You have nothing to offer!
You’re not a good friend!
You will never amount to anything!
At fault for most things.
The list goes on and on. The words and sentences with exclamation points are the ones that were actually spoken to me or about me. The others are the feelings that became the mantra of who I thought I was by all that had been said.
The comments of those who abuse are always aimed at their target, whether they are said directly to the target, with them close by, or about them to someone else that would, hopefully, tell them. The abuser, in turn, generally does not and will not accept responsibility for what has hurt you or any situation they find themselves in. It is always someone else’s fault. They will attack further when they are called out on something they have said or done that has been wrong or hurtful. It almost always goes back to “but you” or defensive attacks about how they have been wronged. Your points, when they hit their mark and are true, are generally ignored. There may be times when they actually apologize, but it usually doesn’t last for long. Over time, they convince themselves how you really were at fault or how you lack whatever it is that they want at the moment.
The thing is, I always thought their words, and the feelings and beliefs about myself, were a true reflection of who I was and the many ways I was lacking. I know I’m not alone in this by what others have written and said. I can feel the pain, loneliness and rejection as the words pour out.
When attacks surround you and are said to you by so many in your life, it’s difficult to believe otherwise. The words spewed out become like glasses through which we see and experience life as we walk through it, bringing the shame that accompanies the words with us. You believe that you have nothing to offer because it’s been engrained into your brain and heart. But are these words a reflection of you or of them?
The way an abuser deflects blame to someone else, usually their target, definitely makes their target believe, without a doubt, that it is completely due to them. It’s the way the abuser controls, manipulates and tries to coerce someone to do and believe what they want. In my case, I even got to the point that I believed that I was God’s example of mediocrity and, because abusive people just kept coming into my life, God must be trying to make me understand that I really was a problem and needed to change. So I became less and less. I was a minimal version of myself.
Recently, though, I read something that takes that thought and flips it upside down. I will be honest in saying that the quote I am about to type is hard for me to sort through because I’ve been taught that thinking anything positive about myself was wrong and would only lead to more attacks. However, my sister friend felt strongly that I was supposed to read Waking the Dead by John Eldridge and when, after her repeatedly telling me I really needed to read it and my not doing it, she took it upon herself to send me a copy (this is the way she lives her life – if she prayerfully feels something is supposed to happen, then it must and she will do her part to see that it is done – I love that about her).
I was shocked when I read the following passage in the book:
“Things are not what they seem. We are not what we seem.
Of all the Eternal Truths we don’t believe, this is the one we doubt most of all. Our days are not extraordinary. They are filled with the mundane, with hassles mostly. And we? We are…a dime a dozen. Nothing special really. Probably a disappointment to God. But as (C.S.) Lewis wrote (in The Chronicles of Narnia), “The value of…myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.'” You are not what you think you are. There is glory to your life that your Enemy fears, and he is hell-bent on destroying that glory before you act on it. This part of the answer will sound unbelievable at first; perhaps it will sound too good to be true; you will wonder if it’s true for you. But once you begin to see with those eyes, once you have begun to know it is true from the bottom of your heart, it will change everything.
The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”
Could it be? Could these attacks actually be something satan has and is using to keep me from what I could be? And in saying this, could it also be true for you? Do you really have nothing to offer or is that just another label to keep you down? Maybe the truth is that you have so much to offer that satan is scrambling to keep you quiet.
~ Joanna Lynn