Suggestions to help you recover from an abusive past
Everyone experiences pain of some kind during the course of their life; some more than others. Many seek the help of counselors, psychiatrists or psychologists and their ilk - often, to no avail because most psychiatric counselors don't bother to follow biblical guidelines. We at The Refiner's Fire would never recommend secular counselors! For those who cannot afford any counseling at all, here are some suggestions (and they are only suggestions, not professional advice!) from Carmen Welker, author of Rags to Rabbi, to help you counter the satanic attacks in your life.
Below, Carmen suggests some common sense ideas one can follow to begin "fixing" their life because, after all, it is up to us to DO something!
What this means is, if your life is a mess, it's up to you to take some measures. For instance, if you're addicted to drugs or alcohol, STOP doing it! If you need professional help, GET it. You can't change your life if you keep on doing what you've always done!
If something or someone is holding us captive, we MUST let go; we MUST break those "soul ties". We are warned in Scripture to keep ourselves pure:
2 Peter 2: 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for a person is slave to whatever has defeated him. 20 Indeed, if they have once escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah, and then have again become entangled and defeated by them, their latter condition has become worse than their former. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the Way of righteousness than, fully knowing, to turn from the holy command delivered to them.
Revelation 22:14-16: How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those who misuse drugs in connection with the occult, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Ephesians 5:11-13: Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.
1 Corinthians 6: 18-20: Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Please read on for some suggestions designed to help you let go of your past!
First and foremost:
If you don't know YHWH (Yahweh/God/The Creator of the Universe), find your way to Him. He is real (more than 300 Bible prophecies have come true and are still unfolding before our eyes) and He will guide you in the right direction. But first, you have to be willing to let go of "yourself" (meaning, you have to stop being the center of your own universe and learn to depend on the One who created you). You have to "unlearn" what you've been taught about running your own world and allow HIM to be the Head of your life - in everything!
YHWH had His Chosen People in the desert for 40 years after liberating them from captivity in Egypt. He used this time to get them to readjust their thinking from the "worldly/pagan" ways they had been used to, and learn to depend solely on Him! Remember, you have done things YOUR way for most of your life and "your way" hasn't worked, yet; and it never will because Satan does his level best to keep you in bondage....
(1) If you are in an abusive situation of any kind and no amount of counseling has helped, get out of it. Seek refuge in a shelter or live with willing and trusted friends or relatives until you are able to support yourself and move on with your life.
(2) Stop being a prisoner in your own home! Whatever your situation, it cannot be remedied until you remove yourself from it, both physically and mentally.
(3) If you are a teenager who is being sexually, physically or emotionally abused, tell an adult whom you trust and ask that person to intervene by contacting the proper authorities. If your father or mother is somehow abusing you (and I'm referring to actual sexual/physical/emotional abuse here, not some ludicrous argument you might have had wherein you became angry with your parents), don't be afraid to tell on them! During the early Sixties when I was being sexually abused by my adoptive father, I was too afraid of both him AND my mother to open my mouth. Neither one of them hesitated to slap/punch/beat us children with a belt. But I also couldn't bring myself to tell my mother because I was afraid that (1) she would blame me, plus (2) I didn't want to hurt her in any way, and (3) I didn't want to be the cause of breaking up the family unit....
Whatever happens, remember that YOU are the child and your parents (and/or aunt/uncle/whoever is abusing you) are the adults - people who have NO right to abuse you! THEY, not you, will get in trouble for the abuse!
(4) If your spouse insists on "dumping" you for whatever reason, and he/she has refused professional counseling and doesn't fear God enough to recognize that God HATES divorce (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6), then let them go! Normally, no amount of begging, pleading or cajoling is going to help, and you don't deserve the endless agony he/she is subjecting you to. You cannot force anyone to love you. As much as it hurts, there comes a time when you finally need to admit they no longer want you in their lives, and the best thing you can do is to let them go.
Do not immediately jump into a new relationship! Take care of yourself (and your children if you have any) and learn to stand on your own two feet before allowing yourself to become emotionally involved with someone else. Statistics show you're likely to choose the same abusive personality type again, anyway, and you'll be no better off than before.
