December Goodness . . .

Its been so much fun . . . 

Hearing about (and seeing photos of) our mamas and their families receiving their Christmas packages to which so many of you contributed. The smiles on their faces have brought bubbling-over, fizzy joy to our team! It is so FUN to give! And all 50+ mamas we are currently serving have been so grateful! One mama told us that she always dreads the mail (bills, bills, bills, people!). So, receiving gifts in the mail is an incredible treat! 

Its Advent . . . and a lot of us are celebrating the expectancy of Christ coming to walk this earth, put on human-ness and show us how to love, all-the-while reconciling us to Him. For us to be able to give to our mamas, this month, we are telling them that they are part of this celebration . . . that they are worthy . . . that they are loved. Christmas is coming! Jesus is coming! God with us and God with them!

In the meantime, we are also celebrating the donations that are being matched by Leslie Vernick. Wow! Looking to the future can be stressful for a small non-profit but when financial resources are met, like we hope for this month, we can concentrate on ministering to and helping our mamas. For the entire month, Leslie is matching each monetary, tax-deductible gift given to Give Her Wings. So far, we have been given close to $2000. We are overjoyed! 

In the meantime, and if you can believe it, we are still helping mamas. We are busy doing some real ministry, friends. Women and families are being vetted . . . board meetings continue and bills are being paid to help single women who have left abusive marriages survive this incredible, life-altering and crushing escape. I look back, sometimes, over the past seven years and I honestly can say I don’t know how I did it. That is why I started Give Her Wings. I wanted to do for others what I did not have. But, even the emotional turmoil was enough to break any one of us. When feelings of abandonment and judgment from my church, my family, his family and my seminary piled on . . . when my children had great physical and emotional needs . . . my mind felt like it was cracking (and I can describe it no other way). I distinctly remember asking God to fill in those cracks with His healing oil of anointing. My needs were so great, I would not have known where to begin. I was crumbling under financial strain and insecurity, I was physically working hard and caring for my children, I was terrified of the future and I was still being abused. I could not find my footing. 

Now and then, when someone did something kind for me, my entire world would change that day. One day without worrying gave me a minute to talk to God about the confusion I felt was threatening to destroy my faith. When my physical needs were met, I had time and wherewithal to read Scripture and listen to Jesus . . . to think about returning to church (or not) and to let others speak into my life. 

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40 NLT

When Give Her Wings meets the physical needs of these amazing women, we help to save their faith. When  we are hungry, stressed, emotionally burdened, dealing with PTSD and our minds and hearts are shattered . . . . how does one climb out of that? One way is through our organization. I talk to so many mamas, almost every day, who need a dose of encouragement . . . who need to know that Jesus loves them . . . who need to know that their next bill could be paid . . . who need to know that we care about them and about their children. What a long way this goes. When you give to Give Her Wings, you free us up from fund-raising so we can get to the good stuff. And, this month, with Leslie’s generosity, your $10 gift will be $20. Your $250 will be $500. Your $1000 will be $2000. Every bit helps and every bit counts. 

Thank you for prayerfully considering donating to Give Her Wings for end-of-year giving. We could not do this without you.

Warmly and in Christ,

Megan 

Our Wonderful Christmas Packages! 

Why Do I Attract Abusers? — By Megan Cox

So, I do not really believe that you attract abusers. You are not the problem. Abusers are. It is on them. But, I wanted to catch our readers with this title because it is a question we hear often. We hear it from our mamas, from friends who are dating and from others in caregiving occupations.

“All we want to do is live and love like Jesus loves and yet we attract people who just want to use us and hurt us.”

Please let me reframe:

“Broken people who have given into sinful lifestyles are hoping they can use you to fix themselves because you live and love like Jesus.”

Your kindness, your caring, your compassion and your sense of empathy is attractive to anyone and everyone. But, an abusive person is so incredibly broken and completely unable to look outside of him/herself that he/she uses surrounding people to give themselves a daily boost, to fill their never-ending emotional bucket and to try to make themselves feel better about themselves. Sometimes, this is quite intentional. And very abusive. Some people believe they are entitled to use people . . . . especially women . . . and especially if these men view pornography and have chosen and conditioned themselves to believe women are to be used.

