Good is not good enough.

I am one sub away from 150, guys! Whoo!

I always appreciate when people look at my stuff on days when I don’t post because it means the traffic is consistent, if you have your own blog, you know what I’m talking about.

Well, I was watching Ray Comfort today.

I know some Christians follow this blog, and if you are Christian, I recommend checking out the Living Waters YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmrVJGUS1u5-Hsm_BFS_1YA)

It’s a great way to broaden your horizons by getting to see the Gospel presented to all kinds of people, and in a gentle, non aggressive, but intelligent way. Ray uses science, reason, and emotional weight. [I was not paid to say any of this, I just like the channel and content 🙂 ]

Christians struggle with evangelism, which is a long word for going to people and telling them about Jesus.

Me, I prefer it if it comes up in conversation, especially if I can discuss science or philosophy, which many people think Christians hate doing.

A lot of Christians think evangelizing needs to be done through showing people the love of God.

I totally agree we need to be loving to people, but what Ray Comfort has highlighted for me is that we need to be doing more than that.

The trouble with the “love on people” approach that I’ve seen within the Church itself, not just with nonbelievers, is that it’s non confrontational, and it doesn’t change people’s minds.

I’ve heard many pastors reprimand their congregation for the harsh or judgmental approach.

The thing is, often people who go to Churches who preach mercy and kindness are not the ones who are judgy and harsh, those people go to Churches that preach that as the way to be. Really, my parents church shopped a lot when I was younger, I know the drill, it’s easy to find somewhere that echoes all your own behavior.

I find it singularly unhelpful to get the “just love on people” advice because it’s so vague… what am I supposed to do with that?

One of Ray’s tactics is to help people understand why they are guilty of sin.

Everyone already knows they are a sinner, but the average person will claim to be a good person, they think that they do more good than bad, or just not enough bad to warrant punishment.

Some people think they should be spared just because they have a good heart. (All things real people said, by the way.)

It’s easy to get people to admit they lie, and they’ve stolen, and they lust, sometimes that they dishonor their parents and have sex out of wedlock. People don’t even think of some of those things as wrong.

Ray never goes into the things like murder, envy, working on the Sabbath, and worshiping idols. It’s easy enough to show we do all that, but harder to prove on the spot, and the others ones people admit to faster.

I was raised christian, and i try not to lie, or steal, but I still remember getting caught stealing as a kid, just minor things my mom immediately made me return.

I don’t lie now, no directly, I’m not sure I am fully honest thought. A lot of us lie, thinking it’s the truth, but if we really looked at our thoughts and feelings, we’d know it was a lie.

Ever have someone tell you “I’m not mad” and they were so obviously about to blow a gasket?

Or “I’m not jealous” when they were.

Yeah, it’s not too hard to see we’re all guilty.

But most people, and most religions in fact, fall back on the idea that our good can outweigh our bad when we stand before God.

Ray confronts this with the point that even a human judge will not care about what you do right, you go to jail for what you do wrong.

What if a serial killer killed person after person and then donated to charity each time, and the charity saved 10 lives. Does he or she get to keep killing people just because they are saving 10 lives for every 1 they take?

Please, please tell me you didn’t have to think about that one, I’ve known philosophy groups where that would be a tough question, (Philosophy is an absolutely useless field of study without theism, as it turns out. People just argue and get nowhere).

To expound on Ray’s point, is it fair to judge people only for what they do wrong? Why is one mistake, or even several, enough to negate all the good.

There are two big misconceptions of sin in this line of thinking. But most people will understand it once it’s been pointed out to them, because deep down, we know it’s not right.

The first misconception is that our human nature can be bad and good at the same time. I will see this everywhere, from My Little Pony reviews to philosophical videos, to real people talking about everyday life. Hollywood love propagating this idea, can’t imagine why…

Is it possible to be both a bad and good person?

It’s easy to look at the bad and good actions people do, and say “they must have bad and good in them, so they are’t wicked people.”

But, it doesn’t work.

In any area of life, name one thin that can be both bad and good.

I sorted lemons yesterday, I found a bunch that had mold on them. The mold isn’t in the whole lemon, it’s just on part of it, theoretically, the lemon had good parts in it still…should I eat it?

The answer is no. Fruit is tricky, depending on the kind, but usually you cannot eat it once it’s moldy, the sugars are decomposing, even inside the part that isn’t bad looking yet, and you could get sick.

Some foods, like potatoes, the mold can be cut off and there rest of it is good, but you get less of it that way, and you still have to cut out the bad part, only a truly starving person eats a bad fruit or vegetable whole.

Another example, if you have a car that works perfectly, all except for one tire, or one thing in the engine, or the brakes, is it safe to drive? image (15)

The answer is NO.

Yet again, if a human being does lots of good and then rapes or murders one person, who would not punish them? Only someone just as bad trying to cover their own sins. Why else do evil people flock together?

The Bible takes the same approach to sin in a person. Jesus warned “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” meaning a little yeast spreads through all the dough. One sin is never the end of it. If you sin once, you’ll sin again, even if it’s not the same sin.

Jesus also said to do the cutting off thing. “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, it’s better to enter heaven with only one hand than to be cast into hell” (paraphrase)

Sin is like cancer, it has to be removed. Or like a broken car, replaced with a working part.

The second misconception people have, even more important, is that Sin is natural. That everyone does it, so it wouldn’t be right to have a high standard about it.

It’s true that Human Nature is sinful, so Sin is natural in that way, to man. But it doesn’t mean it’s natural as in it was intended to be that way.

Weeds are “natural” to a garden, they grow there of their own accord, and the weed is a living thing, doing what it’s programmed to do, yet it’s not the plan for the garden to have weeds in it. Some weeds choke out wheat, is it the wheat’s nature to be strangled? No.

Breaking the Law of Morality that everyone knows in their heart is something we all do, but it’s not Natural, in that it was meant to be and is fitting in ourselves to do.

You see, the reason you get punished for breaking one law, even if you keep 9 others, is that keeping the law is simply what you should have done.

You don’t get rewarded in life for doing the bare minimum. You show up to school with your own school supplies because you should, you tie your shoes, you call your mom on Mother’s Day.

You get what I’m saying? This is just average. But do less, and you’re either unprepared or downright negligent.

