The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Abuse/Trauma Recovery

Families Shattered by Molestation: How to Start the Recovery Process

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Family members molesting other family members is a far more common situation than anyone would like it to be.  Often these situations remain unknown and/or intentionally ignored until someone in the family system hits their limit with the horror of it all and drags the whole sordid affair into the spotlight.  At that point, family members are forced to respond to both the victim and the perpetrator.  But how exactly should you respond to such a situation?  Where do you even start?  In this kind of situation, there are two main strategies that can speed up the healing process, and these strategies are best used simultaneously. Read more of this post

Dealing with Parental Abandonment

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Parental abandonment comes in many different forms.  Sometimes the parents are physically absent, other times they are emotionally or mentally absent.  Sometimes they are consistently absent, other times they are only absent at the times we need them the most.  Regardless of what the specific circumstances are, the absence of a parent often results in a feeling of psychological starvation.  Children who grow up without fathers develop an insatiable craving for fatherly attention and affirmation.  Children who grow up without mothers end up craving motherly attention. This craving often results in very dysfunctional behavior patterns as adults try to find other adults who will role-play the missing parent for them.  As these efforts keep failing—which they will—there is continuous envy towards those who grew up with two attentive parents in the home.  Read more of this post

Help for Aggressive Critics: Why You Need to Verbally Trump Others

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Are you one of those argumentative Christians who is always looking for a chance to shut someone down with your version of God’s truth?  Do you listen in on other people’s conversations, hoping that someone will show some ignorance on a subject that you feel you’re an expert on so you can barge into the conversation and pound that fool into the ground with your brilliance?  Do you find yourself getting all agitated and flush-faced when someone makes a comment about God which you believe is wrong?  Are you quick to break out a mocking tone and condescending language as you’re explaining your view to someone else?  Do you inwardly panic when someone points out a major flaw in your argument that you don’t know how to counter? Do you understand why you’re such a dominating pill in verbal conversations?  You have your reasons.  Humans always have reasons for what they do, and those reasons make sense to them.  Read more of this post

Understanding Your Perverse Fantasies: A Sign of Stress, Not Defectiveness

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

There’s a widespread belief among Christians that if a man’s spiritual priorities were in the right order, he wouldn’t have certain kinds of thoughts, he wouldn’t be hooked on porn, and he wouldn’t have certain nasty desires welling up within him 24/7.  And yet the truth is that a man can have excellent priorities and be embracing all the right soul attitudes while he is being plagued with some very dark mental fantasies.  The psychological principles we’re going to discuss in this post can be very helpful to anyone who is feeling tormented with perverse fantasies of any kind.  When you’re obsessing over certain kinds of themes, you can easily end up shunned by both the mainstream Christian community as well as the world at large.  Happily neither of these human groups are accurately conveying God’s assessment of you.  And once you understand a few basic principles about where perverse fantasies come from, you can stop treating yourself like a worm and become more receptive to the compassion and help God is offering you. Read more of this post

Help for Victims of Abuse: Breaking Out of the Doormat Syndrome

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Suppose you want to play a game of catch with your friend Dean.  When you throw Dean the ball, he’s supposed to throw it back.  This is how catch works: it’s a simple game of two people throwing a ball back and forth to each other.  There’s nothing complicated about catch, but it still requires cooperation from both sides.  If Dean refuses to catch the ball you toss at him or if he refuses to throw it back, or if he just walks away to go have lunch somewhere, you will no longer have the option of playing catch with Dean because Dean just shut down the game.  Read more of this post

Temporary Deliverance: How to Interpret the Return of Old Struggles

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

For thirty years, John has been owned by his addiction to alcohol.  He just can’t stop getting plastered, and his addiction has ruined his life.  One day John is sobbing alone on the floor of his ratty apartment and feeling totally overwhelmed by his own worthlessness.  He cries out to Jesus in desperation and asks Him to have His way with what’s left of John’s shattered existence.  Much to John’s shock, a miraculous feeling sweeps through his body and suddenly the constant craving for alcohol is gone.  Not only that, but the horrible depression that’s always hanging over him also vanishes.  John feels like a crushing boulder has been lifted off of him.  He’s a new man, and for two whole years life is glorious.  But then John’s circumstances take a turn for the worst and he finds himself greatly stressed.  Much to his horror, that old craving starts rearing its ugly head again and soon John finds himself in a bar getting drunk.  What happened?  Has Jesus rejected him? Read more of this post