If a person can no longer be used for this task because she is completely exhausted or she refuses to be abused, anymore, the abuser simply moves onto another person with a lovely spirit (discarding) to try to use him or her. I cannot imagine how miserable this is — but it is not our job to take care of people in this way. Trying to fix people is not actually serving or loving. 

After all of my years in this ministry, I have come to understand that abusers think this way:

I ‘love’ her. I want what she has. I want the joy, peace (fill in other fruits of the Spirit here) and I don’t think she should enjoy herself because I cannot. I don’t think she should celebrate who she is because I cannot.  I want to enjoy that. I want to take that goodness from her. I want to ruin things for her. I want to live in such a way as to ‘take on’ her beautiful qualities and draw them all in for myself. I want her to fix me. I want to use her. I actually hate her. And if I cannot have who she is for myself, I want to destroy her.

Strong words; true words. Take a moment to let that sink in.


The challenge, beautiful child of God, is not to allow others to perform their soul-sucking, abusive projections onto you. Because of your place in God’s kingdom (part of His Bride), it is wrong and sinful for others to use you for such gain. Your gifts are to be used to glorify God — not to be dominated by another. What you have will never be enough to transform him, dear one. Only Jesus can do such a miracle.

So, we will walk through our lives, shining brightly for Jesus and people will want to dim our light — for the rest of our lives. But God told us this would happen. How will we handle this? How will we battle this?

I have some thoughts:

  1. First, know that this will happen, again and again. As counterintuitive as it is, our desire to rush in and help another person may not always be the best for said person. We cannot be rescuers in that way. If I encounter someone, at my job (as a chaplain), who wants me to affirm him over and over and over, I simply will not do this — even though I know it would make him happy in the moment. Because it will take all of my energy and I will not be able to serve others adequately. He will have to go without that “encouragement” from me. It would be an easy fix for a few hours, but what he needs is Jesus to meet all of His needs — not me.
  2. Boundaries, boundaries and more boundaries. There is absolutely a way to be kind without allowing ourselves to get pulled into an unhealthy situation that will play with our empathetic minds. If we sense a truly unhealthy person, we can give in, we can get over-involved or we can differentiate. Differentiating often means pointing a person to what can actually help him or her — Jesus, therapy . . . well . . . both.
  3. Do not allow the put-downs. The dulling of our light. The trying-to-make-you-into-a-little-girl-so-he-can-be-your-authority-syndrome. Not acceptable. You have the Holy Spirit living in you. You have been given a sound mind. You do not need an abusive person to cause you to doubt yourself, the truth and who you are in Christ. A lot of spiritual abusers love to cut women down in order to build themselves up. As hard as it is, say something. Assert your authority, as a child of God. Here are some examples: “I do not need you to be an authority, in my life.” “I need you to stop putting me down. If you cannot, we will not be friends.” “If you would like to be a part of my life, you will need to see me as your equal.” “I believe you owe me an apology for thus-and-such.”

I could go on and on. Friends, let this be an indelible mark on your soul: You are created in the image of God, dignified as His Child and invaluable to Him. Broken people will want that peace and joy in incredibly unhealthy and abusive ways. Don’t let them have it. You have a job to do, on this earth. A call to love God and others with all your heart. You cannot spend what little breath of life we have  . . . what a tiny bit of time we have trying to serve people who will use you and distract you from the goodness God has . . . from the true ministry He has for you. Be wise with your time. Be a good steward of the incredible gifts He has given you. You are growing; you are godly, and you are too precious to be snuffed out!

Love,

Megan

“Look to Him” by Megan Cox

 

 

believe

Friends, we have put together a Christmas package for our mamas that will bless the entire family!  It is our desire to help our mamas and their babies learn to believe again after everything that is screaming at them that there is no hope left!

You can choose to donate an entire package ($104.95) or select the YOUR CHOICE button below to make a donation in ANY amount towards purchasing these packages for our mamas and their children.

