Real Talk.

I leave for camp in a few days. It has me thinking about what these kids have gone through. Kids at this camp are or have been a part of the foster care system. Kids aren’t put in the system for nothing; the goal is always to keep children with their parents. 

There are many different types of abuse that would cause children to be taken from their homes: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect. I’m going to cover what these mean tonight. 

Physical abuse

“Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behavior does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it’s still unhealthy.” (http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/types-of-abuse/#tab-id-1) I feel like we all have the right to feel physically safe no matter where we are unfortunately that isn’t how it works all the time. 

Emotional abuse

I think I read about emotional abuse the most because I want to learn everything that I can about it. I want to know how to help someone recover from emotional abuse. Emotional abuse isn’t something that people can see like a bruise so it’s rarely reported. Emotional abuse isn’t someone just hurting your feelings. People say mean things. It happens. Let me give you some examples of emotional abuse. 

  • Yelling and screaming at you.
  • Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior.
  • Starting rumors about you.

In my eyes if someone hurts your feelings that doesn’t necessarily mean they are abusive, but if someone is constantly demeaning you or hurting you with words or how they make your feel; that’s abuse. 

Sexual Abuse

“Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do.” ((http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/types-of-abuse/#tab-id-1) I think we all understand that if someone touches you in any way that isn’t welcomed or wanted that is abuse. You have the right to your personal space. No one should make you feel guilty for not wanting to do something. I read this article recently and I can’t remember who wrote it but it was talking about how it’s sexy when men ask permission. I love that! <<<<<<3 

Neglect.  

Neglect may be the very worst type of abuse. I don’t say that lightly because abuse is horrible in and of itself. Let me explain why I feel that way. I have a nephew who is 2 months old. he’s super cute. Anyhow he has also never been forced to cry it out. He knows that if he cries someone will come. I wasn’t sure where I was on the stance of crying it out but something as simple as that could harm a child. A child’s brain will not develop properly if they are not taken care. They need to know if they cry someone will come to help.

Neglect makes you feel like your invisible; like you don’t matter. Your needs aren’t met. You are not taken care of. No one comes when you cry. You are on your own. For a child that would be beyond damaging. 

Abuse is damaging. It doesn’t matter if the person says they are sorry or that they didn’t mean it. It really doesn’t matter if the person didn’t mean to cause you any harm. It also doesn’t matter if they’re sorry. Sorry doesn’t fix everything. 

So for everyone who thinks these children are damaged or not worth it. These kids are survivors. They were damaged by someone who was supposed to care about them and when someone finally stepped in to help they took them away from their parents (and in their eyes even after abuse that can be traumatizing too.) Trust would be minimal if I was in their shoes. 

So are they worth it? 

Yes. I can say even after having a rough go of being a counselor last year. These kids are worth all of the effort, the lack of sleep, giving up my nice bed for a week, and worth giving up what I want for a week. It’s all about the kids at camp because they deserve a week of not feeling damaged…See These kids walked through fire and survived and that’s strength. I don’t look at them and see someone whose broken anymore. I look at them as someone who was pushed to the edge of their breaking point and is still standing. 

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Loneliness…

I think we underestimate how loneliness affects us as humans. I’m talking about real loneliness; the kind of loneliness that you feel even if your surrounded by people. Loneliness that suffocates you, and makes you feel like you can’t catch your breath. I haven’t told people how alone I’ve been feeling because I didn’t want people to know I wasn’t okay. I wanted everyone to believe I was fine. I’m not though. I feel so lonely. 

I have friends and family, but at the end of the day I don’t have that one person I want to tell every detail of my day. I don’t feel like I’m sharing my life with anyone right now. I feel like I’m just existing. I know this would hurt some people if they read it because they do their very best to support me, but I can’t hide the truth anymore. I feel alone. 

Someone once told me that neglect is the worst type of abuse because a child who is neglected will feel alone, and unseen whereas a child who is emotionally/physically abused is still seen. I believe that all abuse is horrible and damaging, but I can now understand this a little bit more. I can’t imagine always feeling this way; “unseen.” I would shut down completely. I can’t imagine no one being there. See the difference between how I feel, and someone who is neglected is that I’m not alone. I may feel lonely, but I have people loving me even if I push them away. Someone who is completely ignored like a child suffering neglect well they’re just alone. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They don’t just feel alone; they are alone. 

I will say it again…We underestimate how loneliness affects humans. We all have this deep need to feel loved, and wanted. If we don’t get that we convince ourselves it’s our own fault. We convince ourselves of things like “We aren’t worth another persons love. No one wants me. I have to walk this journey alone.” 

I didn’t go to church today, but did anyone call me? No. No one seemed to care if I was there or not. I’m not even sure how many people actually know my name at the church I’ve been attending multiple years. Don’t get me wrong I love my church because I love the teachings, and I love getting to worship with fellow believers…but if I feel like no one in the church sees me than how about someone who hasn’t been attending for years? What if that person suffering from neglect walked into my church building would they find a place where they belonged, or would they leave with the same feelings of being unseen that they came in with? 

I’m guilty too. I am not the most sociable person. I don’t spend a lot of time getting to know new people. I get nervous around new people, and when I get nervous I tend to stutter or lose track of my words. I’m worried that people will judge me. God forgive me if my fear ever kept me from helping someone who feels like I do right now. 

