Does Christianity work on me?

Hey fahm.

You know, I never talked like that before I liked Camie’s character in mha, it’s funny how you can change how you talk based on things like that.

Well, I think it’s fun to have more of an accent anyway.

How’s everyone doing? I know I haven’t updated this blog a whole lot lately. I’ve been writing a lot on Wattpad.

But hey, I’m up to 2.3k views on one story, if y’all want to go check that out.

[ https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj ]

I’ve also not had a lot to blog about, other than getting a new kitten (who’s doing great still btw, I wrote more about her here: New Kitten)

But an important milestone happened last month, it’s officially been 2 years since my dad moved out.

WOOOOO!

I cannot believe it’s been that long. Still feels like a few months ago he was here.

And I still can’t believe it was mostly my efforts that made it happen, with some help from my siblings.

It’s so weird. That’s a part I rarely tell people who actually know me, I feel like it would shock them. People already don’t get why I was happy about the whole thing.

In hindsight, I could have been more tactful about it, but I am an open book…

People have to get used to that about me, it’s a shock at first.

To this day, we do still feel bad about it at times. My dad didn’t hesitate to lay the guilt trip on thick when I did talk to him for the first time.

And it bothered me.

I still get dreams about it all too. They tend to make me doubt myself, my worth, my decisions. My sisters gets them too.

But the difference now is, he’s not here. We can replay all his words in our heads, but he’s not here to say them. At some point, either you embrace that or you don’t, I think.

Something that bugged me a lot about it all too is this:

Does Christianity really work?

If my mom and dad really believe, how can they act the way they do? Why are they not kinder?

But recently, I’ve realized I could ask myself the same questions.

Christianity ought to make me happy all the time, if it’s true. It’s truly an amazing belief. Puts everything in the right place, mean that life has a meaning beyond what we can imagine.

I think the very reason it doesn’t make me feel that way all the time is because humans cannot hold the whole truth in our heads for very long. You grow into it…

But really even a piece of Christianity is enough food for thought to last you your whole life, so the whole things is even harder.

Other religions usually just have piece of Christianity in them, and the make more of one thing than another. Then add their own stuff to it.

If we could fully realize it at all times, I think we would live completely differently always.

But our focus shifts from one element to another.

In my life, I’ve accepted that God highlights certain aspects of it for me when I need them. That I can’t try to focus on it all at once, I grow in one thing at one time, and another thing at another time. And hat is the only way I think we really can live.

If that’s not your life, you’re probably not grown at all.

And why would I want to exclude certain parts of it anyway? I want the whole picture.

All the immature Christians I know tend to end up stuck on one thing, and they refuse to leave it, ever.

You’ve met the type no doubt, if you life in the West. They harp on about judgment, or holiness, or grace, till you’re sick to death of it.

And you wonder “what about all the other elements of it?”

Yeah, being a well rounded Christian is kind of like being the avatar. You can’t rely too much on one element, you need all of them together, or you’re off balance.

God is a consuming fire, you have to know him as such–but he’s also the living water, and you need to know Him as that.

And really, that’s what make God interesting, isn’t it? As well as people, if you really get to know them.

We spend too much time in our niches now. It used to be you had a friend you learned different stuff about that friend.

But now I can have online friends for each interest i my life, and never need to go beyond that, ever. And it’s no wonder I feel like I don’t really know any of them that well.

That said, I can’t always know why some Christians don’t live the way I want.

But there’s two point to be made here.

  1. Christians are never promised to be 100% perfect while on earth. We’re told that will not happen, n fact–and we wouldn’t’ be able to relate to anyone else if it did.
  2. It’s entirely possible my idea of what everyone should live like is shallow and narrow minded. Do I know everything? No.

And those who criticize Christians for that reason are actually kind of arrogant. Like, you think you can judge us for still having issues? Do you have a better way of life? Are you doing so much better?

Christianity does not promise to fix all you problems overnight. It promises to save your soul.

What you do with that, is going to be a journey.

But whats the alternative?

I’m convinced that there is no way of life we can take as human that it will turn us into angels.

But Christianity is the only thing that will make anything close to it.

The idea is how close are we getting?

Christian re not always good peopel, but mor chirsitn are good people than people who have no God, and no faith. Or who have iath ina ahrshed God.

Not all charitiyes are chirsitn, but most of them are.

Not all world chagner have ben chirsitnst–but mst of the ones we still revere to this day were.

Not all really good books and sotreis are christiant, but many of the ones we still like after so many centureis were.

One has to look at the tendancies of man, not isioated indivuaile, sometiems.

While my dad was a jerk, and still is. I can’t being to guess how much worse it would have been if he did not at atle thav eto rpetend to be Christiatn. If it spared me one bad moment out of two, then it was something.

And he at least taught me to trun to God, even if he did not practice it himself the way I think he shoudl ahve.

My dad, while the most destructive force in my life next to my own human nature, also ushered in a lot of moments of truth for me.

Do I like him? No.

Can I ignore that? No.

God brings good out of bad, that’s what He does. He doesn’t just keep all bad away from us.

I find that view of life escapist.

I know that people often see this explanation as a christian cliche, and bitter, angry people do not want to hear it anyway.

But I’m to the point where I think: Well, sure, it’s cliche…but what else could you conclude based on the world around us?

God has to be good, I know, because if God was evil why would anything good still exist?

An Evil God would not bother giving us free will, would He?

You can’t reconcile the presence of Good and Evil in the world without a good God giving his creations free will, it’s just not possible.

If God was evil, we all literally wouldn’t have a prayer. If God didn’t care, then we would all be dead already from our own stupidly.

If God is Good, but does not force us to be, then we have our answer. Evil has consequences. To stop them is to render it meaningless to choose at all.

You can’t give your kids keys to the car, and then put it on autopilot, and say that they drove it. It’s just not how choice works. If they crash it, that was a a risk you took.

But it’s more of a risk to not let a kid learn how to do things for themselves, is it not? If you cannot coddle them through life, what will they do?

And God could do that for us, but he seems more interesting having adults, or at least kids with some sense of self.

Every child understands the idea of choice, it’s us older people who try to say we don’t have one.

It’s an old answer, but maybe let’s old because it’s true.

We should consider that, you know.

Some things are just true, so they are eternal.

I know that people who have been hurt do not want to hear that it had to happen.

And maybe it didn’t, I’m not sure sin ever “had” to happen.

But it does.

We all do it.

I’m inclined now, at 22, to think it’s a better use of my time to let God heal and teach me to live better, than to whine about how it all sucked.

Jesus suffered too, after all.

I still have lots of memories of self pity, but God willing, they are getting less.

And I do have some things I still need to work through, but I’m leaning also that it is not the most important thing in the world.

