Anime Therapy with Bakugo

There’s a tik tok series that I’ve become obsessed with lately because it’s kind of living my fantasy: The Cece Counselor tik toks, (I will link one of the videos at the bottom if you want to check out the creator.)

After watching all the videos, I decided that only thing it was missing was more time to talk about the issues, since in a 2 minutes segment, you really can’t get that far. And thus this idea was born.

I’m getting into the Therapy session of one of my faves, Bakugo Katsuki.

So, the way I thought I’d structure this is to lay out the issues CeCe came up with, then the events of the show that back up and explain the issues, and then the answers that I or a therapist might be able to give Bakugo to help.

9Ideally, since these are real life issues people have, a person would be able to insert themselves into the place of the character and see it their way.)

Let’s get started:

List of issues Cece provides

Massive emotional and mental trauma

Inferiority complex/superiority complex

Villainous and violent

Hating yourself/Feeling that you’ll not be good enough to be a hero

Lasting Trauma from villain attacks

Lack of Emotional Availability for Friendship

If I’m going to do this right, I better define a few terms, it often surprises me how outside the circle of my church which focus a lot on emotional health) not a whole lot of people know these terms.

  • Trauma:
  1. an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
  2. the psychological injury so caused.
  • Inferiority Complex:

 “An inferiority complex is an intense personal feeling of inadequacy, often resulting in the belief that one is in some way deficient, or inferior, to others.

An inferiority complex may cause an individual to overcompensate in a number of ways…

It may also cause an individual to be prone to flashy outward displays, with behaviors ranging from attention-seeking to excessive competitiveness and aggression, in an attempt to compensate for their either real or imagined deficiencies.” (Wikipedia)

  • Superiority Complex:

A superiority complex is a defense mechanism that develops over time to help a person cope with painful feelings of inferiority. Individuals with this complex typically come across as supercilious, haughty, and disdainful toward others. They may treat others in an imperious, overbearing, and even aggressive manner.

In everyday usage, the term “superiority complex” is used to refer to an overly high opinion of oneself.” (Wikipedia)

Guess CeCe called it (I’d love to know if she just Googled this stuff before making the tik tok like I just did for my post).

I love psychology and the study of emotions, whatever the name for that is (I looked it up, its called Affective Science, interesting term isn’t it?)

I agree with CeCe’s assessment, when she says he is neither villainous or violent, but has “massive emotional and mental trauma.”

So le’t get into that.

Disasters

Bakugo, you certainly have some trauma from getting attacked by villains, most notably from getting kidnapped. What bothers him the most is not what happens to him (though he is clearly scared) but that his hero, All Might, loses his power during the rescue mission. You are not strictly the reason he lost it, but you thinks you are.

It breaks you to think that your hero lost his power trying to save you, when he spent so much time trying to be strong enough to never need help.

Family

Your mom, though not all bad, has no real sense of your emotional weaknesses, and blamed you for getting kidnapped, saying if you hadn’t been so weak, it wouldn’t have happened.

(I believe this is her way of trying to humble him, as she is aware of his pride and jerkish behavior, and says he is fearless. Can’t imagine where he got the aggressive behavior and inability to have a normal conversation from…)

I could relate to that, I’ve had people try to humble me in exactly the same way, if I had ten bucks for every time I heard “You’re brilliant, but too touchy, and unteachable and narcissistic” from my father, and his friends…

My mom’s way of helping this was to tell me “I don’t think you’re brilliant/highly intelligent, special, etc.”

So, yeah, I get your complex a little.

Environment

(I will have to drop the 2nd person approach for this part since it’s more about society)

I Bakugo’s been “Crushed by expectation”, hero society glorifies quirks so much, we’re shown that when everyone praises his quirk, he gets the idea that there will be no one more amazing than him. That idea gets fed by his spineless followers all throughout school and middle school. However, clearly not without some knowledge on is part that it could be shattered. His fear of that upon coming to UA becomes apparent.

Bakugo may be a bit stubborn (okay, a lot stubborn) but he’s not stupid. He knows that more powerful people exist than him, that if he’s not trying his hardest, he could fall behind. He trained for years before entering UA to get good enough to be a hero. His desperation to stay on top fuels his bragging through the sports festival and all subsequent conflicts we see. To the point where he doesn’t want to accept the medal because Todoroki was not trying his “hardest”.

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Like it or not, Bakugo’s whacked out ways get him results, and if Endeavor is any indication, that is all the majority of people really care about. Not how good you are as a person underneath that power.

To add to the pile of things that contribute to his complex, he also gets victim-blamed by the media and some of the hero students for being targeted, they say it was his personality.

All Might points out later that the villains grossly underestimated Bakugo’s heart and spirit. I’m sure Bakugo feels all the insult of the villains thinking he would ever agree to join them.

All Might is the only one, other than Aizawa, who seems to see that Bakugo has a lot more to him than anger and violence, and through their help, Bakugo has started to believe that about himself too.

Now that we have the reasons for his issues laid out, let’s talk solutions:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a year of therapy, inner healing, and frustration, it’s that there is not a single one moment where you realize the truth and your issues shatter.

You have several small moments or larger moments of something breaking, some new understanding, and new freedom, like climbing a stair, always a little higher, sometimes you take two steps up instead of one… but you are far from the top still.

I am neither qualified to answer all Bakugo’s problems fully, nor can they be, in my opinion, all answered by a human.

Many times, I’ve had the biggest breakthroughs when I was talking to God, one on one, and listening closely.

But sometimes, a little perspective can help open that door, so I wanted to start there:

How to begin change

When I’ve written about Bakugo’s character in a story setting, I’ve found the show’s method to be the most effective. Building relationships with people who he can see as equals is the healthiest, fastest way to help him change.

What is perhaps missed by the fans is the key to why some people can get close to Bakugo, and others can’t.

When Kirishima starts to be friends with him, it kicks off because Kirishima says that Bakugo is really saying he has faith in their classmates, and that is “thinking like a man.” Which is of course, his highest form of praise.

I don’t ship them, but I do Bro-ship, it’s just too wholesome. It takes quite a while for Bakugo to be able to return any positive feedback to Kiri, but eventually, in season 4, he succeeds. He also acknowledges their friendship at other times.

Bakugo has pretty big trust issues. He doesn’t like having blind fans even if he tolerated it in school. And it’s imperative for him to feel people are not afraid of him before he softens up at all.

I’ve been told I’m intimidating because of my intelligence and my confidence. I hate it. To me, it seems like an excuse. I don’t find people intimidating who are smart or confident, I actually am drawn to them.

Being friends with other confident people has done wonders for my self image. I don’t think I really began to have self esteem until that happened and people encouraged me. All I heard at home was I was ugly, annoying, difficult, or just average at best. What I heard from outside was just the opposite, people said I was sweet, funny, brave, and beautiful.

Sort of Bakugo’s situation, but I see why he has a hard time accepting it. It’s easy to think people might just find you scary. I also have a history of somewhat aggressive behavior, though nothing like what you get in trouble for at school. I learned to be more considerate, but developing that fear that people were just scared of me became a problem.

The best help for isolation, if you’re the type who people find scary, is to seek out circle of people who are not unhealthy, but not easily intimidated. Drama and Sports were good venues for me, being loud and energetic there was not really an issue. I got more used to it.

But it can really be anywhere, it may seem hard at first, changes are anyone with this problem has been surround by timid/insecure people most of their lives.

So, more you could say to Bakugo:

The truth is, a lot of it isn’t even about you, the person, being scary.

I’ve realized over time that people who are insecure already will blame you for stepping on their issues just by not having them. I once got bullied for doing something right after someone else made a mistake.

(This happens to Bakugo also, when one student form Shiketsu high, who clearly has a massive complex of his own, blames him for being a “Beast” as he says.

I find Bakugo is often blamed. I mean, would what he says really bother people if they didn’t take it a certain way? Some of it is intentionally mean, but other times he’s just saying something that’s true, in the least delicate way possible. If it wasn’t true, would they be offended?)

It’s always tricky to get offended by the truth and then blame the offender. No matter how much you criticize their approach, they were still right, and how do you get away from that?

Positive affirmation is about the only way to help Bakugo’s complexes also. But, having had at least one of both of those myself, I think there’s more to it.

Personally, I grew up getting affirmed when it was useful for my dad to butter me up. Or to soften the blow of what was otherwise a sickening tear-down fest where I was put in a very unfair position. I’ve ended up with a real problem receiving praise after that. (Can you relate?)

Real Talk

If we were to be brutally honest about the home situation, and the hero course, then what I’d tell Bakugo and any one else with verbally abusive parents) is this:

You can try and try to be good enough for them, and you believe you never will be, and you are right.

You absolutely will never be good enough for someone who demands more of you than you could ever give them.

Who expects you to never make a mistake, and doesn’t really define what mistakes are.

You will never be good enough for someone who disapproves of you more because of their own pain than because of anything you ever did.

And you’ll never be good enough for a world that is more interested in glam and glory than they are in being real and authentic.

No one can really be a flawless plastic image, and even perfection, if it were Real, would not satisfy people who want a perfect Fake Image. Real does not interested the world.

We play ourselves, you know. We know it will never be enough, but we can’t seem to resist the temptaion to try anyway, in that endless cycle. It hink that’s why Jesus warned us not to seek the praise of men, and to not love our family more than Him.

You can never be enough for your family if they are toxic, but you can be enough for God, He knows exactly what to expect of You at all times.

It’s funny that, though God only ever asks us to do what is possible for us with His help, while people often ask us to do what is utterly impossible, we prefer to try to meet their standards and shy away from God’s.

Helping

So, I actually receive it best when people point out to me upfront that I should just take the compliment. Like that bit or realism helps me understand what they mean. I need it made clear to me why I am being praised, I guess. I have learned to trust people mean well most of the time, but from close family, I still have issues with trust.

I think that’s why you (Bakugo), also respond best to praise that is given for a clear reason, [though, if you know or are a Bakugo, be careful about this. Don’t ever say “I am praising you because I want you to feel good”, phrasing it like that also sounds manipulative.

Giving a reason has to be down carefully, preferably almost so it’s not indentifiable as doing that.

This is a lot of work, and you can’t spend all your time catering to people’s issues, but in my experience, just once or twice with the same person usually gets the message across, and they will start trusting you. ]

Setting people up to fail

Another way you mishandle trauma is by testing people. I do this too, oh boy do I ever!

You are aggressive to see if people will run away. You’re not exactly subtle about that fact. Really, it’s astounding no one around you has caught on to why you acts this way.

But the very reason the guys are drawn to you is because it challenges them, luckily, they are grateful for that instead of resentful.

Still, it should be addressed.

There are many people out there who will hurt you or will try, and you should learn how to spot that early one, BUT, not everyone wants to hurt you.

Many people don’t hurt other intentionally. Many want to be kind, and many even want to help others heal.

While you cannot trust everyone, you should trust someone. People don’t all deserve to be treated like the bad guy.

The best friends will understand if you sometimes get triggered, but they cannot be your punching bag either. If they forgive you, take that as motivation to improve toward them because you got a second chance.

You will make more than one mistake while you are growing, but let the mistakes be the kind that happen because you were trying, not because you were running from it. Any real friend will forgive those mistakes. If they don’t, they are not really your friend.

Being the best

Improvement is not about being the best just to win, though that’s nice. It’s about enriching your life and other people’s.

We don’t try to get better to earn acceptance, no one will ever accept you based on earned merit, people assign value to you if they have the right heart, or they never will. The good opinion of worthless people is just as worthless as their character.

We improve because it’s the right thing to do, for the people around us, for ourselves, for God I think. Because being healthy is the natural way to be, what we are designed to be. Not because it’s a competition, though think of it that way if it helps you, just doesn’t think that mean others should lose.

[Therapy would probably benefit someone like Bakugo because he is so set on self-improvement, it’s actually canon in CeCe’s series that he comes in like 9 times a week just to get better at it. One of his best traits is his desire to be the best version of himself he can be, people blame him for not dealing with his issues, but I ask, was he ever given the change to?

Looking at the actual mental health care on the show (next to none), while Deku is allowed to break bones to fight, and Kaminari to short circuit his brain, while Iida tried to kill a guy and no one really calls him on it after an initial reproach from Todoroki… yeah, I’m not betting that Bakugo’s ever had access to professional help–or even regular help.

Plus his mom basically spells out of us that his home environment only breeds issues for him, rather than being an escape from pressure.

Given the chance to improve, I actually find it easy to believe Bakugo would go to therapy and try hard at it. Though no doubt he would fight with the counselor.]

Truth be told, I have had to restrain myself from snapping at my life coach also since my natural response is to get defensive when my issues are brought up.

In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, than the one who seems fine, and just stays the same. People who seem fine are never actually fine.

But I’d like to add something to all this that I think will be uniquely my perspective.

Therapy is just not the answer.

It would help, undoubtedly, but I don’t think it will make you into your best self.

The best therapists know how to encourage you and help you take steps to fix your life outside of the office.

I think therapy would help identify the causes of the issues, but how do you actually fix them?

Letting people in is probably the best human solution there is, good thing you’re already doing that.

But I’d go a step farther.

I really think only God can do some things.

The worse of mental issues is that you are always alone with them at some point. You can build up a support system so that in your darkest moments, you have back up to call in, and I found that very helpful.

But there are hundreds of moments in a month, sometimes a week, where I am doing something else, or alone for a period of time, and that is when I get attacked the most with anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and anger, sometimes.

Bakugo admits to Deku that he’s had stuff playing on loop in his head, telling him it was his fault, and he should have been stronger.

For me, though it’s hard still, at least I never have to be alone with my thoughts.

All the time I’ve gone through this hell on earth that is trauma, I’ve had two voices in my head. One always telling me my worst fears will be realized and I am a monster, the other, speaking reassurance, Love, and that I am not what I think.

I have wondered which I will listen to. But in the end, I always choose the Good One. Slowly, the other voice sounds less convincing and weaker.

I can’t imagine what I would be like if I had only my own voice to put against the darkness. Some people get by on that somehow, but just barely.

I found Bakugo an inspiring character actually, an encouragement to be as strong as I can be, and not feel ashamed or like I should hold back. I could wish more people thought like him.

In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, thant he one who seems fine, and just stays the same.

True Acceptance

One more warning: When I hear that, I don’t take it in, I am often a prisoner of doubt.

And Bakugo is too. He blows off All Might’s praise because he just can’t believe it… yet, hearing it still changes him, maybe a little part of him holds onto the hope that he can be that person, someday.

I’ve learned about both already are far more the person you want to be than you think, and yet you think too small at the same time. We set ridiculously low bars for ourselves.

Bakugo’s self doubt is only going to be cured by taking many small steps toward believing. I was happy to see him do this in season 4 with the remedial training and encouraging one of the bratty kids.

Me? I am starting to try, I’ve been thinking of more ways to do it.

We’ll work on it together Bakugo.

(Yeah, I know that was cheesy, but sometimes a fictional example can be easier to handle than real one, we tend to question real people’s motives far more)

And that’s how I’d conclude Bakugo’s therapy: Sometimes what you really need to hear is that who you are, flawed as it is, is something people very much need, and you have a very important thing to contribute to the world and your friends, if you would not give up.

And that you are more than talent and strength, you are also compassionate. When you are strong to build others up, you are the strongest there is.

And that was installment one of Anime Therapy, brought to you by Natasha, hope you liked the new style I was trying out for the post, please comment if you had any questions or ideas to add to this discussion, or any other characters you’d like to submit for further consideration.

I will probably do ones from MHA, Naruto, and Fruits Basket mostly, I’ve found those to have the most realistic characters. But hey, I could throw in Love is War, or Lovely Complex, if I’m in a lighter mood.

So, apparently it was a mile marker on WordPress to receive 1, 337 likes…kind of a random number, but I did! Yay! Thank you all for the continued support.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly
Link to CeCe’s videos

A Sad-Happy post

I need an outlet, so I guess blogging works.

Since my last post I found out my step-grandmother, who’s had Covid, is unable to eat and they think she will be gone soon. So my family and I are planning to say goodbye later today.

When I first heard she was sick, I wasn’t very upset, things happen, she’s been on the verge of dying anytime for ears now in Hospice care with Alzheimer’s.

This will be the first person close to me who’s died of COVID, I guess I am lucky it has been so long, and no one else in my family has died of it.

I didn’t feel much before, but now I think I was suppressing it, as I tend to suppress sadness, I was never taught how to handle it well, in my house sadness =depressed/suicidal, so I became very afraid of that feeling.

But just plain sadness is good, it shows you care about stuff that happens around you. I am working on that.

I guess I can commemorate this post to my step-grandmother, or Grammy, as we always called her.

Though we aren’t blood related, I was closest to her out of all my grandparents. before her disease got so bad we couldn’t really talk anymore, and I grew into an awkward teen who wasn’t sure of who I could trust anymore.

Before I had other friends though, she was my outlet to talk about my home problems. She’d listen to my complain about my dad and my other toxic acquaintances for 30 minutes, almost every day for a while. Looking back, I don’t know how she put up with it, but it helped me not become discouraged.

I got embarrassed about it after a while an stopped calling, though she still affectionately referred to me as her “phone buddy” and asked why I wouldn’t call anymore. I didn’t know what to say. I think the abuse and adolescence combined were getting to me. I felt stupid for complaining, and felt like I should handle it through church.

I don’t know, and I will never be able to ask, if she saw it as abusive, but she would at least agree m dad shouldn’t treat me that way. house she got annoyed at me from time to time if I pushed to talk longer, or called at a bad time, overall she was a great sport about it.

I know a bit about her background. She used to model, she was really gorgeous as a young woman. We look nothing alike, though I’ve been told I could model too, but we both liked make up and clothes and she gave me some of my first make up and beauty tips.

I guess in a way she was a maternal figure in my life. And when it went away, I didn’t know what to feel.

For several years her memory has been too bad to really have long conversations, and she’s been in hospice so I only see her once or twice a year, and it stresses her out to talk for longer than 10 minutes.

So i have focused on the thought that she is a Christian, and I will have to wait till heaven to really talk to her again.

I suspect my coping mechanism is not a very healthy one. It’s okay to still be upset about all this, even if I have hope.

I don’t know why I was so confused as to how to act, but I always felt guilty about not talking anymore, and I pushed it away. The whole thing made me uncomfortable, and then I felt guilty for being uncomfortable with the dementia and other stuff.

I know now that’s a normal thing to struggle with, but no one told me that, and no one really asked me if I was okay. I didn’t expect them to, I grow up with my emotional needs being ignored all the time unless I absolutely begged for attention, or even argued for it… and even then, I still didn’t get it, or I got it very grudgingly.

M grandparents were an exception tot hat, at least this one and her husband, though things still got awkward if my dad was around, as he liked to start fights. Still, about the only unconditional love I experienced as a kid came from that source.

When my grandma, her husband, died nearly 2 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I felt then either. We were never close, but he at least invested time and money into us, paying for my braces, and giving us gifts to help us with our interests. And listening to us sing and recite and stuff. I think my dad got jealous, honestly, and tried to make it awkward by telling us lots of terrible stories about how he grew up.