People matter. I don’t care what they have done in their past, or even if they’re are still making mistakes. I love them because God loves them. I accept them because God accepts them. He isn’t up there keeping a tally of my mistakes. He hasn’t said I am not worth love because I mess up all the time. He pulls me into his arms and shows me what unconditional love is. Shame on me if I ever made someone feel like they didn’t deserve the same.  I hope this is a wake up call for you because I know it was for me. My feeling of loneliness will pass, but during the days/weeks/months/years of feeling lonely. It is horrible. 

Be kind. Love people. You never know…

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” (Mother Theresa)

Sensitive subject warning** Remember, my blog…MY OPINION.

This is a sensitive subject.* Please do not get offended. You don’t have to agree with me. I am using my blog to express my opinion. BLESSINGS to you! 

There are a bunch of helpful tips on the internet about living with a mental illness, but very little for the ones who live with the person with the mental illness or, are close to them. I mean, there is some information, but it doesn’t really explain what it’s like. You learn that from experience. 

I rarely lose it. I am a control freak, and I can normally talk myself down from freaking out when my life has to be arranged around someones triggers. I lost it last night though. Do you want to know the reason behind so many thing things in my life? “It’s PTSD.” 

I hate PTSD. I don’t hate the person that has it. I hate that it makes this person someone that I don’t know. I used to feel bad every time I went get angry because of this, but no…I have the right to get upset. 

It’s normal to feel upset at something like this. 

Do you know what it’s like to be snapped at for something that isn’t your fault, and then hear the excuse “it’s PTSD.” You start to believe that you just have to nod, and forgive, but you don’t. Having a mental illness does not give someone the right to hurt you. 

Do you understand this. You have the right to be upset. You don’t have to just forgive. 

I mean there should be a group for us. Don’t you think? The ones who live with survivors. 😉 I LOVE THIS PERSON, okay? Do not get me wrong. I just know every day is kind of the same story, and it feels like we’ve been stuck in the same chapter for years. 

You have to right to be upset. You don’t have to just forgive. Yes, it’s good that you still love said person. 

You have to be the support a lot, and no this isn’t a choice. Yes, that sucks. I was thrown into this role, and there are days when I wonder, what it would have been like if this hadn’t been such a big part of my life. It’s okay to wonder. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the person. It doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re human. 

You have the right to be upset. You don’t have to just forgive. Yes, it’s good that you still love said person, and please don’t forget you are human. 

I have to say, I’ve been on this ride for many years, and it’s made me a stronger, more understanding person. I can relate to people better, and people don’t call me “Snow White” for no reason. I am a better person because of living with someone with PTSD, but it doesn’t make it easy. Never forget that you have just as much right as they do, to not be okay. 

You have the right to get upset, you don’t have to just forgive, and yes, it’s good that you still love said person. Don’t forget you are human, and have just as much right as they do to not be okay. You are strong. 

To all of you living with mental illnesses. Give us a break sometimes. We are trying to be supportive, but sometimes it drives us mad to always hear the same excuses. Be creative… 😉 We realize you’re just trying to survive the day, but so are we.

I know a lot about abuse. 

I have worked with foster kids, and I have close friends who’ve gone through abuse. I know abuse isn’t always what you read about in books of fiction, or watch in movies. Abuse is something that robs you of your peace of mind; something that torments you even when you sleep. Abuse isn’t always physical , and sometimes the most damaging, and hardest to prove abuse, is mental. 

I don’t know you. I don’t know your story. I do want to tell you something, and I need you to let it sink in. You have a right to your peace of mind. You have a right to say no, and to tell someone that you are worth more than the way that they treat you. You are a person with feelings, and opinions, and emotions, and you deserve to be treated as such. You matter. 

It isn’t in your head, and it isn’t your fault. You deserve better. 

I know that you hear the words people have said in your head over and over again, and I know it feels like you’ll never be free, so I want you to tell yourself… “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of a sound mind….” Now say it with some attitude! “GOD has NOT given me a spirit of FEAR, but of POWER and of a SOUND MIND!” 

Fear is sneaky though, it slips past your defenses, and you feel like you can’t fight back. You start to feel like you’re drowning, and then suddenly, every word, and every feeling, every emotion that you’ve ever felt because someone treated you like you weren’t a human, comes rushing back, and you’re crippled. You feel stuck and trapped even if you have already walked away and moved on. I’ve seen this happen to so many people, and I just want them to fight back. Fighting is hard though, when you’re shaking with fear. 

I’m going tell you something that you may not have heard before. Fear isn’t logical. It isn’t something that makes sense, and it isn’t easy to control. You won’t feel like you can beat it, and you will feel trapped. 

So where do you go from here?

I’m going to teach you something that we taught the kids at camp. 

Remember we say scripture with attitude…*****

“IF GOD IS FOR ME WHO CAN BE AGAINST ME!” 

I want you to say this over, and over. Let it soak in. 

Now say it like this….

BECAUSE GOD IS FOR ME, WHO CAN BE AGAINST ME? 

You have the strongest, most powerful, and mighty protector that you could ever need in your corner. Call on him at any time, and he’ll be there. He doesn’t even need to sleep! 

I understand that healing doesn’t happen overnight, but don’t be afraid to be honest with God. 

My mom always told me….” I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s going on.” 

I know God knows what’s going on in my life, but this reminds me that he wants to hear it from me. God is gentleman. He isn’t going to push his way in. Invite him, tell him what you need. 

Tonight, I am asking for peace that surpasses understanding; peace that only He can give.