zaterdag 6 juli 2013

Resilience and resolution

Survivors of abuse are some of the strongest, most creative and resourceful persons in the world. In order to survive in the most horrendous circumstances where they have been violated and forced to violate others they have shown an amazing resilience and inventiveness in order to survive.  One cannot help but marvel at the amazing way the human mind and spirit can help one survive amidst unimaginable evil and against all odds.  However, while these survival methods were effective in helping us endure the abuse and retain some sense of self no matter how fragmented, they may eventually stand in between us and the inner healing we need.  In my case I always told myself ‘’I can handle it”, “I am strong”, and indeed I was able to endure not only my abuse but even thrive in very harsh, difficult and dangerous conditions. Nevertheless it did not help me accept my vulnerability and the fact that I had been deeply hurt by what people had done to me. Another effective method for dealing with a lot of the abuse was to simply forget what happened, block or suppress the memories or reinterpret them in a more positive light.  It was also very effective for a long period of time but did not help me to live fully in the truth, it compromised my integrity as deep down I knew I was not fully true to myself or others. For those memories of violence, humiliation and shame which I could not suppress I had another very effective way to deal with them, having been brought up in a Christian environment I resorted to religion and told myself and everyone else I had forgiven the perpetrators, after all they did not really know what they were doing. It sounds very Christ-like but in fact it is not, it was superficial, a quick fix without really acknowledging the extend of the evil that had been done to me, without acknowledging how painful and damaging it had been. It was a rational religious act, not something from deep in my heart. Deep down I was still suppressing all that had been done to me because I felt I still needed the acceptance, the help, the love and the ‘’protection” of my abusers. I still feared to lose their love, their acceptance, their protection, their help and so on. I did not accept the truth that I did not need this phony love, conditional acceptance,  fake protection or selfish help. All the love, acceptance, protection and help I needed was readily accessible in Christ. It was always there with me as a fountain of living water and yet I kept going back to the tainted water offered by my abusers. My other seemingly very effective method of dealing with abuse and adversity was to always make the best of things, to look on the bright side, to have an optimistic attitude in life.  It is something I learned from my father and it has been very effective in coping and it has helped me to make the best of life even in very difficult circumstances. However, this method required me to live rather superficially and not from the depth of my heart. It required me to swallow and suppress injustices and wrongs done to me and did not help me to truly deal with them.  However, I have now learned that God does not just want to help me to make the best of life, He wants the best of life for me and this life is hidden in Christ. Just accepting Christ in our lives is not enough, we need to abide in Him and bring everything in the light and not suppress anything.  He wants us to live in the Spirit of Love but also in the truth, because only by exposing everything to the light can the Spirit of Love cleanse, comfort, heal and fill us until overflowing with rivers of love, compassion, kindness and all the fruit the Spirit of God can produce in us. Resilience helps us to survive, resolution in truth and love helps us to enjoy life in abundance.

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