Sunday, October 4, 2015

Addressing Antisocial Behavior due to Attachment Disorder

Things I would tell a foster parent:

1. The problems this person has are not your fault.

2. This is a tough job, and that's precisely why you are called to it.

3. Even if you have to eventually draw a line in the sand to protect yourself and other family members, always convey love to the individual, and first give it all you've got.

4. Take breaks to protect yourself.

5. It's going to get bad before it gets better.

6. Getting better takes many years and may never be as good as you had hoped it would be.

7. There is hope.

8. Don't be another person who gives up on this individual.

9. You can be the difference for this person.

10. This person is acting this way because he has been to some very dark places.

11. Praise him for surviving.

12. Let him rise to the challenge of learning.

13. You can't love him out of it.

14. Don't not set boundaries because you feel sorry for him.

15. Don't take the awful things he says to you personally, because they are not personal and are coming from a place of pain from abuse we can't even imagine.

16. Take it one day at a time or else you're going to burn out; celebrate the progress and blessings of that day.

17. This person has some amazing strengths and you will be blessed that they came into your life.

18. You won't have all the answers; they only come from God.

19.  They are delayed emotionally because of such horrific abuse and neglect.

20. When they say I hate you, tell them how much you love them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sex Addiction Plagues People With Special Needs

I have had the privilege of working with many individuals with disabilities over the last fifteen years.  As shocking as it has been for me to learn about the epidemic of sexual deviance in the neurotypically average population, I have uncovered an even more alarming discovery that people with developmental disabilities struggle hard with sex addiction.

As a society, we tend to ignore the fact that people with disabilities have sexual urges just like the rest of us.  As much as we ignore sex eduction with our children, we do so even more with children with special needs.  They grow up recognizing that they are sexual beings, but they don't realize how to express themselves as such.  Whereas marriage and subsequent procreation are the social norms for fulfilling our sexual desires as Christians in general, people with developmental disabilities are discouraged from marrying and having children.  In fact, we tend to totally avoid recognizing or discussing with them how to manage their sexuality.

People with mild intellectual disabilities (which comprises the largest group of people with intellectual disabilities) usually recognize that overtly acting out sexually is morally wrong and will bring more negative attention to themselves than they already receive from a society who stigmatizes them.  However, if they are not receiving the proper education or support for their sexuality, these desires go underground.  And, as it has been said, "we are only as sick as our secrets."

Many teens and adults with developmental challenges are caught in the nasty web of pornography, paraphilias and serious sexual addictions.  There is also a conundrum as to how to discipline someone who is intellectually impaired if they are prosecuted for sex crimes.  We tend to either impose harsh consequences for someone who doesn't fully grasp sexual rules or we keep them from receiving necessary consequences for their actions that results in further deviance.

Just as we would with any other child, we need to educate children with special needs about their sexuality on a developmentally-appropriate level.  This will depend on the learning style and the receptive skills of that individual. Fostering independence in this population is about more than just guiding them as we see fit.  It is about providing all of the necessary education about the choices they can make, and helping them arrive at the best decision for themselves.  Every person's life has value, and persons with disabilities deserve the same guidance we would offer to the rest of our nation's kids. 

What Would Jesus Do Isn't Just A Catch Phrase

Because I tend to be an anxious person by nature and ruminate over everything, I find the act of forgiving others very challenging.  In my perfectionistic manner, I tend to set very high expectations not only for myself but also for everyone else.  When someone sins against me, I find myself holding resentments and am let down.

What I have been working on is the fact that no one is perfect.  Just as Christ meets me where I am today, so too must I try to engage with others where they are at in their walk with God.  I take things far too personally always.  If you think about it, when someone hurts you, it's not really you they have the problem with; it's God.

I am coming to realize that much of my anxiety comes from being held captive by what others think.  What I need to focus most on is what God thinks.  As long as I am respecting myself and interacting with others in the way He sees fit, then I can rest and have joy that He will protect me from all harm.

Every person has a reason for their life, and God has love for every person even if He favors those who walk closer to Him.  It follows, then, that we can look to Christ as our example for how to interact with those who offend us.

Jesus showed mercy and grace to all mankind by dying for our sins.  We must forgive everyone in the same manner that Christ sacrificed Himself for us.  For those who do not display a willing heart, all I think we can do is demonstrate Christ to them as best we can and keep ourselves at a safe distance.  But, for those who have a heart that yearns for God, we should support them, teach them, and forgive them so that we can fully understand and allow them to experience the love of Christ.

Perfect love is not easy, but it is beautiful and fulfilling and deep.  It is life-sustaining.  We are the hands and the feet of our Lord.  It is a challenging job, but it is one that I am trying to take more and more comfort in every day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fast Women and Slow Men

The things I hear and see in our society today make me cringe when I think about my growing boy.  My biggest goal as a Mom is to prevent him from becoming a cast member of the Lord of the Flies.  I look at the behavior of grown men and think "they really don't have a clue about how to function in society."  We have trained our men to be so self-focused and so aggressive that it is only through their own idea of what would be devastating consequences to them do they stop to evaluate their personal behavior.