Knowing my dad lies and exaggerates now, I question if it was all true, or as true, as he told us, I’ll probably never know that either in this life.

I’m not sure it really matters, all us girls wished we’d just been left to pass our own judgment on our grandparents without feeling like we couldn’t like them because of our dad’s past. Maybe they were different people then, but who they are now is trying to be better, right?

At my grandpa’s funeral, my dad was upset, but also torn because he never liked his father or got along with him, or felt loved by him.

I wonder if I will feel the same when he dies, I hope not.

But it confused me, and I got confused about my step-grandmother also. She was a really nice lady as long as I knew her, but used to be into bad stuff, and an enabler for the other toxic people, she always had a very forgiving attitude towards people, for better or worse.

That made her by far the least toxic person in that part of the family, but my dad made sure we knew about the past, even at an age it was hardly appropriate for us to know about it at.

So, now what?

I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to hold my dad’s grudges. I value knowing the truth about people, but if it is in the past, I don’t think I always need to know, unless it still affects them now.

And I could know they were dysfunctional without needing the gritty details. Some things you should not hear about your family, especially if they became Christians.

I can say this much, Grammy would never take sides or bad mouth people like the others. I felt safer talking to her because of that. I didn’t feel safe with my dad or mom, they’d repeat stuff I said, sometimes to the whole family. Sometimes to strangers.

But I don’t want to go on about my abuse right now, I think it’s just a distraction.

Still, it does color a lot of my memories, making them more difficult to understand, and sort through.

I remember Grammy took us to museums, some really fun places, as part of our homeschooling, you could say. We loved one where there was a stage you could dress up and perform on, with working lights.

And before she got too sick to go out, she’d take us Christmas shopping, we’d get $50 each, to get whatever we wanted.

And we got to play all these cool computer games (back when they still had those, and not just apps and video games) on her computer, and play with old toys she had. The she gave us later some of her more prized possessions, these old china dolls, really expensive stuff now.

And I got some of her clothes later, I wanted something to remember her by, and a few pieces of jewelry.

Yeah, I guess we did do the most together. I’ve spent more time over all with my maternal grandmother, but our personalities and beliefs clash too much for intimacy. She’s a real nice lady, but it’s never going to be ideal, unless something changes.

Which, is okay, though I wish it were different, I can accept that.

But Grammy having dementia, as well as lupus, was just another sad thing on my list of sad things, and I never knew how to process them.

I don’t think I will stay sad for very long, I am at peace about her soul, at least, and I want her suffering to be over. After all, she will be far happier in heaven than she ever was here, and it’s not separation for forever. I believe that.

The Bible says we are not like those who mourn without hope, we have hope, though we still mourn. Knowing our latter glory will be greater than our former.

I don’t know if heaven is a place where we walk around like the classic idea of the afterlife, whether it is somewhere we rest until God recreates heaven and earth, or whether it is both.

I do believe, whatever it is, it is like Lewis’s idea of “further up and further in” that God is eternal, and we will always be drawing closer to Him, but never far from Him again.

From the stories I hear, people experience being taken to heaven much like going through a door, or transporting to a different dimension, but until I go myself, I won’t really know, and it wouldn’t surprise if it’s different for everyone, what in life is ever the same for us all?

Some people think pets go to heaven, others don’t.

My thought is, if we love it, truly, it will be there, in some form or another. That we humans give life to whatever we love, as the Bible seems to teach it was meant to be.

But, that’s a theory, and what can I really know?

Some people feel God’s presence strongly in grief, others don’t. For me, I tend to feel alone when I am pushing away my sadness, but when I welcome it, I find God is there, waiting.

I can’t write anything like “A Grief Observed” to due credit to the beauty of human life and love, I still need to learn so much more about both.

And while I like to forget about death, I know I can’t escape it anymore than the next person.

I don’t buy the “live forever in our hearts” line, because it seems too small to me.

I am glad at least that Grammy is a Christian, my only other deceased relatives were not, and that’s it’s own pain, knowing that.

I guess it still hurts, and I can feel it, when I let myself, but it doesn’t have to crush me.

I remember when my great uncle died, I kept thinking “The old has gone, the new has come” as my cousins had recently been born.

I don’t know why I had that line stuck in my head.

But I’ve thought of loss in that was since, old things pass away, all things become new. For Christians, growing old and dying means we become new.

Our final reenactment of what Jesus said about going into the ground and dying, in order to be reborn and bear fruit.

Why do Christians still die if we have eternal life?

I guess because Jesus physically died, and we are supposed to imitate him, and he who loses his life for Christ will find it. Our lives symbolically reenact Jesus, even to death. At least, we do not have to die alone, like him.

There may be some people alive now who will never die, who knows? But most of us will. That has been one of the main reasons people come to God over. Funny that now that fewer people believe in God, more people kill each other and themselves, as if the fear of oblivion isn’t enough to keep us from doing evil.

In the end, love is the only thing that really shows us how to be good.

And the loss of love is the worst loss.

And for that, I am still sad, but, I think, The Notebook has it right, love never dies, not really.

Interstellar pointed out that love transcends space and time, we love people who are dead, who are far away, who we haven’t met yet, like our babies, or even our lovers, sometimes (Like in Your Name).

I rather think that Love must be eternal also, that we love people before we know them, and after we’ve forgotten them, and only our mortal limits keep us from realizing it. You’ve met people you just clicked with, right? Why?

Something just happens with love.

We can love people we met once for one minute.

Anyway, perhaps my grandmother will pull through, I can’t know for sure, but whether she does not not, I wanted to honor her life a little bit today.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

The Yellow Truck

Stay tooned to the end for big news!

Well, I was happy to receive so much positve feedback on my lat post, after feling it was a bit ranty. I’ll put a link here if you want to check it out before continuing:

Yeah, I can only link all three together, still haven’t mastered this new editor :/

Leave Will Smith Alone, gosh!

Can you imagine this happening 100 years ago? I can’t. Probably no one would have thought twice about it. And if there was a little hot temper involved, oh well, people knew you didn’t say things about other people’s wives in front of them.

So I watched Encanto…

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned

Right, so my dad went back to the hospital literally the day after I posted and I have not heard yet how he is doing.

My sisters and I are waiting to have a heart to heart chat with him till he’s out of danger, as that seems the kindest thing to do.

But there’s something I keep thinking about, lately, in regards to him. It’s not really about what he did, more like one of those signs of trauma everyone is embarrassed about.

Victims commonly get triggered by seemingly random or harmless things, to the casual observer. Glass breaking can be one thing. Certain words, phrasing, things you will say or a tone you will use that doesn’t bother your other friends, but this one will lose their crap if you say that to them, or curl up into a ball, or shut down on you completely, or a combination of the three.

So, one of the harder to guess ones is being triggered by sights or colors.

One thing my sisters and I have all been triggered by is a yellow pick-up truck.

Image result for image of yellow pick up truck
Not the actual one

Yellow’s not a too common color for a vehicle like that, yet somehow, I see them everywhere now (I think one must belong to someone not that far from my neighborhood.)

I developed this trigger about 18 months ago in the terrible week that proceeded my father moving out.

I haven’t talked too much about that that was like, since it was extremely unpleasant, but perhaps it’s time to tell more of that part of the story.

After my family got back from a disastrous vacation, and my dad began flipping out over my sister questioning his bad behaviors, and she and I started laughing about it, angering him further, we began to finally put it together: This is abuse.

It was shocking, for me, it was like it took seeing him turn on her, the Golden Child, to realize “oh crap, he’ll do the same to my other sister (who was currently a minor) and probably to my mom also.” He’d hit me once, and threatened my several times, he’d flung my younger sister out of rooms and chairs just like me, but I somehow thought he was just delusional, and that he really believed our middle sister was just different than us…yeah, no.

He did say I turned her against him. That was bull. He turned her against him by his childish tantrums on said vacation, and then cruelty towards me that I did nothing to deserve.

Well, that’s no surprise to any of you who’ve been following this story, but it sure was to us.

Until you’ve had that “Eureka!” moment where the blinders come up, you honestly believe it’s not all that bad. Sure, you’re miserable, but that’s just how family is, right?

Cue sitcom humor laughtrack.

When it hits you like a ton of bricks “THIS IS WRONG!” It’s like seeing the light, and having the rug yanked out form under your feet at the same time.

What followed that was a series of secret meetings with our friends first, and church leaders where they told us they’d help us get away from him, and encouraged us to try to talk our mom into it also. They also gave us much needed guidance on what we could legally do and what would qualify as abuse in legal terms. Our dad qualified.

We had a back up plan if our mom didn’t agree with us, we intended to get out of that house one way or another. When we told her what was on our mind, she was shocked at how serious we were taking it, but we represented to her how his behavior had not changed.

My mom, I have to give credit, is not the strongest person, but she was tough enough to seriously pray about it and realize we were right. She told my dad when he came back to the house that he had abused her, and couldn’t come in, and he needed to go.

My dad came back with “You abused me by refusing to sleep in the same room..”

My dad had previously threatened to divorce her just because she wanted to sleep in the office and get some space to think over stuff, and refused to comfort him after he got sad because we girls were ignoring him.

That was part of our ten point keikaku (Japanese for plan). We all decided that instead of talking to him about the blow ups we had had, or listening to his fake apologies, we would just stay together. We all decided not to leave our room alone, because with the anger he was radiating, we felt he’d try to hurt one of us at the slightest provocation.

I remember one dreadful point during that few days that he did catch my sister and I in the kitchen before we could scurry away, he told us he loved us and he was sorry. he said to me “I don’t hate you…” I looked at his eyes and his smile, and thought it looked totally fake. He asked if we could talk before that and I said “No.” but he still spoke anyway. We made as little eye contact as possible and got the heck away.

