I love this quote especially with the current state of the world. I know that I write a great deal about empathy and compassion. I am seeing, and experiencing, less and less empathy. On social media, there’s more “laughing” than there used to be. For example, any public post about Covid including stories about people who had it and had to be hospitalized are laughed at.
As a child advocate, I am all too familiar with the hate and insults I get from people who believe that spanking/hitting, harsh punishment, and cry-it-out are “necessary” for raising “great” people. However, I’m not as familiar with this whole concept of laughing at other people’s stories about their very real pain. I don’t understand why this is happening. I am afraid that the conservative cult is definitely behind it.
Our children are watching everything and listening to everything. We’re trying to fight and stop bullying, but we are seeing adults being the bullies. They bully their children into doing what they want. They bully people like me who refuse to stop speaking up for the most vulnerable in society. I don’t want to live in a world where it’s acceptable for people to be bullied for their pain and fear. It’s not okay; if you believe in Jesus, it’s not what He taught.
This makes me truly afraid of the future and the children growing up with those parents who are laughing at suffering. Those people who are laughing at suffering are sadisticand that’s scary. What kind of world are we headed for if so many are laughing at suffering instead of helping people and protecting people?
This is what Jesus taught:
“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
John 13:34, (NASB).
Do we really want to teach children that it’s ok to laugh at suffering of any kind? Do we really want to teach children that they can walk all over people who are hurting and/or scared? Do we really want to live in a society that doesn’t protect the vulnerable?
At the rate we’re going, that world is becoming too much of a reality and it’s not going to end well for humanity!
With the pandemic still raging on and the new variant, it feels like it will never end. Children ages 5-11 are, as of this writing, finally able to get vaccinated against Covid. Sadly, the same arguments are continuing and getting worse from the anti-mask and anti-vaxxers crowd. They are not able to think about the common good. I have lost all hope for humanity. I guess this could be a product of generations of spanking as research has shown that corporal punishment can have a negative impact on the development of empathy in children.
The world is in disarray and we’re all tired of it. The children are stuck in the middle of the arguments, and are being fueled by the adults to act out. I am only getting glimpses of the true Christmas spirit.
In fact, I keep hearing the toxic message from Christians that “this is from ‘God'” and that “God will spare the righteous.” It is so sad that they don’t understand that this is not from God. Children have died from Covid. Devout Christians are dying from Covid. Jesus never intended for all of this confusion and toxic teachings from the church.
Spirituality is so simple and we weren’t supposed to know it all. Jesus was trying to teach so much more, but because our human minds are so limited and prone to boxing everything up, and man’s desire to control people who are different from them, has led to religion being toxic and oppressive instead of promoting true spiritual freedom. And it’s ruined love for one another. I just feel so bad for humanity; we’re truly stuck in hell of our own making.
We’re losing so much with this pandemic. Grief is horrible for many people this year again. I know it’s pretty bad for me.
My message to everyone is to grieve together, and think of other people more than ourselves. Seek truth, Science, compassion, and true love. May children stay safe and learn true empathy. Or, may we learn it from them! Peace and love through the holidays!
As Covid is raging on and affecting our children more due to the virus mutating and “learning” how to infect yet even more vulnerable people, once again we hear parents who don’t care about the well-being of their children or others scream, “Let the children breathe!” Some states have enacted laws banning schools from mandating masks. Thankfully, an increasing number of school districts are defying those states’ laws that ban mask mandates in schools. Here’s what is already happening as children are back to school full time.
As of this writing, children are not yet eligible for the vaccine if they are under twelve years of age in the United States, and yet, after over a year and a half of this pandemic, people refuse to accept the fact that this pandemic is dangerous and deadly. Some people may get lucky and have a mild case, but not everyone is that lucky. Look at the hospitals and talk to the healthcare workers.
It turns out that children are more accepting of wearing masks than adults. The adults are, sadly, teaching aggression and selfishness by fighting (sometimes literally) over masks, vaccines, and other mitigations to try to stop the virus. This is the wrong direction for all of us. We need to stop politicizing the health crisis and come together. Our children need to see us caring enough about our fellow man that we wear masks and get vaccinated if possible. Otherwise, this world will never be healed.