Fulfilling God’s law to the full is just the bare minimum of good living. There’s a lot beyond the law, like beauty, fun, and freedom, that are what God really intended Life to be about (You know that Eden means Delight? Where God meant humans to live in).

Now, as the world is today, fulfilling the law is impossible, and so is being a good person.

When we say someone is good, what we really mean is “They are someone who being good is important to, and they try, but yeah, they still do bad things”.

Bad means that they don’t even try, they just revel in being bad.

But Jesus rightly said “there is none good but God” no one but God can be the kind of Good God wants.

Even angels have fallen, God is the only being who has remained incorruptible throughout all time and outside of time. That is why evil god stories are so terrifying, if God is not good, than we are all lost.

I find the idea that God isn’t good silly, because anyone who has lived with a tyrant who tries to make everyone miserable knows the power of even one man to destroy lives, and if God was even as malevolent as man, no one would be happy, ever.

That happiness and love still exist is proof God must be good, they would never survive otherwise.

The Bible says human righteousness is “like filthy rags.”

So, the question is, now what?

I don’t consider myself a bad person.

Not because I am good. I have lots of problems. And I am not as aware of my own sins as I should be.

Like all people, I’m conceited about the level of my own sin.

But, the good news is, I don’t need to worry about it. I can do my best, but if at the end of every day I still come up short. it’s okay, because Jesus has covered it.

He has given me his righteousness, as the Words puts it, so that I am blameless before God.

That’s the gospel in a nutshell. We can’t do it, but God can.

The road to God is different for everyone. People have all kinds of issues with self worth, pride, and everything else. But the simplest way to find God is to repent and trust Jesus for salvation.

God can reveal himself many ways, but only one way do we give ourselves to Him, and that is through Jesus.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed getting my take on this angle, and until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Free Wheels.

💕Well, it’s that time of year. Happy Blogaversary followers! 😄

I think this makes it 4 years, dang, it’s been a ride. HappyColor_18012

Speaking of rides, I have some exciting news. I now have a car.

I suppose you all probably weren’t aware I’ve been off the road for a year almost, due to insurance expenses, and until I could get a car and get my own insurance, the price just seemed astronomic. The trouble was, it’s hard to get a job when you can only apply to things within a walking distance of your house.

I managed to do it once, but it was seasonal, and no luck since that time.

So, I need a car to get a job, but I need a job to get a car, pretty impossible cycle right?

Of course I had prayed about it, and just last week, I was talking about it to God, (complaining more than anything), that it was so impossible. Yet, I knew for Him it was easy. That He could just give me a car, or any of the other things I need to become independent.

You see, I don’t usually get those big miracles people tell stories about, but since I was a child, I’ve always believed in them, and growing up I heard enough stories of God’s favor to know that what looks hopeless to me is just an illusion.

We see no rational way something is possible unless we follow certain steps. We treat life like an equation.

Education+ good career options = financial success

Love + commitment = good marriage

Structure + affection = good child rearing.

You know the drill, pick any subject in life, and you’ll find a formula for it, from sex to sleep.

And if you’re like me, you’ve also studied enough to know that real life is not formulaic. Formula works in math, and maybe science, but never in anything outside a controlled environment.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say anyone who implements formula with their children or marriage is a fool, let alone anything less important like business.

Yet, when we plan our lives, we think in formula, if I don’t follow steps A, B, and C, then there’s just no way it can work.

HappyColor_16479

And for me, that was the car thing. If I don’t find some way to work from home or close to home, I can’t make enough money to save up for a car, and I can’t get a better job without a car, and… ugh, it’s exhausting just thinking about it.

But a part of me knew that for God, this mess was not a mess at all. And I’d had someone at my church pray for me to get a car and say they saw one in my future (not like fortune telling, jsut to clarify, just a feeling that God intended that. It’s like a blessing.)

Well, amen to that, I thought.

This same person is actually the source of my newfound fortune. They needed a new car for a new job, and decided to give away the old one, and they knew I had need of a vehicle.

Well, I was quite blown away.

But it gets better.

As a new driver, I’d only driven one kind of car, my family car. So, I don’t have much experience. I figured a new car would mean learning some new stuff.

And it will, but not nearly as much as it could have because this car has a driving system very similar to our family car. Is almost the same size, and is comfy and spacious, in impeccable condition for a 10 year old car.

It’s also a Honda, so… yeah, it’ll last ages.

For free.

I’d be hard put to find a used car at that kind of deal even for a few thousand dollars.

Icing on the cake is it’s a bluish color, which is what I wanted, though it’s not a color I imagined, but, it’s pretty.

You know, one has to really think God must have us in mind specifically when He gives us stuff. All those others things weren’t necessary, I could have put up with a few dents and quirks for a free car that still runs, I’m not in a position to be picky about color or style…but I get it anyway.

This all happened after my prayer. And to be honest, I didn’t expect Him to take me seriously.

I mean, I knew He could, but I supposed there was some lesson in all this that I needed to learn (we love that explanation, don’t we?)

Well, I did have to wait a while, but now it becomes much easier. I can afford insurance on this car, and my mom was able to put me on her towing/assitance coverage too, since my dad had, unbeknownst to her, gotten his own.

Well, good riddance I say, means I can be on it with no extra cost.

You know… a little part of me is a bit smug about this. Which isn’t very Christian, but… well let me explain.

Driving was one thing my Dad used to control me with. And I only drove for a year while he was living here, yet he managed to make it a big point of contention constantly.

I made some errors, nothing huge, but one did cost money, and though I paid for it myself, my Dad always expressed doubt over my abilities. He would also make my nervous while he was in the car, and say things like “you could have gotten us into an accident.” If I made a mistake. Idiots do worse things on purpose than I did by accident, but hey, my dad is not logical nor one to cut you some slack.

My dad also tried to make me run errands for him and grounded me from using the car as leverage, though it only made more work for my mom (of course he wouldn’t pick up the slack on driving me around unless he absolutely had to).

And finally he refused to keep me on the insurance because I hadn’t gotten a job, despite my efforts to do so. My dad makes good money too, at least for a single job person.

It was always one thing or another with the car, I got so frustrated that I hated the idea of succeeding just to suit him more than not driving, so I gave up.

Of course, I am not adverse to earning things.

But… if we face facts, no one is born able to earn their keep. We have to be taught, and some people are not able to ever, they get paralyzed, they have mental disabilities. They experience a series of misfortunes.

Or some are driven out of their homes by evil people with a vendetta.

It’s not their fault, they just aren’t as lucky as the rest of us.

While I believe you need to work in life, I recognize that even the ability to work is a gift. And the tools to work are usually also gifts, initially. We call it investing.

But the principal of investing, even from a company, is having faith in a person that they can pull off success. Parents give their children benefits because they hope they will use them wisely.

My dad’s approach was a bit like tossing me in a row boat and removing the paddle. How am I supposed to get anywhere? The boat is a gift (think of it like life) but the tools to make it work are also gifts, at least at first.

It might be “fair” but…does it work?

I don’t know, for some people it might.

But if my Heavenly Father has taken a different approach, I cannot complain.

God’s way is always to give us the tools to succeed, and in the perfect timing to do it in. There is no ability in us to repay God, or to prove ourselves to Him. He knows we can’t do anything for ourselves, not even make our own heart beat (try to stop it for a second, see how well you do.)

Anyway, that’s a wrap for today, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

 

 

 

When you miss your abuser.

You know what one of the freakiest parts of abuse is?

When you miss it.

No one likes admitting it, but victims of abuse generally experience feelings of fondness and longing for their abuser.

If you’re like me, the scapegoat, then you can also “miss” the feeling of being blamed and dumped on.

Now, miss means two different things in this context.

There’s the actual feeling of “I wish they were here, I’d like to talk to them.”

Then there’s the weirder “I just feel off without some one being a jerk to me at least once a day, or every few days.”

When my dad moved out, it had gotten to the point where I could predict him making a biting remark or losing his temper at me about once a week, maybe more often. There were periods of time it was a daily occurrence.

I was remembering today one startling example of how far this had gone.

I have frequent allergy attacks, sometimes bad enough to resemble a bad cold, and I take medication that makes me sleepy, the symptoms themselves can make me tired also.

Well, it was a miserable day,  and I had taken the medicine, my sister was taking an art class at the time, just a few streets away. My dad got home in time to take her, but sat down in front of the TV and told me I should do it instead. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and shouldn’t be driving (I’m sure I sounded stressed at the time, this happened a lot.) My dad went ballistic, saying he wasn’t feeling well either (he seemed fine,) and I had better obey him and do it. I refused, he grounded me in a rage–for refusing to drive on medication to go two miles away when he had a car. His main reason was he wasn’t wearing pants, and he was livid that he had to go put pants on, because that was so hard.

My dad can act like a five year old sometimes.

I wish I could say this ended well, but in the end I felt guilty (for no real reason) and went and picked her up, which did not get me off the hook. I got grounded. I was 19 or 20 when this happened, if you’re thinking there’s a red flag to some kind of power imbalance in that, then you’re right.

That might have been when I told my parents to stop punishing me for stuff, a conversation I never should have had to have at 20, but…

The crazy thing is when I asked my mom about it, she was mad at me for acting that way, calling it unacceptable…when I was clearly not in a good position to be driving.

That kind of thing happened all the time. My dad used everything he could to have power over me, and over anyone else he could feasibly control. He got frustrated with people he couldn’t control.

You might wonder how one could possible miss that?

Well, it’s like my therapist says, it was my normal. I don’t miss it because I liked it, I miss it because it was the centre of my life, even if I didn’t choose it.

The Israelites missed Egypt after they left it, they complained that they could get food and water there, and they wished to return to it, thought hey were brutally treated slaves, who had their own sons taken from them and killed just as a power move to keep them second class citizens so they couldn’t overthrow the Pharaoh.

How do you miss that?

How do I miss someone who actively tried to ruin my life and make it as hard as possible. Who resented it if I or my sisters were ever happy, especially doing anything that he had no part in.

I believe the missing that feels like a regular type of longing is what comes in cases like mine where the abuser could seem like an okay person. When they were happy, they could please and be thoughtful. But so can most of us, it’s a very broken person who can never be nice. They exist, but it’s rare.

My dad took fits of “kindness”, saying nice things, trying to be caring, supportive, etc.  They were not wholly feigned, as C. S. Lewis put it, nor much dearer than dishwater, a single prick of any little word or event would burst his bubble. The rage would be back.

Often my dad would contrive a fight after any positive day or conversation we had, like he was not comfortable without the resentment being present. This was how I cam to see he hated me.

My mom can be the same way, only she is not comfortable till she’s made it so she feels you’re disappointed in her and unhappy with her. Even if it would have been simple to not say or do something to cause that situation. They are quite a pair aren’t they?

My parents are not really happy the way they are, they are just content to be miserable. If that makes sense.

I, who am not, have always been an anomaly to them, someone they cannot really understand.

My dad’s resentment really became demonic after awhile, he seemed to be incapable of wishing anyone else to be happy, even for a moment.

My dad was also always a bully, even from his childhood. He got picked on, but he also picked on other people as much as he could get away with.

He picked on a young man who had the misfortune of working for him, he went so far as to write and produce a soundtrack mocking the poor guy, and got his friends to help him, I’m not sure why they did, other than my dad’s friends have a lot of issues.

The man finally stopped taking his calls after quitting working for him, and my dad bemoans the fact to this day that he doesn’t get to torment him anymore, he never truly realized why it was horrid. I’m glad the guy had the sense to get out.

And of course, me. I got picked on for years. My dad eventually stopped doing it much once I stopped reacting to it or giving any sign I even heard, he found other ways to get a reaction out of me. But really, as I stopped reacting even to direct insults, he just ignored me as much as possible, blowing up whenever he got the chance to take some control back,

It puzzled my dad why I became immune to him. I think the song Titanium describes it best

“You shout it out, but I can’t hear a word you say. I’m talking loud, not saying much.

Criticized, but all your bullets ricochet, you shoot me down but I get up.

I’m bullet proof, nothing to lose, fire away, fire away. Ricochet, you take your aim, fire away, fire away. Shoot me down, but I won’t fall, I am titanium.

Cut me down, but it’s you who have further to fall, ghost town, and haunted love.

Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones, talking loud, not saying much.