A few days of the silent treatment, and my dad, who hates being ignored above all else, was losing his mind. Literally. He blew up at my mom, cried bitterly in his room out of self pity (and to manipulate her by showing her how miserable he was), and weirdest of all, at one point he shoved something under our door just to scare us, I know because he walked off laughing after we jumped, which he always did after playing one of his mean spirited pranks.

I thought “This is funny to him? To terrify us?” But it always was. My therapist later pointed out to me how cruel it was, I never thought so at the time, it was just how my dad was.

He kept walking up and down the hall outside our room too, using really heavy footfalls, as if to say “I’m here! Pay attention to ME!”

If it was new, I might have thought it was an accident, but I knew he always stomped and slammed stuff when he was angry and wanted everyone to know it.

Well, he started buying chocolate and cards for us after that, he left a weird psychotic note on the table about how terrible he felt, later a “loving” note for all of us, I tore mine up and tossed it. It felt so good to be able to disregard this manipulation finally.

What does all this have to do with a Yellow Truck?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Obviously we girls didn’t want to stay in our room watching Fruits Basket all day (though that was fun, and also strangely mirrored our situation) so after he left for work, (thank goodness he still did) we would come out and go about our regular activities. I played a lot of Skillet, I remember. keeping myself in the belligerent mood so Fear wouldn’t conquer me.

Our dad’s work truck was bright yellow. Easy to spot form the living room. I spend the most time in the living room, so I was essentially the lookout, I’d yell that he was home, and we’d grab all our stuff and rush for our room.

Our dad at first pretended to be compliant by saying he’d write out a schedule of when he came and went so we could avoid him. That didn’t last more than a day or so.

I forget how long all that took till it got to the blow up and my mom kicking him out. I stood by ready to call the police if he got violent and tried to force hi way in. It wasn’t unprecedented, besides threatening me, my dad once said he’d break down his own door before he’d wait a few hours for my mom to get home and unlock it.

(I’m realizing all this sounds like a weird drama on TV, well, it’s just my life. I’m not exaggerating a dang thing here, I’m actually leaving stuff out.)

Luckily, we didn’t have to do that far. I think my dad thought he’d guilt us into changing our mind by compliance. That still hasn’t panned our for him.😑

Honestly, when I read over my last post after getting comments on it, I realized that if it was someone else’s story, I’d think my dad was a psycho based on what they described… I’m still not sure whether to just think that, or to allow for his good points, small as they seem to be.

When I talked to him, it was like talking to a persona, not a person. I wonder if I’ve ever seen him be real, free of manipulation and deception. Maybe, in a few unguarded moments, I’ve actually wept over the loss of the good person my dad could have been had he become that part of himself, instead of running from it as hard as he could.

But here’s the skinny on the Yellow Truck, to conclude my anecdote.

For months after he left, I would feel a twinge of panic whenever I saw a yellow pick up. Even if I knew it wasn’t his, I’d always wonder. Especially if it had a ladder, as he carries one.

All the way to the end of last year, I still worried. He kept coming back to the house to get stuff, mail, items, etc. My mom didn’t stop him till we told her it was too stressful for us. But I always worried he’d come in the back, or in the house, if no one was around but us. I’d have my phone ready to call 911 if that happened. I had no idea what he’d do to me if he got the change, he blamed me for the whole thing, naturally. I accepted that unrepentantly, but I didn’t want to get smacked again.

Every time I saw that dang yellow truck, my heart would ounce, my stomach would twist. I’d warn my sisters to hide.

My dad threw tantrums so often, our fear was not irrational, that was the worst of it. If we’d been able to tel ourselves it was ridiculous, it would have been easier.

But, something I’ve been pondering for a few months is what I found out happened after my dad lost his house in the fire.

He had purchased a new truck since moving out, he has a lot more money only supporting himself, and he has to replace his truck every so many years because it carries so much stuff. I don’t know what his new one looks like.

But when I watched the news byte with him in it, they panned around showing his property, and there was a frame that prominently displayed the charred remain of his Yellow Truck.

Image result for image of charred reamins of a yellow pick up truck
Again, not the actual truck…you’d be surprised how many pictures of this I found online.

The truck wasn’t in use anymore, I don’t know how much it had in it. probably some tools. But he idd’t need it, so I felt it wasn’t unchristian of me to be glad it was destroyed.

In fact, to me, there was some kind of Diving Justice in it. Liek a sign from God that our onld life and fears turly had been burned up and destroyed.

A way to demonstate how God felt about our abuse. A warning, perhaps, but also a reassurance.

IT seemed very like a biblical sign.

It sounds incredile, doens’t it? I don’t know if I’d believe this story if someone else told it to me, but I assure you, all this is bare fact.

I saw my dad picking around what was left of his house too, and can say, I didn’t feel happy that he lost it all. I had hoped he’d find some peace on his own and finally let us go. I don’t enhoy his unhappiness.

But, I can’t say felt overwhelig remoarse either. Honeslty, after all he’s done, I thought, it was getting off easy to only lose one of his houses he rented and the vehicle he was’t even suing, true, most of his bleongs were alos gone, but, that’s still not as bad as losing the only house and car you have would be.

I wondered if God let me see all that, as I was the nly one besides my grandma who even eatched most of the news coverae on time, as a way to help me be reasured. I don’t have to worry abut that truck anymore.

I still get bothered when I see Yellow Trucks, because it reminds me of unplasant things, but I no longer feel panicked. I immeiatley rememver “God burned that thing up.”

You can see that as vindictive on God’s part, or as karma, I see it as love. love can be fierce.

Plus, some of you may feel my dad got off entirely too easy. After all, he ruined our lives as much as he possibly could, and only God prevented him from succeeding.

To that, I say, vengeance is God’s and I don’t really care about taking it myself. I don’t write about this in order to incite people against my dad. I want them to understand so that they can recognize the same thing somewhere else, we never know when someone might tell us something, and be ready to hear”Hey, that’s not right.”

It’s because of my own ignorance of what abuse looked like that I was fooled for so long, and while I am not really sorry because we acted at just the right time, I think not everyone should wait.

Plus, it’s unusual for a Christian to tell the story of how God got them out of a situation from the inside out like this, think that story is worth telling, and might give people hope.

To quote Things we lost in the fire (Bastille)

“I was the match and you were the rock, maybe we started this fire… do you understand that we will never be the same again? The future’s in our hands, and we will never be the same again!”

We played that a bunch after my dad moved out, I felt it described what we’d done by setting fire to all the foundations my dad had laid for us, and cutting ties. It felt destructive, but in a good way. The Word says “our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)

But when I heard that my dad had lost it all in a fire, that happened much like the song, I felt strange.

I didn’t literally mean for his stuff to burn when I prayed that the sin and torment would be burnt away by God’s fire, but God seemed to want to do something dramatic to make a point.

You might wonder if my dad ever saw this as some kind of karma. The truth is, no.

He questioned God, I know, and I am sure he blames us for kicking him out because it wouldn’t have happened to him otherwise. Though he never said as much to us, because we never gave him the chance. It is what he would think though.

But I never told him I prayed that, so it is doubtful he’d ever connect the dots.

That doesn’t matter. To me, I think it’s imporatnt that I know, and dont’ assume too much.

Though I mayt hink twice about what analogies I use when I pray in the future 🙂

Okay, now for the announcement:

I have upgraded, yet again, since I had a discount, and now connected accounts so that I can receive donations, if you check under the comment section, you’ll see a Donate tab.

I have never been super cofortoable with chargine people for servise I would galdly do for free, but I’ve gown out of that as I realized part of it was my lack of self worth, I didn’t feel anythin I did was worth compensation.

Part of it was I had no confidence anyone would support me. My family has not been the most help in this area, and I have had friends flake on me too.

But, I am trying to trust God, and put myself out there a little now. Sometimes people can be surprisingly kind, and even if they aren’t I need to treat myself like I deserve credit for things. I’ve put years into this blog and developing my writing skills to a professional level, what’s wrong with thinking I should get some reward.

Though, helping people and getting feedback would also be enough reward for me, I never want this to be about money.

My test is: If I would do it for free anyway, than I am safe asking for payment, because my priorities are still on quality service.

(Which, btw, is why some employers wisely take volunteer work into consideration. Someone who will work for free values what they do for it’s own sake and does it better than someone only motivated by money, so put it on your resume if you have one.)

Anyway, if any of you amazing people are interested, PayPal donations are now available at the bottom of the page. I will be trying to start things like memberships and premium content soon so I can give people even more bang for their buck if they do support. I have some ideas for making this site even cooler than it is.

But for now, that’s all I got, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Why not just reconcile?

I hit 200 followers! *party noises* thanks you guys!

Want to hear a crazy story?

Life happens weirdly doesn’t it? Yesterday we were just minding our own business, and we got a message that our dad was having a medical emergency, alone at his house.

My energetic aunt who lives, like, a 1,000 miles away from us, was somehow the one trying to organize all this, and my dad was calling a bunch of people, but didn’t think to just call a taxi.

Later we found out, to add insult to injury, he’d actually almost passed out several times earlier in the day, but neglected to go to the doctor then, instead he still drove home. I believe they call this “dumb luck”.

After he finally was taken to the hospital probably an hour and a half after he should have just called a taxi or 911, they discovered he had a heart attack and he went in for immediate surgery. The attack was bad and could have killed him.

I haven’t talked to my dad in about 18 months, give or take, and this was the first time I spoke to him, but, with an emergency like that, it would have been cruel not to.

