She Done Me Wrong   5 comments

When I last shared about Kimberly and me, I left an important point untouched.  Are there not certain responsibilities that are moral in nature?  Is my wife not required to be monogamous?  Is it ever right for me to hit her?  For the relationship to work (any relationship), do we not need some moral standards on which we can insist, a moral code of conduct?

Let me begin by saying that I believe all intentional acts are moral.  Everything we do and how we do it is affected by our faith, love, humility, and the like.  Even things we do with no apparent moral content are choices to do this and not something “better.”   So perhaps the question is rather: are some moral choices “beyond the pale,” so significant that the relationship cannot simply absorb the behavior and continue on more or less as it was but must be addressed and worked through.  To reorient the question in this way, however, moves it from a legal question of right and wrong and rather asks what will hurt or benefit our relationship.  Relationship becomes central, and law becomes its servant (as Jesus said).  Instead of saying, “You must stop this because it is against the law,” or even, “You must stop this because it hurts me,” we simply say, “When you do this it hurts me,” because if we force or manipulate them to change, it will undermine the genuineness of our connection.  For important relationships, this step is just the beginning of an ongoing discussion and a doorway into deeper mutual and self understanding, acceptance, and trust.  That is not to suggest I have no recourse if I am  being hurt, but if relationship is primary, the solution does not lie in controlling the other person.

I am ultimately not accountable for their choices, but for my own.  I am responsible to see that my own needs are met in a healthy way, whether my friend supports me or not.  My needs determine where I draw the boundary line in our relationship, and my friend’s needs determine where he draws the line.  If he cannot respect my boundaries, then I will  take measures to protect my boundaries because I must respect myself and my needs whether he does or not.  This is not a judgment of my friend’s inadequacies or of my inadequacies (as though he doesn’t care enough or I am too needy).  We may both be doing the best we can, but not have the capacity to make the relationship work.

This was the huge distinction between my (former) perspective and Kimberly’s.  I thought the only legitimate basis for boundaries was the law.  If you lie to me, you are wrong; you must stop it, end of story.  If you cheat me, you are wrong and must stop it.  If you hurt me,  you must stop it.  I would use my relationship to blackmail their compliance, communicating with my behavior, “If you want to feel good with me again, you must change.”  With this approach, determining who was at fault was fundamental to resolving relational conflict. 

Basing such boundaries on my own personal needs was just selfishness.  But when Kimberly did, I could very clearly see she was not selfish.  She cared very much for my needs, whether she could accomodate them or not, and this confused me.  Every selfish person I know subtly or blatantly shows disregard for my needs.  Kimberly was saying in essence, “I do not have the emotional resources to care for all my own needs and all yours as well.  If any of your needs go unmet, it is very unfortunate, and we will try to find the resources of support you need, but I can only give from what I have.  You cannot ask me to go into debt in order to pay off your debt.  I cannot ultimately take responsibility for your unmet needs.”

Of course, this was not one straightforward, simple talk we had.  We both agonized over the emotional turmoil that sprang from our conflicting needs.  Let me give an example that plagued us for years… in the next post.

 

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5 responses to “She Done Me Wrong

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  1. Yes, when one lies these actions are to be taken as “red flags” and the recipient of these lies should recognize there is a greater problem at hand. Know someone who says one thing, but then forgets they said the former and find they say the exact opposite thereafter. With recognition that this person is human also brings a question to my mind of their trustworthiness altogether. Not jumping to any conclusions from this juncture continue to interact with this individual as we always have, but I now have a new understanding of this person, their actions, and behaviors. Do not know this person any better than this. Could assume that this person has no idea that they are lying giving them the benefit of the doubt and consider they simply forgot what they said before, or they could possibly be mocking themselves. Have learned being patient, not reacting right off the bat, has shown truth always prevails in God’s timing and jumping to conclusions too soon can be more costly than waiting. Costly in the sense that God’s will may not occur in these imperfect, human relationships.

    Now for a more serious problem look at child molestors and a child experiencing these horrendous acts against them and know there is little a child can do when the abuse is occurring and the child fears and, or knows there is no one to run to. They think this through with their now not so innocent minds and realize the consequence for their standing up against these people, their actions could cost them their lives at the time. Instead they spend years living in fear except when shock, post traumatic stress disorder, denial, even grasping at hope that they can either avoid, remove the abuse, or it will just be stopped by God. It doesn’t leave,or is it stopped, and it gets progressively worse. The child tries desparately to return to the innocence of a child, forgetting the pain, agony, torment and just “be” a child, but cannot make this happen. Finds occasional times over the course of years where innocence takes over.