Stone hard! Machine Gun! Fired at the ones who run. Stone hard as bulletproof glass!”

This song perfectly describes how verbal abusers treat people. the “fired at the ones who run” signifies how the people who are intimidated get shot at more. 

And, like the song says, if you want to survive, you can end up like titanium. Hard.

I’m not sure there is any way, even with God, to avoid some hardening of yourself when you live with abuse.

The Bible says if you remove the cause of strife, it will cease. People critisize the Bible for it’s insistence on cutting sinful, wicked people out of contact with others, even to the point of death, but the Bible is wiser than we are, God knew long ago how sin works.

Abuse is one of the ugliest forms of domestic sin. Maybe the ugliest. the only things that might be worse are the perversions people do to each other in the name of science, or religion, or some other strange system.

Abuse could be the prototype for every other sin cycle, as it traps not only the abuser but the abused in their private and public sins. Hypocrisy and deception naturally follow abuse, like rain follows clouds.

My dad brought out the worst in all of us, he made us crueler, more spiteful people, because he played off all the worse parts in us to keep in power. Abusers rely on the fact that you have human weaknesses to keep control over you.

Actually, the anime remake Fruits Basket released an episode yesterday that portrayed this perfectly (that anime is genius by the way, using a curse + Beauty and the Beast type story to represent abuse, it works almost too well.) The main abuser manipulated the best boi Kyo by reminding him he was a monster. Till he broke.

Abuse makes you feel you are the monster, my dad set me up to feel that way from birth. All your faults are blown out of proportion, all your virtues are ignored unless they want something from you. You are told no one will love you but them. Or they are doing this because they love you.

God himself must want to gag when an abuser claims to love their victim (hey, it’s in Revelation if you don’t believe God has those emotions).

But because they lied to you, you think you are stuck with them. You really won’t be loved by anyone else.

My dad and his friends used to go off on me for not having people skills, no one ever bothered to teach them to me. That’s the point, abusers don’t want you to get better.

When I obviously had, when I made friends, my dad criticized them for being twits. He criticized my church fro not being like his. He criticized anyone I liked. I should associate with anyone he didn’t approve of, you see.

My dad is no one to miss, but because he could play the part, my mind can easily rick itself into thinking otherwise.

I want to give some advice to anyone reading this who might be recognizing this tenancy in yourself, maybe you even have an ex like this.

The Bible says to forgive, and we must forgive, if we ever want to be free, but it does not say to always forget. In fact, sometimes we need to remember when people sinned.

If you are a victim of abuse of any form, you have a difficult journey, but it is doable.

You must let go of your resentment, but you must remind yourself regularly that you were right to get out of that situation, that you deserved better, and you should get to be happy.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. The player is at fault, but they probably have no more power to leave the game than you did, until you were rescued form it (even if you left yourself, something happened to open your eyes, we don’t just suddenly become wiser).

Sad as it is, my dad cannot control himself, not because he cannot make different choices, but because he cannot change his own heart. He refuses to be helped, and so he cannot help it.

I wonder sometimes if someone who is abuse might read my posts and wonder about themselves. But they would never change unless a work had already begun in their heart, proof will never change an abuser.

I may someday get told I was stupid to call it abuse, if I ever talk to my Uncle or my dad’s friends gain, no doubt they will protest. But I no longer care if they think I’m over reacting.

Another thing about the Monster complex.

My dad used to feel like a monster growing up, and the truth it, he was one. He still is, but that does not mean he is also not God’s child.

Sadly, sometimes a person is just barely saved. But they do trust God, they just should not be around anyone else they can control.

The Victim feels like a monster too. When you suffer a lot, you can feel like you must deserve it, it’s one of the way we struggle to make sense of the insensible, but Cruelty is always senseless.

Cruelty is madness, that is why it is so horrifying. We can live with anything we feel happened for a reason, but when reason is gone, so is our courage.

That is why one of the paths to healing is through letting God redeem your suffering, bringing about a good out of it. Giving it a reason. But people confuse God giving it a purpose with God having a reason for it to happen in the first place.

God, being outside of time, can have a purpose in something He knows was going to happen, but didn’t want to happen.

It is more like how a mom can see her child get shoved off a junglegym and rush to catch them. They didn’t want it to happen, but they have a response ready.

Why do we have medics on standby at sports events? We know accidents happen. Why do we have laws for punishing crime, we know crime happens, but anyone who says the law causes crime is out of their mind and should be ignored.

God has a plan in place for what will happen.

The Bible says “my life and times are in Your hands.”

We should feel relieved that when suffering happens, God already had a plan to make it work for us for good, even if He didn’t want it to happen.

God is our Insurance Policy. He fixes the damage when other stuff happens to us. When you rely on God, you admit that you cannot protect yourself.

When my dad hit me I could not understand why God allowed it, but a year later, I thought I had an idea, that God allowed it to push my mom and sisters to agree enough was enough. I didn’t really get hurt (outside) and it took the blinders off.

Was it good? No. But it helped keep more stuff like that from happening. Much like a vaccine can only exist because a disease does, but if you survive the disease, you can help more people with the vaccine from getting it at all. It would be better not to need it, but humans don’t get a life free of trouble.

Anyway, this ended up running long.

Missing my dad is kind of an illusion, but if I don’t buy it, it’s not a delusion. A delusion would be to let yourself be fooled.

And the road out is to remember the truth, and then know that God does have a plan for helping you, if you embrace it.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

 

Can abusers be “good” people?

Weird title I know. Before anyone gets triggered, it’s supposed to be ironic.

But this is about something I notice especially in the church, but I think it’s outside it too, we in the Church just have it more.

Why is abuse so prevalent yet unnoticed?

I’ve heard several stories of it going on with Christian parents, sometimes physical, but more often verbal or emotional, and it slips by, or worse, the church encourages it.

And as a young teen, it began to puzzle me how with my own father, the people around him thought he was a good guy.

His pastor thought his heart was very for the Lord, mistaking guilt addiction for a strong conscience and self deprecation for a penitent attitude.

People would see him kneel in worship and say he looked so devoted. Not knowing that a lot of the time, he was either thinking very depressing thoughts about what kind of a sinner he was (and that is not worship, by the way, though it can be part of it, but it should be leading you back to appreciating how good God is) or he was judging the church of less committed/less humble people.

