Saturday, September 9, 2017

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 12: Restoration of "Self")

When you think about “self,” is the first thing that comes to mind is the concept of “me, myself, and I.” How many of you believe that for your life, it’s all about “me, myself, and I and forget about everybody else?” Well, that’s what I want to talk about in this post, the concept of “self,” and the restoration of “self.”

There are so many words that can go after the word “self.” What comes to mind are as follows:
Self-Esteem
Self-Preservation
Self-Control
Self-Centered
Self-Image
Self-Defeat
Self-Justification
Self-Identity
Self-Worth
Self-Love
Self-Mutilate
Self-Serving
Self-Hate
Self-Destruction
Self-Sabotage

Those are just some words, and there are many more that I didn’t mention. Self isn’t arbitrarily a bad thing, but it can be if you rely on “self” more than you do God to the point of making your “self” an idol. The late Stephen Covey talked about a centered life, and one area was “self-centered.” A self-centered life in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective people consisted of the following:

Self-centeredness is probably the most common center out of the other centers (money, family, spouse, church, work, pleasure, friend/enemy, etc.) and it’s obvious form is “selfishness,” which violates the values of many people. When you are self-centered, you accept and never give (in other words, “what’s in it for me,” “if it feels good.”). Your security is constantly changing, and you view the world by how decisions, events or how circumstances will affect you. In fact, your ability to act is limited to your own resources.

According to Stephen Covey, self-centeredness also breeds self-justification and self-interest. Before I forget, the two types of self that I really want to focus on for this blogpost are “self-worth” and “self-sabotage.”

If you look at Numbers 13, it’s a familiar story; it’s the story of Moses sending spies to survey the land. Ten of the twelve said that they couldn’t do take the land, even though God said it was given to them. Only two heeded the word of God. Now, here’s the interesting part (especially in the last two verses – 32 and 33): So they gave the Israelites a bad report about the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we went, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants. And all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Did you notice something? Their enemies rarely can detect spies and what the spies did was cause the nation to take their side (with the exception of Joshua and Caleb).  They said, “We were like grasshoppers.” They discounted themselves out and saw themselves a way that their enemies may not have seen them. Have you ever known people (or have you even done it yourself) to discount themselves before others when they probably weren’t thinking that way about them? Using myself as an example, “I may think that a particular woman may not like me because I’m so unusual. So I don’t even introduce myself, when the truth may be that she really likes me.” I missed an opportunity due to self-sabotage because of low self-worth. That’s what the children of Israel did. They sabotaged their own success.

Don’t self-sabotage your self-worth because of somebody else. People will hate you whether you do/say something or whether you don’t do/say something. In short, people will hate you just because. This message here is to not be defeated from the start due to a low self-esteem (self-worth).

May I use a gruesome example: A woman is in a marriage with a man who claimed he loved her but physically and emotionally abuses her. During the course of the marriage, he wants her to worship him, talk to nobody by him, and is extremely jealous of her to the point that she has to look down at the ground whenever they are in the public eye. You can tell right there that this woman’s self-worth is destroyed and possibly her view of God may be skewed as well. When this happens, it’s easy to start self-sabotaging yourself to thinking, “this is what God wants from me, to suffer and stay in the marriage till death do we part.” It’s also easy to start thinking this abnormal life is normal. Even if she gets out, she will do whatever she can to gain control over everything around her (especially her life), and fears any loss of control due to what she experienced. Do I understand the rationale behind it? Yes. Does her life need to be repaired? Absolutely. Will it be difficult for her to go through the process and will she really want to go through the process? It will be difficult, and will do everything possibly in many cases to avoid the process. When this situation happens, it will be easy to mistaken what’s God when it really is self because of the control component. In other words, whatever good happens may sometimes be God, and every bad thing we blame God for it, especially when it doesn’t go the way we want it to go.

So, how do we restore self-worth to stop self-sabotage? It’s a great question, and here are some things to help along the way. If you are someone who believes in God (or even if your view of God is skewed because of traumatic events), your self-worth can actually be improved when you understand God’s principles for what they really are (in other words, read it as if you were a little child – and do what you can to throw away every teaching that was legalistic and condemning). When you become engrossed in His principles, it will improve your self-worth. Let me give you some examples from His Word that confirm who you are:
  • You are a fellow heir to a divine inheritance among the saints (Ephesians 1:18)
  • You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)
  • You are crucified with Christ, nevertheless you live, and the life you now live, you live by faith (Galatians 2:20)


Another way to improve your self-worth is to serve others, like mentor a child who’s coming up in this crazy world. So, I close with two questions to consider:
  1. What can you do to serve others? When you give, you actually open yourself up to so many blessings to you (please, don’t do this just for the blessings, let it really come from your heart).
  2. What are areas in your life where your pride needs to be swallowed (when I say pride, I’m referring to the concept of, “I’m a self-made man; I’m a self-made woman and I got here by myself”)? Of course that’s not true, we all received help at some point. What are some areas where you need to humble yourself? Remember, pride comes before destruction, and before the Lord, we must humble ourselves. He does know what’s best for us, and He’s the only one who can restore your “Self-identity!”


Will you let Him do that? He wants to restore your “self” into what He originally designed for you. He wants to place blessings and not cursing on you (in fact, it’s our “self” that cause them to come, not Him). The enemy wants you to “self-sabotage,” which cause “self-defeat!” Jesus wants to restore the “self-esteem” and “self-worth” that was destroyed by the enemy.

Blessings.


The Mayne Man

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 11 - The Past)

Well, first and foremost, Happy 2017 (considering this is my first blogpost for the year 2017). I know, I’ve been procrastinating, so I ask for your forgiveness. It’s ironic that I’m posting my first blog for the year on Independence Day – and I pray that this post will allow you to break free from the past.

I was blessed to listen to a Marriage Made EZ from October 2016. It featured my parents and the special guests were the gospel duo Mary Mary and their respective husbands. As I listened, I started to reflect on my past and my journey to being free from the past (and I am free in faith).

A few years back, I did a blogpost entitled P.C.A (Porn, Children & Abuse). If you didn’t read it, I invite you to read this before continuing on with this post.

The reason why I did that particular post was to address something that was haunting me, and now I want to explain that post and expand from that post. Now there are some things that you may have gone through in your past, and God may be the only person you need to confess the pain and shame from your past. The reason I am going public with this P.C.A is my desire to help others. I also know that me holding my abuse, pain and the porn that I was exposed to that would affect me for years would create so much shame. And because of the pain of the past, caused some cynicism to creep up in my spirit, which I am getting out to totally shame the devil. And I’ll be honest, I was not only introduced to sex when I was 10/11, to porn when I was 11, and the same uncle would watch porn for the next 3 years that he would either borrow from his friends, or whatever my late father would leave in the house. I would see bits and pieces of it, and I will be honest, when I was in my teens and I would watch it, it was a bit of a love/hate relationship towards it. Part of me enjoyed it, and the other part of me hated it to the core. Interesting, isn’t it?  As I got older, realizing some things in my life caused me to have so much shame for all that I’ve done in my past.

Now, let me say something when it comes to shame (actually, Tina Campbell said this during that seminar, that was so eloquent). Shame and embarrassment should never eat at you, people will say whatever they want – in fact, they don’t even know the pain you’ve experienced. Everybody has issues, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. The devil will do everything he can to get you to hold on to it, because it will keep you down.

Once we bring our inadequacies to Jesus, nobody else needs to validate our deliverance. It’s so sad that we want to boast about other people’s shame over our own. I thank God today for Him saving my life, and for delivering me from the pain that I’ve been holding for 30+ years.

I ask that you don’t go through your past alone. In order for me to attack your past, then I’m leaguing with the devil, I need to attack the root that caused your pain, which is the devil – and by the way, he’s a defeated foe. This is the day to be free and delivered. The beauty of God is that He heals from the inside out, and there are so many who are looking for a cure to heal from the outside in.

And I’ll be honest, and please forgive me. Between sharing that particular blogpost, and this particular post, there is a bit of shame and fear coming out of me (and the main reason why I’m sharing this part of my life is to shame the devil) because of some of you reading this, will see me differently. And this is something I need to be delivered from, the opinions of others (and I am delivered by faith). Not to justify my actions and behaviors because it all starts with my thoughts, the main root is the lack of validation received in childhood and that I mattered.

Before I even attempt to close this blogpost, I want to say something else. My past may have been a little jacked up, whether it be my actions in school, the porn and movies I know I should not have seen at my age, or the partners I had during the course of my abuse. If I weren’t delivered from all of this, it would totally mess up my future, and reflect on every person I was with and the porn I had watched. What I realized is this, the devil was setting me up to fail and cause certain people in my life to abuse me to distract my future and not see God’s blessing when it really comes. Remember I mentioned about cynicism earlier? I could be like, she is not from God when she really is – it’s just my spirit is messed up, and I'm allowing the initial doubt to rob me of my future because of the pain I experienced in my past – fear of being in pain again whether it be physically, mentally or financially. The key here is for me to be free, and this is my declaration of independence from my past! If you desire to be free from your past, declare your independence from your past.

