We are under a Winter Weather Advisory in my area of the world. We are experiencing very low temperatures and even lower windchill temps–as low as minus teens and twenties. Soon high winds will blow in and we will get several inches of snow. We won’t get as much as areas along Lake Michigan, who are expecting more than a foot of snow, but we could get enough to make life interesting. EJ backed an emergency kit in case he gets stranded along the road on his way home from work tonight.
The birds are really flocking to the feeders, perhaps doing their own winter storm preparations. Because of this, I made sure to fill the feeders this morning so the birds would have plenty to eat. I didn’t wear gloves because they were too bulky and I had to be able to open the feeders. I thought I’d be super quick, out and in again before I got too cold. I was wrong. I was out for no more than five minutes–maybe less–but in that time the cold made my hands hurt. When I got back inside, EJ warmed my aching hands with his warm ones.
Later EJ helped me bring in the day’s supply of firewood. With both of us working, we finished quickly before we got too cold. He also lent me a pair of his heavy work glove mittens so I didn’t have to wear my thinner work gloves.
Needless to say, I did not take Danny for his walk. It’s too cold for (wo)man or beast. When Danny wanted outside, I set our digital timer for ten minutes so he would not stay too long in the cold.
Our digital timer is very new; we only bought it a week or so ago. The first time it went off, it was scary(ish) because it is the exact rhythm of the Master’s drumbeat on the science fiction series Doctor Who. The Master is a Time Lord like the Doctor, but he is an evil psychopath who takes over the world. All his life he hears a constant drumbeat in his head and he uses the sound to telepathically cause the world to trust him. Here is a link to the rhythm of the drumming and here is a link to a segment of the episode that features the Master. Our timer goes beep-beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep-beep. Scary.
Doctor Who has a way of making common things scary. Like stone angels. And silence. And tally marks. And shadows. And scarecrows. And….now even digital timers.
I love science fiction and fantasy stories. I know people who hate it. I even know people who think that a person cannot love science fiction and fantasy and still be a good Christian. I think it’s perfectly fine that people are different, no one is the same, people have different likes and dislikes. I also think that not every story–in any genre–is worth reading or watching. However, I think a person can have different tastes and still love God.
I love science fiction and fantasy because I think deeply and complexly and metaphorically and these types of stories are overflowing with complex metaphors about life. I see them as almost parables. For example, fantasy stories, in my opinion, are not merely about wicked queens and evil witches and sorcerers. They are not merely about dragons, enchantments, heroic princes and beautiful princesses. They are about good and evil, about light and darkness, about recognizing and fighting evil, about being brave and doing what is right even if you face a powerful enemy and are scared.
And science fiction stories aren’t merely about technology. They are very often about exploring who we are and who we are becoming. They are about soullessness vs humanity. Many times they are about faith. For example, Star Wars had a lot to do with choosing good when tempted with evil and trusting in a higher power (faith). The original Star Trek series had several episodes about emotional abuse. The Matrix was about faith and choosing truth rather than comfortable lies. The Stargate SG-1 series was about breaking free from false gods. Battlestar Galactica was much too sexy, but explored faith and the question of “What if the evil robots were more human than the humans? What if they understood God’s love and plan more than humans?” And Doctor Who is drawn to humans because even though they often act stupidly, he also finds them fascinating in their courage and uniqueness. To him, people are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and they awe him.
I suppose that even horror stories can be deeply metaphoric–although horror stories have always scared me and I don’t watch them. (Of course, the line between Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror can sometimes get blurred.) Some of my family used to watch the B-grade horror movies when I was growing up and they scared me because those threatened by monsters never seemed able to escape. The woman either stumbled and fell, the car wouldn’t start, the road was blocked, the doors to the spooky mansion always slammed shut and locked. Also, modern horror movies tend to be too gory.
I do think monsters exist. Not walking mummies or Frankenstein monsters or the creatures from the swamps, but people who have lost their humanity and who abuse others.
And that is a good segue into my next topic.
I am going to very deliberately not write about JJ for a while because he is dealing with a Situation. Without going into details, he started sensing some Red Flags about the girl he met a month ago. It made him uneasy so he told her he wanted to slow things down. She refused and pressed harder so he ended the relationship. Since then she has been…well, it’s called Hoovering. Hoovering is a tactic of emotional abuse. So is ignoring personal boundaries. When a person refuses to accept that “no” means “no,” he or she is ignoring personal boundaries.
Because the girl has been reading this blog, I will not write about JJ or her because I don’t want to fuel a thirst for information. However, I will occasionally write about emotional abuse in general. It’s something that I have been contemplating writing about for a long time because I have been working to understand and recover from the emotional abuse in my family for years. Since emotional abuse is on the rise in the world, I think it’s important to understand. It’s important to learn about this abuse so you can recognize it, so you avoid it, so you can escape it, and perhaps even so you can stop doing it.