Getting on the speaker, we all talked to him. Almost the first words out of his mouth, once he said “I really would like to talk to the girls in case this is the end for me” or some rubbish like that, were “God has really been working on my heart, and I’ve changed a lot… and I believe with forgiveness should come reconciliation, that the Bible makes it clear they go together.” (I paraphrase a little for clarity, but I assure you I am not exaggerating, I don’t do that, the truth is bad enough on it’s own.)

I suppose it sounds innocent enough, to someone outside the family, but those of you with toxic family members know hot there are certain phrases and words and tones and references that have been built up over the years a s part of an intricate web of manipulation, usually disguised as harmless so that others don’t catch on. But the family members know themselves what it means.

You see, my dad will use the bible as a weapon to cover his own bad behavior. He’d yell at us and rage and throw fits, and use “honor your father” as an exude, ignoring “don’t provoke your children to wrath.” He’d storm about not being respected as “the head of the house” but ignore “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” You’ve probably met people like this too.

Abusive parents tend to use love as a requirement only when they want love, and then deny it to their victims especially children if they are the most insecure about children, or their wife, if they are more insecure about romantic relationships. Depends on their own background usually. Most of the time, it’s both.

My dad also swore to us more times than I can count that God was working on his heart, and he was a different person. He treated us exactly the same every time, and treated God the same too. My dad lives in a fantasy world when it comes to spirituality. It’s simply a game of rules and appearances to him, not depth.

He also said he’d been healed of a lot of stuff, I don’t buy that for an instant.

Later on, he told us that if this was his last request to us, he wanted us not to hold any bitterness or resentment in our heats because God wouldn’t like it. And that he loved us so much, and missed us, blah blah blah.

He didn’t ask once how we’d been doing, my sister told him, but he barley listened. He talked about how he’d been doing most of the time, and how he might die, (though it wasn’t actually that likely), yada yada, and reconciliation, and it was so nice to talk to us again. It was almost worth it for this to happen just to be able o talk to us…

I sympathize with the fear and terror of a medical emergency, I’ve driven my sister to the ER when no one else was home and she was throwing up and having other signs of a concussion. I’ve taken care of my other sister after she fainted from sun poisoning. I’ve had terrible moments myself, especially last year. I am not one to put that down.

But, none of us use medical emergencies as an excuse to be vindictive and manipulative. Amidst all this chaos, my dad still managed to impress me with how petty he can be.

I mean, if it truly could be your last words to your children and wife, would you spend it going on about how terrible you were doing, and how they made you so lonely by not calling, and poor you.

I know I would want to spend it saying things that would leave good memories, if nothing else. It’s not he time for final digs.

I concluded he never really believed he was going to die, as indeed, it was past the point where that was likely anymore. It was an attention grab.

It may sound terrible of me to think so, but his mom pulls stuff like this also, and he’s done it before, and it’s really much sicker to do it at all than to realize someone else is doing it.

I suppose we knew deep down he used his health to manipulate us for pity and attention, I just didn’t think of it much with all the other, more violent stuff, but this one was always so blinking unfair because how can you get angry at soemoen who’s sick? Even if they are making it worse on purpose?

The man says he intends to go right back to work instead of resting like you are supposed to do, I doubt he’ll actually do that, but he wants us to talk him out of it. These tricks are as old as our lives.

I don’t intend to try, but it’s very frustrating to hear someone be such an idiot, and just to garner sympathy.

My aunt was no help, she just encouraged it, and event old my sister “can’t you put aside your feud for a short time?”

Yes, a feud, that’s all 20 years of abuse, neglect, and folly was… sure.

Because none of us have proof of physical damage, our family has elected not to take us that seriously, at least, the one who listen to my dad and aunt in the first place.

Based on my studies and comparing to others who’ve undergone the same treatment, we more than qualify for all three types of abuse, with Emotional being the crowning one.

My dad is something called a “dark empath” if I understand right. He know what you want to hear, and need to hear, but instead of genuinely giving it to you out of compassion, he gives it in a fake twisted way, that always brings the focus back to him. I’ve almost never heard the guy shut up about himself in the whole time I’ve known him.

In conversation with me, it has never been about me. Same with all of us, including my mom.

He’s not totally without sympathetic feelings, but it’s a superficial kind that always ends up becoming about him after about 5 seconds. I don’t doubt he feels bad, but empaths can take our feelings into themselves, and then reflect them back. A dark empath can do that, in a bad bay, making the misery all there own and expecting you to feel sorry for them, when you’re the one suffering.

In proof of this point, my aunt entered her late son’s name in a walk-a-thon for charity that she asked us all to participate in. She asked my dad not to start telling stories about the past and making it about him. That was what he immediately did after she asked, including telling them her embarrassing nickname and encouraging us girls to participate. I declined.

My father is cruel, he was cruel as a kid, he’s cruel now.

Yet, he has the audacity to say he loves us so much while crying and acting like he’s in the worst pain in the world. Like we ever did anything to him. Sheesh.

Okay, as you can tell, I am blowing off steam and I may regret being so raw after I’ve had a few days to think about it.

But I bet you’ve felt the same, and maybe you even understand why it would bother me how he acted.

But is it worse that none of it really surprised me? I didn’t call him when he got Covid-19 because I knew he’d say stuff I didn’t want to hear, and I wouldn’t be comforting him at all, save for the sick satisfaction he gets out of having us pity him and kowtow to him. Perhaps he imagines he is making us feel guilty.

And I called this time only because it might have been my last chance, and however terrible a person he might be, I don’t want anyone to die without hearing some last kind words form the people around them.

I didn’t expect him to really appreciate that, and I was not disappointed in that, but he went further than I would have believed, it took him less than 5 minutes to say something manipulative.

All the nice things he said just because he’s been told to say them. It’s nauseating. I felt my throat tighten up.

I wanted to laugh, my sister held me back, she felt the same but didn’t want me to visibly show it while he was still on the line, especially since we were on speaker. I held back, but if he hadn’t been about to go in for heart surgery, I’d have given him a piece of my mind.

I hope you understand I am not advocating bullying someone who’s potentially dying or in a lot of pain. I am saying it was out of basic decency that I didn’t do that, but I assure you, had our position been reversed, he would not have afforded me the same courtesy. That’s how delusional he is.

I believe we have to show mercy, so I told him I loved him, and we’d forgiven him. That was when he came back with that “reconciliation” crap.

Since he brought it up, and some of you might have similar problems, perhaps I should answer here what the Bible’s idea of reconciliation is.

In the Old Testament, there are far more examples of reconciliation than in the New, because it talks more about people’s stories. The best examples or Joseph with his brothers, Jacob with his twin, Esau and also his uncle Laban; David with Saul; Hagar with Sarah, and Hosea with Gomer.

In only two of those examples did reconciliation involve establishing close contact, or living in the same house. Joseph, and Hosea both stayed in close touch with their family, though we don’t know how often Joseph saw his brothers, or how much Gomer reciprocated Hosea’s love (that was a direct assignment from God to give an example of loving an unfaithful woman. But Gomer was not abusive.)

Joseph did not reconcile with his brothers until he was in a position of power and it was entirely safe to do so, and after testing them to see if they really had changed. Once they proved they had truly repented and regretted their wrongs, he revealed himself.

This is where most therapists will leave it, if you have proof they changed, then you can become close again. I don’t think Joseph intended to kill his brothers if they didn’t change, but I doubt he would have revealed all to them in the same way.

In the other examples I listed, peace was made, and the people went their separate was to live out their own lives. Even Hagar eventually left Sarah’s service, and she was a slave who couldn’t legally do so on her own, but Sarah chose to send her away, and God made it to be for the best. Later in the New Testament, Hager is used as a metaphor for how the slave to sin must be driven out so the child of the promise (us) can flourish. A powerful symbol for abuse also.

“Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”” (Galatians 4:30)

So, my dad has no real basis for using the bible as leverage here, but it’s an old trick he clearly thinks we will still fall for.

As for the New Testament, it was actually or inspiration for kicking him out. When we talked to our mom about it, we reminded her of how Paul kicked some people out of the young church till they could learn respect for God and stop teaching false doctrines. Two people who tried to deceive the believers dropped dead on the spot (harsh, I assure you it doesn’t happen often, I’ve near heard of another case, I think it was just to make a point).

Paul also says that while we are not to judge the world for being the way it is, we are not to associate with people in the church who claim to be holy but still act like the world.

“I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” 1 Corinthians 5:11 (This version includes “abusive” others don’t, but the idea is there.)

This gets me to thinking about how people tend to split into two camps about abusers:

There’s the people who are so angry about it they stop seeing abusers as human. You should see the death threats against fictional characters that Webtoon and YouTube are littered with, and probably concerning real life stuff also.

Then there’s people who recognize abusers are still wounded human beings, but use that as a reason to stay with them and give them a sort of emotional life support that just barely keeps them functionality at status quo, usually worse.

I am not in either camp, but I do lean more toward staying away from them, as I think the Bible teaches to do anyway.

There’s an anime coming to mind that depicts this struggle well, called Torodora

Image result for Toradora images

(Tiger Dragon for you language buffs) in which the main girl had a toxic father, and the main guy encourages her to “reconcile” and give him a chance when he shows up randomly in her life, her dad says all the right things, and seems really repentant.

Image result for Toradora images Taiga and her dad

Then after things go well for a few weeks, there’s a play that Taiga (the girl) is going to have the lead role in, and her dad promises to come see. As you can guess, he doesn’t show up, and instead of calling her himself, he calls Ryuuji, (the main guy) to ask him to tell her for him, that something came up.

Ryuuji can’t understand how the guy could be such a jerk, after seeming so sincere, then Taiga’s best friend drops the final death bomb on him by informing him that the same thing happened a year or so ago, same act, and Taiga went with it, only to be disappointed. Ryuuji feels horrible for not listening when she warned him, and pressure in Taiga based on his preconceived notions of her situation, but he learns from it.

Ryuuji makes the same mistake I’ve made myself, and have felt other people made with me, and still do. He judges by his own experience and the very few things he sees about someone else.

People who haven’t had abusive parents tend to hear how we victim-kids talk about our parents, and think “Wow, they’re a brat.” Because we’ll say things like “My parents don’t love me” and “Yeah, that’s my dad, what a jerk.” “I just can’t believe him” “I don’t miss him” etc.

And yeah, bratty kids do say it, but we have to remember, everyone who fake whines about stuff that’s not actually bad is doing it in imitation of people who have had serious problems.

Like people jokingly say they have depression because depressed people abound so much right now, but it’s not a joke to someone who really has it, and it probably feels like overstating it to them, whether they say so or not.

Or people saying they have a problem with binging when they really couldn’t, while people suffer with real additions around them and don’t think it’s funny.

It’s the same with having bad parents, people will joke and whine about it who shouldn’t precisely because of the attention it gets them to sound like people who do. It’s the difference between real and fake ailments.

And anyone with experience with learn to tell the genuine victims from the fakers very quickly. I’ve gotten fairly good at it myself in a short amount of time.

But I’ve been treated like a faker. Faking my problems to get attention has always been disgusting to me, I can’t say that even as a kid I would do that very often, if at all, and as an adult, I don’t pretend to have problems I don’t have.

The lasting damage from being emotionally abused is that I assume everyone disapproves of me, constantly, and it’s taken a whole year and a half away form my dad to even crack that image enough for me to see some light on the other side. I hope one day I will not feel that way at all, but it’s been hard to shake, even after years of trying.

My aunt has been treating us like fakes who are making a mountain out of a molehill, and our dad talked to us the same way. It’s like it’s nothing to them that we got so miserable we had to kick him out or we’d run off ourselves. They don’t get it.

Well, people who refuse to see the obvious cannot be taught, it’s the sad truth.

Remember my last post, when I talked about PH, and how the truth sets Lauren free?

See post here:

At the end of a fast…

But valuing God for Himself is the best gift we can have, and that is the thing we struggle with. We devote our time to so much else.

Well, it does when she accepts it, there’s plenty of truth she’s still fighting in the story, that’s at the basis of her dysfunction.

And to tell the truth about yourself is very, very hard.

For me, it’s a question I have a lot. Am I a worse person than I realize? Do I lie to myself. Am I not as kind and compassionate as I think?

But even asking that question, in earnest, shows I am more those things than someone like my dad, who will make excuse possibly to his dying day, if yesterday was any indication. I know his father did, I visited him just a day or two before he died. Still full of dishonesty, though he had made huge strides in forgiveness compared to how he’d been a few years ago.

I will say, trying to be better than your abusive parent is a low bar, my dad aimed for that, and failed because he had a warped perception of what “better” really meant. If better meant not smacking us as hard, and raging at us over every little thing, he only succeeded at one of those things. If better meant being less selfish, he never succeeded at all.

“It’s been a long road losing all I own, you don’t know what you got until you’re gone, and it’s a nasty habit, spitting at all you have,

but if you’re doing all the leaving, then it’s never your love lost, if you leave before the start, than there was never love at all.

Heaven knows I’m prone to leave the only God I should’ve loved, but you’re far too beautiful to leave me.” (The Oh Hellos, In Memoriam.)

You shouldn’t aim to be better than someone else, you should aim to be as good as you can be. As loving, as pure, as brave, as wise, and then you have no real limit, you can always grow.

My family and I will find some way to deal with the crazy of our relatives, but we don’t intend to be a part of it.

My sisters and I laugh about how whacked our situation must sound to people who don’t know the intimate details. Our little unit was supposed to be the “normal” one in the dysfunctional family that was the stuff TV shows are made of. My grandmother once attacked some police officer. My step family got into occult stuff. My uncle was in a cult for years. Because my mom is the “sane” one, no one could believe she married my dad, and it’s the main reason us girls turned out as normal as we did. No one thought we’d be the ones to kick someone out and actually mean it, not just doing it for a power move like the rest of the family.

I am learning to think about it less often, I’ve gotten used to it.

I wonder what my dad would think if I told him we’ve been perfectly fine this whole time without him. In fact, we rejoice in his absence, and all of us have had nightmares about him returning. I’ve said I’d go through it all again before I’d live in the same house as him ever.

You can’t imagine till you’ve gone through it what an utter relief it is not to feel your life and happiness depend solely on one person.

I’m sure he can’t fathom it. He thinks we’ll cave. We’ll get tired of this. He doesn’t know I’m already planning my whole life out without him in it as more than a vague figure. Sometimes, the abuse seems unreal to me, like the difference between then and now is so great, I almost can’t believe I was ever in that place.

I am getting used to not being treated like dirt, and I’m determined never to go back to that willingly.

Because I am doing better, it’s easy to question if we have overreacted. If I were just going by my awareness of it, I might think my aunt was right.

But, I know what God has directed us to do, and I do have people to confer with to remember what happened. I don’t think we should harp on it, but it’s important not to forget, because you have to be able to protect yourself by setting boundaries.

All this progress could go away if we let ourselves be deceived again, but we don’t have to let ourselves, it’s a delicate matter, but it’s not impossible.

As far as I’m concerned, reconciliation means we forgive and can be on peaceful terms. We are ready for that, my dad is the one incapable of letting it go. So, it’ll be on him, and there’s nothing more I can do about it.

And that’s okay.

And if you have someone like that, just try to believe, it is not your job to take care of them. You don’t owe them anything.

All we owe each other in this life is love, and respect for each other’s humanity, anything beyond that is something you have to choose carefully to offer the trustworthy people. No one can demand it, if they try, they won’t get it.

I think that’s all I got for now. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Exploring the importance of truth with the Purple Hyacinth

Well, I have big news: I finally upgraded my blog to a paid plan. Woohoo!

I now have my own domain, so it’s more like a website now. As far as I know, this just means higher search priority and the ability to earn money off my site, but it’s good to upgrade anyway. After 4 years or so of building this site up for free, it seemed like the next logical step.

So, thank you all for being a part of it, and hopefully I can add some new features soon, maybe build a community.

For now, I thought I’d continue with my analysis about Purple Hyacinth.

Not that I want to review it per sec, but I want to use it as a framing device for one of the ideas it made me think of after reading. I think that analysis is easier to swallow with as story setting.

I found one comment under Purple Hyacinth (PH) that struck me as quite profound.

“This Webtoon tells us that even though that person is telling the truth, the truth is not enough to gain someone’s trust.” (It’s under episode 76, if you want to know).

I got to thinking about PH, and how it really does a good job of making you think about truth.

Haven’t you ever wished you could tell if people were lying to you? But what if you actually could? Would it really make your life easier?

I mean, Lauren can’t exactly convince everyone to believe her, can she? Other people don’t believe that she wouldn’t lie to them, or isn’t just crazy (which is what her boss thinks), or might use her if they did believe her (#plottwist, if the Leader ever finds out about her.)

It’s in this way I relate most to Lauren, and I don’t use the word “relate” to apply to most characters, even ones I like, so I have an especial reason to say I can see myself a little in her determination.

Supposedly, empaths like me are able to tell when people lie. But I tend to be a little naive, being raised in a Christian home where lying was off the table, I tend to take people at their word. Even if I can feel something is off, it tends to be unconscious, until I look back on it.

I think if I were the suspicious type and tried to use my ability actively, I could probably tell if someone was lying. I usually am more comfortable naturally around people who are honest with me, even before I’ve seen them put to the test. I can read what people want very easily, so if their focus is elsewhere why we’re talking, I can feel that they are only pretending to listen to me. That’s something man people are able to do.

Writers especially tend to notice this stuff about others, and their books tend to be more interesting, but also exhausting. If you’ve ever read an author with a style that goes like “The look in their eyes said…” or “Their tone just seemed to say…” you may be reading one with empathetic abilities. Anime often employs such tropes in how it shows emotions.

I can’t say whether that means people in Japan pay more attention to facial expressions and tone, or whether they just exaggerate it in anime because they don’t catch it in real life.

It can be a lot of emotions to handle, but I get very drawn in by writers like that, you feel for the characters.

Lauren’s ability is a bit like that, catching a tone of voice like most people detect sarcasm. But since she doesn’t know the actual truth, she is playing the elimination game. Which makes it far more complex to read about, but also brings up a lot more questions. It makes sense that she became a detective.

I found Lauren’s problem with losing it when she hears lies about the mystery she’s been trying to solve for 10 years to be very relatable.

All of us with a hero complex, whether because of toxic family dynamics, or as a response to trauma, or both, would find it maddening to know someone is lying, but not be able to get the truth out of them. Then to be stopped by others from even trying.

Lauren has massive survivor’s guilt because she knew something was off, the day the tragedy happened, but she couldn’t do anything about it. Regular survivor’s guilt is bad enough, even when you’re aware it’s irrational, but imagine if you did know, but couldn’t do anything with that knowledge.

The ability to detect lies sounds God-like, but it makes her no more able to know the actual truth. Turns out people can still deceive you without lying, by just selectively telling the truth.

It’s intriguing, Christians believe that truth is essential, and powerful. The word says “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

But does the truth set Lauren free?

Thanks to Kieren and Sandman, she learns the truth about the mole in her district, about her parents, and herself, in a way. She learns she is a hypocrite.