Blessings.


The Mayne Man

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 10 - The Scapegoat Child)

I was reading a book over the weekend, and the word “scapegoat” stuck out at me. What was revealing was that it said at the end of this particular paragraph, “many people scapegoat, so they don’t look at the goat in the mirror.” Heavy words, but I’ll talk about that more in the end. But for now, I want to talk about the scapegoat child living in an abusive environment.

If you were to look at a narcissistic (abusive) home, the family dynamics typically look like this: one parent is a narcissist, the other parent is an enabler. If children are involved (especially if there’s more than one), one child will be the scapegoat, and the other will be the golden child. I believe the best way to talk about the scapegoat child is first sharing an excerpt from a blogpost I stumbled across as well as share pieces of my life. The name of the blogpost was entitled Why Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims (the entire blogpost can be read here).

If you were scapegoated by your family, two things can happen. You can become a narcissist yourself (narcissism being an elaborate defense mechanism to avoid further hurt and abuse) or you will internalize the early message that you’re worthless, defective and have no rights. I’m going to talk about the second scenario because that’s what this video is about and it’s what happened to me.

As a scapegoat, you are trained to live in fear. You become afraid to defend yourself, express your opinions, or demand fair treatment. This attitude of worthlessness, fear and shame is carried into adult life. Other people can immediately sense you are a pushover and a magnet for abuse, rejection, and bullying, and you become a target for abuse by others well into adult life.

You can become a lifelong victim unless you find a way to break the pattern. It’s difficult to unlearn, because it was established so early in life by the narcissistic parent.

Golden children, who more closely resemble the narcissistic parent or provide them with narcissistic supply (adulation), are more likely than scapegoats to become narcissists themselves. They will often become the aging narcissistic parent’s flying monkeys against the scapegoated adult child, continuing the family pattern of abuse.
Scapegoated children are the family shock absorbers. They are the children who have been assigned to absorb and internalize the narcissistic parents’ rage and to mirror back what has been projected onto them.

This is exactly what happened to me. Although because I was an only child I sometimes served the Golden Child role, for the most part I was the scapegoat. My Aspergers and high sensitivity made me even more perfect for that role.

For many years I walked around as if ashamed to be alive. I carried shame with me like a heavy burden that affected the way I spoke, the way I related, the way I thought (all the negative self-talk and self-hate), even the way I moved and carried myself. I embarrassed myself.

As I read that, I thought about my life. Because my uncle, though 2 years older than me and bigger than me, was good at manipulating me because of my psychological condition, I was an automatic scapegoat because I was five years older than my sister. Whenever he did a wrong, I was the blame for it (so I would suffer physical abuse as a result or if he told my parents, or I confessed to something I either did or didn’t do, I faced the infamous belt). Eventually, as I entered my early teens, accepting blame for everything was quite common for me, so I eventually became numb to it all and accepted everything that came my way for the most part. One thing the blogger wrote that stuck out at me was that she said that they are pushovers and magnets for abuse, rejection and bullying. Given that I have Aspergers myself, I will admit that I was naïve to certain things in life, so I endured four types of abuse (physical, sexual, verbal and emotional in the home), rejected by many in school and was bullied my freshman year in high school (because upper classmen knew my uncle and what he did to me, so that definitely made me a target). At home, the thought was that I would never succeed in the world and that I needed to stay home. Eventually, I struggled with life and how I felt about life and myself. The only thing that kept me going was my desire to know Christ even at the age of 17.

I stumbled across another blogpost that inspired this one right here (the one above inspired it also) entitled 12 Steps to Breaking Free from being the Family Scapegoat written by Glynis Sherwood. Here’s an excerpt of the her blogpost:
Did you grow up having doubts about your self-esteem or personal worth?  When things went wrong in your family, did you tend to be the fall guy?  Do you find yourself encountering recurring disrespect from friends or colleagues?  Do you feel unsure of yourself and/or have difficulty experiencing trust in relationships?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these statements, you may have been scapegoated by your family.  The term ‘scapegoat’ refers to a family member who takes the blame for difficulties in the family. Scapegoating is a form of bullying.  Family relationships profoundly impact our identity and how we view ourselves.

I hope that excerpt above intrigued you like it did for me. Here's the link to read the rest of her post (which I highly recommend). She gives you ways to tell if you have been scapegoated and steps to breaking free.

The more I think about it, I see my childhood throughout what she said in her blogpost. 