Packages will include a VISA Gift Card, a Board Game, an LED Christmas Decoration, a Yankee Candle Christmas Candle, AND our dear friend Natalie Hoffman’s new book (Donated by her!) . We don’t want to give away every detail just yet so our mamas will be surprised, but we’ll post pictures after the campaign is over!

believe! One Gift Package!

 

believe! YOUR CHOICE Donation!

 

 

The Pain of “Unacceptable Grief” and How to Manage It — by Megan Cox

When our parents died, twenty years ago, we had more flowers and casseroles than we knew what to do with. Our living room looked like a combination of a 1980’s greeting card and a church pot-luck. Since there were only two of us left in the home, we carefully packed all of the casseroles into the freezer and had dinners for months, although everything tasted like cardboard laced with the sadness that only deep pain can bring. The flowers were sent to a nearby assisted living home to bless the inhabitants. There were people in and out of our home. Friends treated us gingerly, holding our hearts as fragile objects. They prayed with us. We were allowed time to be angry, to cry, to mourn and bereave for years to come. It was acceptable, after all. We had lost two family members. Our two parents. Our two anchors. We were not condemned — we were victims of a terrible, terrible accident. We were loved.

Victims of abuse or those who have lost their marriage (either still married or divorced) are not typically “allowed” these important times of mourning. For so many, their sufferings are not believed nor acknowledged. Or, they may be marked as sinful. Within our Christian culture, the deep grief of the loss of a marriage, a child or entire families, due to abusive relationships is not recognized as authentic grief. As a result, survivors carry undealt-with-grief within — often leaking out in the form of depression, anxiety or both. I have witnessed countless women and men who have not been “allowed” to grieve the death of the dream of their marriage . . . the loss of family (especially in-laws whom they came to know and love as their own) . . . the loss of estranged children (young or adult) . . . the loss of possessions, identity, homes, church families and so much more. No one brings casseroles; sympathy cards aren’t sent; no flowers come. In fact, there is more avoidance than anything else. And, if it gets REALLY rough, there is condemnation, harassment and control.

As a result of this toxic recipe of avoidance and aloneness, many women come to our ministry with deep psychological and emotional struggles because, as we all know, when one does not have the time, resources or freedom to grieve, one begins to break down in just about every way. Instead of grief and mourning and support, these brave women experience: loneliness, pain, estrangement, betrayal and so much more. In trying to deal with their normal response (involving anger and pain) over the devastation of their family, they are called bitter, resentful and unforgiving. Oh, my heart . . .

We MUST recognize the grief former targets of abuse are suffering and allow bereavement to take place.

Ideas for grieving are . . .

  1. A ceremony. Have a ceremony that recognizes the loss that you have suffered, dear one. Whatever that is. Name it and weep over it. Light a candle and pray over it. Bring forth the dreams you once had and the hopes you have lost. Name the people who are no longer in your life whom you once loved, trusted and counted as family.
  2. Go to grief counseling. We believe Divorce Care is great but it is not the same. It is shrouded in a little corner of the church where the “divorced people go”. If you are able, invest in books on healing and see a therapist who specializes in domestic violence.
  3. Accept the grief and do not hide it. It is OK to tell people you are grieving right now. In fact, it is preferred. It will protect your experience. They don’t need details. Just an, “I’m grieving right now” will suffice. Say it for as long as you need to.
  4. Embrace the ups and downs. Just like every other form of grief, it will be a rollercoaster. As new hurts come up, each one has to be acknowledged and properly grieved. You may be fine one day and then the next day fall to pieces for no apparent reason. Or, someone else betrays you and you have to deal with that now. Things come up. It is OK. Have another ceremony; have as many as you need.
  5. Take as much time as you need. It could be years, my friend. YEARS. What you are dealing with is like a living nightmare. It is death, in a way, and then not death, in a way. It is a weird, painful limbo. The good news is that I believe Jesus knows all about this. He hung, one time, between life and death, betrayed, battered and bleeding for the entire world to see . . .

And who was there to care? His mother and John. That’s it. Witnesses to His horrific crucifixion. Where was His Father? Jesus felt He was not there. He felt forsaken; He was forsaken. Jesus now sits as a Great High Priest, saying to you and to me, “I understand. I sympathize. I hear you, daughter. I know your pain. I have lived it. You are not alone.” That is our greatest comfort. When we feel alone, betrayed, inconsolable, abandoned . . . we are not, if we know the One-who-calls-us-friend.

Let the tears flow . . . let the grief come. Write about it, paint about it, sing about it, express it in safe places with safe people. But, by all means . . . grieve it. You deserve that.

Love,

Megan

Megan Cox is the founder of Give Her Wings. She carries an MAR in Pastoral Counseling and is certified in Crisis Response with the AACC. 

 

 

How Abuse Affects the Soul, Identity and Dignity by Megan Cox

Abuse is oft referred to as being rooted in entitlement. I could not agree more. And we frequently speak of character disturbances, coined by George Simon, who believes that entitlement is the epidemic of our age. I agree with that, as well. We have statistics on what abuse does to the mind . . . the trauma, PTSD, C-PTSD, triggers, anxiety, depression . . . it is all there and it is all very real. All kinds of abuse are especially harmful to the physical body, as well, as it causes tremendous stress, which can cause irreparable damage to the immune system (see this very scholarly article here). But, recently, a friend (who is also an advocate for those suffering from parental alienation) asked me about the damage abuse does to the soul.

I don’t know how to measure that. There are no statistics on what the heart suffers, as a result of abuse. The scars on the soul? They cannot be seen. But we all know that they are there. I have been thinking quite a lot about this lately. Here are some ponderings:

I would like to expand our definition of abuse as rooted in entitlement AND add that abuse is an assault to the dignity of a person as a human being created in the image of God. It is an attempt to remove that dignity and damage the soul. And the overwhelming anguish of such treatment threatens to break the soul into minute pieces — the very core of our being threatens to come undone.

Dr. Donna Hicks, credited with her insightful work in the field of human dignity, describes ten essential elements of dignity in her book simply entitled Dignity:

  1. Acceptance of Identity
  2. Inclusion
  3. Safety
  4. Acknowledgment
  5. Recognition
  6. Fairness
  7. Benefit of the Doubt
  8. Understanding
  9. Independence
  10. Accountability

I can say, without a doubt, that victims of abuse are neglected in every single one of these basic human-soul-needs. Further, violations of victims’ dignity are perpetual and, over time, reduce what is left of the healthy and thriving soul to something very, very diminutive. What I am trying to convey is that abuse attempts to take a person and make her a non-person. Abusers treat victims as though they are not actually people. We know this. But, that right there is the tremendous damage done to the soul. At the heart of abuse, it is a stripping of a person’s dignity as a human

Someone recently asked me this: What is the worst thing you could say to a person? Without blinking, I said, “The worst thing you can say to someone would be to express apathy and/or invalidation for their existence. Something like, ‘Your words mean nothing; you do not have your own thoughts; you are nothing.'” This idea is deep hatred . . . the opposite of love. It is purposeful unresponsiveness when a person has a clear need. It is abuse.

We all need love, acceptance and safety. To deny a person any of those things, with malevolence, is just . . . its own kind of evil. And breaks a person down in their core — in their souls.

So, what do we do about this?

All of us, at Give Her Wings, strive to help a woman realize her dignity. Because here’s the good news: Dignity can be wounded, but it cannot be removed. We all have inherent dignity that was placed in the core of our being when God breathed the very first breath of life (soul) into our persons. No one . . . nothing can EVER take that away.

Further, we come from a long line of humans created by God and loved by Him. We are part of a legacy. We are connected. We are worthy. No one can take that away, either.

But, sometimes, dignity has been so masked that it takes a lot of effort to find it again. When people sustain an injury to their self-worth (for long periods), the cure is time with people who know how to treat them in a dignified way. Time, sensitivity, kindness, attention and listening may be the best tools to help victims of abuse. We honor their stories and hold them dear. We remind them, as often as possible, how precious they are to God and to us. We listen to their (very good) ideas. We include them. We try to foster independence. I could go on and on . . .

I do not know how to measure the stress, strain and damage done to the soul due to abuse . . . but I know it is massive. I remember all too well. But, here is our hope:

The body can be broken . . . the damage is done. And many of our mamas face debilitating physical pain and losses due to the abuse they have suffered.

The heart can be broken . . . how does one ever trust again? Be intimate with others? The mind can be broken . . . many are on medications for anxiety and depression, due to trauma, and may not ever be relieved of it completely.

But the soul . . . the soul that belongs to Jesus will never, ever be crushed. Pressed down, yes. Shaken, yes. Hit hard, yes. But the dignity that God has given us, as sealed children of His, as marked by our Maker and created in His image will NEVER be taken away. And that’s a fact. It is inherent, indestructible and undeniable. 

A person is a person through another person. My humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. We can only be human together. ~ Archbishop Tutu

In the end, we belong to Jesus. That is that and no one and nothing can separate us from His love (see Romans chapter 8). As hurtful as it is that others wound our dignity, our dignity is wrapped up in our soul, which is wrapped up in God’s love and held safely and firmly in His hand. For this . . . above all else, we can be thankful.

You have harmed my body; you have broken my heart; you have done all you can to break my spirit — but you will not destroy my dignity. You cannot. You will not. You never will. 

Love,

Megan

Give One To Give Her Wings

This is probably our favorite campaign of the year!  Give One to Give Her Wings !  Our mamas are in terrible adversity, and every spare penny goes to the needs of the children. We love the opportunity to give them some pampering that they so deserve.

Our little flock has grown so much in the past year, and we know that God is using this ministry to ease suffering and we want to thank you for caring! Please share our September campaign with your friends! We can’t wait to bless our mamas with a dinner out, a movie, or simply a good book! 

**Please confirm which gift you are giving in the notes section of checkout.  Some of our gifts have multiple pricing options to make giving possible for everyone!  Be sure to choose the option you prefer where applicable.

Give One Campaign - Choose An Option Below

 

 

Dear Anxious Friend — a post by Megan Cox

When I first went for therapy a few years ago, I was diagnosed with Major Depression, General Anxiety Disorder and PTSD. Whew! That was rough. And I am open . . . people know my story and I am at peace with that. So, I’m fine with sharing. I was overwhelmed with the diagnoses that I had lived with for decades. I spent so much time trying to hold things together in the midst of abuse, pain, babies and stress and it was now (finally) time for my healing. And heal, I did. After much time spent with a few gifted therapists, my depression and anxiety subsided to the point that my only diagnosis, now, is PTSD. It is manageable, most of the time. It will just be something I will have to sustain for the rest of my life (without a divine intervention) and I can handle that. I have a toolbox now. And I can honestly say, at this point, that I am grateful for this thorn. I am grateful because it keeps me connected to those who suffer and I can better minister, if and when God calls me to do so. I haven’t forgotten the very real plight of victims; I still remember the overwhelming chaos of caring for children while trying to fight against my own pain.

With all that being said, here is a letter to those who struggle with anxiety. I have prayed over this. Because I fully grasp my own suffering, I want others to know that there is hope.  I am writing it as I would to my own child, only because that is how God sees us — as His own beloved and precious children. Good mamas and daddies know this love but we forget to apply it to ourselves.

So here you are, precious warriors:

Dear Child,

When I watch you, throughout the day . . . throughout the seemingly-mundane tasks you must carry out . . . my heart is aching for you. It pains me to see the sometimes angry, sometimes pain-filled, sometimes overwhelmed bursts of tears that come and go. I watch you trying to hold them back for the sake of those around you and to avoid embarrassment. I reach out to touch them, to wipe them away. My hand moves toward your face and my deep love for you is fathomless. I never forget my deep love for you, as a human would. You are my pride and joy. The fullness of all of my love has been laid upon you for all of your life. I see the anxiety you are suffering, now, and I long to heal it. But, I can see through all of it and see you on the other side of suffering, as well. I know that this will change, that it will get better. I know you must go through it. I know you are developing into the bright, shiny star that I created when I formed every tiny atom of you in your mother’s womb. I see the end of this story — and it is beautiful. 

