A letter from Tara’s friend, Abby. Abby is a victim of narcissistic abuse by certain family members and has just found out about it.
(featured image is Job and His Three Friends by James Jacques Joseph Tissot)
Tara, dear, I’m beginning to question why I am being alive at all. Is my purpose to be abused by my family? Did God put me here so that I can be the receiver of abuse? Is this why I was created? I get born, I get to be abused, and then I die without having rest from the abuse?
Just now I was listening to my housemates conversing over our morning cup and the conclusion is that they hope we’ll get together again, the family.
My God, they have no idea how this family destroyed my life, and they can only hope that I be “humble” enough so that we all get “reconciled.”
My God. I will never ever have the chance to have a life as me, Abby, I’m gonna die being used all the way. My being a good person, a good daughter, a good human, has trapped me in this abuse. There’s no escape from it. God Himself allowed me to get this abuse. I have always followed God’s rules and this is the outcome. Is God happy that I ended up like this, and only a decade or two before I die? And then, what, does heaven even exist? What is the sense of my consciousness? Why was I even allowed this awareness? Is God happy that I suffered because of my generosity and humility and understanding and kindness and empathy? I can’t believe it all. God does not make sense.
You know me, Tara. I don’t speak unless I mean it, so may God forgive me. He already knows my thoughts before I wrote down everything.
I’ll see you soon. Until then, take care. Hugs, Abby
*The Book of Job, in the Bible, tells of the character Job who suffered unimaginable loses despite his adherence to God’s rules as was taught in his day (this was around 4,000 years ago, as is believed by many scholars, in the Arabian region). Job expresses his hurt and existential questions to God in the hearing of his wife and friends. The book is so much worth reading and/or researching about. It tackles one of the most difficult questions of humanity: a suffering that does not make sense.
Tara’s friend, Abby, is experiencing a similar agony to Job’s, though not exactly. I thank Abby and Tara for sharing the core content of Abby’s letter. This letter, together with the thoughts and comments by the readers (that’s you, dear friend), which will eventually contribute to the overall content of this post, will surely help the many persons around the world who are undergoing a similar experience as Job then, and Abby now.
May the posters below be of help to those who are seeking answers. May God bless us all.
Thanks many times to the owners of the posters! (uhuh, I don’t own any of them) Be well, my friend.
People tell me I should avoid anger because it is the soul’s poison. I would agree with them, echoing my agreement over the correctness of the wise saying. Nevertheless, as fate would deem it as timely, I was unfortunate enough to overlook trusted biblical principles that should have helped me avoid my own failure: falling into the trap of an all-consuming anger.
“Their anger is as deadly as the poison of a snake. They shut their ears like a deaf cobra.”
Psalm 58:4. (ERV)
From Psalm 58:4 I am able to understand that anger is fatal. It makes one heedless of the inherent danger. The element of urgency that empowers it demands an immediate antidote to counter its destructiveness. In the absence of the antidote, only a miracle can save the situation. Heedless anger will consume its course regardless of the possible or imminent danger to the wielder of this threat.
“Your anger is hurting no one but you.”
Job 18:4a. (ERV)
From Job 18:4 I am able to understand that anger hurts both its wielder and the receiver. I am a physical non-violent person. My anger hurts the receiver in the psychological sense, not in the physical sense. I do not strike blows. Instead, I cut off communication. This is tantamount to making the receiver feel the deadness of our relationship where I am concerned. It denies the personhood of the receiver. No blows landed and caused bruises but the heart and mind of the receiver should sense the disconnection. Does the receiving party even felt some sting from the disconnection? It so happens that lately I have learned to assume that the disconnection was sensed but a psychological-wound’s-sting is non-existent. Instead, it is a sting to the pride that is perceived as being challenged; a sting to the self-sense of special privilege that is being questioned. The receiver of the anger will raise some protective rage because their self-perceived supremacy received a blow.
On my part, I mourn for the death of a relationship because for me it is a real death. It is a dead deadness, a nothingness, the void of having no faith in God. It is a personal tragedy. It hurts my spirit. It diminishes the fire of life that burns in my soul. It is deadlier than the hand blow.
As I was relating earlier, I fell into the anger trap. I would like to excuse myself, though, by appealing to THE reason—I was wronged. I was robbed, disrespected, disregarded, taken for granted, and abused. Not once. Not twice. Not tree times. But again and again and again—more than seventy times seven.
The back of the camel broke because of the last straw. That was very unfortunate. The camel’s back lacked the strength to carry that last single straw. How tragic!
“God shows his anger from heaven against all the evil and wrong things that people do.”
Romans 1:18a. (ERV)
However, unlike the Creator who wields all power and who owns all things, my righteous anger did not spare me from the repercussions of the deadly reaction to evil.
My blood boiled and my heart pumped extra life-support fluids to my overworked central nervous system. For hours on end my flesh was fighting for the calm stability that it’s used to. And so the only way to keep my system functioning in sync was to increase my energy-providing processes. My spirit could handle the aberrations but my physical body was begging for placid steadiness.