I guess, I’m saying, we can complain about our lives…or we can take the offer to have them made new.

But guess what, whether you take Gods’ offer or not, you’re life is still going to have bad things in it.

It’s just a matter or whether you ever want there to be more to it than that.

That has always been what Christianity offers. Not an escape from the world, but from yourself, and your pain.

With that thought, I think I’ll just end this here, this is short for me, but I think that’s okay.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

“I’m bad at love!”

Time for a confession: I’m bad at love.

I’m the blogger who’s always like “love, love, love” “The secret to life” “the truth about love…” etc.

But I suck at it.

I don’t know if anyone is actually good at love, though.

Is there a single person out there who prioritizes love as their goal in life who thinks they are doing it right?

Show me someone who does, and I’ll show you someone who’s not really as unselfish as they think they are.

It’s true that some people achieve a form of contentment with how they love. And that’s not a bad thing to an extent, feeling satisfied with the relationships in your life, but often that means you’re only focusing on a certain few relationships.

Like maybe you love your wife, but you don’t love your parents the right way.

It’s so rare that an human can perfectly balance all their relationships and ways of loving.

Some of us are good with loving our kids, but not our spouse. Some of us are good with friends but not as lovers.

Much more often though, we’re just good at certain parts of love. When we need to be firm, we’re good at it, or when we need to be soft, we’re good at that, but not good at switching gears. And in all love, you have to be both.

I speculate that even if we could be a perfect, romance novel type of person who never gets mad at their SO even if the do terrible, stupid things…we’d still think we could do better.

But to be honest, even that’s a are person.

Most of us are where I often find myself: Complacent. We think we’re pulling enough of our own weight to excuse any indulgences of selfishness.

I’m embarrassed to admit that even recently I’ve fallen into thinking “Well, I do all this, and I’m trying. And they (insert whoever I’m mad at right then) are not, so it’s okay if I feel disappointed and bitter, but they should try harder.”

And only after months of this does it finally occur to me, by some move of the Spirit maybe, that…” hey, maybe if I’m thinking this, it’s a sign I’ve started to drift away from love as my focal point.”

I mean, I think about love all the time–as something I want.

And, okay, I’m not the worst woman in the world. I do try. Even when I’m in a selfish rut, I will make an effort to show care to others because that is my standard. I believe I should.

And absolutely, in moment when we all get in that mindset, it’s important to have a standard we’ll hold ourselves to anyway, even if we’re doing it with a self pitying attitude, because it’s not okay to just lash out at and hurt others because you feel neglected. I used to do that.

A lot, actually, but since my Dad moved out, I’ve noticed how much like him that behavior is, and tried to stop.

I remember Hannah Hurnard’s brutally honest observations in “Hinds Feet on High Places” when she noted that most of our love, as fearful people, is “longing to be loved.” C. S. Lewis noticed the same thing in “The Great Divorce” and “Till We Have Faces.”

I think all people are afraid they won’t be loved. Sometimes even if you have really good parents, you fear it all the more, because you think you could do something to them they really don’t deserve, and lose their love. What else is the story of the prodigal son about?

If you’re like me, and you will never get love from them, no matter how much you try, then you feel you were doomed from the start.

And it hit me in the last week, that the real reason I find it hard to forgive and let go of resentment is Fear.

I think that’s the reason we all do, actually.

Fear motivates spitefulness and hatred and bitterness. (All things that plague Much Afraid in Hurnard’s book, interestingly enough)

I think it’s becuae as long as we fear someone who hurt us, we think they can keep urting us, and that maks us angry, and that angeyr make it impsosible to forgive them.

When I don’t feel afraid of my dad, I don’t feel like I hate him. But any time I ruminate on what he did and wants to do to be still, I get angry, because I fear it. I fear he can still hurt me, and that I will never heal.

And whether that is at all based on the truth or not, I don’t know. I doubt it. I think that time is passed. but, there it is.

I notice often bad dreams trigger me to start thinking of this again, I know that happens to a lot of people with trauma. We have to deal with them quickly. If I don’t the fear comes back. Even if I wasn’t scared in the dream, my mind ends up on those things.

I know my dad had nightmares of his messed up past even to the time he move out probably (which as of last month is now officially 2 years ago, whoo hooo!) and he never got over it, he wouldn’t face them.

My dad, in fact, lives in deep terror, whether he admits it or not, but he won’t confront that fear enough to move on. It’s easier to live in lies and self pity than it is to face your fear, and grow into love.

And really, I sympathize with him in my more clear headed moments, because I know I face those same temptations. And nothing makes me a better person that him.

I would have mistreated people just the way he did, in fact, I have, in the past And while I can write off some of it as I was a child and too young to know better if I wasn’t taught, there are people who never grow out of it (such as my dad…)

And so easily, even now, I an start thinking like him. The whole world is against me, no one likes me, I always get put down…I am lonely.

But I’ve begun to notice, after 2 years, that I am not open to people always the way I think I am.

I just never learned how to act normal around them. I’ve made some friends who are kind enough to overlook that, but I know sometimes I make them uncomfortable. I only realize it after I’ve done it, though, my foresight is not great.

I know how to react to people, that’s what I’m used to, but how to communicate the right way when I have to start it…I always feel like I’m too intense. All the confrontations I saw growing up were one person bullying another.

And sometimes it was my mom, not my dad, who was aggressive and violent, that was weird to realize. My dad was worse, but she could be savage too, not in a good way.

I thought it was normal. My default in confrontation is to jump wright into the crux of the issue without much of a warning, because that’s what I saw. I know in my head that in can be better to ease into it, but I neither know how to do that, nor know how to be patient if someone else tries it. I just want them to get to the point.

I’m used to being accused, so I wait for them to accuse me, and then I either decide to take the blame, or to fight it.

But while sometimes you have to be in that position, it’s not a good default mode to have. I know that now.

This is how I’m bad at love. I can know that, but I can’t act on it of my own volition.

I’ve spent two years now trying to learn how to actually love in the absence of my dad’s domineering presence, I thought it would happen without that toxic black hole in my life.

And some things did get better, but it’s not magic. It’s still work.

Trust is like a pond of murky water
Too dark to see, mysteriously undercover
I can’t jump off the high dive even though I really want to
My toes are hanging off the ledge

Trust is a tree that towers fifty feet above us
Grown over time through many seasons
Believing in something more than just the surface
I trust that this is worth it
But my toes are hanging off the ledge

Lord, help me, there’s a thorn in my side
I feel the tension and the fear in truth
I carry life in between the divide
But all the wrestling has left me bruised.

