Toxic Tuesday: The Great Porn Experiment

Porn alters the brain: Bad news

If/when you stop using porn the brain can heal over time: Good news.

I’ve seen this TEDx lecture by Gary Wilson circulating over the last month and every time I think, “I’ll post this on my blog”. Today is the day.

When discussing sensitive topics I like to give a warning: This could be a trigger for different people in different ways. For the abused it could trigger painful thoughts or body memories. For the porn user it could trigger temptation.

There is a brief picture of women in bikinis at one point in the lecture/video.

I hope that every person who has access to the internet watches this video because Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smallsooner or later porn will likely rock your world. Porn is everywhere; especially soft-core, and it’s impossible to not have it turn up somewhere before your eyes. It’s not impossible to look away. Watch this video for clarification as to why we must look away and teach our children the importance in doing the same.

 

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Why Men Don’t Change

Source: Why Men Don’t Change

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I’ve been a reader of Gary Thomas’s books for several years and I’m always thankful for his spiritual insight and practical applications.

This article will be helpful to many of my readers who are in difficult marriages, or know a friend or loved one in a difficult marriage. The difficulty could be due to mental illness or ‘functional fixedness.’ Although some mental illnesses have roots in chemical imbalance or genetics; many are due to long rooted sin that has become a ‘normal’ way of life, but make no mistake, it is a sinful pattern and it CAN be changed. The person has to want to change and that is where Gary Thomas has insight into how to pray for this change. His future blogs will have practical application on the subject.

“Many wives live with great frustration because even though they point out to their husbands how much they are hurting, their husbands don’t seem to care and they don’t change. In many cases, this is due to ‘functional fixedness,’ which means a man isn’t motivated by his wife’s pain; he’s only motivated by his pain. This is a spiritual condition and directly related to his spiritual maturity. If you or someone you know is stuck in the mire of living with a recalcitrant spouse, you might find this post particularly helpful.”

 

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Toxic Tuesday: Covert or Overt Narcissist

If you think along the lines of cult leaders and world dictators you can begin a list of Who’s Who Among Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In my opinion we currently have narcissists in the highest level of office in more than one major world power. Another likely narcissist is running for president and has built his much of his empire preying on the poor.

read more Toxic Tuesday: Covert or Overt Narcissist

Why I Chose A Toxic Husband; and He Me

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I was recently asked if I received counseling before, during or after my divorce from my narcissistic, delusional, abusive, sex addicted, first husband; who was also a pastor. This was followed up with an inquiry of what I learned.

Here are some details of my answers.call on Him in truth

Yes! Yes, I went to counseling…for several years I went to counseling; in fact, any time I feel like some aspect of my life is consuming my thought life or spiraling out of control, I seek a professional, Christian counselor or psychologist.

My personal opinion is: Strong people seek help when feeling weak.

The first nine years of my first marriage I had avoided counselors for three reasons. 1.) I was constantly told, by my husband, that our marriage and ministry problems were because of me.  2.) I could not afford a professional.  3.) By the time I realized it wasn’t all me I felt I didn’t have anyone I could tell. We were in the ministry and seeking help meant telling someone what was going on in my marriage, but a good wife doesn’t say bad things about her husband and I had some serious issues to reveal.

In year nine, of eleven, I decided I was seeking help no matter who I had to tell, or what I had to tell. God provided a safe person, a safe married couple, for me. And guess what? They already knew from observation that I was in an unhealthy marriage with a mentally ill man who was refusing help and healing. From there I sought a godly Christian counselor, who as God would provide for me, had also been married to a man with narcissistic personality disorder. So she had in-depth knowledge of a portion of what I had endured.

My question to my helpers, counselors and doctors was, “What is wrong with me that I choose someone this mentally ill; this messed up? I have to be suffering, untreated, from mental illness myself. Please help me find what it is so I can heal.”  Sobbing and pleading, I begged people to tell me what my mental illness was. After all, you can’t receive help and healing if you don’t know what is ill, or wrong.

I never asked myself, “Why me? Why did this happen to me?”

I knew why. It was a consequence of my own sinful choices and actions before marriage. Yet I wanted to know why I was drawn to him.

Here is what I found out about myself:

I gravitated toward what I knew.

There was some generational bondage that needed to be addressed.

My track record of boyfriends was heavily dotted by young men with emotional problems; not all of them, but most of them. In hind sight, picking an emotionally traumatized husband was no shock.

