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 na├»ve 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!


The Mayne Man

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 9 - Abuse & Destructive Words)

I was getting ready to go workout, and I stumbled across this episode of Judge Mathis on TV. I do need to issue a TRIGGER WARNING because some words will be said that might create triggers and I want to be sensitive to wherever you are in your journey to healing; if you haven’t started, I pray that this post will encourage you to start your journey to healing. Here’s a YouTube clip that personifies how destructive words can be to someone who was abused and/or neglected.  It really heats up around 1:50 till the end.

If you were not able to view it, that’s ok. Since I saw it from the beginning, let me catch you up to the point where the clip begins: the mother filed a lawsuit against the daughter (the defendant) and the daughter files a counterclaim for emotional distress. The daughter testified that she told her mother about the abuse, but she was beaten with an extension cord and was told to not bring it up again. So, the daughter kept that inside until she was older. Because the daughter never addressed her pain, she ended up on drugs and her mother took care of her daughter’s kids as a result.

Here’s what stood out to me within the clip:
Daughter: I have a letter from my doctor; I have the text message (from my mother) of how I enjoy being molested.

Judge Mathis (to the mother): You didn’t say anything about her enjoying being molested. Read where it says she enjoyed being molested. This is the worst thing I’ve heard in 17 years!
The doctor says this: this letter to remind you (the daughter) that you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the catastrophic experiences you have encountered in your life especially when you were a defenseless child. You are currently having an exasperation of this disorder after about 5 years of stability. The most likely reason for your decompensation is the manner you were reminded of your past by the person who had the responsibility of protecting you from harm.

Mother (reading the text message): I didn’t find out nothing about you or anybody until you were an adult. That’s why I said that you must’ve liked it because you kept going over there.

I don’t know about you, but for a mother to tell a child, “you must’ve liked it because you kept going over there,” is a slap in the child’s face. I can’t speak for other abuse survivors, but I can definitely say this (as an abuse survivor): I didn’t like the abuse (well, eventually I became numb to it because no one was going to protect me because of the grooming), but I also knew that I had no choice in the matter because my voice didn’t matter. The more I think about it, I told my parents the whole story when I was 22, and the response was, “why didn’t you say something then?” My response was, “would you have believed me, and besides, I had a choice, be beat up by my uncle who was bigger than me and good for making me pay for the mistakes he made as well as my own, or receive the belt from you.” It’s been said that the moment your abuse occurred and no help was provided, can actually have you stuck at the age when the abuse occurred. See the blogpost that was released 8/7/16 on Loss of Childhood.

I need to talk specifically to the AA community (since we’re real good at denying things, and holding dearly to the philosophy “what goes on in the house, stays in the house”): When you deny that your child is being abused, or you neglect their care when you know they are being abused, your actions truly speak louder than words. When you put a spiritual band-aid over someone who’s been abused (telling them they are healed and cursed are they if they seek help – yes, I know that generations past were great at keeping things inside the house), that root of hurt will fester into anger, rage, bitterness, and don’t be surprised if the child (now an adult) acts up and ends up in a world of trouble, if not dead mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally.  One more thing, we should never curse someone or tell them to deny that they are suffering from a disorder especially if they have been through something traumatic (and never had a support group to help them heal, or never sought professional help). And yes, there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help, so can we please come off of your religious pedestal for a moment? If the truth be told, and the truth should be told, we all have something that we’re dealing with – we’re not immune to what’s going on in this world. We should be able to support each other, fight for each other’s healing, encourage them to heal (seeking help if needed as well as spiritual counseling, praying healing scriptures) and not live in denial. We’re all in this together. Thank you, now to continue with this post.

Unfortunately, for many who have been abused (even though this is really addressing child sexual abuse, but I can also say for many who have been abused of any type and regardless if it occurred in childhood or adulthood), they end up with PTSD. Other disorders that could occur are BPD (borderline personality disorder), Bipolar, DID (dissociative identity disorder – I would encourage you to be tested for this if your abuse occurred under the age of 6) or even worse Schizophrenia (whether mild or full-blown).

Since this blogpost is about abuse and the power of destructive words, let’s really talk about this.

