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