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me
Na, na, na, na, na

Trust is like the middle of the ocean
Can’t see the bottom but I’m floating here, supported
I know that it can take me even deeper if I let it
But my limbs are trying to swim away

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
(Releasing hope to carry me)
How sweet, the taste, never let it go, no
(Na, na, na, na, na)I see the walls that are torn and bent
The tug of war in the now, not yet
Holding back what they can contain
Can you tell me why I feel this way?

I have faith that the world I’m in
Will be redeemed to its place again
But there’s a weight that I can’t explain
So tell me why I feel this way.”

Like Paul said, “I don’t do what I want to do.” (Romans)

And like Shakespeare said, “I can easier teach 20 what it were good to be done, than be one of the 20 to follow mine own instruction.” (Portia, The Merchant of Venice.)

But, the answer came to me, as it always does, before I even knew I needed it. Before I had all this hit me in that last couple weeks, I reread “The Hiding Place” with my young cousin.

At the end of that book, Corrie Ten Boom says that when she had trouble loving one of the Nazi Prison Guards from the camp she was at, she told Jesus “I cannot forgive this man, give me your forgiveness.” And she felt a rush of love run down her arm for the guard.

She then writes “When He (God) tells us to love our enemies, he gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in me.”

And you see, my mistake, I now realize, has been I was trying become more loving on my own.

It’s laughable really. I wanted to prove I was no like my dad, (and thought I know from Todoroki that its not going to work if i do that, I still forget), and so I tried, but I didn’t’ pray to God for help when I should have, and I let myself try too hard on my own, for too long. Till I feel like I hate everyone around me.

And even if that didn’t turn me into a prick like Endeavor, it won’t make me more loving.

It’s like I think I can be exempt from the rule, that I’m not as bad as everyone else. What am I on, right?

But I’m also realistic enough to know I’m not more delusion that the average person…just no less delusional either.

But at least I can snap out of it. I know I’m lucky. God puts things in my path to set me back on track.

I had a thought last night too, I can see God’s hand in my life from start to finish. But why do other people not see that.

And my thought is this: Perhaps it takes opening yourself up to God to begin with to be given the insight to see your life the right way at all.

Maybe until you let God in, you will never see how your whole life has led you to Him, even the sin. Many people who come to God later come to think that their sin itself is what pushed them to Him, even as they were trying to get away from him by doing it.

I remember running from God when I was 11 to 13, and the harder I tried to get away, the more it haunted me. The more I knew it was just God I was afraid of. I could never lie to myself enough to think I just didn’t believe in Him. I wonder if anyone really does, deep down, think that.

But when I ran from God, I also knew He was the only cure for the disease I had. I was just too afraid of it. When I came back to God, it as because I accepted finally it would be worse to die of the sin disease than to embrace the pain of being cured from it.

And in typical fashion, God then made the curing of it far less painful for me than suffering from it was. I’ve had bad moments in my Christian walk, but even at its lowest, I can’t compare it to the horror of before.

And even if I felt as bad at times as a christian, it is always when I doubt the most that I am one. When I am secure in who I am, the suffering is not what matters most to me.

Another thing that occurred to me during all this, was how I know that all this is not just in my head.

I actually have a rather strange way to know that.

I’m the kind of person who dwells half her waking life in imaginary worlds. I write a lot, my sister and I reenact stuff in order to brainstorm, I act. I know what’s imaginary more than I know what’s real, most of the time.

Basically, I’m the type of person who always imaging talking to people who are not real. But I know they aren’t real. It’s fun, but it’s not like talking to a person. There’s no give and take.

And I know many anime weebs do what I do, and do it even to a perverted extent. If you’re in the fandom, you know…if your’e not, it’s probably better I don’t explain it here. Look it up if you care, but I don’t recommend that.

Suffice it to say human corruption runs even to the most innocent of shows. Sadly enough.

But many weebs are very lonely individuals, and loneliness leads to perversion faster than anything else does.

But the thing is, they are still lonely. Fantasy lives of the kind they have don’t fill them.

If you hang around fans, you’ll notice the frantic, almost rabid energy they have toward their favorite character, and their unfettered need to hate their lest favorites. It seems excessive.

But fans try to milk everything for the most enjoyment they can (which is fine).

Now, walking with God, I as a fan have used that energy as motivation to thank God for the stories I like that I think I learn from. My fan side turned back into devotion, though I do struggle with the balance, like anyone else would. But God wins out every time.

And oddly, it is exactly because I dwell in fantasy so much that I know God is not a fantasy in my head.

I know what it’s like to talk to people who are not real. What it feels like. You can be emotionally invested in them. All writers are. But they aren’t real. You now that. You know it’s one sided.

And a fan knows ultimately that either love is fake and one-sided, the character will never be real–no matter how violent you get when someone makes that completely obvious point. (If I was on YouTube right now and commented that under a video, people would jump on me, even though it’s just a statement of fact.)

Talking To God is not like that. I think most religious people would back me up on this. You feel like your are talking to a person. There’s a response. Even in Silence, there’s a response.

I mean, would you get mad at an anime character for not answering you when you call? Or do you get mad at your brother for doing that? Or you child, or your parent.

You can’t really be upset with someone who is not real. You can feel a dislike for them, but you know it’s all for fun, really.

We can even dehumanize real people to the point we treat them like the are imaginary…but it doesn’t go the other way around, does it? You can make something less real to you, but it is hard to make it more real to you.

Ever had someone ruin a movie or show for you by telling you the special effects they use to make that awesome scene? And it was fake the whole time?

As a kid, we all had that, right?

Did you ever feel the same watching it? No. Because it could be made less real to you, but it cannot go backwards. It can’t be more real to you.

I think the only thing that make things feel more real is our own maturity to appreciate them growing. And that process is hard.

C. S. Lewis wrote that children outgrow fairy tales, but adults eventually grow back into them. That’s part of life. Everything you like you must learn to stop liking it for a while, in order to like it in a deeper way later.

Which is why marriage can be tempestuous after so many years, but the couples who stick it out often find a deeper kind of love. Friendship too. Even sibling relationships play this out. and those ten to be the least antagonistic out of family dynamics (there are exceptions).

That applies to love too, doesn’t it? How we love? We have to grow out of it, so we can grow back into it.

If we don’t embrace that process, we won’t be able to really love anyone or anything.

Maybe you need to hear that, huh? It’s okay to let something go, it doesn’t mean you can’t love it…it means you need to give you over time to mature. Don’t try to recreate old feelings if they are just not there…embrace the journey. (I mean that when it’s applicable, of course.)

I don’t mean to give up on a relationship if it no longer feels the same. I mean, if you accept it is not the same, and decide yourself to make it the best of what it is now, you’ll either find you dont need it anymore, or, it will turn into something better, deeper, given enough time.

That’s why if you love something you have to set it free.

Well, I’m little better at love than I was, because I have a good teacher.

I hope this helped someone today, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

P. S. (Thanks to all the people who kept reading this even while I was gone for while, I appreciate that.)

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The Memorial and the Speech

Sorry for the wait, I got majorly busy last week. I got a job though! Yay!

And it’s high paying too, at least for a non professional worker. Though at this point, I really am a profession, they just don’t give certificates in nanny and babysitter–well, I think they do, but how many people really bother to get them? (Maybe I should though…)

And some of you who read my recent posts may be wondering how my Grandmother’s memorial went.

Well the answer is, actually, very well, all things considered.

It was odd hearing stories from her sons and step kids, and granddaughter, and realizing I’d heard most of them from her personally. I’ve seldom had that experience at a memorial, I usually hardly know the person in question…which is less sad for me, but can feel like a waste too.

The weird highlight of the day was my Dad’s speech.

Yeah, brace yourself. This is just my crazy family.

My dad was glaring at me most of the time leading up to the actual service. My friend came with me, and he didn’t seem to dare to approach, and I walked away any time he got close. I think mostly, he just did it to reject me, and tried to make a sad face. The result was more of a sullen one, but he never knows how it looks.

I ignored him, and no one else took much notice of it. I’m sure he talked crap about me to whoever would waste time listening to it, but I didn’t hear any of it. I only know because I know him too well.

Anyway, so when he got up to speak, I thought “Why…oh.” and I knew exactly what was coming. I thought “He’s going to put some message directed at me in his speech.” And then I thought “But, at a funeral? And when it’s about Grammy?” Deep down, I knew though.

And I swear to you all, I am not making this up for dramatic affect, my friend has never met my dad before, and she told me he was looking right at me a lot of the time. And she could tell it was directed at me. My mom could too.

My dad chose 1 Corinthians 13 as his text for the speech, not that it was necessary, we weren’t preaching sermons. As soon as she said that, I knew what I was in for. I grabbed my phone and kept my eyes on that.

“I’m not given him the satisfaction of seeing me make eye constantly,” I thought. When I looked up, I made sure to look at the wall or my mom or friend I did steal a few glances at the others but I couldn’t’ tell if anyone else know what was up, but my aunt probably did. He maybe even talked the idea over with her!

Anyway, this was what he said, in a paraphrased nutshell:

Reference himself, he said there was a time when he didn’t speak to his parents for 2 years because he thought he hated them, or they hated him (or both, I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter).

Then he said a lot of stuff about love (1 Cor 13 is about love, if you don’t read the Bible). Dwelling on where it says love suffers long, is kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and all the other stuff about love and forgiveness.

He said my grandmother was a very forgiving person (which is true)

And that she was very loving (also true)

But the way he said it all, I had heard those phrases directed at me many times, always to wound. And I knew the tone he used was the one where he tries to sound holy and profound… but it’s really just begging for sympathy.

My chiropractor, who know my dad, told me he’d come in months ago, after I started coming, and had displayed behavior that indicated he’d had no change of heart. If I go into specifics, it would be too disturbing for many readers.

I wasn’t surprised.

But this speech sealed the deal. I already knew nothing has changed, but I really thought, my aunt will have nothing to say to me after this. If she even tries to tell me he’s different, I can point to this incident.

At a memorial!!!

My friend was disgusted, and she’s a much less judgmental person than I am. I warned her though.

Yeah… really, I was just glad he didn’t say it to my face… then again, if it was too my face, I could have told him off. Doing it this way was sure to guarantee I couldn’t’ call him out on it, he can deny it. No one would believe that who knows him well, but he could still claim it.

While it was less uncomfortable for me, since I knew, at least not everyone there would know it was aimed at me, it was underhanded and petty on his part.

It’s also impressively conniving. I mean, once you renounce any sense of decency about respecting the dead, it’s genius isn’t it? Perfect security plan.

Ugh….

Well, I endured.

It’s okay, when I Write my book about all this, everyone will know the truth. My friends say I should write a book, I’m sure I will… I just haven’t decided quite what I want to say yet. I mean, I can tell my story, but I want to know how God is going to get me out of it, even more than now, before I try to tell people about it. a blog is one thing, you can update it, but a book is just out there, unchanging, unless you re-release it…so it would be wise to be sure I was saying the right thing before I write one.

But maybe I will soon. I’m sure some people would be interested in the story.

I’m not about revenge, but it would be a real relief to set the record straight… and can you imagine the look on my dad’s face if he read it? Ha! Priceless.

I would definitely not name any names, just to avoid humiliating him… though that would, of course, not be something he would do for me. But I’m not that low, you know.

Well, that’s a subject for another time.

I guess the profudn tpoi o fhtis post could just be: What do you do when your toxic family just refuses to stop being toxic?

Well, you can two things (that aren’t unhelaty)

You can ignore it, learn to not mind it, by growing more and more apart from them, and forming bonds with healthy people who really love you. And not being around said family anymore than you absolutely have to be. In my case, they were all civil except for my dad. Who is probably just pissed that I didn’t care about his temper tantrum.

The other thing, which is what I had any writer and artist do, is use it all as fuel for the fire.

Difficult experiences are what turn your writing, (or art) from good to great. If it’s possible for you to achieve greatness, it is usually through pain or toil. My writing got exponentially better during the period of darkness following my dad’s exeunt form my life. It was hard, but I faced more gloom and doom than ever before, and coming out on top, I learned from it.

Even this blog changed. I never used to lie to share my personal business, I was ashamed of the situation, I knew it wasn’t right, but I though I could never complain. My blog had pretty doubled in size since I started sharing personal stuff. More of you comment, more of you like and share. And not that I do it for that, but I think it shows people connect to what I say more.

My blog has more of a theme than it used to.

And I have become a kinder person through all this. And more stable, as odd as that sounds.

I also have become a little craftier. I know how to get around a difficult situation. My dad may be petty, and childish, and psychotic at times…but I know how to prevent him from doing much real damage.

Folks, you have to get crafty sometimes.

Jesus told us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” That should be a Bible Study series, I’ve yet to hear it preached on though, we don’t like being told to be wise and shrewd do we?

But we must be. If we wish to navigate this dangerous world we live in. Some risks cannot be avoided, but they shold be the smart risks, the ones done for the right reason.

My dad is smart, unfortunately, it would be easier for us if he wasn’t. But I am smarter. And God is on my side in all this, so, there’s always a away.

And if you’re in the same boat as me, turst me, God will be on your side too.

I don’t know why everyone does not get delivered the way we did… I do think, very few people would have done what we did. I’ve met no one so far who has, I’ve read no account of it.

All the prayer and healing I did for years alone was what enabled me to have the courage to go through with it. And it’s worked out amazingly, I must say.

All of us are happier now.