The mother on Judge Mathis had the unmitigated gall to say, “You must’ve liked it…” Regardless of where the daughter was on her road to healing, those words spoken were destructive and spoke death over her daughter. If you read between the lines, the mother was saying, “I don’t give a ____ about you, whatever happens to you will happen.” Granted, the mother might have had her own demons to fight, but the mother has a responsibility to the child to nurture and protect – and listen to the child when they say they’re molested, and not beat them with an extension cord saying, “they’re lying.” Telling a child “they’re lying,” are destructive words to the child (especially if they’re telling the truth).

Here are some examples of words or phrases that are destructive to someone who has suffered abuse or neglect:
  • There’s nothing wrong with you
  • He or she is just acting out and wanting attention
  • Why are you lying? I will punish you for your lies (your molester would never do that to you)

I just wanted to give you a few, I’m sure those of you who are reading can come up with much more.  Here are some things that I had to hear during my childhood after my abuse:
  • Because you don’t have a girlfriend, you are a homosexual (male relative)
  • I understand you’re trying to be religious, but you need to be out there with the women (male relative)
  • The way you act around the house, you will never make it through basic training (female relative)
  • The way you act around the house, you aren’t fit for college dorm life (female relative)
  • Look at your clothes; they’re cheap (male relative - paraphrase)
  • The reason why your collarbones stick out is because you have AIDS (classmate in 7th grade)

What I wanted to say to the male relative at the time who made the first two remarks was that I knew a lot more than he thought, and there were a few women in school that I thought were attractive that I would’ve wanted to hit it and quit it. Two buffers were in place: 1-most of the girls in school thought I was goofy and immature (mainly because I was acting out as a result of the abuse – which they knew and did their best to stay away from me) and 2-the grace of God. I believe He stopped it so that I wouldn’t damage not only their life, but mine considering I had experience with a female relative to the point where I knew as much as someone in an X-rated movie. Now my parents didn’t know about that incident at the time – and I’m glad they didn’t because I probably wouldn’t have been alive today. In response to the female relative (knowing that I couldn’t talk back to this particular relative), I enlisted in the military to 1-prove that I can make it on my own (that would come with a set of problems, which I’m addressing now in my 40s) and 2-fulfill the dream that was inside my heart when I was in high school (I was not about to let her words destroy the future that was inside my heart). To the male relative (who talked about my clothes), that was the uncle who molested me (he put me through hell between ages 8-14, and most of what came out of his mouth towards me was destructive). The backlash to my uncle’s words for me was that it created a rage inside of me (with no place to release it – except school). I was angry, bitter, and I kept it all inside. So to cut people with words if they wanted to hurt me was the norm (and a form of protection – note, I had an epiphany at 16, which I believe God was making me realize that I can’t continue to live my life like this). Believe me when I say that I was willing to defend myself at all costs (and I vowed as I got older to defend the woman I marry – off subject: many women see me as such a sweetheart, and probably assume that I don’t carry the trait that I will defend a woman if needed; don’t get it twisted, I will gladly defend and fight for my wife and beside my wife to the death if the situation warrants it – never against her).  The classmate in 7th grade gave me a crash course of AIDS; however, her words could’ve crushed my chance at life – knowing that once you end up with AIDS, your life for the most part is over.

Now I don’t want to make any excuse for the destructive words I may have said to people during my teen years and in adulthood. Some of them came from a place of hurt, and the remainder was out of pure ignorance. So, if you were the recipient of any words that were destructive to your ears, I ask for your forgiveness.

Can we be healed from destructive words? Absolutely! Once we realize the life and death are in the power of the tongue, we won’t harm others or ourselves. Healing is the children’s bread, and I hope you stand with me as we are on the path to wholeness.

Here’s an example of positive words that will assist in your healing process. Using Proverbs 12:18 as an example, a confession can be made from this verse that speaks life to the body.
Proverbs 12:18 – Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.
Confession: My tongue makes me well. I have what I say. I say, The Lord is my Healer. I say, He takes sickness away from me. I say, No plague can come nigh my dwelling. I say, He healeth all my diseases. What I confess, I possess. My words make me well. There is healing power in my words, for they are God’s Words. I speak health to every muscle, tissue, fiber, and cell in my body. I release God’s healing power with my words into my whole body. Healing is mine!


The Mayne Man

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 8 - Loss of Childhood)

This past Thursday night, I was leaving a meeting and someone said to me three words, “loss of childhood.” My initial thought was the late and the great, Michael Jackson. I’ll talk about him in just a moment. But at the same time, I had to ask myself, “did I lose my childhood? Is this the cause of the pain that’s in my heart that has caused people throughout my life to say I’m goofy, immature and a whole host of other words that are degrading?” Before talking about my life, let’s look at Michael Jackson’s life for a moment. Despite how the media strove to demonize him and to give them what they wanted, music, drama and stories that would generate attention for their gain and his loss, his childhood was far from perfect.

This is an excerpt from the following articles:

As the world learned, however, was that Michael Jackson had a dark side that involved child abuse, neglect, and accusations of child molestation. You find can an entire populace of people with similar history in prison.

It wasn’t enough that Michael suffered a lost childhood. He was never allowed to be own person. His spirit was never free. Instead, his life became a tool for others to make profit of his enormous talent. His father, Joe Jackson, was not a successful man on his own by any means. He was a steel worker during the day, hardly carrying enough change in his pockets for lunch.

To his credit, however, Joe Jackson was a driven man. He played in a band and was a talented guitarist. Perhaps he had dreams playing for record label, but fell victim to the circumstances in his day: poverty, racism, and missed opportunities.

To some, growing old and not fulfilling your lifelong dream is intolerable. Joe Jackson may not have wanted any of that. So, his kids became the pawns for his success. According the Michael and his sister LaToya, Joe Jackson was a tyrant with an iron fist. He ran the household with fear, intimidation, and complete lack of concern about his children’s feelings.

Which Michael at the realm, the Jackson 5 attracted television and record deals. Before they became famous, they would play in small clubs and bars, exposing the underage boys to bar violence, nudity, and alcohol. But their father didn’t care. He would subject his children to anything, good or bad, to achieve fame and fortune. Like many child stars, however, Michael was forced into world that God never meant for children. Michael never experienced a childhood. He was busy making money for his family and for the record labels. He was a moneymaker. Despite the claims from those who say they loved him and showed genuine concern, he was a music moneymaking machine. The self-worth was solely based on that. If he stopped producing, they stopped caring.

When he was 20 years old, Off The Wall was released. Most people at this age are in college, partying, studying for college exams, or thinking of their careers. Michael remained what he was since he was 10, a money making machine. Not a man with feelings, not a man with a spirit, and a human being. He was a money-making machine, the darling of the media, a man with billions of dollars, yet no life.

It’s just human nature to make up for lost experience. It not unusual for teenage moms, as soon as their children are grown, to dress up in sexy garbs, hang out at bars, and date younger men.

Michael’s inner demons were not demons. They were yearnings (yearnings to have the God given right to a normal childhood).

Now many would say, he should’ve gotten over it or he was mature enough to do the things he should do to heal. Well, it’s easier said than done (especially if you don’t have the right support system – and the media will 90% of the time fail at being a support system). Knowing that the devil is the ruler of this world, he will steal your life, kill your life and destroy your life (John 10:10a). And sadly, this was the case for Michael Jackson. Many of you reading this can identify some areas of your life that mirror his. Personally, I grew up to Michael’s music and he is a gifted songwriter (especially with songs that were focused on healing the world).

Before I share a little bit about my life, let me say this first and foremost. Healing is the children’s bread (in other words, we have a right to be healed – but it will require our part). Check out this excerpt about Michael’s childhood:

Michael Jackson was one of the biggest child stars of his time. Many people adored him because he was such a great presence on stage and moved like no one could. He always seemed so happy and carefree on stage, like a child should be. But that was only a facade. Michael was not a happy child. By the time he was 9, it was almost like he was an adult in a child’s body. He would be in school for about three hours a day and then it was straight to recording or interviews or performances. He had no time to be a kid, no time to play or relax, no other friends except for his other siblings. He was lonely, but his father didn’t care, he overworked Michael. Michael would cry from loneliness and become depressed. He would see other children playing and having fun, while he was on his way to the recording studio or rehearsal. There was just no time for Michael to be a real kid.

As Michael Jackson grew up his fame and success skyrocketed. He was eventually able to escape his father’s abusive grasp and become an extremely successful solo recording artist. But as he grew up he began to reach out to the childhood that he lost. Many people judged Michael because he always acted so childish when he grew up. But he was trying to make up for the time he lost. He always loved children because he saw purity and innocence in them and something magical. He loved their imaginations and curiosity. He loved their ability to dream and he drew from this as inspiration. Many people, mainly the press, alleged that he was doing inappropriate, impure things with children. They said that he would have sex and abuse other children. The lines are still blurred on these allegations. But one thing is for sure, if Michael did any of the things held against him, it was because of his messed up childhood.

If only people had understood what he went through and truly understood who he was, then maybe they wouldn’t have made his life so difficult. He changed his face because his father called him ugly when he was a child. He hung around with kids because he never got to play with other kids when he was young. He acted childish and silly when he was older because he never got to when he was a child. His childhood affected him so much and all he wanted to do was make up for lost time. People that don’t know Michael Jackson only judge him based off of what they heard from the media. But most people have no clue what he went through, the emotional and physical turmoil. If only people took the time to learn about him and learn to appreciate what he contributed during his lifetime instead of his mistakes, then maybe they would stop judging him or making fun of him. He was a great man and the whole world should know. It’s not his fault his childhood was so broken.

Sometimes we can be so wrapped up in self that we still opt to blame Michael (and people who suffered under the hand of abuse, neglect) for all that they endured (and that they should have gotten over it). If there was no support group around (or you grew up in a community where the philosophy was “what goes on in the house, stays in the house”), there’s a slim chance that you will get the support and help you need. So, what happens, you end up resorting to destructive means to cope (even if you know that it’s not going to benefit you).

There are certain parts of Michael’s story that I’m able to relate to. And I’ll share right now.

When I was eight years old, life became different for me. I went from being an introvert with Aspergers to an introvert trying to survive. Between the ages of eight and fourteen, I was thrust into adulthood in certain areas, but at the same time, my childhood was stunted as a result of the abuse (verbal, emotional, physical and sexual), bullying and neglect. Many of you know the story about what my uncle did to me, but there’s one aspect of my abuse where one of my abusers was a female relative. Now watch what I’m about to say. Even though she initiated, it wasn’t a one-time thing. I remember my mother asking me 10-11 years after this period, “what did I know at 11 years old.” My response was, “well, if I was in the kitchen with her going from head to toe for about 45 minutes to an hour, apparently I knew what I was doing.” I made a reference to it in my blogpost PCA about being exposed to pornographic movies by my uncle (who molested me) at the age of 11. My response after seeing it was simply, “been there, done that.” As I think about it now, I knew a lot more than I realized.

Anyway, I faced many of the same ridicules and struggles that Michael did (and I’m sure many others who have lost their childhood could say the same).  I’ll list as many struggles that I have seen since the time of my abuse as I can.

  • Unusually high level of anger/excessive temper
  • Aggression towards family and others
  • School problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Acting out in social situations
  • Imitating the traumatic event
  • Fear of adults who remind them of the trauma
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Inability to trust others or make friends
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Loneliness
  • Confusion
  • Clinginess
  • Sexual knowledge beyond the child’s age
  • Overreaction to situations
  • Re-creation of the traumatic event during play

For some of you reading this, you may have identified with what I experienced above, or you might have experienced some of these below.

  • Verbal abuse towards others
  • Overly bossy or controlling
  • Stomachaches, headaches and other physical complaints
  • Fear of being separated from caregiver
  • Eating problems such as loss of appetite, low weight or digestion issues
  • Nightmares
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Hoarding of food

For many of us, these would be considered strongholds over our lives. I am so thankful there’s a way to heal from that. If you’re struggling with this, please don’t wait to get help. If you’re spiritual, pray and/or seek help. A little FYI, it wasn’t until 2008 that I found out that I have PTSD and until 2014 that I found out that I had Aspergers (that went undetected). But know that we have to put in the work to get that spirit of our childhood back. Hold me accountable as I hold you accountable. Don’t care about public eye (they will always try to make you less than, when you are more than).