(5) If you are suffering from childhood or any kind of emotional "baggage" from the past, don't be afraid to seek professional advice from a Christian/Messianic counselor (not a secular counselor!) who can help lead you toward healing via BIBLICAL principles. You didn't become "broken" overnight, so don't expect to become "healed" overnight. Healing is a process that can take many years....
(6) Although "revenge" against the perpetrator would feel good, let it go and give it all to YHWH, as HE will avenge you!
Romans 12: 19. And be you not avengers of yourselves, my beloved: but give place to wrath. For it is written: If you do not execute judgment for yourself,  I will execute judgment for you, says Elohim. 20. And if your adversary be hungry, feed him: and if he be thirsty, give him drink. For if you do these things, you will heap coals of fire on his head. 21. Do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good. (AENT)
 See Leviticus 19:18 and Proverbs 20:22; 24:29.
 Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalm 94:1; Prov. 20:22. There are no directives from B'resheet/Genesis to Revelation which counsels anyone to take vengeance upon their adversaries. YHWH says, "vengeance belongs to Me"; He will judge and resolve all matters according to His Righteous Judgment. The idea of taking vengeance upon others, as in jihad or holy war against the infidels is rooted in fear and heathenism by those who put their faith in self rather than in Elohim.
Always remember: Satan hates you and he wants to hurt/maim/kill you! He keeps us on a "merry-go-round" from which we cannot escape, because he knows our likes and dislikes and the "ruts" we are in. We are creatures of habit and will ALWAYS gravitate back to what we know.
Here is an example:
A guy comes to a "fork" in the road. He looks to the left and sees a lot of bumps and potholes. He looks to the right and the road looks a lot newer and better, so he takes that one. He walks for a long time with no problems, then all of a sudden, he falls into a huge pothole - one so big, it takes him days to dig himself out. So, he goes back to the fork in the road, looks to the left and the right. The left has all those potholes and the right is still smooth, so he figures, now since he knows where that big pothole is, he will just walk around it, and so he takes that "right" road again.
When he gets to the pothole, he does walk around it, but didn't realize there was another, even bigger one on the other side, and he falls into that one, and it takes him days to dig himself out of it. Once he does, he goes back to the fork, but rather than to try to see where that other road leads, he once again decides to take the smoother-looking road...because now he knows where those two potholes are, and he'll just be extra careful this time....
Do you get it? We always try to fix ourselves the same way, from several different angles, doing what is "right" according to our limited human mindsets. We like to believe we are in control, never stopping to think that, if we were to let go of what we THINK we know, we could begin to find some better remedies and get to our final destination a stronger, smarter person. The other way - the way we THINK we know - can kill us! And that is what Satan is counting on. If you're dead, you won't have a chance to "get yourself right with God!"
What does it mean to be "right with God"? Please read the following articles:
As a Torah observant believer in Messiah Yeshua you will soon grow to recognize that YHWH is in charge and He will never lead you astray! Does that mean that everything will go smoothly in your life and you'll never again have any bad things happen to you? NO! Please read our article: Why do bad things happen to good people?
YHWH is not a rapist or an abuser! The Holy Spirit will continue to guide you as long as you are "looking up" and paying attention to what HE wants! Life doesn't necessarily get easier or less stressful, because we are born into a fallen world, but once you start doing things GOD'S way, and actively concentrate on letting go of the poison in your system, things will go a lot smoother! The key is how you react to daily situations - and once you are "saved", the Holy Spirit will help you to "become whole" and allow you to you react to life's situations differently. This is also one reason Torah (YHWH's Divine Instructions in Righteousness) is so important: It keeps you constantly learning God's ways; and keeps you centered and focused on HIM instead yourself!
How often have you heard someone say to you or someone you know who had an abusive past: "Well, that was years ago and you need to learn to deal with it and get over it." WOW! Don't you just want to smack somebody like that? Those are people who have had wonderful, usually carefree lives, free of abuse - and that's why they're so ignorant and have no clue! Nobody can "just get over" abuse! Childhood abuse, especially, follows you around like a puppy, and it grows and hangs on and slaps you in the face when you least expect it and causes you to become deeply depressed at the strangest times, leaving you baffled as to why you became depressed in the first place....
The thing is, anything can set us off into that downward spiral; a sight, a sound, a song, a smell, a scene from a movie....anything that reminds us of the part of our past when we were being abused. Those experiences are what Satan uses most, and he will use anything to keep you in bondage to your abuser for the rest of your life! The only remedy is to learn to immediately give it to God before depression, anxiety, anger, etc. have a chance to fester and ruin your day/week/month! Our past hurts are like baby wolves in a barnyard:
"Little wolves" - A parable: A mother wolf once had her babies in a farmer's barnyard and then promptly abandoned them. Naturally, the farmer took pity on them and raised each one, himself. They were playful and adorable and he loved them. Once they started growing, they began to banter and play by grabbing a hold of his pant legs to keep him from walking away. This was a lot of fun, but he noticed that as they got bigger, they were harder to drag along. By the time they became adults, he couldn't move at all anymore when they descended upon his pant leg..
This is kind of like the "baggage" of our lives. It's usually not too bad at first, but as time goes along, it starts to become heavier and heavier, and pretty soon, it bogs us down altogether. For instance, when a spouse or a friend has hurt us, it will drive a wedge into our relationship forever unless we find a way to resolve it and then forgive and move on. Or, if we had an abusive childhood, we tend to become abusive parents - unless we recognize that we are perpetuating the same behaviors. Or, if our marriage ends due to physical, mental or emotional abuse and/or irreconcilable differences, we can't expect to find a new and healthy relationship until baggage from the old relationship has been resolved and forgiven and has no chance of interfering...
The ONLY way to become "baggage free" is to recognize the problem and be willing to confront it - and then forgive the other person (even if they do not wish to cooperate in this matter); and then turn the whole thing over to YHWH. He knows your pain, but He wants to help you grow and mature by allowing you to learn from, and overcome your problems. In other words, He often "refines us in the fire" as beautifully illustrated in this story: We CANNOT become a reflection of Him until we have been molded into His Image!
So, how do you get rid of those pesky hangers-on? Well, this is where your faith in God comes in, because He can and will help you to overcome your past. Satan will bring it up every chance he gets; but learning to recognize and immediately release to YHWH the oncoming depression/anger/hurt whenever you feel it coming on, will allow you to kick Satan in the face and continue with your life in a more normal fashion.
The key is awareness and forgiveness!
First, learn to forgive yourself: Simply admit that, for instance, as a small child, you weren't to blame; you didn't do anything to cause the abuser to abuse you! Abusers who were older children or adults KNEW "right from wrong" and they were the ones who committed the sin; not you!
Then, as hard as it might be, you need to forgive your abuser. Recognize that God allows us all choices (the choice to do things His way, or Satan's). Whether they realize it or not, most choose to follow Satan, and often, their choices impact others. Satan then uses their actions to put and keep us in bondage forever!
You cannot truly get rid of what Satan is doing until you allow YHWH to help you. So, the first thing you must do once you have accepted YHWH as your God, is to recognize that you, too, were a sinner (we've ALL sinned and come short of the glory of God - Romans 3:23), and therefore, you cannot pretend you are "better" than anyone else, regardless. In God's eyes sin is sin; lying is no less of a sin than murder....
So, in order to let go of your past, you must FORGIVE both yourself AND your tormentor, or else you will be kept forever in bondage. Forgiving releases you from Satan's clutches!
Once you are aware and brutally honest with yourself, you can start DOING something about your "rut" - whatever it might be. For instance, every time you find yourself angry at people who have done you wrong, immediately ask God to take that anger away RIGHT NOW. It really works! If you "go" with your oncoming depression, melancholy, anger or whatever, you will cater to Satan and refuse YHWH the opportunity to help you let go of those feelings and continue with the healing process.
God can only heal you if you are ready and willing to start giving your thoughts to Him IMMEDIATELY, before you begin to succumb to whatever is holding you prisoner! This includes any bad habits/sins that you can't seem to overcome....