People talk about selfishness all the time, especially when it comes to raising children and not wanting the children to become “selfish little brats.” However, the parents who are arguing about wearing masks as well as getting vaccinated and protesting against mask/vaccine mandates are teaching the children how to throw a “fit” and be “defiant” to get their own way. These parents, ironically, tend to be pro-spankers. It is so sad that their children are getting spanked/hit for similar behavior that goes against the parents’ wishes. This makes no sense. We have to model appropriate behavior for children. They are mimicking us!
Another thing is that as soon as infants are able to get into dangerous situations, we teach them about danger. An infant doesn’t know that an electrical socket is dangerous, but we tell him/her it is and move him/her away from the outlet. Young children can’t see the danger of running out in the street until we panic and scoop them up out of the street while saying, “DANGEROUS!” There are so many dangerous things from which we have to protect children. They must take our word for it or suffer possible horrific consequences. It is just the same for Covid. Just because we can’t SEE the virus floating around in the air, does not mean it’s not dangerous!
We need to step up and do what is right for the whole world instead of the individual. We must protect our children and everyone else by looking beyond our own wants to the needs of our society. Let the children breathe.
With the ongoing pandemic going on, my husband and I have been in isolation for eleven months now, and in October, the one place I could safely go in was taken away because of the rising numbers of COVID-19. So except for rides and medical appointments, I have not been anywhere in four months. There’s a little hope with the new president that takes the virus seriously and with the shots that may prevent COVID-19, but there’s a lot of uncertainty and people still don’t want to take proper precautions to limit the spread.
All this is leading to unprecedented anxiety, depression, and desperation for me and many others. I am a trauma survivor with the serious side effects of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and CPTSD. I am losing track of the days and I am feeling like time is going in a weird speed. My trust issues and abandonment issues are becoming worse and I don’t want to push the very people who truly love me away. It’s a scary, lonely place and I am continuing to work with a therapist to get through the trauma of the abuse that was heaped upon me. But even therapy is harder because I can’t go in person.
This has been leading me to think about isolating time-outs for children. I know I covered it in this post I wrote a few years ago, but with this new understanding of isolation and what it is doing to my 39-year-old brain, I want to talk about it again.
It can cause anxiety, depression, desperation, despair, anger, and hopelessness. This article shows the research on the effects of social isolation. We are social beings that need meaningful relationships. As someone with a severe disability, even before the pandemic started, there have been many times in my life that I was in a room full of people but I still felt lonely because I wasn’t able to find a deep relationship with anyone there. I communicate easier online due to my slurred speech, but I still require in-person interaction.
Due to the experience of being isolated from the world except for online, I have an even better understanding isolating time-outs. Using isolating time-out is damaging to the child’s brain. I am not talking about the quick break that we all need sometimes. I am talking about forcing the child to sit quietly alone for a specific amount of time and then making it longer if he/she doesn’t sit quietly. This is punishment and harmful. It is essentially isolation.
While if a parent is still bent on using punishment, I would rather have the parent use time-out rather than spanking/hitting their children. However, isolating time-out doesn’t teach anything but that the child deserves to be alone until he/she can behave. Children, especially young children, have no sense of time so they feel like it is forever. I remember feeling that way when I was put in my room and I would scream with anger and fear. I hated my parents. It didn’t teach me anything.
My husband remembers his dad leaving him for a brief period of time and he felt anxious about when his dad would be back because even though he was 8-years-old and old enough to be left briefly, he still had no sense of time.
As I mentioned in my previous post about time-outs, children are usually not sitting there thinking about what they did wrong. Rather, they’re angry, confused, in fight or flight mode, and wondering how much longer they have to sit there. Some may learn to berate themselves for messing up. Some may learn to distract themselves during the time-out.
Time-in, however, allows for quiet time with a supportive adult even if he/she just sits nearby until the child calms down enough to talk through what happened. The adult can use time-in to teach children emotional regulation, empathy, validation, and coping skills such as deep breaths or using words to help them express themselves in a healthy manner.
I understand that we are all on edge right now but isolating children to punish them will only make the children feel even worse and may exacerbate negative behaviors. We all need to give each other grace and empathy during this ongoing stressful time.
As we continue to deal with this COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of empathy is so apparent in this country. People not wanting to do the simplest things to protect others from the virus. Anti-maskers are shouting about their rights and, ironically, they are using the pro-choice slogan, “My body, my right.” This totally disregards the lives of others. If one is truly pro-life, one cares about the life way after birth! Otherwise, it’s just pro-birth!