In one telling scene, she admits to Kieren that knowing the truth about the mole makes her not even care that much that he died anymore. In a way, Lauren is very selective in her compassion and seeing value in human life. She claims she wouldn’t hesitate to kill a murderer like the PH, or any other assassin, and she seems to have no pity for them.

And why should she?

Why should any of us?

Well, Lauren can’t afford to pity them because her whole life is about stopping htem and avenging her friend. And perhaps, alleviating her own guilt.

Learning the truth presents a challenge for her, if she is not in the position she thought, if the Phantom Scythe wasn’t what she thought, if the people around her aren’t what she thought… then can she keep living her life this way?

It’s too early to tell what the story will do with it, but for me, it’s intriguing enough that it even comes up.

I mean, the truth really upsets Lauren every time she learns it, for someone who pursues it so avidly, it’s rarely happy or easier for her. And she tends to ignore the truths that might soften the blow, like that Kieren is capable of actual remorse or honor.

Still, she chooses to tell the truth.

It all got me thinking about what is the value of truth?

I mean, when Will finds out the truth about his brother, it doesn’t make him happier.

I think most of us have the mistaken idea that knowing the truth will always make us happier or satisfied.

When C. S. Lewis became convinced of the truth of Christianity, he wrote in Surprised by Joy that he was perhaps “the most reluctant convert” in his time and country, if I remember right. He was not happy, he though it would mean a lot of unpleasant work.

To be sure, there are many unpleasant things in Christianity. If you’ve never head a Christian say as much, they are faking it.

Any genuine religion, that even claims to be the truth, will admit it has unpleasant parts. Islamists don’t all imagine that the extreme parts of their creed are supposed to be fun, that is the point.

It’s stuff like New Age, that claims to be all about serenity and peace and that crap. Nothing that is real is always pleasant.

You might argue, if you are a philosopher, that pleasure is real and always pleasant.

But that is not strictly true is it? Guilty pleasures are addictive, but there is an unpleasantness in it, isn’t there? Some junkies hate the drug or alcohol even as they consume it and get rush, I have been addicted to the much less harmful coffee and even I had moments of hating that I needed it.

One of the reasons I believe in the doctrine of hell is because there must be things I do not like about any Real fact of life. No one gets life to suit their fancy.

And in ,fact, when we talk about the truth making us free, do we always mean the truth is pleasant? I don’t know where that idea came from.

Probably, in the church at least, because Jesus is the truth, and knowing Jesus will certainly make you happier. That is true…but it will not necessarily make you happier immediately. Some people, like me, get a rush of joy when they first become saved, others, like my sister, don’t. And like Lewis too, incidentally.

It really has nothing to do with how you convert. People who convert in the middle of an evangelical movement sometimes feel nothing, while I read a story of a man who had an intellectual based conversion, and immediately felt peace. God seems to care more for what the individual needs than the setting and method of conversion.

Suppose you feel ill and think it is a minor thing, and then find out it was cancer. Did the truth make you happier?

No, but if that truth means you seek treatment before it is too late, and recover, the truth did indeed set you free. Ignorance is not bliss for people who actually want to improve. It is only bliss for people who want to stay the same. Which is, unfortunately, a lot of people.

What interests me in PH is that the truth may make Lauren unhappy, but for all I can see, it is setting her free, little by little. She will only be free of guilt once she knows the truth, and free of anger.

I rather think, in cases like hers, the “not knowing” it what causes bitterness, and if she knew what happened, she would not be bitter anymore.

Spoiler alert:

AS evidenced in the most recent episode, where we learn she once saved the life of someone she didn’t like who had previously lied to her, and possibly helped kill her friend and family. Lauren may hate the guy, but she hates mostly out of frustration, not true malice or vengeance.

To me, it made her a more likable character to see that difference, and it reminds me more of how I deal with truth.

Honestly, I resented my dad and loathed him for years when I was confused about what was right and what was wrong in our house. But the mores I realize the truth was it was mostly him the whole time, I don’t hate him.

I don’t like him, but I have no malice really.

Some of you may have experience this too, does’t most of our hatred happen because we doubt ourselves and feel guilty? Only a small percentage of it is truly about the other person’s actions. In fact, honestly, if we hated people more what what they did being wrong than for our own insecurities about it, we might be better people.

The Word says God hates wickedness, and David said in Psalms 139 that he hated God’s enemies with “perfect hatred”, and he’s not talking about hating because they did bad things to him.

This does not mean we are supposed to hate nonbelievers, David is talking about hating evil and that people do evil, and not pitying that they must be stopped.

This sort of ties into what I said earlier about Lauren not pitying assassins, yet it’s very easy for us as the readers to pity Kieren, being privy to more of his life. And he himself display more pity, oddly enough, than Lauren does. He knows what it’s like to be chewed up and spit out by society or the people around you.

Lauren may not realize she’s had rather a fortunate life, from status standpoint,and so doesn’t know how people are tempted by desperation to do terrible things.

I say “tempted,” most people say “driven.” But I don’t believe desperation can truly force someone to do do something they know they shouldn’t do, and it is not an excuse. It makes them more sympathetic, perhaps not truly evil, but many a person who starts off by being desperate never stops doing evil, and in the end, does it because they want to. That’s why it’s a poor excuse, and a dangerous one, to do anything.

But, if the truth is, Lauren has done some shady things out of her desperation to find answers, then the truth is, she is also not above falling into that trap. And do it justice, the story has her pay for that sorely.

Just as we all will, sooner or later, if we take that route.

The relationship of truth to desperation is probably too complex for me to get into at the tail end of a post, but suffice it to say for now that in my studies, the truth seems to be the only thing that ever puts an end to desperation. One way or another. Good or bad.

Now, how does all this affect us?

It’s an interesting story, and lesson, but does it matter in everyday life?

I’d say of course it does.

Something as small as a phone call can turn on whether you choose the truth or the lie. We lie for convenience. I tend to not lie, but I do make excuses that are only part of the reason I don’t want to do something.

I’ve had people tell me I was BS-ing them when I was being completely serious, just because it is what they would have been doing if they were the one saying it, I imagine.

So, truth is an unavoidable part of our day to day interactions and decisions, as you all are well aware, and I think PH points out something quite profound in showing that even a small lie has the power to throw everything off. We may not always be able to trace from the effect back to the cause, but it’s there. It could be possible if we had all the facts to prove that lying really only complicates our lives further.

Actually, the old VeggieTales about “The Fib from Outer Space” comes to mind here. But kids’ lies are at least easy to figure out, adults are often not.

Still, like Lauren, I can be frustrated by knowing that just because I point out to you readers the benefits of honesty, doesn’t mean you’ll listen or walk away from this post with anything changed in your lives. I may just be writing this to myself.

I’m not really blaming you all though, I don’t usually do what random people on the internet tell me, why would I expect any different?

Why do we blog then? Why do we feel the need to put our ideas out there as truth, hoping that someone somewhere will like it?

We humans can’t help it. Sharing truth is the most basic service we render each other, and heroes and villains alike perform it. Chesterton wrote that “to preach anything is to give it away.” To have the faint hope, in other words, that it will better the person you preach it to.

A truly evil man is the one who no longer preaches, is just a pure tyrant who does whatever they will and doesn’t bother to give a reason.

One, who the same author says, “believes in himself.”

Not wanting to pursue truth is really becoming inhuman. Which is why Lewis calls the indoctrination of the youth against truth “the abolition of man.”

But that’s all a story for another time. For now, it’s just nice to get a story that reintroduces us to the need for truth. Whether I will always enjoy the story or not, I am always glad to be redirected to what matters.

And I guess that’s what I hope for this blog too, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Losing Anger

I guess it’s time for another serious post, isn’t it?

Getting so close to 200 followers here, it’s interesting to wonder why they are all here. I write about so many different things, I think it’s hard to get a sense of what this blog is about.

That being said, I’ve been thinking about my dad again lately. I tend to get reminded of him a lot, with all the Webtoons I’ve been reading, abuse and dysfunction are very common elements in a Webtoon. I could only count a handful out of the dozens I’ve read that didn’t feature it.

I guess because it’s a part of so many people’s lives, especially the ones that want to escape into the world of Webtoons, I don’t know many happy people who feel the end to immerse themselves in that kind of fiction. Oh, a happy person might enjoy it still, but binging and obsessing over it, that’s for the sad or discontented among us. Sometimes, the quietly hopeful that our lives will get better.

Which means I am admitting to myself that my life is still not what I want it to be. Well, I think I’ve heard learning content is an art from somewhere, if that’s not a saying it should be.

One of the big things that was a problem while I was miserable was feeling angry at my dad for all he seemed to have caused in my life.

“Thanks Dad, let me down again” –Shoto (only in a comic dub version of this comic though)

It’s funny how fast you can go from not blaming one person for anything they do, to blaming them for stuff that they didn’t do.

Some extremely defensive people are ones who recovered from abuse only part of the way, enough to know not to take all the blame, but not enough to take criticism maturely. I have trouble with this still, but then again, it has only been a year.

I still remember so many humiliation experiences. People talk about the pain of abuse, but sometimes we forget it is humiliating. The abuser often uses their lack of shame against their victims who still have a sense of shame.

My dad was not ashamed to discuss our personal arguments with random strangers at their homes when we worked for them, I’m sure some of those poor people were embarrassed on their part. I was mortified, all I could do with stay silent and look the other way. I suppose he thought it would make me too ashamed to keep arguing with him–that didn’t work.

So, taking criticisms is a bit of a sore subject for me, and anger over that is still something I deal with. Still, I can’t blame it all on him.

At this point, it is impossible to say if I am naturally obstinate and incorrigible, or if my dad made me rebellious by his unfair treatment my entire life. I can say I got much more resistant as I got more fed up with how he talked to me.

