“You are less than the dust of the earth! You should never have been born! You can’t do anything right! You shouldn’t even be here! You are just a worthless piece of junk!”
We’ve all heard these words before, either from the mouth of someone we love, or from a supposed friend or colleague. Abuse is all about power. The one in authority demeans, belittles, and intimidates, taking no consideration for the needs of the victim.
Just like a spider spinning a web around its next meal, perpetrators of abuse form a wall around their victims. They limit the person’s ability to access resources and connect with the outside world. Before long, the victim feels like a puppet, only able to act according to the perpetrator’s will and pleasure.
Abuse occurs in many forms: namely physical, emotional, intellectual, sexual, social, and financial. The most difficult form of abuse to identify and eradicate, however, is self-abuse. We hold ourselves hostage under the most cruel and inhumane treatment and end up feeling hopeless and worthless.
No matter the source, the traumatic effects of abuse wound our precious souls, leaving scars that may never heal. How can we tell if we are abusing ourselves or others? Is it possible to stop before it gets to the point of causing irreparable damage?
According to Hidden Hurt, Domestic Abuse Information, victims of abuse have low feelings of self-worth, tend to be emotionally or economically dependent upon others, experience depression, accept blame and guilt easily, are often socially isolated, tend to appear anxious or nervous, and have poor relationship skills.
When we recognize that we are experiencing these types of issues, we would do well to look at how we are treating ourselves. Are we self-critical, self-demeaning, and self-punishing? Do we make ourselves go through extreme measures when we make a mistake or say something we shouldn’t, even to the point of withholding forgiveness?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” we are at high risk of abusing ourselves and others. The expectations we have are so high that we beat ourselves up before we even start. Our relentlessness may spill over into our relationships with others as we hold them to unrealistically high standards rather than providing much needed encouragement for them to grow and blossom.
Our Savior said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matt. 19:19 KJV). When we accept our own personal weaknesses and imperfections and allow the Savior’s atoning sacrifice to be efficacious in our behalf, we feel his unconditional love for us and in turn, are able to love others.
©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved.