Paul said if our only hope in in Christ was for this life we should be most pitied, because believing in Jesus will bring many tribulations.
    Can psychology remedy what Jesus said?

    Was it Paul who took wine for his stomach ailment? Why did he do that and not pray for Christ to heal him?

    Like

  80. Q, do you have any Bible verses that show that Paul finds suffering of value in and of itself such that he would not seek an available treatment if one existed? I cannot find any.

    Like

  81. Marsha,

    Have you ever read this?

    Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

    I think you and JA may be biblically illiterate.

    Like

  82. “Q, do you have any Bible verses that show that Paul finds suffering of value in and of itself such that he would not seek an available treatment if one existed? I cannot find any.”

    Yes.

    “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Like

  83. Biblical scholars have debated for centuries about what Paul meant by the thorn in his side. While some scholars argue that he meant persecution, noting how enemies are several times referenced as thorns in the side in the Old Testament, it seems to me that the strongest evidence is for the idea that it was some kind of physical ailment.

    I also think the idea of a mental illness was unlikely. Would God have entrusted the work he gave Paul to do to a man with a mental illness that might have called into question his credibility of his testimony? We know that his Vision on the road to Damascus was not a hallucination because others heard the voice.

    Many scholars have concluded that he had a problem with his vision since he remarks that a letter he writes is written in large letters, since he dictated other letters, and since he notes that when he was with the Galatians they would have plucked out their own eyes to give to him if it were possible.

    In any case, he did want to be rid of his suffering and prayed to God to remove it, three times. When that did not happen, he relied upon God’s grace and strength and looked for any good that could come from his suffering. There was very little a physician could do back in that time but Paul says nothing against physicians nor does the Bible suggest we should not use them when they can help. In fact, Paul refers to Luke as a physician and calls him beloved in the same sentence. Paul’s prayers for healing suggest to me that he would have seen a physician for treatment if it was available. Luke was with him in his last days and very possibly did what he could for him as a doctor.

    Jesus responded to the Pharisees that the healthy do not need a physician, the sick do. This matter of fact use of the analogy suggests that Jesus himself accepted the role of the physician.

    So if you can find somewhere in the Bible where Paul says he would not accept treatment for his ailment were such available, please share it.

    Liked by 1 person

  84. No I am not Biblically illiterate. As you yourself quote, Paul was willing to endure suffering for the sake of Christ, not because he found value in suffering in and of itself. He was persecuted with imprisonment and beatings and stonings. He was shipwrecked on his travels. He endured this suffering to preach the Gospel! But when he could avoid these things he did. When the authorities were attempting to apprehend him in Damascus, he escaped by having his supporters lower him outside the wall of the city in a basket.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. My argument that Paul would have accepted treatment had it been available is argument from silence and stupid.

    Your argument that he would not have is argument from silence but correct.

    My interpretation of Scripture shows Biblical illiteracy and stupidity and can lead to sin. Your interpretation however is correct.

    I am going to bed now that we have reached this impasse. I am sure that the Bereans here can come to their own evaluation of Scripture and of course I would encourage anyone to do so.

    Like

  86. You are the one who brought Paul and his suffering into the discussion which puzzled me because I believe the evidence is that his ailment was physical. Do you think Paul ‘s suffering was a mental rather than physical illness?

    Liked by 1 person

  87. “Some peoples livelihood depends on psychology and it been said ‘never get between someone and their livelihood’ (in which case, said person should recuse themselves) Others just care about the victims and truth, without pay.” Q

    Could say the exact same thing about every paid pastor, bible teacher, and evangelist. That includes salary and “love offering” payments.

    Like

  88. Dear Q,

    The mind is outside of science, it is God’s domain…

    Uh, do you think God is afraid of the competition?

    More seriously…

    Maybe God just left the whole psychology thing out for some mysterious reason, or maybe psychology is bogus and wants to usurp the word of God.

    Again it is not science, it is not observable.

    Q, what gives you the right to say this? How much have you studied psychology? Marsha has done so, and she’s been a patient of it. I think that qualifies her to say whether or not psychology is a science. I grant you that it’s a relatively young science, but to say it’s not a science at all is hardly fair.

    As to why God “left out” psychology from the Bible: Most likely because it didn’t exist back then, any more than penicillin, vaccines or the Heimlich maneuver. Just because the Bible doesn’t mention a particular branch of human knowledge doesn’t mean that God disapproves of it.

    And regarding the notion that “psychology wants to usurp the word of God”: I’m not aware of anything in it that’s opposed to the teachings of the Bible. How exactly are modern psychology and Christianity in conflict with each other?

    Liked by 1 person

  89. “The mind is outside of science, it is God’s domain and Paul relied on it?”

    Perfect example of dualism. However, We know the mind operates within a PHYSICAL environment and I don’t even have to be a PhD to have seen the PHYSICAL differences going on in brain imaging with certain mental illnesses. It is out there if anyone wants to do a bit of interesting research. Brain health is becoming a huge industry.

    Years ago, they controlled certain behaviors/thinking with Lobotomy’s.

    A corollary to what Q is trying to push here is that cancer patients should pray it away. Oh, and reading the bible will cure it. After all, in his mind the brain is not a physical part of our bodies. God inflicted it the problem so God can heal it. It is really that type of thinking. If science has not caught up and it cannot be healed then that means God wants you to suffer.

    Is it any wonder people are becoming “dones” at an alarming rate with this silliness around? Of course I am surrounded by Nouthetic counseling nuts (they are changing the name of it at SBTS). Basically it was employed by Mohler’s buddy SGM when the pastors told victims of child molestation they were just as big of sinners as the molester so they had to forgive instantly.

    That “Christian” world is a great place for predators, creeps, perps and charlatans these days. They can get you to believe just about anything if you fall for their tactics.

    Liked by 1 person

  90. “Q said.. The mind is outside of science, it is God’s domain…”

    Uh, do you think God is afraid of the competition?”

    Q has Luddite thinking. The history of Christianity bears out this problem until man started to throw off the state church mentality of tyrants and the authoritarians who want to run our lives for us. Then the trajectory of inventions to improve life soared.

    Like

  91. “Some peoples livelihood depends on psychology and it been said ‘never get between someone and their livelihood’ (in which case, said person should recuse themselves) Others just care about the victims and truth, without pay.” Q

    L Ron Hubbard would agree.

    Psychology is unwanted competition for both Noutheics and Dianetics.

    Like

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