Recovery from Abusive Childhood: Being Open Takes Time
By Jocelyn Hu
I spent my childhood and early adulthood being verbally and mentally abused by both my mother and my father. Although they'd deny that any of their actions towards me constituted abuse, it was enough to make me distrustful, wary, and bitter about people and the world in general.
According to my family's ungodly view of the world, you can't trust anyone with anything. Never show anyone your weaknesses, never allow yourself to be vulnerable. Conceal truths as much as possible, and for heaven's sake, don't even think about having anyone too close to you.
Over time, I learned how to keep my parents in an equal state of distrust, and to this day I don't confide much if anything about my life to them. It's something that I feel sad about, but any information I give them about my feelings, wants, or needs is immediately used as ammunition to bring me down. It's the truth about their lives and I pray to God every day to bless them, to open their eyes and soften their hearts. Because what I've learned in my three-and-a-half decades on earth is this - they're the ones who are truly suffering.
The Word tells us we must love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). As a pastor I am friends with pointed out, if someone is mean to their neighbors, it must mean they do not love themselves very much. That was an eye-opening revelation to me and it's helped me see more clearly that in the case of my abusers, I am not dealing with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
This has been healing for me, and while I don't think I'll ever be extremely emotionally close to my biological parents, I've come to understand that their ways are the ways of people who are deeply wounded, who have no anchor, who are suffering so much that they don't know what to do except lash out.
After graduating from university and getting a real job in the real world over a dozen years ago, I had a hard time getting used to life outside of my family. It took a while to understand how to operate in the world, to figure out that you don't always have to take the distrusting way of looking at the world. It's been a long journey to get to my present state of mind. I will never claim to be perfect, and I am just as much as a student as anyone else, but now I see the world as a servant of the most high.
There are a few precious friendships in my life that would never have occurred if I had shut people down. If I hadn't been open to a lady talking to me on the beach one day, I wouldn't have been saved in the first place.
Living in an impatient society, it's all too easy to want, wish, and hope for things to happen on our timeline, which is most usually ASAP.
It took 40 years for the Israelites to get through the wilderness. Joseph didn't confront his brothers until well into his career as the prime minister of Egypt. Sarah was all of 90 years old when she finally fell pregnant with Isaac.
What the Bible shows us time and again is that God's timing isn't our timing. He has a plan for us to succeed, but his ways aren't our ways and his thoughts aren't our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). God wants us to live abundant lives (John 10:10) and that happens when we are alert to the ways of the enemy and open to learning God's ways and his thoughts. Being open won't happen overnight, but pray on it. Ask God in Jesus' name to open your eyes, soften your hearts, and watch and wait on miracles to occur.