I knew all this, but I doubted my own thoughts.

Also, I had the conundrum of knowing my dad was a good businessman, tried to be very fair to his customers. He taught his employees a good work ethic.

He was a good man in other ways (still is, I guess) loyal to his country, committed to honesty and fairness in the legal system.

He didn’t drink a lot, or smoke, or do drugs, he provided for us. He spent money he didn’t need to, and didn’t like to share his snacks, but not to the point of poverty.

All this to say, from the outside, my dad looks like an exceptional citizen. Better than most. And a good Christian.

It’s not unique to my family. As I said, I hear similar stuff, my therapist’s abusive father was a pastor… you’d be surprised (I hope) at how common that is.

It’s the personality type, I think. The kind of men who are drawn to positions of leadership can easily become addicted to control and authority and their own way. They don’t start off intending to be abusive, but they have a weak character and the pressure gets to them, they lack the maturity to recognize the bad behavior, so they use their position and biblical knowledge to justify it.

I’m sure there’s articles out there about this oddity, but I’m just going to give my perspective on it (if it lines up with research, it says more for my perception, right?)

There’s two reasons for it, though I think at the core, they are the same reason.

  1. Mental/psychological

The problem with abusers is they’ve usually been abused. Or they have some weakness that makes them unable to recognize destructive behavior, or they don’t care. Most is the first one.

When you’ve been abused, it feels normal to you. It’s hardwired into your mind. Even if it made you furious, the biblical sounding quote holds true

“Good begets good; evil begets evil;” (Paul Auster).

Evil leads to more evil. You do it because it was done to you. But no one wants to feel they were as bad as their parents. So, they come up with reasons it was okay.

My grandfather once told my dad, not that long ago, that he treated him badly partly because he didn’t know what to do, and partly because “you were kind of an a—h—”

Which still hurt my dad after 50+ years,

My dad told me the same thing. He told me he didn’t know what else to do because I just wouldn’t listen otherwise.

I’ve heard the same words come out of my mouth, I am now trying to break that habit.

It’s so, so easy to convince yourself it’s not as bad as all that. They’re not a bad person. Or you aren’t.

Abusers don’t know any other way to handle people, and even if they’ve seen it demonstrated by friends or movies or books, they often are blind to how they can apply it to themselves.

Yet, they have some awareness that what they do is wrong. My dad used to periodically apologize for it, promise to do better, to never do it again. To be more loving and considerate of my needs.

One time, the last time, was right before he left. He’d come back after his pastor so unwisely counseled him to do so, and brought us flowers and candy and cupcakes. IT was mockery, my sisters and I agreed, because I used to express how my love language (it’s a style of relating described in a book series by Gary Chapman, popular in the Christian culture in America, if you don’t know) was Receiving Gifts. I had hoped my dad would try to love me better by doing it, but he never did, except once in a very long while he’d get us a movie, not me specifically though. He got me presents to make fun of me a couple of times. Fried worms, pimple/acne soap, that kind of thing. (IF you think that sound cruel, it was.)

My dad actively showed his contempt for everything about me, so these gestures meant nothing, only rubbed it in. We didn’t touch the stuff, I tore up a note he left and threw it away.

So, when the apology came, along with a fake smile and penitent look, I didn’t even look him in the eye and said I wold not talk to him, he still told me anyway, to my chagrin. My sister was there, and refused to talk to him, with more success. It was a reminder how little my comfort mattered, or my acceptance.

My dad basically gave up on me ever accepting his behavior, made it the same as rejecting him, and excused all his abuse on those grounds. It was my fault for not being a better daughter, was his line of thinking. And sometimes almost exactly what he would tell me.

This is how abusers think. Otherwise, most of them, at least the Christians or otherwise moral ones, would be too horrified at themselves to live with themselves.

My dad also suffers from bipolar depression. Or did, he does not really anymore. He went off his medication, and actually got better. But the things that cause depression, he never learned to deal with properly. My dad does not have manic, uncontrollable mood swings like you hear about, instead he has a tenancy to dwell on the negative, to lose his temper quickly, and to feel guilty and low about it afterward, instead of seeking help and to change by changing his attitude, he simply tries to stop himself, that never works.

But he’s trying so hard, he has to have an excuse for why it doesn’t work, rather than it just being a hopeless case, no one wants to fee hopeless. No one is hopeless, really, but people who will not allow for God’s grace will end up stuck in a rut they cannot leave.

So, the excuse is, it’s our fault, and abuse is justified.

Abuse is not about hating you family, at first. C. S. Lewis observed that once you mistreat someone, you begin to hate them. The author of “The Enchanted April” also observed that you can dislike someone after you’ve deceived them. The feeling of guilt gets tied to your idea of the person, and you dislike them to avoid disliking yourself, or along with disliking yourself. This was even in the Peabody and Sherman movie.

An abuser hates the person they abuse after awhile because they know, deep down, that they are wrong.

A revelation for me was realizing how right I was fro years that I was really not th eone to blame for the situation. I had never dreamed my father would lie to himself so effectively.

This brings me to the second reason:

2. Spiritual/human nature.

We can make all the theories of mental psychosis we wish, but they all are just fancy ways to disguise to ourselves that human beings are deeply flawed, born sinners, and cannot be good. Even our good has so much selfishness, pride, and fear mixed into it that it would not be called pure good by any honest critic.

Pure good, some say, does not exist. Those people do not believe in God. They deny that the evidence that we feel there should be a pure good proves it must exist, for if all we had was mixed, it would be all we would know to expect.

Every child who is shocked at its parents for doing something wrong for the first time is completely justified, we all know we ought to have been perfect. That is why parents get so ashamed and often angry at their kids for calling them out (and yes, you can guess I was that kind of child.)

Really, people mock naivete and it is foolish to expect people to always be good, but it is not unreasonable to think they should be.

Abusers fall into an ugly place on that scale. They must not be found out, for their whole world would crumble. They are not naturally good. They cannot seem to help but be abusive. Even if they could, their fallen nature makes it too tempting not to try, and they can play off others weaknesses to get away with it.

My dad and I both have perceptive skills that go above average. We see things about people they don’t see about themselves. In my case, it makes me an empath. I have chosen to try to use this gift to help others.