Glynis mentioned that one step in breaking free getting in the habit of treating yourself with kindness, caring, compassion, appreciation and acceptance. Now I can’t speak for anyone reading this but during my teen years and having lived life as a scapegoat, there was a rage inside of me and I held a lot of anger, hate and unforgiveness. Those three things came as a result of being the scapegoat child. A lot of hard core rap music at that time intensified the rage especially when I reached the age of 15. And even though I became more spiritual, there was still a root of anger, unforgiveness and pride (that I’m addressing today).  Within the roots of anger, unforgiveness and pride, what would grow as a result was a critical spirit (to the point of judging them harshly), and a fight to be right at all cost. So I couldn’t agree with Glynis more if I tried. These are things I need to practice as I type this. Oh, there’s one more thing that I have to do, and that’s to walk in forgiveness (forgiving others as well as myself).

Can I talk to the faith community (especially in the AA community) for a moment? From generations past, we grew up under the philosophy of “what goes on in the house stays in the house.” This creates an environment to abuse, but also generational curses (full of criticism, negativity towards self and others, denial, and many others). Denial is the drug of choice for many.  In most cases, when someone was abused in past generations, no one will talk about it (shame, fear of retaliation from the molester, protecting the image of the family, accused of lying about it). Because it was never addressed, it was passed down many generations. You might be dealing with it now. You were denied when you wanted to voice your abuse or you were known as a liar because you revealed family secrets, and as a result, you are living with the guilt and shame of others. As mentioned earlier, you end up scapegoating others because it was never addressed in childhood. Earlier, I was talking about the “goat in the mirror.” Let’s talk about that now.  In Biblical times when a trespass (or wrongdoing was done), a scapegoat was needed to take the blame for what the wrongdoer did. An animal was used and was slaughtered (and discarded). That’s what happens to the child who was a scapegoat. If it was never addressed, it carries into adulthood. Now when it comes to getting help in matters like this, we tend to put a spiritual band-aid over it and say, “I’m healed.” Yes, you are in faith, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the doctor.  Think about it: your car needs an oil change, you can say, my car has oil all day long, but if you don’t take it to get it changed, you will damage your car! The same holds true for your life. The reason why many don’t want to look at the goat in the mirror is because what you dealt with in your past is ugly. 

Another way of saying it is like this. The goat that is staring at you when you look in the mirror is the pain you endured in childhood (and/or possible adulthood) that was never addressed (via denial) and now the heart is callous to where forgiving others and self is unheard of. So there's a strong chance that scapegoating will happen to shift the blame elsewhere and then kill the scapegoat to rid of the pain to avoid addressing it. Dealing with painful pasts is not easy because like an onion, there are layers. The deeper you go, the more painful it is to the eyes. In this case, it's more painful to the heart. 

Many will never be set free because they will find things in their heart or life that they really don't want to see and/or change. So they will make somebody else the blame for their own issues. The sad part is God may take them to a place to be free in their heart and soul, but because the process is painful, they will refuse to go there. Here's what's important, He is with you and in my best Michael Jackson voice, you are not alone! May I encourage you to go through the process? I promise you that there's a promise that follows after the process. 

Now, don’t make the mistake in assuming blame for what you didn’t do (like I did and struggle with at times today), that wrong done by others is on them. Take the pain that you did and cast it over to Him and get the help needed (if you believe you need it). It will require the work, but remember that’s a process. Within each process you go through in life (that has a positive outcome), there’s a promise! It’s been said, focus on the promise and not the process.

I mentioned walking in forgiveness a moment ago, but I need to say this especially to the faith community. It’s so important to walk in forgiveness, because good friendships and relationships can be destroyed because of the pain that was never been addressed since childhood (via the drug denial). And I’ll be honest I have destroyed good friendships and relationships during my walk of life due to the pain that was done to my heart and spirit. So, I have had to go back and ask for forgiveness (regardless of how I feel, it’s what the Word says). I’ve heard it said that we use faith for everything in life except for the area forgiving others and self. I am learning that I have to forgive people and myself in faith (because there will be days where seeds of doubt will creep up and say “you haven’t forgiven them, and look at you, you’re still beating yourself up”).  I have to trust God enough with my heart to forgive others and myself. It doesn’t have anything to do with what they did or said (and it’s not giving them a pass); it has everything to do with my relationship with God, spending time in prayer and meditating on His Word. Protecting myself isn’t an issue with others, if I’m vulnerable to His Word; considering if I trust God, my heart is protected and I will be able to forgive people when people will say and do mean things. My friendships and relationships get the overflow based on my relationship with God.

As always, healing is the children’s bread and you can be made whole!

Blessings,

The Mayne Man