I want to close this with an excerpt from this article (which is fitting as many of us reading are adults and may be grieving from the loss of childhood). Know that we can be made whole from what we endured from the past. We are survivors! The full article can be read here:

Most people think of grief as a response to the loss of a loved one, but grief can be a response to any type of loss, including the loss of something that never was (such as a happy childhood).  This post explores the experience of grief in the present as a response to having bad experiences (from abuse, neglect, or trauma) in the past as a child.  Grief of this sort is a necessary and restorative process that permits a person to bring new life and a renewed sense of hope to childhood hardship and deprivation.  Looked at in this way grief allows us to cleanse ourselves of hurt and loss and continue to grow and to expand our sense of ourselves.

Many people do not realize that they may be suffering in the present from having been mistreated, deprived or traumatized as a child.  Partly this is the case, because it is hard to know that something is missing if one has never had the experience of its presence.  If you did not have loving, attentive, nurturing parents who were joyful about life and about you as their child, you might not know that this is something that you lacked.  If you were emotionally abandoned or neglected, you may not know what it is like to be emotionally accompanied or cared for.

Often a person does not begin to grieve their childhood losses until they have reached a point in their lives where in they can emotionally afford to do so.  This may be because the person has found a therapist with whom they feel safe enough or because they find themselves with a social support system that is stable and strong enough for the first time.  The self-compassion borne out of grieving the losses of your childhood makes it clear that you did not deserve the abuse or neglect that you suffered and that you are hurting now because you were hurt then and not because you were bad then.

If you were neglected or abused as a child your emotional or intellectual development may have been truncated.  This may be because you needed to use your energy to protect yourself rather than to grow and develop naturally emotionally and intellectually.  There may not have been opportunities for you to participate in normal, age appropriate activities such as playing, asking hundreds of curious questions, using your imagination, experimenting with language and cause and effect, or to getting to know yourself and your own emotional internal world in an intimate way.  Moreover, these losses and the feelings of grief associated with them may have been unacknowledged or even actively denied by those around you.  In some cases the lack of acknowledgement of loss can be more emotionally devastating than the loss itself.  The grief associated with unacknowledged childhood loss may be outside your awareness, but actively affecting you to this day. 


The Mayne Man

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Don't Forfeit Your Inheritance (The Blessing of Abraham)

If you happened to read my blogpost The Bitter Pill - Part 7 of my Will You Be Made Whole series (released 7/27/2016), I talked a little about Esau and the birthright he gave up (referencing Hebrews 12:14-17) near the end of that post. I want to talk about this "birthright" a little bit more in depth. 

If you have a Bible, let's start with Galatians 3:13-14. It says that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Now I know many people are jumping, singing and shouting in church about the blessing of Abraham and they are going to get their inheritance. That's all well and good; however, I wonder if anyone is hurt or crushed of the mere fact that they haven't seen their manifestation of their inheritance at this very moment (or you feel that you let your inheritance pass you by). If this is you, you are the one I want to talk to today.

So, what is this thing called "inheritance" and how will I be talking about it in this post? I'm glad you asked, so let's go back to Genesis 25. Rebekah finds out that she's carrying two children in her womb and the first child (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob). Well, one day Esau was coming from the field and was faint. He asked Jacob for some of his soup; however Jacob saw an opportune time to seek Esau's birthright in exchange for a bowl of soup. 

So, what does this birthright entail? 
1. Leadership in worship and headship in the family
2. A double portion of the inheritance
3. The title to the covenant blessing of Abraham that God promised Him

When I read that, I think, "wow, Esau is has to make a choice. A bowl of soup, or maintain those three items above." One would think he would cherish the birthright (since technically, it's the inheritance of the firstborn). Verse 32 of Cahpter 25 is interesting. Esau says behold, I am at the point of death, and what profit shall this birthright do to me? In other words, I can't think straight and this temporary moment of hunger is more important of a promise that will bless the remainder of my life and leave a powerful legacy. This birthright isn't important to me, (Bishop TD Jakes said it like this), it's worthless and I'm selling it for nothing.

Can I ask you a question right here? How many of you have thought of something or someone as worthless and you walk away from that very thing or person because it didn't bless you at that very moment? 

What Esau didn't realize was that birthright was very valuable and would bless him as time progressed. Can I encourage you to not forfeit your inheritance today? I believe that many of you reading this are staring at your inheritance and are thinking about walking away from it because it's not manifested yet. If you happened to let it pass you by, don't fret, repent and ask for forgiveness. God is so awesome, He is a restorer and will restore what you loss and those wasted years.

Let's continue with the story of Esau and this birthright. In the final verses (verses 33-34) of chapter 25, it says that Esau sold his birthright. And it says that despised his birthright. Wow, that tells me that Esau had a choice. Although he was not in his right mental state when Jacob asked for Esau's birthright, he should've stopped and thought about it. Sometimes we are faced with situations when we are in a vulnerable state. This is something we have to be very mindful of and the devil thrives in these situations. We must really seek God when faced with a situation that could alter the course of your life (for better or worse) even if you are faint like Esau or in a vulnerable state. Once a decision is made and it turns out to be for the worse, well, let's move to Genesis 27. 

This particular chapter focuses on Jacob & Rebekah plotting to get Isaac's blessing on their terms. After Jacob gets the blessing, Esau realizes that Jacob stole the blessing so in verse 34, he weeps bitterly. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound good. Verse 36, Esau said that Jacob took away his birthright. I disagree, he sold it (even though it was under duress). Because his cry was bitter, he is now plotting to kill his brother. You could say that Esau just tasted the bitter pill. Of course, the punishment for Jacob seeking the blessing his way and not God's was that he would never see his mother again (because he had to flee from his brother).

As we are living in the last of the latter days, don't forfeit your inheritance. If you are on the verge of your inheritance, go get it! Don't let the devil talk you out of it, don't let him get you in a place of duress (mental, financial, spiritual, physical or emotional) where you stand a strong chance at forfeiting it. He loves to paint a picture that your blessing is to be gratifying at that very moment. God wants you to be patient and at peace as you wait for the inheritance He has for you. 

Now everybody say this: no devil in hell is going to cause me to forfeit my inheritance!


The Mayne Man

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 7 - The Bitter Pill)

Everyone has tasted the bitter pill at some point in life, and the truth is, it’s no fun tasting it because not only does it not taste good, it affects other areas of your body (mentally, emotionally and in many cases, spiritually). I want to address the bitter pill from an emotional perspective and a spiritual perspective – and how the perpetrators cause victims to taste it when they really weren’t supposed to. As a result, the pill has created hurting souls and those souls have walls up (note: there are pros and cons to this). Please grab some tissue as this will touch emotions and cause certain feelings to emerge (and I ask that you not tune me out as you read).

Bishop Jospeh Mattera wrote a blog post entitled Why Hurt People Hurt People. A few things stood out to me (to include this statement).
Until we as a church deal with the whole person as shown in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 our congregations will be filled with people who are spiritually gifted but act like emotional infants. As in other words, the church must deal with emotional health and not just spiritual health and power.