    Not trusting parents enough to protect them from violation, the child learns how to navigate this terrain on their own. The child looks at the parents as if they know what is transpiring within their own household, but does not have the strength, courage, or ability to do anything, but experience the abuse and tries to act as a normal child. The parent’s either know something is not right, or presume the child will grow out of it, and say the child is mentally disturbed, but never get beyond this point even when the child reaches adulthood and addresses this with one of the parents. Unrelated but witnessed, the child had seen a father who was one fuse short of explosion in his own turmoils, and the mother who was dependent on this man for their family’s survival. Life went on.

    Praise God for those who escape this wickedness, and for those who don’t, as well because God would use this to turn the sinners back to himself if the wicked so choose to repent. Does the sin committed against this child count as sacrifice, or are they considered martyrs if they are killed in this type scenario? For the person who survives as violated, they must learn how to live in addition to not allowing the emotional turmoil these violations placed upon this child have caused. They instead learn how to respond correctly to the violator until they are able to move on their own and find freedom from fear once the child reached adulthood and realized they could now defend themselves – a sort of freedom. Yet, also taught the victim how to guard their heart in one sense to the point not even true love could penetrate. How can anything be trusted when anyone, including the victim could be a violator? The child believes from their experience they are worthless and often times became victims again of other like situations too until they began to learn to trust God and follow His will out. The child now grown up has lost 2/3 of their life to this abuse. The abused hasn’t found a loving spouse, yet found themselves abandoned by the parent of their own child and is a single parent working for minimum wage not able to survive.

    God evidently heard the prayer of a child who prayed to make a pact with God that they would never do as was done to them, or worse to another, which, also enabled the child as an adult not to take vengence on the violators.. If only the child were as convinced God would give grace to the child not making them either be removed from the only love they knew at the time, or sacrifice their life for not having to lose the majority of their life on earth. God was not trusted enough during these years either…… Today, the adult removes the sin, is looking to God for who He is, hoping the reality of his promises will be found true.

  2. Very tragic and understanding this is the world we live in know it is hopeless without God. This being the core of a child’s upbringing she is surprised God allowed her to live because many either destroy themselves and, or others as the result in the end. Where was God in all of this? Watching Jesus on the cross. Some say He turned His face away from Jesus. Where do such children, adults go if, and when they die?

    She also remembers seeing a neighborhood family who witnessed to her the love of Jesus and she longed to have what they had and opened her heart for a moment to receive this though confusion and deception marched right alongside this new born child up, through adulthood. This child would see glimpses of God’s love and try to translate this to her familes relationship to God, but found hardness and confusion. They were laughing and smiling selfishly telling the younger child and sister she was too selfish to have anything….she tried to deny herself. She remembers watching “Cindarella” every year and relating to her.. Now the child understands there were at least two different types of “Christian” faith; one who worship a Holy God, but live any kind of life they’d desire, and one God who offered salvation through people who witnessed his love.. Part of this child’s heart was so broken she either couldn’t turn to Him, had NO strength, no willpower, and in addition to living in fear along with dealing with the realities of life were almost too much to bear so she developed ways to not give up. She tried to survive and was only able to “scratch” her way through. Recognizing she could be as wicked as the others even if though she didn’t do as they had done believed God would not accept her. She also committed sins she felt were beyond redemption, as well.

    Only this child remembers an opportunity to turn to God thereafter the abuse, but she could not trust who He was likely due to little understanding of who He is and feeling as if He did not rescue her when she needed Him most at the time which then lead to a mistrust of Him and everyone else. She also wanted her own life. As an adult these wolves would no longer be able to affect her, or at least as much as she had been when she could do nothing about it. Life transpired and was not always kind which drew this child’s heart to long to have good times all the time. Going to church, a refuge was found, but being very similar to the times innocence took this child’s life, mind over would last only for a time then back to reality and appeared as temporary. Only specs of truth and love appeared. Was this an escape, or make believe? Even as a child she heard some family members who heard that neighbors stated and believed that Jesus Christ is the son of God and to be saved you must believe, say they denied His gift. This child was amongst wolves. The child’s father was one fuse short of explosion and was very emotionally abusive to his children too. Why was this abused child given more eyes to see more grace than those who chose to deny Him? May have been due to her acceptance of the gift of life.

    All this grown child has now is to continually submit herself to a God of love no matter what the consequences are..

    There is more to this story……

  3. Relationships are built from this brokenness too…..my experience has shown in retrospect, I have either picked people to be involved with who were as broken, or worse than myself to find I could’ve ended up dead in the end with the worst, or had a I trusted of those who seemed to good to be true might not have ended up as a single mom today. Learning trust seems to be my quest. Take comfort too that God protected me from who knows what. It’s not all about me, but so it is. Again, I do my best to not dwell on the past, but my best to allow God to transform me. Not certain where He is outside of the bible many times, or where He is taking me, but I keep opening my door for Him to come in and “sup” with me.

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