In my dad’s case, it made him a nightmare of emotional abuse. Able to read people’s weaknesses and their emotions easily, say just the right thing to throw them off, and yet, enough of it was true to make you wonder if the problem was with you.

I found out there’s a word for one of his tactics: Gaslighting.

He’d deny saying and doing cruel things, say I was just overly sensitive, or I was trying to make him out to be worse than he was, I had this image of him.

I think he really believed it while he was saying it, yet he’d confess at other times to mistreatment.

Still, he was right when he’d say I have self worth issues (I wonder why) and anger and mistrust of him. He was not wholly unaware of what we felt.

Which makes it worse, really.

But human nature is to be easily corruptible.

One last way my dad would appear to be a better person, that I think is commonly why this does not get exposed.

There were times I would stand up to him, boldly, angrily, and tell him off, and he’d listen. Be too surprised to stop me; or, I think, recognizing I was for the moment, out of reach. Perhaps, a part of it is he knew he was wrong, deep down.

The last time this happened was several months before the blow up that led to moving out. I told him he could not threaten me with violence anymore, that he had hit me once, and that was unacceptable, and threatening me again was wrong.

he didn’t disagree. He redirected the conversation, eventually I told him to stop trying to “help” (read: control) me, and then, in a final offer of peace, I asked him to pray about it all and consider what God told him.

I knew soon what happened, we were watching a movie and I commented on one of the characters, and my dad said in a defeated, woebegone voice “maybe his daughter doesn’t want him to help her anymore.” I knew immediately he had not done what I asked, and would not do it. he was determined to take what I said in the worst possible way.

I knew also that more anger would follow that, now that he had dismissed all I said. So I was not surprised when it melted down after the family got back from vacation.

Sadly, my sister had made what seemed like headway on the vacation. Having some really honest conversations, telling my dad to stop doing what he was doing, and how they really felt. It looked like he might change, but he acted the same toward me after getting home, and then within the next week, things got crazy.

It had gotten, I suppose, too close to home for him. he felt his glass house was cracking.

And, here I am.

But trying to understand how an otherwise good man coudl be so cruel, even evil, to his own family has been a hard task for me. One my therapist is assisting with.

Yet, as MHA has noted, being a hero in your profession does not make you a hero with your family, or anyone outside your comfort zone of control.

BNHA Endeavor Wallpapers - Top Free BNHA Endeavor Backgrounds ...

And Miraculous Ladybug has shown how a man can convince himself his end means justified every abuse and exploitation of what should not be exploited.

Hawkmoth ヽ(´ー`)┌ | Chat noir

Anyway, I hope this post has been interesting for you, since it ran a little long, and until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why did I choose Therapy?

I was looking at some posts and videos about therapy today, just to see if other people are sharing my experiences.

I found some surprisingly negative stuff, people saying therapy is for people who can’t face reality, yada yada.

Well, a lot of people have written articles debunking therapy myths, so I can’t add anything new, but I’d like to share why I chose Therapy.

  1. it was not because my depression and anxiety are so debilitating I cannot function.

I can sleep, eat, and work, I don’t feel bad all the time. The feelings are not usually very strong when I do, more of a nagging “something isn’t right” kind of feeling.

The reason I decided to seek therapy despite that is A. I didn’t want it to turn into that because I ignored the problem, and B. I don’t want to act in ways that will hurt the people around me.

With abuse and trauma and neglect, the problem is all you’ve seen demonstrated is the wrong way to handle stuff, therapy cannot replace good parents, but your therapists ideally is showing you a healthier way to listen and talk about feelings and problems, and helping you find what will work for you. In place of being shown it as a child, you can choose to learn it as an adult.

2. I didn’t want a pity party.

What drew me to therapy versus just some kind of support group sort of thing was I wanted to be able to learn and apply for myself so I don’t end up dependent on other people for everything in my life. My therapist acknowledges my life was hard, but doesn’t linger on how that makes me a victim, I’d hate that.

3. I ran out of options

The thing is, therapy is not always necessary. A strong friend group, family, and community can help you the same way.

The problem is, if you need therapy, that’s a  good sign you don’t have any of those things.

That was the case for me, I have loving family members, but not ones who are very emotionally healthy and strong in the areas I need to grow in.

I have friends, but few I can really talk to, I end up encouraging them, more than they contribute to me. Also, people don’t want to talk about abuse, it scares them.

My community was somewhat supportive, but not on an intimate level where I could talk things out and figure out how to move on.

I’ve sought these things for years, and not had as much success as I could wish, so rather than wait until I do, Therapy seemed the wiser choice. Give me some breathing room to build better relationships.

Of course, it can be frustrating not to have those things, but to not have them should not be the end of emotional healing and growth.

4. Therapy is a way to acknowledge my need for help.

It’s dangerous to try to handle everything yourself, but I am tempted to do it. Therapy is a commitment that will keep me from being able to do that, even if I wanted to. It also keeps me talking to my family about my struggles because they are aware of what I’m doing.

5. Therapy is not an escape from the hard stuff.

I did not want to ignore what happened by putting a band-aid on it. Therapy does not do that. The idea is to face it with the attitude that it does not define you, and you can keep it that way by developing healthier habits.

A little look at what this is for me:

A lot of the process of healing is something I’ve been working on for years. So, my therapist knows she is not talking to a novice. So far she focuses on what I need to be encouraged to keep doing it. And to not give up on thinking it can get better, which was what I was tempted to do, and still am sometimes.

I lived in the ad situation for years, it affected me in ways I’ll still be discovering for years, and that’s okay. Because good emotional health does not depend on knowing every thing that bothered you ever before you can be good again. It depends on knowing how to treat it when something comes up.

Also, having issues does not mean you live out of them, as I’ve said before.

One of my defining issues for years has been “It’s my fault”, my dad used to blame me for literally everything that upset him about our family.

My therapist says he was all the more angry at me because I refused to accept his blame. My dad upbraided me for “fighting him” which meant all I resisted and argued and called him out on over the years. he didn’t break me. But he tried, and just knowing he tried was traumatic.

Perhaps some of you know what I’m talking about. Maybe the person didn’t go all the way with a threat, or an attack, or a bad decision, but just that they did part of the way was scary, and you didn’t know if they’d go further.

The more my dad tried to scare me, the more I fought it.

There’s a quote I found about depression that goes like this:

Quotes about Clinical Depression (42 quotes)

That’s what it is like for me. I was holding my family together by sheer enduracne, it felt like, until I just couldn’t do it any more. I ignored my suffering. Or I faced it alone with God because I had no one to talk to.

I came a lot further because of God, but turning to God can become a way of avoiding it, not because God does not help, but because you can stop actually seeking his help in your attempt to use that to justify not needing anyone else. God’s help may be in other people.

6. I thought God told me to.

Avoiding therapy was stressing me out more than my other problems were, now at least that is off my plate.

I did not want to need help, but the thing is, I also do not want to live my life by that desire. The one to be stronger than other people just to make it easier for myself. Being smart has always made college classes easy for me, yet in classes I do struggle in, the worst of it the people who have an easy time and have no pity for those who don’t.

I’m the classmate people ask questions of and what the homework is, because I don’t mind telling them. Would you ask the person who acts like they are better than you for knowing?

Even if I stumbled through without therapy, I don’t want to be the type to judge people for needing it. I have had a weakness for being afraid of people who are broken, partly because I lived with it for so long, but I want to have compassion for them and be able to help them.

(Note: I know someone who thinks that handling things on their own has always gotten them through life just fine, but this same person rarely if ever confronts people about what they don’t like, shares their feelings, admits to needing help, or is able to sympathize with other people. They are not a bad person, they are a kind person in many ways, but you just can’t talk to them about anything really deep and expect understanding. So it can be deceptive to assume you are fine just because you feel fine, maybe you aren’t miserable, but your life could be lacking so much meaning in it because you settled for barely getting by on your own.)

7. Therapy will, I hope, make me a better person.

My hope is to be a better sister, daughter, wife, friend, and christian for gong through the hard steps of therapy now and not later.

In all honesty, it can feel like it’s only making it worse. After a session I feel like my insides got poked with a stick on all the raw spots. I can feel off for days afterward.

But even with physical sickness, treatment can make you feel worse.

I used this analogy with my sisters (two of us have or have had braces)

Therapy is like getting braces.

Your teeth may be really messed up, many teeth problems can cause serous issues later in life if left unchecked, like breathing problems, infection, or bone damage from incorrect chewing. Teeth can grow in on themselves and be very painful.

But you’ve had them that way your whole life, since they grew in, you’ve grown up biting and sleeping the way you do, you’re used to how it looks. It’s just your teeth.

So, when your parents make you get braces, it feels awful. It’s painful for the first few weeks, and then with each new tightening, the pain is fresh all over again.

If you’re like me, you have a bunch of appliances, it gets stressful changing the new methods time after time, just when you got used to it.

And then, finally, you have that perfect smile you always wanted, the work is over right, only took 2 and half years…

Metal Braces Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

but, then you have a retainer, or your teeth will go back into their old habits.

49024 Orthodontist | What Happens If I Don't Wear My Retainer?

You see how it’s the perfect metaphor?

Teeth are as stubborn as thought and behavioral patterns, if you aren’t careful, they get out of hand fast. They are hard to correct, and without diligent care, braces can get pretty gross and give you cavities.

Therapy is like braces, it hurts, every session can feel like a new tightening, until you get used to it. even then, what if a new element is introduced later that starts the pain up all over. Even if in reality it’s only a couple years, at the beginning, that seems like forever.

And afterward, you know it won’t stay fixed without help. You have to “retain” what you learned in therapy in order to maintain a healthy  life.

Maybe not getting braces won’t be fatal (it can be with extreme dental problems) but it will leave you in a lot worse shape than if you just bite the bullet for a couple years.

My dad, ever the example of what not to do, did not wear his retainer or keep gong ot the dentist, and his teeth got crooked again and he ended up with a painful infection, had to get most of them replaced.

And you may not be so lucky with emotional and behavioral problems.

My dad almost preferred not having the real thing, it can be easier that way, dentures and fake teeth don’t rot, right?

Just so superficial relationships with people who won’t challenge you may last 20 years, but never be anything really valuable.

I like to keep my real teeth just like I’d like to feel my own feelings with really deep relationships. So, I’ll take the harder but healthier method.

Therapy does not get me out of hard work, it just keeps me form blowing it out of proportion. It keeps things in their proper place, much like braces do.

That’s what I have for you today, I hope if some of  you were wondering about what therapy is like, this answered your questions. This is just my experience of 4 sessions, so I’m barely getting started and not all therapy is the same, but it’s what I have available.

Until next time–Natasha.

Why Miraculous Ladybug is actually brilliant (unironically).

Well, when in Quarantine, start binging new shows.

One more episode, please?: Why we can't stop binge-watching on ...

Why We LOVE Binge Watching And What It Does To Your BRAIN - YouTube

I’m always behind the latest fads, either because I don’t really care what everyone is watching, or because I don’t have NetFlix (isn’t that really the same thing?)

So, though I’ve heard about Miraculous Ladybug for quite a while, I never though it was worth checking out, but my sister finally convinced me it was kind of interesting, and we started watching, and it was way better than either of us thought.

The show has a genius concept, it allows for all the plot convinces you could want to keep anything from having consequences, and the only time it breaks the suspension of disbelief is when you can’t understand why no one knows the true identity of the heroes and villains.

I am only on season 2, so I don’t know all of what happens, but I thought I’d talk about what makes the show intriguing for a 21 year old like me to watch.

I am not venturing to say how it will end, so this is just about the hook of it, not where I think they are gong, I can’t really predict it.

But the show’s hook lies in two very interesting and rarely used concepts that render it almost impossible not to find intriguing.

The first is the villains:

MIRACULOUS | 🦋 HAWK MOTH - Transformation 🦋 | Tales of Ladybug ...

Miraculous Ladybug villains are mostly innocent people being controlled by the real villain in the shadow. HawkMoth (weird name I know, get used to it) possesses something called a Quami (or Kwami?) It’s like a genie that can only grant a specific kind of wish, but his allows him to grant people superpowers, but at the price of controlling them through their negative emotions.