The hardest thing to convince our family of is that we could really be okay. The drama in the family (melodrama at times) has killed a lot of their joy and happiness in life. How can we be any different?

Jesus, that’s how.

I’ve stopped asking why it happened, mostly.

Everyone has bad stuff happen to them. I was lucky that through the bad stuff, I had good stuff too. I was lucky that I never got permanently hurt by it. I was lucky people helped me get out of it.

Others may get more or less than me.

But here’s what I know:

Jesus said that God will pay everyone the same wage, whether they worked all day or only for a few hours.

In the same way, God will heal everyone to the same degree.

We are not all given the same amount of bad things in life, or of good things. Anymore than we can compare the bad and good of humanity as a while from place to place, without having a hard time deciding where it’s the worst and best.

I was given more bad than some, and more good than others.

I do know, that once you give all that to God, the good, the bad, the ulgy, the beuatiful, He makes it all a par to fhte samething.

To God, compairng our evil is pointelss. He knows he can reedem it all the same, no matter how bad it is, just like luangdy sopa wil clearn both a shirt that’s been dragegd thorugh the mud, and one that looks fine, but has been worn for too many days straight. Both get clean in the end.

Sometimes it’s harder to clean something that looks fine to begin with, until you get closer and see it’s not so fine.

At least I can point to were a lot of my issues came from. That’s useful.

Some of you who feel you’ve had it way too rough my actually be better off than someone who thinks they are fine, bcaue they aren’t fine. And you aren’t hopeless.

Really, after all I went through, I circled right back to where I began. Like Chesterton said, we go looking for a new thing, and find that the old thing was right the whole time. We just didn’t understand it.

All right, I think I will wrap this up for now, homework is calling me, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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New Life, New Season

I suppose it’s unchristian not to do a post about Easter… have I ever done one before?

This may not be the most conventional subject for an Easter post, but I was thinking today about some of my old posts. Back from 2015 and 2016.

I wrote one post about how much I didn’t like being wrong. This was not long after I started my blog, probably just a couple months. Nothing has changed, I still hate being wrong.

Being wrong and surviving

And I wrote another post about forgiveness, at this time I was about 16 or 17, I’d say. I know it was before I moved.

At the time, my dad was still at home of course, and would be for a few more years, and he was as awful as usual, though at that time we interacted less, he was addicted to video games and unless I interfered with that, or was working with him to earn money, we hardly spoke.

By then I was already reading books about healing and coming to realize just how much pain I had from him and my mom. This is an except from a post I wrote at the time.

Then

Letting it go-from another angle.

“Forgiving is hard. Yet, I wonder why? We all make mistakes and so why are we so hard on each other for making them? Maybe we want to see a fairness in others that we don’t possess in ourselves.

Let me be clear; by forgiving I don’t mean letting people get away with serious wrong doing. Nor do I mean living in a sort of denial that the damage other people’s words do to you, is not that bad. It is actually much worse than most of us know. Forgiveness is actually acknowledging they did wrong and letting it go. In the words of Stasi Eldredge “It was wrong, very wrong, and I release you.”

Forgiveness is actually more for us than the offenders… Emotionally most of us have probably heard about the necessity of forgiveness. When you hold on to the actions of another, you build them into your brain. I don’t mean in a mind control sense. But when you hate someone you obsess over them, you think of them and the things they’ve said and done to you; if it’s someone close to you then you struggle with not having their approval on your life even as you despise their opinion. You feel indifferent to their pain and even glad when they suffer. You say you’ll forget them but you can’t, because you can’t let what they’ve done go. If you don’t remember who will? It won’t matter to anyone. And that is what scares us, that our pain won’t make a difference in anything. That we ourselves don’t matter. These people who hurt us were right about us then. The emotional and mental damage this does to us couldn’t be fully disclosed if we took hours and hours to talk about it. To not forgive is to agree with the people who hurt us and to sink to their level at the same time.

That is why the first step toward forgiving is admitting it was wrong and you were damaged. A lot of people don’t get this far. They won’t admit their weakness. Or in some cases they will only admit their weakness but never that they can overcome it. They wallow in their pain all their lives…

So, if you are willing to take step one and admit you have been hurt–bad (And someone may be thinking “I can so do that.” Well hold on.) What is step two? It varies. It may involve crying your heart out. Grieving the wound the Eldredges call it. (I highly recommend their books Wild at Heart or Captivating for more detail on this very important part.) In my own journey of forgiving, I cried several times; I shared my pain with trusted people–but don’t do it with the person who hurt you, that was always a disaster–I prayed about it. To which I attribute all progress I made. Pain can be scary because it is so deep. Sometimes we wish we’d left it alone in apathy and numbness. But really that’s even more frightening.

After sadness, or sometimes before it, will come anger. More anger. And fear. Here we face yet another choice, we can press on, releasing the anger and fear, or we can let it drive us back. At this point you will not feel like forgiving, nor will you feel like the person deserves it, it will be purely a choice. I suggest writing it down. Saying it. “I choose to forgive (insert their name).'”

Now

Now that I know so much more than I did then about the situation, this level of grace on my part astounds me. Yet, I know it wasn’t me, I wan’t that wise, I was simply following what my teachers taught me, I always did have that childlike faith.

Actually for some context, (sorry for burdening you with my dark past), at the time I was attending a very toxic church– not by choice, my father forced us all to go. I hated it. “

Well they hounded us from the pulpit about forgiveness and how unforgiveness would land us in hell.

I don’t disagree, the Bible is pretty clear about that… but this church took it to an extreme that ignored that real damage other people’s sins did to you. No talk of therapy, no talk of long term healing.. I ‘m not sure the idea of emotional healing was ever introduced. I know plenty of the parishioners had family issues.

My dad would repeat all this at home, expressing fears over himself not making it, and praying that we all would. His fear scared me, I would not have felt dubious about my own salvation, but he constantly introduced doubt. Small wonder I still struggle with it.

I’m not naturally much of a doubter, not anymore, but it seems sown into me. Popping up when I least want it to.

My dad also found testimonies on the internet about people who’d been to hell and back, or saw visions, and warned about unforgiveness.

I cannot say how much of it was true, all I know is the Bible has no stories of any Christian visiting hell and coming back, and no precedent for it, though heaven is permitted we know from Paul and John. Perhaps hell is not impossible, though no one would like it, but at the very least, many of the testimonies were too much like Dante’s Inferno, a human’s explanation of what hell would be like, and I am skeptical hell could make any more sense to us than Heaven, and no human would come up with what the Bible says about Heaven (read Ezekiel sometime)

That’s not really the point. I have to thank my dad in a way, that is what pushed me to salvation, finally. One has to learned to be thankful for what good did come of anything in our crappy past, though once I felt offended at the very idea. And I wouldn’t take kindly to anyone else telling me that, since they’d be dismissing what I went through.

No, my dad did a few things for me, though not really out of kindness in this case, it stands more to God’s power that the fear and doubt of those years actually led to something good for me, God truly can make goodness out of anything.

My dad also read the post I quoted above. Which I wrote with him in mind. I heard him talk to my mom about it while he was reading it. I remember what he said, I may never forget it:

“I was reading (my name)’s post… I can’t imagine who (she) could know that would have hurt her so badly.”

In said post, I wrote how talking to the person who hurt you did no good… thanks Dad, for proving me right.

I really didn’t want him to read my post, and wished my mom would have stopped him, but turns out I had nothing to worry about. I think that was one of the last times he read my blog at all. I know he doesn’t now, he’d not like what I write about him, I’d be sure to hear about it.

Now, I no longer think that telling someone they hurt you does no good, if they are a mature person who truly loves you. Or even immature, but not toxic (it’s not the same thing, after all), but I was right not to tell him.

Years later, probably a year before he moved out, my dad also said in one family meeting that he got a sense that I had very low self worth, and he prayed for me about it.

I was aware enough by then to be thinking “Thanks Dad, who do you think gave me low self worth”

Wasn’t you treating my like dirt my whole life, neglecting me, abusing my emotions, telling me I was responsible for all your problems.

Now, this is not a post just for me to whine about my life.

But, we’re talking about rebirth today.

I’m starting to, like Paul, boast in my weakness. If I can take pride in nothing else, I can take pride that I have this terrible story (though it wasn’t all terrible), and I still held onto my faith.

There are man things I am still waintg for, the fullr edmeption of my past, the full meaning of why it happened t o me. A chance to tell more peopel my story. I aprpeciate ou 220 or so followers, but IW ant to reach even more peopel, more and more.

I haven’t to dlit all here, some things I did not even realzie were significant until later. soem thing sId id not feel comfortable sharing yet.

What can I say about this trial that other, wiser, better peopel have not alread siad? All I jave if my own story.

I can tell you that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing what I did, reading the books, pupmping thmselves full of self-help, roads to healing, seeking and seeking and seeking.

It was terrible to go through that dark time last year when I feared all that was for nothing, I invented years of my life in healing, and I though I ended up just as screwed up anyway.

While no amount of reading could have prepared m for the shock of getting out of abuse, it did give me something to fall back on. I took the leadership role in my family in my dad’s absence. Not fully, perhaps, but as the other dominant personality, it just happened naturally.

I felt I had to protect them, that since I hatched the plan to get rid of him, I had to make sure they were okay.

It’s been a blow to crumble as much as I did, and not be able to work steadily either, but I had to let go of the idea that everything is my responsibility.

When my dad left, I got my life back.

Really, I was getting it back every time I wrote those posts like the ones above, that I was basing off my real efforts in prayer and self reflection. My dad put all that venom into my brain, and I spat it all out through prayer, tears, songs, and resolutions.

5 years later or so, I still do that. Thouh I make less resolutions, I’ve learned to be suspisonv of those.

While I was still deeply damaged by my dad, the way I handled it back then, by God’s leading, has gotten the poison out of the wound, so it could heal, and I’ve haled faster than I thought I would.

I still have bad days, today even, doubt assaulted me again, even in Church, but I didn’t give way to it like I sued to, I do not know when I will stop being tempted, but I am a lot stronger now.

I gained back the weight I lost too. I’m walking straighter than I ever have, and I have less stiffness and back pain.

My chiropractor tells me I will be a new person when the treatment is finally completed. It’s taken 3 times as long as I wanted to see results, but God never promised it would be done when I wanted, just that it would happen.

I eat more now too. I think I eat more now than before all this happened since I’ve learned when I feel bad, I’m usulaly hungry and low on calroies, not sick.

My gaggin epidose have been over for proably 5 months or more now.

New year, new me, is what I said when 2021 started.

But when I look back at those old posts, and remember how I was then, and see that my heart was more pure than I thought, and that I was trying my best to obey God, as I always have… I think, I’m also just ht old me.

Somehow, my dad never dseprtryon who I am. Though he treid. Somehow, I kept waht I wanted in mind. I’ve never waved for long on what I want.

I want to have a great ministry.

I want to write great books

I want a great marriage

I want many children.

Whether all that comes in the form of adoption, or whatever I end up dong, and travel, or staying home, I don’t care as much as I used to, I know that all this must be part of me for a reason. I was born wanting those things. Except writing, that came once I knew I could do it, but I was always a storyteller even before that.

For ears I eceived little t ono enocuagemanet form anyone about these deams, but I didn’t lose them. That’s a mircale, from what I hear form others, pretty much everyone loses their fdreams as they grow up. To raitne then till you’e 22 is rare. Bt hte ime I’m 30, it’ll be a minoritiy.

I have a feeling I will still wan the same thing at 30 as I do now, only hopefully, I’ll have some of it by then.

I’m a girl from a toxic, abusive family, I’m not supposed to be the statistic that gets a good marriage, and becomes a good parent.

I’m the one who got told she was wrong, and criticized for everything, I’m not supposed to succeed at my talents.

I’m the one who had someone sow doubt into me a lot, I’m not supposed to have a good ministry.

Well, flip all that, God is the God of the unexpected.

Sure, right now, I have small blog, smaller YouTube Channel, and only a couple short published books on kindle that no one reads. I’m not in a lot of ministry, and I’m at a point in life where it feels no one sees all that much in me.

Perfect time to be suddenly launched into something unexpected, God has a pattern, but He’s not predictable.

I don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years, but I haven’t waited all this time for nothing, I’m sure of that.

New Life means Old things getting a new vitality, and new things springing up. Jesus coming back to life didn’t just give us His old life back, it gave us an entirely new kind of man, as C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.

An odd hybrid between the Divine and the mortal, that is what we are. One that you won’t find anywhere else in heaven or on earth, and how can I say what the purpose of it is?

John said “It is not yet revealed what we will be, but we know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

As I’ve come out of my depression and anxiety, they’ve begun to make less and less sense to me, I no longer understand the logic behind them. I am sure, that is God.

To be sure, I’m still tempted at times, and I won’t say I have the cure all for either of those two problems, since the path I walked had to be for me personally, and my fears, but some stuff overlaps in our lives.

I can’t even be certain I’ll never have another time of my life where I feel this way, though I can’t picture it fooling me ever again. Feelings are not the same as mindsets.

I do think some changes will last.

Someday, I hope, God will give me the words to describe what happened to other people. Just now, I am still too much in the process to explain it, and I’ve noted others don’t really understand me if I try.

But someday, surely, I will be able to look back and see it clearly. Hindsight is 20-20. (That’d be a good blog post title)

I get it, some of you are still in the darkness. I hope some of you have begun to see light.