I've been watching the Women's Fast-pitch World Series over the last week, watching my husband's ever-surprised and amazed facial expressions.  Yes, women can be aggressive, and yes women can be extremely competitive.  There are many women who love to play sports, and they play sports well.  So many men are conditioned to focus on themselves, to do whatever it takes to get to the top, to win, to mark their territory and to behave in whatever way that makes them feel good about themselves.  This totally leaves out empathy and understanding of the opposite sex, the other half they are expected to become one with in marriage.  As a culture, we are setting men up to fail...big time.

I don't think most men are oblivious to who women are as individuals out of meanness, but more out of just ignorance that they are as special or important as the man himself is.  Society has trained us this way.  Society tells us that women play support roles at best, not that they can be the main character.

When a man is asked who most women's heroines are, they may be surprised that Kim Kardashian isn't nearly as high on our list as it is on theirs.  There are so many serious female athletes out there, and yet the bleachers are as empty as the player's pocket books.  It is so sad to me that very often the only time women are noticed at all is when they are taking off their clothes.  Women are great athletes, they are geniuses, they have biological urges and bodily functions they must perform.  They have big dreams of success and they have sexual fantasies.  They put their pants on one leg at a time.

Guys, if you truly want to develop empathy and understanding of women, get to know them.  Talk to them.  Show interest; ask questions about who she is.  Learn that each woman is as unique as each man.  Show her you value her as much as you value yourself.  Support her in her goals and dreams.  Treat her with respect in front of her and behind her back.  Don't just pay lip service to respect; monitor the shows you watch, the magazines you buy, the sites you click on whether she's with you or not.  Learn about yourself.  Challenge thoughts about the opposite sex you may have once thought were perfectly fine.

Be the change.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why Is This So Hard?

Last night my husband and I went to try out this dinner and a movie place to try and unwind from a stressful week.  The college Fastpitch tournaments were on as we were waiting to go into the movie, and I was delighted because he was taking what seemed to be a real interest in watching it with me.  

Suddenly, a man from the kitchen came out and turned the softball game off, tuning the channel to show a male sport.  He didn't even look to check to see if anyone was watching the softball game, he just took it upon himself to change the channel.  I thought, isn't that a good metaphor to what we as women go through in life?  These women were playing their hearts out on the screen with skill and tenacity, and he didn't care.  He knew there would be men coming into the bar and he wanted to keep them there as long as he could to make money; what man wants to watch a female sport, right?

It is disturbing how few fans go to see women's sports live; what a slap in the face to serious, female athletes.  I do believe there is a professional softball league of some kind still going, but the amount of money those athletes make is laughable compared to their male counterparts.  

My husband got up to go speak to the bartender.  I thought, cool he's confronting the injustice he's clearly seeing played out before his eyes!  I was feeling so proud, until I saw him walk back through with a cigarette in his hand.  What?!  Among his many addictions, this one has had probably the worst stronghold on him.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing!  He had just had dental surgery, and the hygienist specifically instructed him NO SMOKING.  How sad that is to realize that he was willing to jeopardize his health for a drug, and how quickly he was able to turn from my pain and discount it because he was focused on a sinful craving.

I went into the theater clearly upset.  Things continued to spiral down as I watched scantily-clad women dance provocatively across the screen as we waited for our Disney Movie to come on.  Of course that triggered my response of 'is he watching her, what is he thinking about, how can he buy into all of these cultural lies and seduction when he says he loves me so much?'

The movie was filled with some positive messages, ironically, mostly themed around Feeding the Right Wolf, the slogan for a pornography-treatment program.  But, it really does come down to that.  I found myself asking, why won't he feed the right wolf?  I thought we were both committed to Truth.  How can I support him in his ministry when all I can see displayed before me is hypocrisy, worldly lust, and ultimately-betrayal?
Toward the closing of the film, the main character talks about how the world is becoming such a dark place, but people can change that; so why won't they?  I reflected on my husband ignoring that man changing the Fastpitch game and wondering what was so powerful inside of him that made him accept the disrespect toward the woman he is supposed to love more than anyone else, and how could he in turn provide more of the same?  Why won't he stand, not because I ask him to or tell him it's important to me, but because inside himself he is sickened just as much as I am by the degradation of women?  That scares me to think that maybe he doesn't share that same belief, and maybe the talk that goes on about his wanting to walk in the Light is superficial-that maybe down deeper is a blackened heart.

Last night was hurtful.  My husband has a way of wanting physical attention when he knows he has hurt me, and that is hard for me to give.  I still love him to my core despite the offense, but I just don't want to reward that behavior or feel like I'm selling myself out when I am so desperately trying to stand strong in my self-confidence and values. The worst of all, though, is when we came home and he rolled away from me and went right to sleep, snoring that loud snore that goes through me like a knife when I'm feeling alone and depressed.