The person never remembers what they did afterward, indicating that brain function is hindered by the process, but they are still left with enough willpower to purse their own twisted desires, but they also have to do what HawkMoth wants. It’s kind of weird.

But what makes it genius is the writers neatly escape any need for the audience to feel conflicted about the villains. We both pity them and know that they are doing what is wrong, but their wrong doing does not stop us from rooting for them to get better, because the whole point is they need to be rescued from themselves.

You skip all the debate over if they redeemable or not, because the whole point is that they have to be. Yet the emotions they show are ugly and ones we recognize in ourselves, just blown way out of proportion.

It’s so perfectly simple that it feels like the writers are cheating, but it’s hard to really complain because it would be awful to have so many people really just be evil on purpose. (Kind of MHA’s problem, but MHA solves it by equating super villains to regular criminals int he world, so it’s not that special to run into them).

Also the show gives Ladybug the power to undo any an all damage, from evilized (their word not mine) victims to broken buildings and time rifts, which is also genius, because they get to have death defying, surprisingly well animated fight scenes that can destroy a lot, put a whole city underwater, and break priceless objects, and none of it has lasting consequences because the in universe rule expressly is that Ladybug’s power is to restore it all. The characters themselves even comment on it, and save time worrying about property damage.

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But there remain stakes, because we are never told that people cannot die, one of the main issues of the plot is that someone wants to be able to control life and death, which suggests even Ladybug’s power is limited, in a sense.

This is really just me complimenting the authors on how genius it is to write this way, it’s like getting all the pros and none of the cons. I’m just impressed, because as an author, dodging these bullets often makes me jump through a lot of hoops and make internal logic in my stories, which I try to keep child friendly because those are my favorite books anyway.

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Aside from how the action and opposition is written in general, there is HawkMoth, who is also a rather uniquely written villain, basically Mr. Freeze from Batman and Robin, but with more of heart, and a son…yeah…well, later.

The other brilliant but annoying thing is the Shipping.

There’s the most bizarre love square between the main heroes and their secret identities. It’s hard to follow, and messes with your head, but it’s cure enough that you still enjoy it.

Marionette (I hope I spelled that right) and Adrian have some good moments as friends, despite her weird stalker-ish tenancies (at 14, I doubt I would have been that much more mature though) and his insecurities.

As Ladybug and Chat Noir they have a reversed dynamic, but that’s what makes it interesting.

One feels that if they ever blended their two lives together, they would end up realizing they both liked each other the whole time.

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i have to say, and this is of shows in general, that kids shows tend to portray a “crush” as much more like real love.

A crush is obsessive, but it’s rarely as mature as what shows do with it. The kids just want to hang out and talk, and flirt, and kiss, maybe, but when it comes to understanding each other deeply, they haven’t learned that yet, unless maybe they were old friends who developed feelings for each other.

Most 12-14 year old’s idea of depth is talking like a Romance Novel, and fahm, that’s not what real people sound like when they share their feelings.

I’ve had a crush on a guy for almost 4 years now, but we’re also friends, and if he talked to me like that, I’d laugh, I could never take it seriously, nor would I talk like that… I’d laugh at myself.

By contrast, kids shows depict the kids are far more mature than kids their age are, I get why, it’s a better example, but it’s impossible for kids to live up to it, you haven’t had enough experience at 10 to know what it’s like to be mature in your romantic interests (at leas I hope not).

And yes, I’ve never dated, but my idea of what men are like, what relationships re like, had changed a lot over time, and I’m glad it had. I’ll never be fully prepared for marriage, but I’d like to at least not be totally delusional about it. (Is that possible?)

So, I am not criticizing ML for this, because I think it’s the best they can do, showing kids actual crushes does not make for good romance writing. Honestly, adult shows are way worse about relationships.

While kids shows have been somewhat honest, in my experience, that people have issues and that is what causes fights, and you have to forgive them and be more considerate, the average adult show just makes it about sex and flirting and high action scenes, if you’re into that kind. It has very little to do with the real part of relationships that requires learning to get along.

It’s sad when we’r e more honest to kids than to adults, but there it is. I hope the kids learn from it.

That’s also why I believe young adults like me are drawn to the good kids shows, we want to hear more than just sex get talked about, we want to see people really trying to understand each other, because we’re old enough now to see how rare that is, while the target audience often isn’t.

But then, children’s stories have always been the way adults choose to express to each other the things they really want to say, without having to dress it up in adult language and situations that usually only serve to cloud the truth.

Per example:

You can portray someone’s damage from their past and their insecurity by having them drink a lot, or sleep around, in an adult’s show. But then you have to talk also about if alcohol is a bad or acceptable way to deal with, is sleeping around wrong, or is it normal? Ect.

Contrast that to a kids show, which can make the same point, but use something much more obvious, like the kids yelling at each other, or trying about not having friends, or in this case, getting turned evil and taking it out on other people in destructive ways that are literally destructive, and you show it, and skip the debate about whether those ways were acceptable or not, of course they weren’t.

What’s clear in the kids show is that the reason behind it was bad, even if what thy were dong wasn’t bad to being with, it becomes bad when done for that reason.

Like when the artist stops trying to use their heart to praise people, an uses it to hurt them instead.

When giving people ice cream to celebrate love becomes punishing them by freezing them if they aren’t showing enough love.

That’s some in depth stuff that adults can appreciate, but it’s also clear enough for kids to follow.

No debate, the message is made apparent.

That, to me, is the reason kids shows are better. Adult shows often don’t make any real point at all, and you wonder why they bothered writing the story int he first place. Do you ever tell someone something without a reason for it, even if it was only to be funny?

So, that the genius of Miraculous Ladybug, it creates a vehicle for it’s plot that evade a lot of the roadblocks most shows have to deal with.

It’s flaw is often not exploring its own great ideas in depth, even at  a level kids would understand. It’s getting a little better with time, but a lot of creativity goes to waste.

However, the fans can do that part themselves if they wish, maybe I will in a futre post, for now, I just tip my hat to their creativity.

Until next time–Natasha

And if you want to check our some of my other writing, I have stuff on both WattPad and Amazon Kindle under Natasha Queen. I am also working on a longer book in a different genre, so I’ll be updating you on that too.

https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj (cover art by my sister)

Arrival at UA by worldwalkerdj