Right now, your mind is overburdened. Wires cross as you are triggered. It is all too much. I know that, child. I know that. It can feel like your very life is in danger, even when you know, in your mind, that it is not. It feels out of control. When that happens, I am with you. I just want you to know that I am here . . . You probably don’t really “feel” me, right now. But that does not change the fact that I am intimately aware of every detail of your beautiful life. Of your story. And I care . . . I care so so much. 

The ugliness told you about yourself was not true. The pain inflicted on you to try to somehow convince you of your worthlessness cannot and will not prevail. I am WITH YOU — God with you. I was with you in the ugly. I was with you when he hurt you. When she hurt you. When they hurt you. And I was not pleased. It hurt Me. When people hurt you, they are hurting Me because I am your Abba Father. You were never alone and you are not alone now. I am there, in the midst of your suffering; I am there, in your tears; I am there in the betrayal and the confusion. The world does not make sense to you and I understand that. Even when I walked on this earth, in human form, the fully man part of me could not grasp how anyone could betray Me when I loved them so much. I have been there, daughter. It is devastating. 

There will be a day when these things are made clear. When you will have clarity and see the entire picture with Me. But, for now, I ask you to trust Me. Because you cannot see it all, yet, and there is so much grace for that. It is OK to not understand it all. I want to be the One you know you are safe with. When it feels like it is too much, try to breathe in my presence. I am your Friend and I am at hand . . .  but I am also YHWH . . . the unspeakable, all-powerful Judge and Creator of the universe. Your life is in my hands . . . your eternity is in my hands and no one and nothing can change that. 

In those moments where your head hurts and you are drowning, let My love — like a warm blanket — encapsulate you. Take one quick moment to know that I am God. Be still. 

In those moments where the anger of what you have been through threatens to take over, cry out to Me. I am waiting and watching . . . just waiting to hear from My girl. My boy. My child. Just hoping that you will reach out to me so I can comfort you with Truth: You are mine, you are redeemed, you are beautiful, you are going to get through this, trust in Me . . . 

Listen . . . those who have ears to hear: I love you. I love you and I love you and I love you. Let me quiet your mind for just one minute. Let my peace wash over you. The world tells you that peace is when everything is going your way. My peace is not like that. My peace says that I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. That day will come and you will have been with Me the entire time, taking my light yoke. 

Your story is not over, my darling, my treasure. Stay with me, under My wing. There is so much more I want to share with you . . . so much more I want to say. But, for now, just rest, knowing that your future and the entire world is under my sovereign control. You are not lost, my little lamb. You are found. 

“The Lost Sheep” by Liz Swindle

Triangulation: A Method of Abusers

This is Wikipedia’s definition of Triangulation:

The term triangulation is most commonly used to express a situation in which one family member will not communicate directly with another family member, but will communicate with a third family member, which can lead to the third family member becoming part of the triangle. The concept originated in the study of dysfunctional family systems, but can describe behaviors in other systems as well, including work.

Lights blog writes this:

When functional people have something to say, they say it to you. When dysfunctional people have something to say, they may tell someone else instead. (Lights blog no longer has this article published but I would like to still give credit. It was entitled “Psychological Triangulation”)

We believers would probably classify gossip in the category of Psychological Triangulation. But, there is also more to it. Those who practice triangulation also add manipulation to the pot. If I send one email to Johnny that plants a seed of serious doubt about Sally’s ethics (or something — I am just making this up) . . . then, I send a similar letter to Sally about Johnny’s ethics . . . I have just triangulated. I have, possibly, isolated them from each other. I have rather put myself in charge. At best, I have made myself an authority and dragged others into a game of sorts. At worst, I have managed to isolate both parties from each other, while still holding the power.

This paragraph in Lights blog is highly revealing:

Ill-intentioned triangulation comes from a toxic person who is manipulating. It serves this triangulator best to have others involved in their toxic drama games. In these cases, the triangulation is little more than a tool used to drag the most people possible into the toxic swirl of their schemes as possible. Telling third (and fourth, and fifth) parties brings them more power or more gratification than it does to work toward the resolution of any issues.