Emotional Abusers are what psychologists call “Cluster B disorders.” They include antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic disorders. Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths fall within these disorders. Emotional Abusers are often referred to as Emotional Vampires because they feed off their victims’ strengths and weaknesses and destroy them in the process. I will describe the abuse in this post as a Vampire story.
I have read theories that people become Emotional Vampires because they have trauma in their past (abused, not nurtured, abandoned, rejected, etc) that caused unmet needs and unresolved pain. It causes them to have a great emptiness and a deep hunger for love, acceptance, and nurturing. It is not their fault that they were abused, wounded, damaged–anymore than it was the fault of the unfortunate victim who was bitten by a Vampire in the stories. However, a person is responsible for his own actions and a person is responsible for the pain he inflicts on others.
I think the reason that Emotional Vampires target those who are deeply empathetic, compassionate, and forgiving is that these people have exactly what the Vampires are hungry for. The problem is that no human can ever give them the love and acceptance that they crave. Their emptiness is too immense, too consuming for any person to fill. It is sad, really. However, if a person does not overcome the damage, I think he loses his humanity. He begins to care only about himself, he lies and accuses, he sucks the life from people, he destroys.
Vampires tend to feed off victims’ strengths and weaknesses and they destroy their spirit and identities. When the victim is consumed, the Vampire moves on to another victim. However, just like in the stories, Vampires also don’t like their victims to escape.
Many people counsel victims to “love and forgive” an unrepentant abuser, meaning that they should be sort of all sweetness and niceness, just let things go, and never confront them. But it’s not real love to enable the abuser to continue his evil. It’s not love to counsel a victim to try harder to please the abuser and to “forgive him even if he doesn’t say he’s sorry.” It’s evil. Actually, the more a victim tries to satisfy an unrepentant Vampire, the more the Vampire will feed off him. Vampires are so hungry they will get their needs met no matter how much they damage others. Most of the abuse sites say that emotional abusers are so deceptive and manipulative that if you find yourself to be a target of one, the only thing you can so is RUN! Don’t have contact.
The scary thing is that everyone has the potential to become a Vampire. It’s easy to try to get unmet needs satisfied by taking from others. And those who have been wounded by a Vampire can become so empty that they become a Vampire who preys on others.
It’s interesting that in the stories, Vampires do not see their reflections in mirrors. It’s true for Emotional Vampires in real life too. They destroy with lies and deception but they do not acknowledge any problem within themselves. They refuse to see or acknowledge wrong-doing. They refuse to repent. As the Bible says, “For whoever hears the Word but doesn’t do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, who looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:23-24)
A person can choose not to become a Vampire or his prey by having the courage to look at himself in the mirror. All the abuse sites I have read said that to be free, a person must face the truth. He must face the truth about the abuse and the abuser. He must face the truth about the damage done to him as well as the damage he has done to others. He must be willing to see both the strength and beauty of himself as well as the weaknesses and ugliness. He also must stop looking to others to fill his need and learn to accept himself. And, most of all, he must look to God. I think only God is big enough and strong enough to fill the empty hunger. The Bible is true: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ”
I know this all sounds like unbelievable fiction. But, then, in the stories, no one ever believed that there were Vampires and monsters either.
Don’t believe me about this form of abuse? Do your own research. You can read more about Emotional Abuse in the links I’ve posted along the left side of my blog. Also, I’ve written a bit about my thoughts and story in the About Me tab at the top of my blog.
Such a true statement that we are counseled to love and forgive. True love is based on honesty not falsehoods or lies. Allowing any kind of abuse is harmful for both parties. The only way to break the cycle is to stop. Even the Bible mentions the sins of the fathers passing down. Its very scary to think of all the wrongs we may be spreading downward to our children no matter if you are the abused or the abuser.
I believe that many have lost their understanding of what love, repentance, and forgiveness, really is.
I love a Jewish teaching about this. Actually, it’s a very Biblical teaching that:
1. If we wrong someone, we are obligated under God to repent (which means to change) and go to the person and ask for forgiveness.
2. If someone wrongs us and repents, we are obligated to forgive them.
3. However, if someone wrongs us and refuses to repent, we are not to forgive him because to forgive an unrepentant person allows that person to continue doing wrong and to hurt people made in the image of God–and this includes us.
Of course, this does not mean that we are to be filled with hatred–although victims may struggle at times with intense emotions as they work on recovery.
I think that EVERYONE has faults, weaknesses, dysfunctions that they struggle with but we can minimize the damage when we are willing to pursue truth, and when we acknowledge and repent of our wrong doing, and when we forgive those who acknowledge and repent of their wrongdoing. However, I do not believe we are expected to tolerate or excuse abuse. Luke 17 says that if someone wrongs us we are to REBUKE him and forgive IF HE REPENTS. In fact, many times the Bible says that we are to stay away from those who do evil. One such place is 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
The website http://luke173ministries.org/ expands on this a bit.
Thank you Teri for all you have written about this topic, it is so very helpful for me in the situation I’m in right now and good to look back on my life when I was young. Please give JJ a very big hug from me. And he will always be my hero I’ll pray for him. Love you Sis ❤