If you wait long enough for something, with God, it will happen. Or something better will.

God showed me that, actually, one time I was talking to Him, and He brought it to my attention that if I just waited long enough something was bound to change, no state of being is permanent for a human.

We hate being told it’s just a phase, but everything is a phase. The Bible calls it a “Season”

I don’t know if any angry teen or young adult will read this, but if you’ve heard those words “it’s just a phase” I know, it’s annoying, but, take it from me, you’ll want to believe that. All pain can pass. Even the worst and deepest kinds.

And while I was not assaulted with what humanity considers the worse crimes, I’d venture to say I knew that deep pain as much as the next person. I take things very seriously.

At least I could not lie to myself that way. God made me this way for a reason. If I could be blind, like others, I might still be in that situation.

One thing I kept saying to my sister was this “No pit is so deep that He is not Deeper Still” (Betsie Ten Boom).

Well, I tink that is enough for today. Thank you for reading, and have a great day

Until next time–Natasha.

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Coming Up

Y’all might be wondering how my recovery process is going… okay, you probably don’t actually wonder that, but you might not be adverse to hearing about it right?

Well, actually, these last couple months, I’ve been doing really well. My life coach has been very helpful, mostly she helps me realize I already know the answer, I just need to believe that I do, and that God has given me the key.

I actually had a brief bout with nausea that was the worst I’ve had in a while, but it lasted probably just 20 minutes or so, and I was able to stay much calmer than I used to and help it get lighter instead of stressing myself into feeling sicker than before. Mostly, I catch it before it gets bad now, but even so, now that I know it usually passes quickly, I’m less scared of it.

I feel fine most days. Though with the Summer heat coming, I may have to take more steps to stay cool if I want to avoid that heat exhaustion.

My mental problems are also at a new low for the last year. I really can’t believe how bad it was not that long ago, it seems foreign to me now. I’ve always come out of these periods, since becoming a Christian, after a year or less. Usually less.

I never came out of it when I wasn’t a Christian fully, I had better and worse times, but fear plagued me constantly back then, whether there was a trigger or not. Christianity works for me because that fact that I’ve known freedom at all is something I didn’t really have before. Something important to remind yourself of if you go through hard times again as a believer.

I’ve realized too that the person I a has never really changed, she just went into hiding for a while, only occasionally showing herself, now, I see her a lot more often. I needed to believe she was real in order to be her.

You have to believe in your own healing, in the healing that has already taken place, in order to keep healing.

If you live your life as if you are still hurt, even once you’ve healed, then you might as well still be hurt. That applies to physical and emotional injuries too.

I suppose it’s about time I mentioned that my step-grandmother’s memorial is this month.

I plan to go, but would you believe that my aunt has already been trying to get in some emotional manipulation on my sister over it. It’s so nuts.

I now my dad will be there, likely as not, and I am trying to prepare for it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll share my strategies here until after the fact, if they don’t work, I don’t want to take the chance anyone will emulate me, but I think they will.

However, someone in my position might wonder what the prospect of facing my abuser in person again feels like.

I’m not looking forward to it, but I am not utterly terrified.

It’s because my circumstances are a little different than one would normally have with a violent person.

My dad is aggressive, but he’s not generally the type to lash out in public at someone without provocation, and he would not be able to seriously injure me at a gathering like this without someone stepping in, because too many people would be there. He would not like to lose face, he’s never hurt me that badly, physically. My feelings were always more bruised than my actual body.

Some might not even call it abuse, but I call it that because of he power struggle and attitude involved, and the roughness of how he did it.

I don’t use the word abuse lightly, however. I see it all the time, people call stuff abuse that I don’t think should be called that. Abuse has a particular feel of powerlessness on the victim’s part, and sick satisfaction mixed with excuses on the abuser’s part. It’s more than temper, thought hat is part of it, it’s to break you, make you submit, feel like trash.

I mean, what’s abuse to one person isn’t to another, sometimes, but that’s a very vague line.

I guess what I mean is, sarcastic comments are abuse to some people, but to others it’s normal banter, and I don’ think victims should impose their standard on people who see it as a way to bond, the tone and timing will tell you whether it’s destructive or not. Someone should always back off if you make it clear you are seriously uncomfortable, but if you know yourself, and know you feel weird only because of past experience, and that this person in particular is not actually trying to hurt you, it’s also good to try to grow thicker skin. We have to heal from both directions, insider and out.

For me, a little light shoving isn’t abuse. I knew when my dad was being rough, I know when my siblings are being playful. I can compartmentalize.

I realize I am lucky to be able to do this so easily, at least in some areas, though not all. I am far more sensitive to verbal stuff.

I got into another work situation where I feel disrespected and criticized unfairly, and blamed for what is not my fault. I wonder why I keep doing this… and then my sisters stores of working at a sandwich shop tell me I actually ain’t even seen it all.

Seriously, I get people telling me I should work on my babysitting skills, she gets people telling her she’s got no idea what she’s doing. Whose job is worse? Well, it’s income.

We both like what we do anyone, but nothing is ever a positive experience 100% of the time, that’s not realistic.

Notably, this time, I am handling it differently. I’ve always been bolder that my sisters anyway, I stand up for myself. But I used to do it immaturely by getting really defensive and rude. Now I choose my words more carefully.

My dad responds to criticism by getting defensive and losing his temper, that’s not how I wanted to be, but I couldn’t go the route of my mom and just never stand up for myself at all. I literally can’t, I think I’m incapable… trying was excruciating, and I failed.

So, with no role model here, I’ve had to learn by trial and error, but I’m starting to get better. I try to acknowledge people may have a slight point, or grievance, but I refuse to let myself be belittled.

I had a mom tell me today that at my age (22) I may just lack the experience to understand how to take care of a 5 month old, and how a mother feels.

I asked her “How many kids do you have?”

This is her first. She’s 30..

I’ve been in childcare for 15 years. Paid and unpaid, private and in groups, doing int alone, and doing it helping adults. I have two younger siblings I’ve had to be basically a surrogate mom to for several years, at least in some areas. I have two cousins I provide love, attention, and mentoring too. I have taught Sunday school for over 6 years.

I looked at her and I said “I understand you are his mom, but I will not let my years of experience be disrespected just because I am a little younger than you and your other nanny.”

Where does this lady get off? Sure, she’s his mom, but this is her first kid, having a kid doesn’t automatically mean you understand child reading, as I think the loads of messed up kids form broken homes is proof of. I’m 8 years younger than her, so what? She didn’t give me any prior experience she had with children.

The amount of disrespect nannies get is unreal. We take care of children, the most precious things anyone has, and we get treated like barely above slaves with no rights to opinion, no better qualifications, and no right to complain if someone is literally filming us why we are doing our job, without our consent.

Isn’t that illegal in other circumstances? Sheesh.

And yeas, the nanny cam is real. Some people think it’s myth, nope, I’ve worked for two or more families at least with one. And one family just straight up spied on me with their friends. They told me this to my face.

Well, it would take a whole other post to list all my negative experience babysitting, but it has been a great trial by fire for seeing how well I can get past my issues.

If you have low self worth and want to get over it, there’s really nothing like having someone treat you like an appliance in their house and getting frustrated over it to push you to stand up for yourself. Seriously, if you aren’t annoyed, it’s probably just reinforcing your problems, not helping you grow, get out of that job.

But for learning self control, self assurance, and what you actually want, nannying has it’s benefits.

Back to the prospect of seeing my dad again…

I am nervous about it, but I’ve learned that if I acknowledge that, and decide before hand what to do, it doesn’t often turn into panic… actually, it never turns into panic.

That may not work for everyone, but I am a more confident person in areas that aren’t related to abuse, so channeling that towards he areas that are is mostly a matter of self control and prayer for me.

I also have learned not to overestimate myself. I should try to face my dad alone. I need other people around. I shouldn’t treat myself like I’m expendable and can carry the weight of everyone else’s problems by taking his crap.

While it would be theoretically cathartic to tell my dad off in person, I don’t expect it to happen.

At most, I think, I could tell him to leave me alone, that I won’t be engaging with him, and this day is about Grammy, not him.

Now, my aunt once tried this when her son died, my cousin, and my dad completely ignored her, so I don’t expect that to work.

But I have a few back up plans. It’d be really satisfying to just say: “Look, I already know what you’re going to say, and you’re going to be abusive, and manipulative, and there’s nothing you can say that will alter my opinion of you, and no apology you make will convince me you are sincere, and nothing you can say will make me feel guilty or bad for you. You abused me, end of story. Deal with that reality, or stay out of mine.”

I’d never get to finish that speech, even if it’d work. But it’s fun to fantasize about it.

The reality is, it’s best to just avoid talking to him. He will probably try to talk to me, unless he gets some idea of proving he doesn’t need me by refusing to talk, e might say “I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable” Which is a lie. He would only do it to show how innocent he is to the family, if we were alone, he wouldn’t hesitate, so I will have to take great care never to be alone where he can see me.

It’d be best to have another man around I can trust, as my dad will be more bold with women watching than men, I think, he can be a bit sexist.

Anyway, those are my basic ideas. But the rest will have to wait till after the fact to see if it worked.

Many victims remain oblivious to what their abuser will do to them, as long as they are locked i the cycle. There is strong deception associated with abuse, the perps lie, the victim believe them because otherwise they would despair.

Once you get out, mentally, not just physically, you start to see through it all, and you can predict their tricks. Then you can prepare for it.

I have picked up this stuff quickly due to be observant by nature, and I had to manage my dad for years before I finally got away from him. I know that I cannot win with him expect by not playing his game, he cannot stand that.

I also now that truth is powerful, but it must be worded carefully.

Pro tips for anyone consider in confronting their abuser:

Don’t try to be nice. Don’t try to be subtle, don’t be vague.

Don’t do it at all if you think they still have power over you, and don’t do it alone. Don’t do it in private either, they can hurt you if you do. Others should be able to see you, even if they can’t hear you. I’m not at therapist, this to me is just common sense.

Don’t confront them expecting to change them. It should be either to establish a boundary, or for closure. They aren’t going to change.

Don’t expect them to take it with any degree of dignigity.

You can expect immature jabs, passive aggressive digs, angry outbursts, accusations, or self righteous “I was only trying to…” statements.

I would say not to dignify any of that with even acknowledging it, say what you must, don’t change it no matter what they say. They won’t listen, but you need to know you were able to say it.

This is all assuming it’s the right time and right kind of situation for this to be appropriate. Some people should never confront their abuser, or go near them again.

I will have to do it sooner or alter, or else act like a pariah in my own family, and not all of them are bad people, so I prefer to make realistic plans for how to deal with it.

But some will not have the luxury of any family they can risk seeing again, and there’s no shame in admitting that and deciding not to see them again.

If it helps anyone else, these two passages have really helped allay any guilt I feel over not seeing my toxic relatives:

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

“Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
 So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.” (Psalm 45:10-11)

The Bible is so kind to people who have toxic relatives. Jacob is told to flee his brother who is plotting to kill him. Joseph is put in a position of power over his brothers who sold him into slavery. Tamar is given justice for Judah holding out on her. The list goes on.

Contrary to what may Christians think, it is not Christian to stay with an abusive person. Especially if that hinders your walk with God. Plenty of Christians left their families and went on their own to serve God. It is Christian to be single, it is Christian to marry and have children. Paul says we should turn people who refuse to live in a godly manner in the church out.

He also says church member should be kind to their family, and if they are not, they should not be in authority, maybe they are even false, if we follow his logic.

When my life coach pointed out this simple fact, that my dad was deceiving us into thinking he was devout when he was really not acting at all like a believer, it was a game changer for me.

Suddenly I felt hte fiel of not haivng to call what my dad did “trying to be a good chritian ” anymore, he was not trying, he was whining. There’s a huge difference.

Who knew, I was lcoser to God when I stopped playing alon eiwht his chruch, his prayers, his devotions, becaue the fakeness isckened me too much. AS a churhc girl, It hought It hsould like all those things mroe, but the duplicity was too much.

I now hate hypocrisy more than almost any other vice. I can’t claim I am never hypocritical, but I try not to be.

One other big change: I am starting to really believe that I am Allowed to have a happy life.

Whooo! Somebody get excited with me right now!

Maybe it’s okay to like myself. Maybe I don’t need to punish myself anymore. Maybe my anxiety isn’t permanent.

Some of you are afraid to believe that.

There are a few rare cases where someone has something their whole life in order to learn patience.

But I don’t think God would command us to be anxious for nothing, if most of us were not supposed to be completely free from anxiety.

In fact, that verse makes me think anxiety is not one of those life long struggles we are supposed to have.

We cannot force ourselves not to be anxious, but we can learn to stop ourselves from becoming anxious. The Bible said that thousands of years ago.

Perfect Love casts out fear.

I don’t feel full of love all the time, but I Know God loves me, I believe, it, I remind myself of it, and I don’t need to feel it for it to cast out my fear, I just need to now it.

You see, God’s love is so powerful, even the knowledge of it crushes fear, and the feeling of it makes you forget suffering period. I don’t feel it as often as I’d like, but I also don’t need to, knowing it’s there, behind everything, gives me hope.

“And now abide, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

I hope this post encouraged you, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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.

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Link to CeCe’s videos