Where to even begin today...
Well, here goes...I'll just dive right in.
Today I'm writing to perhaps a small interest group. But, it may be far larger than I imagine. And, for some reason, I think probably it is.
To the person I’m writing for today, you likely feel one of these three ways about yourself growing up:
1. “I grew up in a loving home. Maybe we didn't always overtly "show" our love, but it was always "there." We just "knew" it. I would call the bond "strong," and we would "always be there for one another when the going got tough." It's something I always just “knew.” “Love” never had to be stated or explicitly shown, but it was always implied. Sometimes I felt like I had to “walk on eggshells” because of someone’s temper and “you never wanted to make it worse,” but then that’s how every family is, isn’t it?”
2. “I grew up in a scary home. I never knew when the axe would fall. I had to stay vigilant so as not to be taken by surprise by what might happen. I felt mostly rejected, unloved, worthless, and helpless. I was to blame for a lot. It seemed like I could never do anything right. Sometimes I was punished for things I didn’t do, and a lot of times I had to take blame for things that didn’t even make sense. Things were done to me that I couldn’t talk about because no one believed me, or I was told or made to understand that to “tell” would be even worse than what I was enduring. And, so, life went on as usual and no one was ever the wiser. I could see that perhaps every family wasn’t like mine, but I couldn’t clarify what was right or what was wrong because so much in my family just didn’t make sense. Usually, I just figured it was really all my fault, anyway.”
3. “I grew up in a scary home. Things went on that I knew weren't right and that I didn’t understand. I saw one of my parents doing things to one of my siblings that scared me. I wasn’t usually treated that way, and I didn’t want to ever be treated that way, so I just tried to ignore it, stayed out of sight, and hoped it would go away. I learned to lie so that I never got caught in the crosshairs of being treated like that. I would do anything to keep from rocking the boat.”
Sweet, sweet Friend…I want you to know to every last molecule of your being: NONE of the aforementioned scenarios is okay before God Almighty. Not one of these “raisings” brings you out unscathed!
True love is never just implied and never shown. We all desperately want to be and feel loved. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) The Bible tells us the Truth: True love is SHOWN. Any way of being treated that leaves us questioning the treatment, making us feel dirty, or making us feel guilty or shamed is NOT TRUE LOVE! Anyone…ANYONE…who treats us in ANY way that makes us FEEL BAD afterward is NOT good for us to be around. PERIOD!
It is highly likely that if you grew up in a home where you “just knew you were loved” even though it was never “shown,” you grew up in an emotionally abusive home. You wanted so desperately to “know” you were loved, you made it up and believed it with all your heart. You had to in order to “survive.”
We should never be made to feel that we must “walk on eggshells” or “we’ll get it!” No one has the right to impose their personality on us in such a way that triggers a “fight or flight” feeling within us. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” This, Sweet Friend, is how we are to treat others AND it’s how others, especially Christians, are to treat one another.
What I want you to know today, Dear One, is that you might have grown up in a home that was less than loving. Some of you grew up in homes that were not even close to loving. And, this has affected you in a HUGE way. All of your thinking processes, the way you make decisions, even your inability to make good decisions, come from this bad treatment you endured and from not having the gift of having good behavior modeled for you.
You can’t help how you were raised. The GOOD NEWS is that you can change all of that and become strong and healthy! Through Christ Jesus and His example for us, we can all learn and model good, decent, and loving behavior.
There is one more very important thing you need to know if you grew up in a home like one of these I have given as examples. That is this: There is something called a “Black Sheep Family.” Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t! It’s very, very interesting.
In a “normal” type of family, if a person decides to go off and become a “Black Sheep,” (defined as: a member of a family or group who is regarded as a disgrace to them), it is generally thought that they "go off" and live a life that is in some way morally bad according to society in general. For a Christian family, this would specifically include going off and living in ways that are opposed to Christian values found in the Bible and as taught by Jesus/God. In other words, the Black Sheep no longer holds to the moral values of the family. To “come back into the good graces” of the family would mean you would ask for forgiveness and change your behavior.
In a “Black Sheep Family,” the morally “bad” behavior (the disgrace) is going on within the ranks of the entire family, but they believe an “illusion of the perfect family” must be maintained at all times and at all costs. Therefore, no APPEARANCE of moral wrongdoing by the family is allowed to be seen or known by others. So, what happens is that since the members of the family who have ALLOWED the abusive behavior TO CONTINUE feel that they cannot be “seen” as having “condoned” or in any way been “bad” themselves, they close ranks and re-victimize the victim through intimidation if he ever tries to bring attention to his abuse. The victim is “taught a lesson” and the family goes on as if nothing has ever happened. To make sure they maintain the illusion of the perfect family, the Black Sheep Family all work together to make certain the victim is made to “look crazy, be the “problem child,” etc., etc. They work quickly and fervently to do “damage control” and put out fires by any means possible if the abuse is ever brought to light in any way.
This is how people like Harvey Weinstein get away with sexual abuse for decades and decades! The “Black Sheep Family of Hollywood” is very loathe to accuse anyone within their ranks. So, anyone trying to bring attention to abuse they have suffered are cast themselves as “The Black Sheep” and they are victimized and shut down by any means possible. They then let the abuser carry on as usual.
Black Sheep families and groups “cannot” allow a victim to speak from a position of truth. It ruins their illusion of the perfect family. Remember: The victim is NOT a Black Sheep...not a disgrace. They are the moral one trying to shine a light on a wrong. WHOEVER allows a wrong to continue is a Black Sheep. Anyone in these families or groups who works to shut down the “right thing to do” is a Black Sheep...a disgrace.
You may have always been made to believe “it’s all your fault” because abusers have a desperate need to place blame somewhere other than on themselves. So, if you feel confused and nothing makes sense, it’s highly likely you have been blame-shifted by someone else all your life and…you need to be away from them!
So…is it possible that “they can all be wrong and you right?” YES! It is ABSOLUTELY possible that an entire family or group can be doing wrong and condoning wrong while you are trying to do the right thing.
I hope this makes sense to you if you have grown up in a home like the ones I’ve described. If you are trying to grow and change and undo damage that has been done to you TAKE HEART! God is on YOUR side and don’t let anyone get your eyes off Jesus and what He teaches. If you grew up in a “so-called” Christian home, but the things that go on in that home don’t line up with what you are taught in the Bible, the chances are very high you grew up in a “Black Sheep Family.”
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” The family or group who is crushing one of its own is wrong. If you are trying to speak out or speak up for the one being crushed, you are NOT wrong! And, remember: these Black Sheep “Families” can be not only entire families, but any group, organization, class, etc., which allows any type of abuse within it. I have even seen it in a Sunday School class at church. An abuser came in and the “authority” of the class (teacher, director, etc.) allowed the abuser’s behavior to continue. Those who speak up against the abuser's abuse are severely reprimanded and chastised...all for the sake of the "appearance of the class." So you either have to stay in the class and be a part of the abuse by watching the abuser abuse other members or you have to leave.
If you think you might be a victim of abuse of any type…whether physical, sexual, or emotional, please seek help. I have done research using the website: understandingnarcissists.com. It is extremely insightful. Our world is composed of people who are tainted by sin because of Satan. None of us is perfect. The Bible teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Beloved, know that there is always hope in Jesus. God loves you. Even if you feel there is no one who loves you, or ever loved you, always remember: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).
…THE BEST NEWS IN THE WORLD IS: “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). You ARE LOVED!!!