Bishop Mattera said that these are typical traits that hurt people display in their interactions with others. Many of his explanations underneath each posts were edited for the purpose of this blogpost; however, you can read his entire blogpost here – which is a great post in my humble opinion:
  1. Hurt people often transfer their inner anger onto their family and close friends (Often those around them become the recipients of harsh tones and fits of rage because they have unknowingly become the vicarious recipients of transferred rage).
  2. Hurt people interpret every word spoken to them through the prism of their pain (Because of their pain, ordinary words are often misinterpreted to mean something negative towards them. Because of this, they are extremely sensitive and act out of pain instead of reality)
  3. Hurt people interpret every action through the prism of their pain (Their emotional pain causes them to suspect wrong motives or evil intent behind other people’s actions towards them)
  4. Hurt people often portray themselves as victims and carry a “victim spirit.” (Hurt people have a hard time entering into a trusting relationship. Hurt people often carry around a suspicious spirit)
  5. Hurt people often alienate others and wonder why no one is there for them
(They often continually hurt the ones they love and need the most with their self-destructive behavior).
  6. Hurt people have the emotional maturity of the age they received their (un-dealt with) hurt. (For example, if a girl was raped by a man when she was 12 years old, unless she forgives that man and allows Christ to heal her heart and allay her fears, in that particular area of her life (sexuality with a man) her emotional growth will stop. Even when she reaches her later years she may still have the emotional maturity of a 12 year-old).
  7. Hurt people are often frustrated and depressed because past pain continually spills over into their present consciousness. (In many instances, they may not even be aware of why they are continually frustrated or depressed because they have coped with pain by compartmentalizing it or layering it over with other things over time).
  8. Hurt people often erupt with inappropriate emotion because particular words, actions, or circumstances “touch” and “trigger” past woundedness
  9. Hurt people often occupy themselves with busyness, work, performance, and/or accomplishments as a way of compensating for low self-esteem
  10. Hurt people often attempt to medicate themselves with excessive entertainment, drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexual relationships, or hobbies as a way to forget their pain and run from reality. (Until the church learns to deal with and emphasize the emotional life and health of the believer, the church will be filled with half-Christians who pray and read the Bible but find no victory because they do not face the woundedness in their souls). Note: The Mayne Man has to say Amen to this one!
  11. Hurt people have learned to accommodate their private “false self” or “dark side” which causes them to be duplicitous and lack integrity (Often their private life is different from their public life, which causes hypocrisy and compounds feelings of guilt, condemnation, and depression)
  12. Hurt people are often self-absorbed with their own pain and are unaware that they are hurting other people. (They are often insensitive to other people because their emotional pain limits their capacity for empathy and their capacity for self-awareness)
  13. Hurt people are susceptible to demonic deception. (Satan works in darkness and deception, and stays away from the light. Hurt people often have destructive habit-patterns that are practiced in the dark. Hence, their mind becomes a breeding ground for satanic infiltration and deception. If the church would deal more with the emotional health of the individual, there would be less of a foothold for demonic infiltration. Also, there would be stronger relationships, stronger marriages, healthier children, and a more balanced approach to ministry with less of a chance of pastoral and congregational burnout)
  14. God often purposely surfaces pain so hurt people can face reality. (Whether it is because of a marriage problem, or continual personal conflicts on the job, God often allows conflict and spillover because he wants the infection to stop spreading and the person to be healed. Often Christians are fighting the devil and blaming him for conflict when in essence God often allows conflict so that people would be motivated to dig deeper into their lives to deal with root causes of destructive thought and habit patterns. God’s purpose for us is that we would all be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This does not just happen with Bible studies, prayer, and times of glory but also in painful situations when we have to face what has been hurting us for many years).
  15. Hurt people need to forgive to be released and restored to freedom. {The Gospel of St. John 20:23 says that we have to release the sins of others if we are going to be released. This means that if we do not forgive others then the very thing we have become victimized with will become a part of our life. For example, alcoholic fathers breed alcoholic sons if their sons do not forgive and release their fathers. The good news is that, through the efficacious blood of Christ, we can all be healed and set free from all past hurts so we can comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:4)}.

As I read those 15 bullet points, I found myself in a couple of them. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you actually see yourself in one or more of them. And that’s OK. If you fit into at least one of them, please read the final bullet above. Why am I emphasizing this so heavily? Because bitter pills as a result of a hurt, can cause emotional and spiritual damage.

Can I just meddle for a minute?  Many of you reading may have been in relationships or situations where it’s disappointment after disappointment, or perhaps you were constantly neglected numerous times. Because of this, it makes good sense to put a wall up and to guard your heart. The good side of doing this is that it gives you a chance to recover and heal (and then understand what it means to truly discern); the bad side is that it can cause your heart to become callous toward people, and in many cases towards God. Situations like this would make someone quit in a heartbeat, that’s a natural response especially if you’ve suffered needless neglect or abuse. Note: I am not telling anybody to stay in a situation where your life is in danger. If this is your predicament, please seek help and safety!

This past Sunday on Christian TV, Bishop TD Jakes was preaching from his lesson The Danger of Giving Up Too Soon. I listened and realized that he was preaching from two blogs I had written between this year and last year (Bitter Like Naomi and the previous part of my current series subtitled Lemonade). Because what he said was so powerful and in line with this topic, I will expound on what he says (and his direct quotes will be in italics).