Rejecting Labels of Inferiority: Help for Victims of Abuse

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

There is an element of power in every human relationship.  What defines whether a relationship is healthy, dysfunctional, or abusive is how that power is being distributed and used.  An important point to bear in mind is that among humans, it is never correct for all of the power to be on one side.  In peer relationships, the goal is to keep the power equally divided.  In parent-child relationships, the parent is supposed to start off with the majority of the power.  As the child grows, the parent is supposed to gradually allocate more and more power to the child until the relationship finally settles into a peer dynamic when the child is an adult. Read more of this post

The Mindset of Trauma Rehearsal: Trying to Acclimate to the Unbearable

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Trauma is initially created by a lack of debriefing.  It wasn’t just that you experienced something overwhelmingly negative—it was that you were prevented from being able to emotionally depressurize immediately afterward.  It is the absence of debriefing or processing which turns upsetting experiences into crippling traumas.  Heather and Kim are  good examples of this.  Both women had terrifying drowning experiences when they were girls.  But in Heather’s case, she was able to run to a caring mother, cry it all out, and receive both sympathy and help in gaining a new perspective of her experience.  While she was being held underwater, unable to breathe, Heather was terrified.  Her mind was leaping to all kinds of overwhelming conclusions, such as the brother who she trusted was maliciously holding her under.  As Heather’s mother talks her through these feelings and helps her understand that her brother was not trying to harm her, overwhelming fears are put to rest, and Heather is able to quickly recover.  Read more of this post

The Mindset of Trauma Reversal: Pursuing the Unattainable

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

No matter how many men Sonya dates, she doesn’t feel satisfied.  Rather than be faithful to her current boyfriend who treats her very well, Sonya flirts with every guy she meets and tries to get physical with them.  Sonya’s flirtatious behavior suggests that she really wants a man.  But she has a man, so why isn’t she happy?

Tony is an extremely driven workaholic who has a long resume of impressive accomplishments.  He graduated top of his class at one of the best colleges in the world.  He’s a brilliant neurosurgeon who has revolutionized his field with some very innovative surgical techniques.  Thanks to Tony’s genius, the number of brain tumors that can be safely removed has skyrocketed.  The man is a hero in the medical field, he is adored by his community, and he is married to an exceptionally kind and compassionate woman.  But despite all of this, Tony feels depressed and inadequate.  He’s locked in a pattern of driving himself to exhaustion trying to accomplish some lofty goal, only to feel depressed and unsatisfied when he reaches his target.  Tony’s been the guest of honor at many awards ceremonies, but every time he returns home with his wife, he’s so upset that he locks himself into the bathroom to cry.  Why isn’t Tony feeling satisfied with his accomplishments? Read more of this post

Repentant Sinners: Is it wrong to stop feeling bad about the past?

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Let’s say you do something bad—really bad. You knew better, and you had plenty of resources to resist the temptation, but it was one of those moments where you just said, “Shut up, God, I’m doing this.” So you did it. And it was bad. And now some other people are really messed up because of what you did. But then you reached the point of sincere repentance. You stopped with the rebellion and you are now back in alignment with God, sincerely wanting Him to have His way in your life. There are now consequences for what you did in your life and in the lives of others. And in the midst of those consequences, you feel really terrible. You just feel perpetually awful about what you did. Well, isn’t this how you’re supposed to feel? After all, you sinned intentionally. So if you did something super bad, isn’t there supposed to be some limit to how joyful you can ever be after that? If you just go skipping forth in joyous freedom, isn’t that another form of sin? This is what many Christians believe: they think that once someone does something bad enough, it’s wrong for that person to ever make a full recovery, let alone soar to epic heights of soul peace and freedom. Well, what does God say? Read more of this post