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes to understand as much as possible in order to try to understand what the other person is feeling or going through. One can feel the same feelings as the other person or at least get an idea of what the other person is going through.
Empathy is a learned behavior. While some children are born with more empathy than others, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are naturally egocentric due to their developmental stage. This is a survival mechanism and not a “bad thing.” Adults can help the development of empathy by modeling it to their children and pointing out feelings of others—whether positive or negative.
I talked a bit about helping children understand about COVID-19 in my previous post, but here’s a great book written by a teacher that helps further explain this highly contagious, dangerous, damaging, and deadly virus in a developmentally appropriate way. If you are one who is not taking this seriously, please read this story!
While places are now opened and the topic of going back to school rages on, and schools are opening only to have cases of COVID-19 the first week of school, the numbers of positive cases continues to rise. I am truly saddened by the fact that this health crisis has become political and empathy for people who are high risk, children, teachers, healthcare workers seems to be going by the wayside. Except for the rare medical appointment and the fact that my chosen family owns a private tattoo shop and keeps people out while I am there, my quarantine hasn’t ended. I try to wear a mask but it falls down because of spasms due to my severe cerebral palsy. Anti-maskers laugh that I am not able to be in public because too many people are worried about their own comfort and rights to have empathy for those who can’t wear a mask and/or are high risk. What a horrible example they are setting for our children.
As an early childhood professional,I don’t recommend children going back to school until this virus is under control.I know it’s hard for poor families and I worry about social-emotional development of the children, but we have to realize that even if children are less likely to get seriously ill,some are going to get seriously ill or get the inflammatory disease that kills them.Not to mention bringing it home to the family and then we don’t know who will get mild symptoms and who will be hospitalized and on a ventilator.
I am so grateful for everyone who is wearing masks and protecting people like me who can’t wear masks easily and then the health care workers busting their butts to fight this pandemic.
Children who are old enough to wear a mask in public should! While some children will have an easier time adjusting to wearing a mask, it is possible to help them with it.
Here are some things that we can do to help children adjust to wearing a mask:
Always wear a mask yourself when out in public. Actions speak louder than words!
Educate them about how masks help protect others and them. If they like superheroes, compare them to being a superhero for wearing masks because superheroes always protect others from dangerous situations. There are some wonderful children’s books to read to them to further encourage them to wear a mask in public. I recommend this book.
Start with short periods of time wearing a mask and do a fun activity to help distract them from the mask.
Let the child pick out a few masks and/or let him/her decorate one so he/she wants to wear it.
Try different masks for the most comfortable one for the child.
Validate feelings about wearing a mask and tell the child that it is uncomfortable sometimes but it is the only way to go anywhere.
Keep little hands busy so they don’t constantly touch the mask.
Always have extra masks on hand or in the children’s backpacks because they are going to drop, throw, spill, forget masks so they need extras on them whenever they are in public. Also, keep hand sanitizer with you and/or them for washing their hands.
Make up a silly song to sing such as, “This is the way we wear our masks” to the tune of Farmer Brown.
Turn mask wearing into a game to see who can keep theirs on the longest.
Use mirrors in the car to have everyone put them on at the same time.
If for any reason the child has a meltdown and refuses to wear the mask when you get to have a destination and you have to go in, take some deep breaths, make sure that the child doesn’t have an unmet need, the mask isn’t pinching or hurting him/her, and carry the child in if it isn’t possible to have someone bring stuff out to you.
Never make wearing a mask into a power struggle. This will make the child want to wear it even less. If the child is showing you that he/she is not ready for a mask, make sure that he/she knows that going out is not an option without a mask.
This is a very uncertain time for everyone. We are all extremely stressed and anxious and children are no exception. Regression during times of extreme upheaval and stress is normal for children, so try to hold space for it and your own feelings.
The only way we will get through this pandemic is to have empathy for each other and do what we need to do to stop the spread of the virus. We can do this TOGETHER!!!!
The past few months have been really difficult for me with the Covid-19 pandemic and being super high risk. It has made me struggle with dealing with my own trauma, trying to do what is right and safe regarding the trauma of having a mother who can’t give me what I need, but still wanting her and my other biological family to remain safe. I have felt isolated and anxious and depressed. Being so high risk due to my asthma and severe Cerebral Palsy (CP) has made me angry when I finally realized how serious this virus is for many and seeing how people just don’t want to do what we need to do to be safe!