If you look at the story of Lazarus (John 11), Mary and Martha were grieving because Jesus didn’t come when they wanted Him to. Martha said that if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Notice that they didn’t thank Jesus for coming, as a result, they were bitter. Bitter people blame you for their problems. But when life doesn’t turn out the way you think it ought to turn out, you look for someone to blame, “it’s your fault that I’m in this condition.” Don’t let life make you change your name like Naomi. Naomi went through devastating losses, and she requested that her name be changed to Mara (which means bitter).

I need to clarify blame for a second. If you were molested or raped and you contracted a virus, the molester should bear the blame for you contracting a virus.  But if you allowed yourself to blame every other man for what the rapist did, now you’ve moved to a state of bitterness. Another scenario: if you were having unprotected sex, and the father of your child either said the child isn’t mine (or refuses to own up to his role in your pregnancy), blaming other men for what the one man did to you is what Bishop is talking about. This kind of blame breeds bitterness.

Bitterness is when the things on the outside have contaminated the person on the inside. Have you allowed your past to bleed into their present and pollute your future? If you have, you may not know it (because it’s easier to see bitterness and hurt in others than it is to see your own). In fact, you may not use the word “bitter,” you may use other words such as “careful.” Until you call it what it is, you’ll never be free. You’re not a wimp because you’re bitter. Life will bring situations that will cause you to be bitter. If you don’t know how to deal with it, you’ll give up. Many of you ladies have probably felt like David when he said in Psalm 116:11 (All Men Are Liars)!

Bitterness contaminates your judgment (read Hebrews 12:14-17). When you are bitter, you can’t trust your own judgment. If you look at Esau, he was bitter because he didn’t wait but hastily gave up his birthright to Jacob. When bitterness gets down inside of you, you’ll walk away from something and say it’s worthless. You sell it for nothing, not realizing that what you gave away was valuable, it was going to take time to bless you.

Take the power of God to the place in your life where you became bitter. What you want is the anointing on that troubled place in your life where you find it hard to believe that things will work out.

Here’s the entire sermon if you want to listen to it:

I want to challenge you to throw those pills away, take the healing pill prescribed, and most importantly, fall in love with Jesus and His Word! Believe, Trust and Obey Him concerning your life. Don’t let the devil cause you to be impatient and to give up because you’re hurt; or let the walls cause you to turn your back on God or miss small blessings that may not be packaged in a way that you anticipated.

I want to close this with some questions and notes to consider (you could call this a review from the prior 6 parts within this series):

  1. If you think about the story about the woman with the issue of blood, she was determined to get to Jesus. Why do you think many opt not to get to Jesus now (whether through His Word or via His presence)?
  2. Do you find that many declared their healing but are expecting God to do everything – even if God gave them a set of instructions that required their part? As a result, they die prematurely?
  3. Back to question 1, the woman could’ve been stoned because she wen to Jesus. Under the OT, she was forbidden to be out in public. Do you think many are embarrassed to go to Jesus with their issue?
  4. Can isolation be a blessing and/or a curse when you know you are in need of a healing from Christ? And do you think that’s the enemy’s objective (to get those who need a touch from Christ to be shut up and locked away from society)?
  5. This is a bonus – this was a tweet from one my brothers in Christ: I saw a tweet saying a woman got LAID by over 900 men. The truth is her soul has been split into more than 900 parts. So I ask, do you agree or disagree? If you agree, then that brings a series of questions: can she heal? If so, what would her healing process look like? How can a person intercede her healing/wholeness? And why do we in the church cast them off as basket cases (even if they isolate themselves from society)? Jesus didn’t turn His back on the woman at the well, why do we? He came to bring the Word (which she would receive and was made free), and to make this more interesting, the woman at the well was from Samaria but the Jews didn’t mingle with them.
  6. Second tweet from the same brother: Ladies, each time a man has sex with you, your soul is split and you are scattered. When a man hits you, he splits you. Do you agree or disagree? If you agree, I then say Wow! This should make a real man like Boaz cry and start praying for her wholeness. Healing is the children’s bread. Bozo could care less if he splits a woman. Your thoughts on this?


The Mayne Man