Obviously, anger prevents a restful state of the human consistency. Anger forces the body to work overtime. Anger is a killing machine.
So, I, Nancy, concluded that anger has its acceptable reasons, but it is not intended as a permanent fixture of the human body. We are not created to be angry many times in our lifetime. Anger is a luxury for when a wrong has been committed against a person. It is not a means to force a certain reality to take place. It is not a human being’s source of power.
“Do you think this world was made for you alone? Do you think God should move mountains just to satisfy you?”
Job 18:4b. (ERV)
Nevertheless, the processing of anger in the spiritual level must exempt the physical level. True, this is very difficult to achieve, yet it has been done by the multitudes who have to face abuses and trespasses against their personhood.
My anger, my protection against violations to my humanity, will be relegated to a venue where it can be resolved and where it will help in the healing of my nervous system—to coax back my memory cells from the realms of fright and shocked horror.
Anger is capable of hurting both the person who wields it and the person at the receiving end. My self-resolution of the personal protest which manifested as anger will serve as:
(1.) A clarificatory gauge or a warning mark to show the severity of the suffered violations, and so may guard against the perpetuation on an ongoing abuse;
(2.) An assurance to the physical body that the threat is being dismantled and so will not be capable anymore of creating havoc in the normalcy of the body systems’ interrelated pacing.
Since I’m not the Creator, since I have no jurisdiction over all things, then I will not assume that I can wield my anger in any which way to please myself—this is the devil’s lie which opens the door to danger, allowing my anger to destroy me.
Instead, I will use it as a shield to protect myself from the deceitfulness of those who only wish me harm. Amen.
-By guest author Nancy Lam, giving a glimpse of how messages from the Bible can help victims of abuse and similar phenomena to cope and eventually heal.-
[UPDATE. As of today, 20th July 2021, I intend to edit this post, so to make it non-egotistical and non-exclusive. I’ll try my best! Kaja!]
“The result of global upheavals that accelerated after the Industrial Revolution will continue to shape global ethos so much so that […] people’s traditional ways will continue to evolve into new forms. Many forces continue to shape and are in turn shaped by values. If the honoring of parents is such a fundamental part of a human being’s set-up, then unchanging references of this phenomenon must be recognized. Such a reference can be acknowledged in the Old Testament.
Although the Hebrew culture was as unique as the rest are, it is through it that God is believed to have communicated to man in a particular way. How biblical Israel’s children are seen to have shown honor to parents will continuously convey messages to the present world for as long as man thrives.”
The above excerpt is in line with the expectation that Christianity’s ethos ultimately bases on the Bible. However, there are other reasons why the Bible is a legitimate starting point from a secular perspective (that is, has nothing to do with religion).
Today I discovered this wonderful book:
Mangalwadi, Vishal. The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2011).
It is an entertaining set of discussions by a very knowledgeable authority regarding the enduring relevance of the Bible to the current world’s technological and academic prowess from the perspective of its motivational roots.
Mangalwadi mentions the tragedy that surrounded Kurt Cobain, a famous vocal artist who left the world at a young age, in connection with his comment that,
“Never mind” is a logical virtue for a nihilist who thinks that there is nothing out there to give meaning and significance to anything here—be it your daughter, wife, or life. In contrast, the modern West was built by people who dedicated their lives to what they believed was divine, true, and noble.
The facets of humanity that the Bible can potentially influence reaches beyond its traditional religious realm, even beyond human psychology and the arts.
The topic on the importance of the Bible to the present world is higly polemical. Nevertheless, the number of influential personages in the globe who adhere to its ethos, in one way or another, cannot be downplayed. (See, for instance:
“It is not only the descendants of Abraham who know how to honor parents. Indeed, we have not heard of a culture where people do not honor parents. Yet around the world and throughout history the way aged parents are treated by their adult children comprises a wide spectrum. Though no culture today can be categorically described as not honoring parents, the fact is that for many individuals the honoring of their parents is not placed among the priorities in their lives.
In a 2004 article in a Bible study website four factors were cited that lead to the tendency of “undermining” the honoring of parents in the U.S.A.:
1.) There is the impact of technology.
2.) Because of the rapid increase of divorce, children are often called upon to honor one parent and to despise the other.
3.) If it is possible to pin the blame for our problems on someone else, it is also easy to pin the responsibility of caring for aging parents on someone else.
Not long ago an article in an online British newspaper said of the famous actress Dame Judi Dench,
‘Judi Dench has lambasted “inhumane” care homes, suggesting families should take in elderly relatives instead. […] The sight of pensioners being left with little to keep their minds busy was, she said, particularly distressing – and a prospect that made her desperate to carry on working.’
In many countries now, the care of elderly parents, pensioners, is a situation involving many issues, such as psychological and economic. The two illustrations above may serve to show that if only a perfect way can be found then the honoring of the elderly is rather hoped to be more satisfactorily met than it is being done now. The present dissatisfaction in many parts of the world in this area somehow suggests that the act of honoring parents is a fundamental consistency of being a human.”