My dad has strange psychological issues, when I was about 11 he told us all he would quite gaming, and doing a bunch oft other stuff, ad he wanted us to hold him to that. I wasn’t sure why playing his War Games was so bad, but I took him at his word. At that age, I didn’t realize how much my dad lied. I had not been exposed to it the way my mom had. I later learned the same behaviors had continued since they were first married. Him deceiving her, swearing he’d give up the stuff he was addicted to, and then years or months later, getting back into it.

I was also too young to know addictions can’t be broken by sheer willpower. I called my dad out on it when he went back to games. My dad was diagnosed with ADD, playing video games can be almost the same as drugs for him, it’s too stimulating. I had a similar problem at first, but I worked hard to control it once I noticed the tenancy, and now I can play a game without getting too hooked, but I mostly avoid gaming at all now just so I won’t be tempted. I stopped before I was actually an addict, partly because my mom wouldn’t let me play all night like he did.

My sisters and I all have fond memories of our father screaming profanities at the computer in the wee hours of the morning when we were suppose to be asleep. If we told him not to, he’d yell at us. Once, he flung me out of the computer chair because I was still using the computer when he wanted to be on it. Mostly, he just threatened us till we got up.

It was scary. I confronted him on it, and on other stuff he said we should call him out on. To my shock, he told me I shouldn’t be correcting him, that is was disrespectful, and I was too critical of him. He’d tell me he didn’t need the added stress of me arguing with him. But he had no problem criticizing me, I can’t even tell you for what anymore. Any little thing would set him off. If I told him I didn’t want to hear the same story again, he’d come down on me and say I was ‘unteachable.” Later, he’d often exclude me from a family video session or devotion by saying “We don’t try to teach (Natasha) any more in this house.” Unbelievably petty, I know.

I’m usr some of you are seeing your story in this. There is no pyological tomern quite like malicious hypocirsy is there. Both scary and infuriating.

As you can imagine, I retaliated by defending myself, to no avail. Then I learned to shut up and ignore it, but I’d hold my ground. It hurt, but it seemed better to do as I wished than to give in to that kind of pressure. Somehow I knew it was wrong, even if no one ever told me it was.

My life coach told me when he father hit her, she’d leave the room, and say “That’s wrong, don’t hit me” and defend herself. We both agreed we’re the rare person who gets abused and still retains any sense of the injustice of it. Most victims know deep down it’s wrong, but believe they somehow deserve it and can’t get out.

I tell you all this now, not because I wish to dwell on it, but because, when talking about anger, it can be so easy to forget. I don’t have a victim mentality. Which means that I can’t always get angry ad whiny when I am treated unfairly. I just have to deal with it. Not perfectly, I do complain more than i should, but I try not to put myself on a weird pedestal and say everyone else is always at fault. But because I choose not to blame my father for it all, it can be easy to slip back into the deception of thinking he really wasn’t so bad.

All these behaviors were what I was used to after all, it was just how he was, compared to worse people, is he really all that bad? He himself would say not. His sister would say it was not his fault only, he has trouble understanding other people.

But my dad has no issue understanding people outside our family, I’ve heard him quite accurately discern the issues in other people’s lives, he is not incapable of understanding feelings. His blindness to ours was willing.

And that does make me angry, but, that anger is not as bad as it once was. Now that I am feeling better, and doing more things I enjoy, and the dark haze over my life has almost lifted completely, I don’t feel a need to be angry.

I was angry because it seemed he really could reach even from a distance and ruin my life, but the longer I am away from him, the less power I feel like he has. it takes awhile for any victim to feel safe, but bit by bit I am starting to.

I read something last week, in the latest free episode of my favorite Webtoon, that resonated with me quite deeply on this issue, and I think it’s worth sharing here:

The Purple Hyacinth - Webtoon Dub [OPEN] | Voice Acting Amino

“I know I’m not in any position to say this… but maybe you need to let go of this grudge against your brother. Not because I think you should forgive him. But holding onto anger is like poison you think you’re offering the other person. Only you’re the one who drinks it. He stole your past already. Are you going to let him have your future too? And look… one day he might be gone for real and then this resentment is all you’ll have left of him.”–Kym Ladell, Purple Hyacinth.

I have to credit the authors for how amazing this speech is. It’s not dramatic, but it is simple truth. Something someone who’s been through the difficult process of recovery would have discovered at some point.

The prominent theme of PH is truth. And how the truth is often harder to accept than lies, or ignorance. The truth can be ugly in a way, it can change how you look at people you loved, it can change how you look at yourself.

Minor spoilers ahead (I won’t reveal the plot, but a few key events may be slightly spoiled for you if you care to read the comic):

When Kieren hears from Lauren that what he does is terrible and he’s a monster, the truth of that is too much for him and he lashes out at her. He embraces the truth of his terrible deeds, but rejects the truth that he feels regret for them or was ever not the way he is now because that is too painful for him to accept while he still does what he does.

When Lauren learns some truths about her family, she is conflicted, she is not sure how she should feel about herself now, or her quest for justice. When Kieren confronts her about her more selfish motivations for their partnership, and hypocrisy, she is not sure if she is a good person anymore.

When Will is confronted with truth about his family, he is not sure how to feel. If he can ever let it go.

That is when Kym gives him this advice. She’s had some stuff happen that she’s still getting over, but unlike the other three, Kym has a slightly easier time admitting she has issues with what happened. She has realized that the truth about people is not always simple. Sure, they do bad things, they may even be bad people, but the way we handle it is not going to b simple. A simplistic solution, like resentment, just ruins your life.

Healing is harder, it takes a long time, and there are anyt imes along the road you will feel like giving up, and like you will never be whole.

Whether Kym is an optimist because she’s had better influences, or because she’s had help even from Will himself and Lauren to give her more hope, she seems to understand that she can’t keep sitting in the past, anymore than they can keep sitting in the cold snow that his scene takes place in. You have to get up and get moving eventually.

Healing and Peace are not a place, as the Oh Hellos said in “Theseus”, so much as they are a way. Coping mechanisms are not solutions, they are supposed to be temporary, people who park there are not healing, they are just surviving. you have to keep moving form one thing to another. My biggest obstacle to wholeness has been monotony. Stuck with the same thoughts, places, people, and problems for months, it’s like being in prison.

One way I coped was finding new shows and stories to read and watch, breaking up the sameness, but even that sameness became a part of the problem. Now I am changing it up with more social events, and going out and doing other things, if I really need to. So far, I’ve only tried it once, but even once was enough because now I know I can.

As I’ve changed, my anger has ebbed away. I no longer feel my dad is strangling me, or trapping me. I still face obstacles because of him. I wonder how long my trust issues will stay with me.

But I am starting to see how God is healing me and changing me, and more importantly, I have learned to say to myself sometimes “I don’t have to be healed all at once, it might take a few years, but that’s to be expected. It’s okay if it takes longer than this.”

I want to be ready for things like dating, working, and adventuring out into the world, but I am still preparing for that. I get tired of waiting, but the point is, I know I am waiting. This is not a permanent state of being.

Really, I’ve found even people who resign themselves to a mediocre life of sameness never get to keep it. Changes happen. Usually very suddenly. Trouble happens, or you are forced to step into a role you didn’t expect. Whether it take 1 year or 30, change comes to every life. Both World Wars interrupted the complacency of the 20th century. Awakenings can be quite rude. As last year proved to us all.

But we must wait actively. “Be ready in season and out of season” as the Bible says. If you are living a quiet life right now, still do as much as you can. I don’t want to be in college for the rest of my life, or doing nanny work, though I enjoy it. I have bigger dreams. I don’t want to be in therapy forever.

But while I am doing those things, I want to do them well, and get the most out of it that I can.

I reread some of my posts from a few months ago, and I was amazed at the world of hurt I was in. I wouldn’t change them, they were raw, but they were honest. That is my goal. But I am glad I do not feel the same way now.

It’s easier to feel happy when you feel good, but I think what I consider feeling bad has also changed as I no longer hyper-focus on it all the time. Turns out, it’s not so unbearable when I’m not having anxiety attacks over it.

I did have a bit of an anxiety attack last week. Much lighter than before, no breathing short. I got that tunnel vision thing where all negative outcomes seem the most real, and you can’t seem to shake the sense of foreboding or discouragement for the rest o the day, but it passed, and I stayed calmer than I had in the past. I hope soon I will no longer have them at all.

I now think not all of this was about the abuse itself so much as what the abuse made me fear about my life. I actually think most of the long term effects of abuse are probably far more about fear of repeating it than about what actually happened. Difficult experiences pass, but fear can last for years. Just like you don’t experience the pain of getting injured for longer than a few months usually, but the fear of the injury can prevent you from ever doing what led to it again. That’s good if what you did was stupid. If you get in a bad relationship by ignoring red flags, hopefully getting hurt will lead to wiser decisions in the future…but if you refuse then to get into a healthy relationship for the same reason, that’s Fear.

I’ve learned something since last year. I’ve learned that there area people who are what they are because of their issues, and there are people who are who they are despite their issues. And that difference is how you can tell a healthy person who’s trying to heal and grow, from one who refuses to change.

Also, everyone has issues. even people with good families have issues. Issues are part of being sinful humans. That’s why acknowledging them is so important, and it takes humility. I am growing in being able to do that.

With all this, my anger is so much weaker, I hope it will be all gone soon.

I have faith the Lord will guide me out of it, and out of any lingering fear or depression, because already, I feel I see so much clearer than before. But, that feeling may be the biggest sign I have a long way to go, often realizing it’s not the way you thought is just the first tiny step to true understanding.

With that, I think I will close this post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.