The Path to Emotional Healing
As a follow-up on our previous issue of life, 'Abuse: Should We Take It or Leave It?', our topic this week is about finding the solution for the emotional effects of abuse. Yes, you were able to leave the abuse, now what? How will you be able to cope with the emotional turmoil that's kept locked in the inside of you wanting to explode?
Whether sexual, physical, emotional, or verbal, abuse causes a root of rejection which is a major problem that can cause emotional wounds which can hinder people in their efforts to maintain healthy and lasting relationships, according to Joyce Meyer, author of the book 'Beauty for Ashes'. This book, which was published in 1994, talks about receiving emotional healing. The roots of abuse, fear, rejection, shame, and guilt spring forth to become a tree of confusion and inner turmoil which may lead to substance and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, food binging, etc., and branches out into depression, self-rejection and self-hatred, self-pity, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem, negativism, controlling and judgmental behavior, anger and hostility, and hatred towards other people.
But Joyce Meyer asks, "Do you really want to be healed? Do you really want to get well?" Or, are you an 'emotional prisoner' because your wounds have locked yourself in and others out. "How long have you been in this condition? Do you want to be set free? 'Jesus came to open prison doors and to set the captives free'(Luke 4:18)".
You have taken the first step which is leaving. Karla Downing, an abuse survivor, said in the web page of focusonthefamily.com, "Sometimes, separation can be a powerful attention-getting boundary if you're ready to use it. The purpose of separation can be to physically or emotionally protect you and your children or to convince your husband (or wife) that you'll not continue to live that way". To me, separation also helps you to realize that it is not your fault and that you do not deserve this kind of punishment. However, after you leave, your life continues and you need to cope with the emotional confusion inside you and the reality that you need to also relate to other people in the course of living your life. Yes, you can see a therapist and attend support groups. We have already discussed in our previous post about healing--that we need to 'use every endeavor to heal ourselves' (Proverbs 18:9 Amp), but we need to consider our great Healer first before anything else. In fact, we need Jesus even in the beginning of an abuse experience.
Joyce Meyer said in her book, "Inner healing can be accomplished only by God because He, through the power of the Holy Spirit, lives in you (if you are born again), and He alone can heal the inner man. Choose to do what you can do, and God will help you do what you cannot do". What can you do? First, stop talking and declaring about your pain and the abuse. Yes, you left the abuse and talked to someone about it for counseling, but at some point you need to stop reminding yourself about what you've been through and move forward. Second, do God's way:
1) Choose to forgive.
2) Release those who hurt you by forgiving them.
3) Pray for your enemies.
4) Bless those who have hurt you.
5) Believe that God is healing our emotions.
This God's way is based on the principle of sowing and reaping. If you sow forgiveness, and blessings or good intentions, you will harvest the same. Yes, the start of true emotional healing is forgiveness--first, forgive your abuser and those who hurt you; second, forgive yourself for the self-hatred and self-rejection. The next step is to love the way Jesus loves. We cannot pray for and bless those who hurt us on our own strength; it's Jesus loving through us that we are able to do it. Then stay in faith and wait for your true emotional healing at last.
Joyce Meyer was sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused by her father from the time she could remember until she ran away from home at 18. He mother knew it but never defended her in any way. The path to her emotional healing was never easy; it was a process. Although she had forgiven her father and mother, their relationship was strained and uncomfortable. Until she prayed for them and thanked God that they gave her physical life, fed her and clothed her and sent her to school and honored them for doing so. One day, her family (her husband, Dave, and their children) visited them to tell them of the national television program where Joyce had to talk about the abuse, that she had no choice because she had to obey God. It was really a miraculous ending because her father asked forgiveness for what he had done to her those years and released her to share her life on national television. Her mother also was filled with joy to now begin a good relationship with her daughter and grand children and great-grandchildren.
"The pathway to freedom is not necessarily easy. However, pressing forward toward freedom is definitely easier than staying in bondage", Joyce Meyer said. God is truly faithful.