Here are a few more things you can do in your quest for freedom from the pain:
Once you've repented and given your life to God, try a mikvah:
A "mikvah" is an immersion in water that can drain away (shower, bath, river, creek, ocean) which symbolically allows your "baggage" to wash away. It is consciously and intentionally "doing something" with your hands that will help your mind to recognize and remember your goal of getting rid of past hurts.
During your mikvah, repent for any and all sins you've committed, and tell YHWH you are His now, and you want to do whatever His will is. Yeshua's death covered all your past sins, but as humans, we are prone to continue to sin at some point, and so we have the option of going to our gracious and merciful God and asking for forgiveness and help in overcoming our frailties.
YHWH knows we're prone to sinning and being stupid and carnal, and yet He STILL loves us. All He asks is that we love Him back - to obey His commands so that we can be truly "set apart" for Him. He will take care of the rest.
If you have some really deep down "stuff" bothering you that you might not even be aware of, try writing about parts of your life with your non-dominant hand (not necesarily all at once, but over the course of a few days or weeks, or longer). For instance, use your non-dominant hand to write about the day you discovered your parents hated you and write about how you felt about it. Next time, write about something that hurt you in your childhood (i.e., perhaps your father always beat you and made you feel as though you weren't good enough). Pick different times in your life and just write.
Although it sounds weird, it often works! It works, partially, because you are concentrating so hard on making the letters (it also hurts the hand after awhile!) that it somehow allows your subconscious to remove the self-defense mechanisms that keep you from remembering the core issue which started all the pain in the first place. Try it; it will either work for you, or not. It can't hurt....
Go somewhere where you can be totally alone for at least 15 minutes and write on a sheet of paper the name(s) of the person(s) who hurt you. Holding the paper over an ash tray or sink, take a match and set it on fire. While watching it burn, think to yourself: "I hereby let you go. You no longer have ANY hold over me!"
And then sit quietly for awhile and pray to YHWH and thank Him for bringing you to this point, and ask Him to help you keep this person in the PAST where they belong - because satan WILL attempt to bring that person up again and again. It is up to you to learn to become strong enough to put a stop to it. With YHWH's help, you have been released and you have the power to let go of the past and get on with your new life!
Make a list of your "tormentors" and identify them as specific spiritual forces that are/were trying to abuse you, or make you feel lonely or insecure, or to hurt yourself. This is simply a list of those that made you feel betrayed in some way, or who attempted to "steal your joy" somehow, thus thwarting an abundant life. Once you've made the list, you can do whatever you want with it - including setting it on fire to represent the fact that "old things are passed away" and this is a new beginning for you.
What qualifies me to espouse these things?
I was a sexually abused baby, child and teenager, given away at birth and then retrieved at the age of nine by my natural mother who couldn't leave Germany unless all the children she had given away were adopted. Living with a welfare family in a three-room shack without water or electricity kept me from being adopted, and so my mother was forced to take me back so she could leave Germany with her new, American Army sergeant husband. Unfortunately, this guy just happened to be a raving pedophile who sexually abused me for many years....
Before I found my way to YHWH, I took college courses in psychology and sociology (60 credits to be exact) in hopes of being able to "cure" myself of the past. I even begged one psychiatrist (when I was 26, right after my mother died) to hypnotize me so I couldn't remember my past anymore. But he told me that is when my problems would really start because awareness of my past was the key to learning to deal with it. Suppression will only lead to confusion, frustration, anger and depression.
So, there I was, stuck in my rut, dragging my past baggage into every relationship. Being aware of that baggage, I naturally tried all kinds of ways to get rid of it. I tried to change "my taste" in men, purposely dating guys that weren't my type. I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol. I unhesitatingly told people about my past in hopes that "getting it out of my system" would remedy my mood swings and the tendency to pick guys who I knew would "make me mad at some point" which meant I could prevent getting "too close" to them and just kick them out of my life without hesitation or regret. I tried everything I could think of in hopes of moving past the baggage and getting on with my life. But nothing worked. Until I found GOD!
Everything changed when I "got saved" in a little hicktown Baptist church and I realized for the first time in my life that God loved me and had allowed me to go through these things so, among other things, I could be refined as silver to share my testimony with people today - a testimony that is really all about HIM and His awesome love and grace and mercy!
I realized the reason "bad things happen to good people" is because we are in a fallen world where YHWH gives us all choices: The choice to do things HIS way, or Satan's. There is no in-between! Unfortunately for us, most people follow satan; and, consequently, THEIR ACTIONS impact us. As hard as it is to grasp, YHWH does not interfere with anyone's choice, and that is why "bad things happen to good people"....
The key is recognizing that YHWH didn't do this to you - for punishment or anything else! It was "the world." Our FALLEN world. If anybody is to blame, it's Adam and Eve! (And, of course, that ol' ratfaced Satan whose only goal in life is to take as many from YHWH as he can....)
The thing is, you'll never forget the abuse you endured, but you CAN learn to overcome what it did to you. YHWH cannot use broken vessels who choose to remain forever broken. But He is right there in your heart waiting for you to "let go" and give your life to Him. It really works. I'm living proof!
A word to abusers!
Here is some advice for abusers of all kinds, whether sexual deviates, mental harassers or those who like to get physical and violent with others - and to people like the ones that can be found at the pro-pedophile, pro-perversion websites such as NAMBLA who attempt to pass off their deviant behavior as "normal":
WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT NORMAL, so please knock it off and think about what you are doing because your actions are ruining someone's life! If some rational part of you suspects you are hurting someone either mentally, physically or sexually, then stop it right now and get some psychiatric help!
Most who are engaged in illegal or illicit activity know they are sinning - whether or not they believe in God. Whether you "believe" or not, God and the Bible are real, and the end times as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, are here! The time to repent and find your way to God is NOW!
If you wish to learn how to break your "worldly, carnal" habits, please turn to Him, because He is the ONLY One who can truly help you change from the inside out! The ONLY way out of your present rut is to receive God's Salvation through His Messiah, Yeshua. Millions of people who have, like you, "been there and done that", can attest to that fact!
A final note from Carmen:
I just wanted to quickly mention that, while Scripture commands us to forgive, forgiving does NOT mean you have to stay in an abusive relationship! I forgive my adoptive father for what he did to me all those years...but that doesn't mean I'll ever forget or "like him"... I heard he died in his mid-seventies after a long, terrible bout with Emphysema (he was an avid smoker, stinking up the house from the moment he got out of bed until he went back to bed). He was supposedly a Christian, but I never saw him crack a Bible or cross the threshold of a church.
When I first "got saved" I had a real problem with my pastor insisting that since my adoptive father was a Christian who believed in Jesus, then he's surely in heaven - and I burst into anguished tears and said, "Then I don't want to go there!" And I meant it. I was enraged with my pastor and church, in general, for forcing this monster on me into eternity!....
Peace came only when I let go of the simmering hatred for this man after the Ruach reminded me that we are ALL sinners who have "been bad" and people who are all in the same leaky boat cannot point fingers at each other. Hadn't I done "bad things" too? Yes, I had! And I was really sorry, and from now on, I was going to just let go of my hatred for this man because it wasn't MY call as to whether or not he went to heaven!
Ultimately, as I grew in my faith and in Bible knowledge, it also dawned on me that anyone who rapes children and beats his wife and kids and is verbally abusive, using the foulest language on earth CANNOT be a true "Christian"! How can anyone with the Holy Spirit residing within PURPOSELY go on sinning when they KNOW what Scripture says? The answer: This guy was NOT a Christian and he didn't know Scripture from a dime store porno novel!
And so I guess I won't be seeing him in heaven. If he IS there, then he truly repented and turned his life around at some point. Not my problem, one way or the other! All I know is that I no longer have to allow him or my past to rule my life because I'm "washed by the blood of the Lamb" and the god of this world has no authority over me. I live my life for GOD now, and trust me - that is a MUCH happier and safer place!