Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who Are You Blaming?

We human beings are pros at blaming. It comes easy. Adam and Eve blamed one another without hesitation. So who do we blame?

Whose fault is it that we have been mistreated, harmed, and abused? Who do we blame for the emotional, physical, and spiritual damage? Who do we blame for the fear that choked us and the helplessness that overpowered us?

Many of us who are survivors of abuse blame ourselves and/or God much more quickly than we think to blame the person who perpetrated the crimes against us. Strange, isn't it. But, nonetheless, many of us walk around with shame or bitterness tattooed on our foreheads. Not concretely, but oh so present.

If shame owns us, we are always blaming ourselves for everything. We feel inadequate, never enough. We are surprised if anyone seems to like us. We hide. We isolate. We try to disappear or miss being noticed. We are embarrassed when we are noticed, sure there has been a mistake and that we will be found out. We struggle to believe that we have any worth, any value, and lovableness.

If bitterness owns us, we are antagonistic toward God, and often toward people as well. We are suspicious, sure that there is always a catch, always a punishment coming, always a let down around the corner. We are cynical. We sneer, even if only in our minds. We distrust. We count on problems, and plenty come our way. We struggle to pray. Sometimes anger just pours out of us in a gush. We don't understand why and we dismiss it as irrelevant or justified. We struggle to believe that we really have any of the worth or value or lovableness that we battle for.

If both own us, we are hurting horribly in a way that no one gets. No one is there for us, not really. No one understands. We are drowning.

All three ways are no fun. Blame boomerangs with a loud whack. It beats at us. It hurts us more than the party we want to blame.

Blame demands that the terrible results are someone's fault. Pain must be someone's fault. Staying stuck on pinning blame is easier than feeling the pain itself and easier than consciously living through the terrible results that exist, and easier than processing the losses. But easier isn't always better, is it.

Let's try something different. Let's seek God's help to face our pain, to name our losses, to see who we've blamed, to engage in the healing process, and to move on. Let's not allow abuse to define who we are. Let's grow and overcome!

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
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  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
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  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft