Monday, June 25, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Trusting God to Give Me Discernment in Dealing with Toxic People

Tuesday's Trust

Trusting God to Give Me


in Dealing with Toxic People

External validation about the reality of a traumatic experience in a safe and supportive context is a vital aspect of preventing and treating posttraumatic stress. However, the creation of such a context for recovery can become very complicated when the psychological needs of victims and the needs of their social network conflict.

~van der Kolk

When family members are too immature emotionally to deal with the devastation of a family member's child-loss, they may start to feel guilty that of all times that a person would most need them, they cannot be there for that family member in pain at all due to their own emotional deficits. But since they are emotionally immature, they also can't "contain" such difficult feelings of guilt and grapple with them as a healthy person would, so what do they do? They TURN on the victim, deciding to scapegoat them and blame them for their own devastation and loss thinking they must surely have done something to bring all this demise upon themselves! (As if we child-loss grievers have ANYTHING to do with this horrific devastation that has been dropped in our laps!!!)

Traumas provoke emotional reactions in proportion to the degree of threat and horror accompanying them. One way of dealing with these intense emotions is to look for scapegoats who can be held responsible for the tragic event. Family members and other sources of social support can be so horrified at being reminded of the fact that they, too, can be struck by tragedies beyond their control that they start shunning the victims and blame them for what has happened--a phenomenon that has been called "the second injury."

Many trauma survivors' testimonies indicate that not being supported by the people they counted on, and being blamed for bringing horrendous experiences upon themselves, have left deeper scars than the original trauma itself.



The ability to tolerate the plight of victims is, in part, a function of how well people have dealt w/their own misfortunes.

~van der Kolk

Here's a clue. I have always known certain family members have not faced the hurts from childhood. And because of that, I have known they often become their own worst enemies. But they can't tolerate my plight because they cannot have love and mercy and comfort on their own poor hurt selves. As one family member says, "We just take it" when there are hurtful things going on, in my opinion being so cruel to themselves in that way. And they think they do "just take it" ("it" being rage, emotional abuse, or disrespect) in order to "love." That's not love; that's cowardice and not trusting that the other parties involved can take the hurt, facing up to their own hurtful behavior, in order for relationships to heal. And yet certain family members just keep taking the pain and not speaking up, so the others don't even know they are causing any pain.

When they've confronted the reality of their own hurt and suffering and accepted their own pain, this translates into tolerance, even compassion for others.

~van der Kolk

There is no tolerance. There is no compassion. There is anger that I still think I have needs when these certain family members think I should be "done" by now.

When people deny the impact of their own personal trauma, pretend it wasn't so bad, and make excuses for their abusers, they're likely to identify with the aggressors...

~van der Kolk

Oh yes! These family members indeed have become aggressive and cruel. They can't even see their behavior as abusive. Or if at times, they catch themselves being cruel, they decide that's what I deserve anyway. Unbelievable, until I stop to see -- they made excuses for their abusers, -- they've white-washed it away, -- and now they identify with the aggressors. They have become the aggressors. It is really quite pitiful, so out of necessity,

I must simply avoid them, and pray for them. It truly hurts me that they are callous toward their own hurt hearts and souls, and yet in their doing so, they are becoming hard. And I cannot be around hard.

(These folks steeped in such denial) treat others with the same harshness with which they treat the wounded parts of themselves.

~van der Kolk

Yes, I have seen that ~ when they hurt me deeply, I see they have that same harsh attitude toward their own woundedness too. And so, how will it ever heal for them? It won't at this rate. So they just keep running...building bigger houses, buying newer cars, and going on exotic trips, but none of these things fill that gaping hole inside. No matter how big, how new, nor how exotic.

Identification with the aggressor makes it possible (for those in denial) to bypass empathy for themselves and secondarily for others.

~van der Kolk

Yes. And so to them, I do not exist, not as a vulnerable human being anyway who needs tenderness and compassion.. Or if I do, it seems it is only for them to berate, chastise, control, manipulate, and pull power plays on. Things people do when they're in high school. Surely not in your more "mature" years. But they do. It seems they can only relate to me through manipulations, criticisms, and many other power plays.

Thank You Father. You have exposed the underbelly of the ugly disease. At the very least, I know better how to pray for them...

Picture, thanks to Google Images


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