Ontop of it all, I had gotten word that while my son was with my parents on a weekend trip, he had accidentally fallen and broken my dad's ipad.  That was followed by my father screaming and cursing at my son.  My heart sank inside me, and I felt like a complete failure as a mother for allowing my child to go into the cesspool that I dealt with growing up.  I just wanted him to have a good time.  I layed there in bed thinking how alone I felt and how sad from so many years of hurt at the hands of men I love and who mean the most to me.  

I went to my son's bedroom and I laid there, crying, missing him, wishing I could hold him and protect him from this dark world; hating myself for knowing I allowed him to go so far away with people who had wounded me so.  My adrenaline was pumping, and I tried desparately to work it off by hanging clothes, but to no avail.  I continued to cry most of the rest of the night, and I tried my best to commune with my Father, because I knew that no human ears heard my cry in the night.

Since I learned of my husband's sexual addiction, nights have become particularly difficult for me.  I think it's because I am so busy and have to keep it together for so many tasks during the day that I can't really address what's hurting inside of me until I lay down to rest.  I can be, like last night, totally exhausted but suddenly be filled with such emotional pain that I am filled with energy.  My heart pounds, my mind races, and I just can't lie there and listen to that snoring that seems so flippant and cruel.

The nature of addiction is selfishness.  I hate it.  I hate that it ever came into my life.  I was not told about it, and I did not sign up for it.  I know that I must focus on myself to survive, but that is difficult when you see it sucking down the person who you once thought was one of the people who walked closest to God.  

There have been many good days since we started recovery, but last night was not one of them.  I'm putting my pain out here so that others might think it over before they head down the path of sexual addiction; because dear, there will be days like this.  I will pray for you; please pray for me as I do my very best to show the love of Christ and forgiveness in a marriage that is very important to me.  Please pray for my husband's heart.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When Men Are Abused

Men receive messages in our society to be the opposite of women, because our society hates women.  Guys, females represent the other half of God.  There is no shame in showing your emotions, being vulnerable, or being more than a set of muscles.  I believe that while man represents, for the most part, the protective and warrior side of God, he should also strive to learn and seek after the other side that comprises our Deity.  Same for women.  We can't truly know God or be close to God until we experience how Big and how encompassing He is; men and women are both image-bearers of Him.

Men suffer a great deal of abuse because of Satan's lies, that he only has value if he is aggressive and muscular.  Males feel real pain when they are insulted, when they are sick or injured, or when they are sexually manipulated or abused.  As a society, we do not validate that pain.  We encourage males to repress their pain and ignore it, to "suck it up" and move on with life.

The denial of emotional or physical pain and/or the lack of the coping skills to manage said pain, leads men evermore toward anger and aggression.  Anger, we have taught our boys, is the only acceptable emotion they may feel.  And we wonder why, then, that our men are dying of heart attacks or that they have road rage or that they become dominators of women and children.  If you don't talk it out, you will act it out.

Men and women should see themselves as teammates.  We have a lot we can teach men about how to express and manage emotions and they can teach us how not to make decisions based on emotion or to allow emotions to overwhelm us.  God, in His infinite wisdom, has given us one another to learn from and to comfort one another, support each other through this crazy life.  When we put Christ at the center of our lives, we realize that we have nothing to feel ashamed of.  We are ok just because of who we are, and life is in Him, not in abuse of others.  He made you exactly who you are supposed to be, enough.

Men, please realize that if you feel yourself being harmed by this world, do not continue the cycle of abuse.  Give it over to God, work through it with a good counselor, seek support in your spouse and parter in life and love.  You are made in the Great Creator's image, but so too is every other person.  You don't have to retaliate.  God will take revenge upon those who do not know Him.  Trust that.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Men-Twenty Things You Can Do Besides Clicking On Porn

1. Think about the fact that while you are seeking pleasure for yourself, you are sinning against God.

2. Think about the fact that while you are seeking pleasure for yourself, you are deeply wounding your spouse and your kids.

3. Think about the fact that you are hurting yourself and ruining any chances at a healthy relationship with another person.

4. Call your sponsor.

5. Exercise.

6. Plan a romantic evening for your wife.

7. Tell your daughter that you believe in her.

8. Explain to your son why "real men" don't look at porn.

9. Read what the Bible says about sexual sin.

10. Hang with a buddy who realizes that women aren't just photoshopped body parts.

11. Ask yourself how you would feel if your wife was looking at naked men.

12. Imagine your daughter being the model and the most greasy, red-necked man you could imagine masturbating to her photo.

13. Imagine what it would feel like if you had to show the world your penis to make a thin dime.

14. Remember that good guys such as yourself started out looking at porn before they got arrested for other things.

15. Remember that just because someone may have hurt you, that gives you no damn right to hurt someone else.

16. Know that all things done in "secret" will soon come to light and you are jeopardizing your soul for all of eternity.

17. Realize that once you go down this road, you may never come back.

18. Help somebody out instead of tearing someone down.

19. Know that you are loved and worthy of respect as well as responsible for respecting others.

20. Reach out for help.