Life with CP is limiting and even though we find a way to do stuff that I want to do, it’s not easy like typical people who are able to just jump in the car and go. My state is in Phase 3 of reopening and I got my first non-essential, non-medical outing this week to my tattoo artists and chosen family to finish my Samoset kitty tattoo that was started before the outbreak and lockdown started. I was only able to do it because they locked the door and my husband and I were the only ones in there besides the artists. Masks were worn and sanitizer was used even more.
Samoset tattoo by Todd Bass at Triphammer Carbondale.
Throughout this pandemic, I have been aware of all the different aspects of it. My mental health as well as others have suffered due to isolation, people are losing everything, suicide is up. There’s so much to this pandemic and it is so sad that some elected officials are not doing everything they can to prevent this from being so out of control.
I know children and parents are struggling. I think the best thing to do for children is to create routines that are flexible and, if they are old enough, allow them to have a say in the routines. And as I’m sure you have already heard, answer questions honestly but briefly depending on their age and development.
This is scary for the children too. They have lost a lot and they may not be able to understand why. So I have heard a lot of regression in children’s behaviors have been happening from parents. This is so hard because I know parents are stressed out too. I recommend reassuring the children and finding an activity such as meditation or reading or yoga to help calm stress and fear. This is not an easy time for anyone.
Now we have a horrible murder of a black man, George Floyd, that has set off protests and riots in the midst of a pandemic. It is so scary and sad. Racism has got to stop!
I used to say “all lives matter” and even wrote a blog post in which I used “All Lives Matter” for the title of the post that covered every race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and, of course, children mattering.
Having a severe physical disability made me question, “what about other minorities?” I was a Republican slowly making my way towards Libertarianism at the time. I am now a Libertarian and while I still love Jesus, I’m no longer into mainstream Christianity anymore due to the legalism, bad church doctrine, and abuse, and hate.
I now understand the Black Lives Matter movement and right now this group of people desperately need our support, validation, and LOVE! Saying “all lives matter” doesn’t do this for black people who are hurting badly. Jesus immediately went to the people in desperate need no matter who they are. Jews didn’t hang around Samaritan people but Jesus did.
I know many Christians and conservatives won’t hear me because I was the same way about this topic and I had to figure it out for myself. But I am embarrassed by my ignorance even though I was trying to be fair and supportive and was trying to validate everyone but I was wrong. I support Black Lives Matter and peaceful protests except for the Coronavirus concern. I hope my story helps someone moving away from ignorance to validation and love over being “right.”
Our children are watching everything and need to be taught kindness and acceptance for all. There has also got to be a major change because most black families experience so much pain and violence in their lifetimes and parents of black children are even more likely to spank/hit and harshly punished because they fear that if they don’t teach strict obedience to authority that it could be their child that is murdered by a bad cop. But this spanking and hardship make the children more likely to act out and get into crime.
And while police lives also matter, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many good cops of all races and they don’t deserve to suffer. On the other hand, white cops need to remember that at the end of the shift, they are like everyone else. But black people still have to deal with the racism and can’t hide from it.
Please be safe and get tested for Covid-19 if you participate in the peaceful protests and quarantine yourself because we can’t make change can’t happen if we’re sick and in the hospital or dead.
May we strive for kindness and love and create this in our children. May peace, love, and light reign in our world!
Note: Life has a funny way of taking over. I started writing this post in December and am just now finishing it. Thank you so much for your patience.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate. Happy New Year! I am writing this post because I no longer consider myself a religious person even though I still believe in Jesus. However, my belief is no longer the traditional religious belief that mainstream Christianity makes Him out to be. I am incorporating other spiritual beliefs in my belief system and I am open to everything. Feel free to read Why I Am No Longer An Evangelical Christian. Plus, Drag Queens And Kings Are Cool!
I recently shared this meme on my professional Facebook page and I got one nice lady who ended up being a joy to talk to because she tried to use Non-Violent Communication principles. We both admitted to being not perfect and struggling with it. We’re both open to learning. I love people like that because another “Christian” called me a “hypocrite” for sharing this meme and then wishing my Jewish friends a “Happy Hanukkah.” She was swiftly blocked and banned because I have been called so many names that I absolutely will not tolerate it. But her comment proves that this is right in many instances. Then there are people that just want to argue just to argue.
Here’s the meme:
I agree with this because religion does brainwash people of every age, makes people angry (How many wars have been fought over religion?), and promotes a “better than thou” attitude. Believe me, I was a part of this for a decade and a half and used to gasp with disgust or surprise when a fellow believer would do something against the religious teachings of the church. We’re supposed to be humble but instead we look down on people who don’t believe what we do. It’s disgusting and sad, really.
Not all religious people are like this. But some just blindly follow whatever the established organized religion teaches. Much of the Christian church doctrine is toxic with a bit of love and compassion occasionally sprinkled in. For children, more of the doctrine is spiritual abuse because even though I still believe that children are created to believe in Jesus and/or a Higher Power, when they are allowed to freely explore, they can create a positive belief system. Unfortunately, many children aren’t given that freedom and are taught that they are inherently evil (which I rejected after much research) and are told to obey or else they’ll get spanked or go to Hell.
Telling children the above is spiritual and emotional abuse. It’s not ok. One of my best friends experienced this as a child and now rejects religion but is still a spiritual person.
I, too, cannot support religious doctrine. I consider myself a spiritual person even though I still believe in Jesus. I am using other spiritual beliefs to create a positive spiritual belief system because when we open our consciousness, we see that there’s so much we don’t know and that doctrine often doesn’t add up to what we experience. Plus, trying to have enough faith to be approved by whatever God you’re trying to please isn’t easy and makes one feel like a failure. Also, fear is often a huge part of many religions instead of love! After all, many religious sects and cults tell us that we’re going to go to Hell for not being a part of their religious group.
Now many religious people can be spiritual but it seems like they value the rules and man-made doctrines over truly seeking Truth and God or Whomever one wishes to call Him/Her. I hear all the religious people gasping after reading this sentence. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have gasped as well. However, the more one gets away from church doctrine and actually begins to seek the Truth, the less judgmental he/she becomes because we’re all one. Unless someone practices evil, we really are connected in so many ways with love being our main priority!
Spiritual people are usually more positive, accepting, open, and loving. They wish to be able to get along with everyone. Even if they don’t “believe” in Jesus, they are ok with people that do as long as those people respect their beliefs.
And yes, spiritual people do participate in rituals and even some religious ceremonies to help them grow spiritually and they are always learning. They just don’t subscribe to an exact doctrine, or if they do, they don’t try to push it on others.
Even Jesus Christ was against religious people and hung out with everyday people. Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law:
“Matthew 23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples,2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.10 Do not be called [b]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant.12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Jesus preached LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE! Yet, “Christians” can be some of the most hateful people I’ve ever encountered along with Muslim extremists. You don’t say that someone should die because they are homosexual and you disagree with them. People shouldn’t blow people away because they want their religion to take over the world. I believe that religion creates a form of narcissism. “My church is right and yours is wrong.” I used to be like that, but there’s much grace and freedom in “agreeing to disagree.” Yet, I have always hated how children are treated in many religious sects. They shouldn’t be taught how “bad” they are and shouldn’t be taught to remember every sin so they can repent for them to avoid going to Hell. And they should NEVER BE TAUGHT THAT GOD WANTS THEM TO BE SPANKED/HIT!
Healthy spirituality is what we all need to aim for. There’s a Light in all of us. I believe that satan wants to blind us to this and think that we have to do special prayers and other things to be closer to God/Goddess but we can learn to listen for Them ourselves. Certain natural medicines are also helpful for some adults to gain more awareness of the spiritual world that is completely and always surrounding us.
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and anyone who knows me or has been following me or has my first edition of my book, Gentle Firmness, knows that child abuse is something I am extremely passionate about.
I am a child abuse survivor. I was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by my dad and various other adults until I was 17 years old and finally told people that I was being abused. All abusers make their victims feel shame and guilt. One often thinks, “If only I did better,” or “It’s all my fault.” I still struggle with this and have recently learned of additional abusive behavior that I’ve continued to endure as an adult that I was either unaware of and/or denied it was real. Unfortunately, I continue to get confirmation that this abuse and manipulation is real and am putting a stop to it.
Mental illness runs in my family most likely due to the horrible cycle of abuse. Genes may also play a part in the mental illness of my family. My Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) score is a 7, which is pretty high, and I struggle with anxiety, PTSD, and depression every day. But every day I work towards healing and helping people.