How many of us have experienced this??  After I left my abuser, I was getting letters from people I have not heard from in 15 years because abusers were just so very busy in pulling others into their drama games. Do they ever rest? I do not know. I imagine that those who are addicted to drama just move on to something else, eventually. Not one time did I receive a letter showing any amount of love or concern for our welfare (when we left my ex) from the very people who swarmed and buzzed around me, contacting every single person they could find in my circles except me. And, I know that I used to do this, as well, because this was how my family functioned (or dysfunctioned, rather). It was not until God set me free from these methods that I began to see how manipulative it all was. Afraid to speak up or speak out. I must say that it is not easy to break these habits and be direct — but I will also say that it can be done with effort and by the grace of God.

That being said, not all triangulation is bad. Sometimes, it is just life. I used to communicate with David about our (then) five year old because she was only five. She could not really make many decisions about her little life so David and I did isolate her, to a degree. This type of triangulation is healthy and fades as children get older. Sometimes, it is forced upon us. Divorced parents do not always communicate with each other so the children are isolated from unified parents. This is not always a bad thing . . . it is just something that is and has to be for the safety of the children.

However, abusers use triangulation to isolate and stay in control. They need to just stop it. Because of all we went through, when approached by someone who wants to gossip . . . or someone who wants me to somehow relay a message to my husband (who is a pastor), I just say, “Well, you’re talking to the wrong person!” or “I really can’t help you. You will have to approach so and so.” Our children know better, as well. They simply do not take part in triangulation or gossip.

How do we heal from the triangulation suffered at the hands of those who aim to hurt us (whether subconsciously or purposefully)? I love Shahida Arabi’s  comprehensive article on healing from this particular type of abuse. She mentions three very important tactics when pulling away from triangulation (shown in quotes):

  1. “Know that you are irreplaceable and know exactly why.” Abusers often want their victims to believe that they can have “another you in a minute” (yes, I just sang the Beyoncé song as I typed that. Sorry not sorry). Friends, we know better than this. Do you know better than this? Do you know that you are created and crafted by a Creator God who loves you more than you can imagine? Do you know that He was smiling as He designed you? Do you know how precious you are to Him? You are irreplaceable. If you were replaceable, He would have replaced you. Instead, He died for you.
  2. “Eradicate subconscious wounding that says you’re not enough and cultivate new seeds of self-worth. “ Yes, I know. Easier said than done. This takes time. Arabi says, “Childhood is where many survivors first learn to dim their own light.” This is heart-breaking. There is nothing like growing up feeling like you don’t belong and are not worth anything and then marrying someone to seal the deal. But, I promise you . . . this can be undone. Truth can be learned. Good, solid hermeneutics can change these lies. Find a way to do this. The hard work is worth it.
  3. “Minimize unnecessary comparisons and reprogram negative self-talk.” A wise woman once said to me, “Comparison is odious”. Oh, how true. Release such a negative self-focus and realize that you are a gem. A true, beautiful princess created by a God who loves you. Who redeemed you permanently. Own that. Again, find a way to do this. And then give that worth to others. Let those waters of life flow freely through you.

All of this is work — I know. Please know that I know this. I have spent the past seven years realizing my worth, in Christ, and I have had to be proactive almost every day, in realizing this. And yet, with each step I take, Jesus pours more grace on my efforts. Like a cleansing, fulfilling, splashy, refreshing and beautiful drink of water. I sense His pride in my baby steps, and His pleasure. I revel in His pleasure over this. I know that I am His and He loves me. Despite any triangulation, gossip, rumors or pain that have been inflicted on me. And despite any I have afflicted on others.

I believe that the damage done by triangulation is why Jesus spoke so definitively on approaching people face to face, rather than the round-about-way (Matthew 18). We go to people — face to face. We look them in the eye and then, in compassion, we speak. And why do we speak? Not because we want to prove others wrong .  . . but because we have the best interest at heart of the listener. In fact, we have their ear because they know that we love them. It has been proved over and over. We have earned that right. Otherwise, we need to keep our mouths shut.

Love,

Megan

“Water of Life” by Megan D Cox