To not share my story and pain would be like not sharing something that, unfortunately, is a part of me. It would be like denying that I have severe cerebral palsy. While I don’t allow either of these things to define me, I have wounds and scars from my trauma and I believe in using my pain to help others—others who were abused, others who are trying to break the cycle with their own children, and others who need to know that we’re not alone in this. And if I can prevent one child from abuse and heartbreak from the people who are supposed to love them, then it’s all worth it.
Another reason I share my story is to show that there is hope even when it doesn’t always feel like it. Some days are harder than others for us survivors, but we are survivors. There is no shame in getting help professionally. There’s no shame in creating healthy relationships to support you. Abusers and their defenders will make you feel like a horrible person for opening up about your abuse but don’t let them win. This is typical abuser behavior. Unless the abuser gets help, nothing will ever change.
I hope also try to help people understand that even “normative spankings” are abuse in that corporal punishment can make children at a higher risk of being physically abused. When a parent spanks/hits a child and the child doesn’t obey, the parent may decide to spank/hit even harder. This is a risk for physical abuse even if one doesn’t consider corporal punishment as abuse. No child ever deserves to be hit.
And countless other studies show that corporal punishment is harmful to children and it often includes emotional and verbal abuse because the child is told how “bad” he/she is and how he/she “deserves the spanking.”
My dad hit me becauseof my spasms, which are involuntary muscle movements due to my severe cerebral palsy. He also hit me for other things. He was verbally and emotionally abusive as well. He passed away in 2003.
After extensively researching narcissism as well as conferring with a colleague that knows more about this mental illness than meI do, I now believe that both of my parents very likely had/have this disorder. In addition to refusing to admit they were/are wrong, they exhibited/exhibit other key characteristics of narcissism such as a lack of empathy, “an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships” (Mayo Clinic, 2019).
I have been over-analyzing my own behaviors because I am absolutely terrified of getting this mental illness. It’s important to realize that it’s human nature to occasionally be selfish and self-absorbed. It is also human nature to want recognition for accomplishments or to not to want to always admit when we are wrong. Sometimes, like children, we want our own way and lash out when we don’t get our way. This is not narcissistic as long as we recognize these tendencies and can admit that we do some of them occasionally. I know I do these things sometimes but I always admit it. I will always apologize if I am in the wrong.
To have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), one must exhibit at least 5 or more of these characteristics to an abnormal level and not be able to admit that he/she is doing any of this. People with NPD will deny that they have it and will make their victims believe that it’s the victims’ fault, not theirs. And as with any kind of illness, there is a spectrum wherein each individual lies. Some people have narcissistic tendencies and some have NPD. Unfortunately, because people with narcissistic tendencies or NPD will absolutely not seek help for this mental illness, it’s very difficult to diagnose. These people usually seek treatment for depression or anxiety but not narcissism (Bressert, 2019). In addition to this, NPD and other personality disorders can have the same kind of characteristics.
I forgive my parents and other abusers and their defenders, but I cannot remain silent. This is now a part of my story and I will tell it in a respectful manner. Because people with NPD or narcissistic tendencies are masters at manipulation, one must put up strong boundaries and stand firm. Otherwise, through manipulation that isn’t always obvious, these people will break the boundaries. Walking away from them is the best way to protect oneself and hopefully get them to get help. But nothing is guaranteed with this mental illness.
One can and must forgive his/her abusers because the forgiveness is more about setting oneself free from harboring anger and resentment towards them. However, this does not mean letting the abusers off the hook. I can’t do this myself. Forgiveness also does not mean that you have to reconcile with them. It just means you are able to work through the pain and heal.
I also don’t believe that all abusers are narcissistic or have a mental illness. The cycle is so hard to break especially when the community is actually encouraging the abuse and the silence of the children and adults. I’m aware of many abusers and/or pro-spankers that have realized that they were wrong and have apologized for it. They change the way they parent or interact with their grown children. Change is possible!
I am learning how to not be in toxic relationships with people who continue to hurt me. This is far from easy but having healthy relationships is crucial for healing and recovery. Getting psychotherapy is a must. And I heal from getting tattoos so I recently got the tattoo below. It was very emotional for me but reminds me that I am a SURVIVOR! I need this on the days that feel impossible to get through.
Gentle parenting is prevention for child abuse. If parents understand typical child development, then I believe that they are less likely to spank/hit or otherwise abuse their children. Therefore, I will never stop sharing my story. It is a part of my healing process. I don’t do it out of spite. I do it because I understand the pain and struggle after trauma and abuse.
May we value children and stop child abuse someday for good!
Arikan, K. (2005). A Stigmatizing Attitude Towards Psychiatric Illness is Associated with Narcissistic Personality Traits. Psychiatry Relat Sci Vol 42 No. 4 pp. 248–250
Black, R. (2019). Personality Disorders: A Guide to the Ten Different Types. Retrieved https://www.psycom.net/personality-disorders-10-different-types/
My sister-in- law sent me this meme, and I am forever grateful because I am going through a lot right now. I’m far from perfect, but I truly believe that this applies to ALL ages and ALL relationships.
I tell my story and advocate for those who don’t have a voice because I want my pain to do good. If my pain helps others, then it’s all worth it!
“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32, NASB).
As I mentioned in my last post, I have had people get angry for labeling my dad as abusive. However, when we look at the definition of labeling, we see that describing his behavior is not “labeling.”
Here’s the definition of labeling:
“assign to a category, especially inaccurately or restrictively.”
“children were labeled as bullies” (Google Dictionary).
I believe that the key word here is inaccurately. I hate labels, especially when it comes to children. There are no bad children. I have constantly been labeled inaccurately as “retarded,” “heretical,” and a “drama queen” by people who don’t even know me and judge me wrongly. Frankly, I’m guilty of judging others and labeling them inaccurately as well. This is something that I continue to work on.
I also had another run in with a “Christian” pro-spanker who became more and more insulting to me and others as we tried to point out the Truth that Proverbs was not meant to be taken literally when it comes to the rod verses that seem to advocate for corporal punishment. I don’t know where he gets his Hebrew and Greek definitions, but I do not believe that they are from accurate resources. Of course, he thinks the same thing about me.
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (NASB).
I don’t fear God, as in being afraid of Him, but I am reverent towards Him. Thank the Lord that God is love and forgives. The pro-spanker tried to say that the Hebrew word for fear the Lord means to be scared of Him. It made no sense in the context of 1 John 4 where the Bible describes God’s amazing love for us and that fear has to do with punishment. I’m sorry but love and fear cannot co-exist.
Well, things got heated and I described what I was seeing in his comments. With both my dad and this pro-spanker, I have been thinking a lot about labeling and have come to the conclusion that it’s not “labeling” if you are describing behaviors you have experienced and/or observed.
Here’s the definition of describing:
“1. give an account in words of (someone or something), including all the relevant characteristics, qualities, or events” (Google dictionary).
There’s nothing wrong with pointing out negative behaviors in an appropriate manner which can be difficult in the heat of the moment. My dad was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to me and my siblings whether they want to admit it or not. To keep quiet about the abuse is to make it ok. It’s NEVER ok to hurt a child in any manner. There’s so much victim blaming and gaslighting from people who don’t want the abuse exposed. I will never be able to pretend that this abuse didn’t happen even when I have forgiven him.
The same goes for pro-spankers who become insulting and un-Christian like. A person can only take so much before he or she explode. Being mean, insulting, and hateful just sends people—adults and children into fight or flight. They cannot hear the person any more and will eventually either lash out or shut down. I imagine that this is what most of these people who resort to being mean and hateful want—a reaction from the person trying to be kind and respectful and explain our viewpoints. If these people must inflict pain on children, then I can see why those people also must inflict pain on everyone else.
Children grow up and some become trapped in the horrible, abusive doctrine that they were raised in. Or get stuck in believing that an abusive pattern is fine. People like me who were traumatized by the abuse find their voice and must speak out for the children. I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I just want people to know and experience the true, beautiful love of Christ and to STOP children from being hurt due to man’s traditions.
Plus, with children we teach them by describing what they are doing and asking questions. Gentle parenting describes emotions and helps children work through them appropriately. During a conflict between two children, we describe what is happening in the moment to help each child see the others’ point of view and come to a resolution. Without describing, learning would be difficult.
I must point out that diagnosis of a disability or disease is fine and necessary. However, diagnosis should not become labels that are used against children and adults. I have severe cerebral palsy and it doesn’t define me. It just affects how I live my life which is not easy but I am blessed with a wonderful life.
In conclusion, it’s necessary to call a spade a spade. Sometimes the truth hurts when we humble ourselves and realize that we are wrong. However, the Truth (Jesus) will sett us free if we allow Him to do so. What a wonderful message to teach our precious children!