I was a huge enabler. Not only could I handle my own life; including, my own junk, I took on his too.

I did not know how to set boundaries. After all, having my own opinion about something had not been optional that I could remember. Voicing my own opinion usually landed me in trouble or an argument. Narcissists respect no boundaries so I was  textbook prey.

I liked to find the positive traits in people and overlook the negative. I greatly desired to please others and put their needs ahead of mine. I could not stand the thought, or feeling, of being disliked. These are highly attractive traits to a narcissist because they need an endless supply of reassurance that they are wonderful, beautiful, highly talented, intelligent, gifted, funny, extremely amazing, nice, and the utmost special person on planet earth. They surround themselves with, ‘Yes’ men and women who would never want to hurt the narcissist’s feelings by saying, “No.”

I was accustomed to being treated harshly while being told I was loved.

Narcissists are attracted to strong women. The problem is that once they have you the strength they were attracted to becomes an object of the narcissist’s wrath; they despise your strength. They hate their own lack of self-control so they want to control you. They want to absorb you; become you because they don’t have their own identity. They spend their life demolishing the essence of who you are; or at least, chipping it away piece by piece. They want you to believe the lie that everything is your fault, and since I was a young, boundry-less, enabling nineteen year old when I married a minister five years older than me; I assumed he was right. Even when he lied to me about me I thought there must be something terribly wrong with me.  They know you are strong and that you won’t put your problems on their shoulders. In fact, since your shoulders are so strong they want you to solve and take care of their problems too; hoping you will heal their wounds.

I was a pro at picking up subtle hints and catering to them.

Narcissists are experts at manipulation and control so he used my big heart for his own ill purposes.

Waiting for a narcissist to love you is like waiting for a person whose eyes are gouged out to see again; it is not possible for a narcissist to bond or love.

Although I should have known, I did not know crazymaker (gas lighting) was a real term that embodied human flesh.

I learned that being too nice can cost you and your child your safety, your life, and your sanity.

I also learned that when the line of safety is crossed with your child; fierceness like no other can come out of you.  It’s a healthy fierceness that should have been employed sooner than it was.

I’m grateful to say I learned I am not suffering from mental illness and I don’t have a personality disorder. My life’s traumas did; however, leave me with auto-immune diseases.

So…if you or a loved one is in a relationship with an abusive, addicted or mentally ill person who refuses to acknowledge their struggle and seek help; please know, they can’t stop you from seeking help, safety, protection and healing. There is help and there is hope.

 LYRICS:

You could not plan for this. No, there was no silhouette

Up against the pink horizon; to warn you of the hit

But you absorbed it all with grace; like a child you spoke of faith unmoved

That holds onto you.

Chorus:

This thing is going to try to break you, but it doesn’t have to

You’re showing us how. This thing is going to bend and shape you,

But He won’t let it take you. You know it somehow.

This thing is not going to break you.

You could take your loss. You could hide away from us,

With your grief lassoed around you, but you’re laying it in the sun.

And you stare straight into the light. You say you’d rather go blind than look away.

What can I say?

Chorus:

This thing is going to try to break you, but it doesn’t have to

You’re showing us how. This thing is going to bend and shape you,

But He won’t let it take you. You know it somehow.

This thing is not going to break you.

This thing is not going to break you. This thing is not going to break you.

Why Wait Till Marriage: What No One Tells You. What I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Written by Ann Voskamp; this is by far my favorite explanation and sound reasoning for teaching why God’s way is the best in every way.  CLICK the above link.

5 Indicators: A Jerk or a Wicked Heart? There is a Difference

5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart

by Leslie Vernick

As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.

I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart.

Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.  If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13;16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words.

But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4;59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

3. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They useScripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9;Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).

4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card.

They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

5. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)

If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.

They want you to believe that:

1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.

When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin (see Zacchaeus’ response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19).

Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, ‘Sorry, can’t we just let it go?’ You would say, ‘No, that would be an injustice.’ Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required—some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.”1

As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe

2. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18; Jeremiah 7:8,10; James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).

If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.

Daniel says, “[T]he wicked will continue to be wicked” (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

[1] Tim Keller, Jesus the King, page 172

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) exists to encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.

Encourage: ABC provides a fellowship of believers committed to life transformation through the Living Word.

Equip: ABC promotes training in biblical counseling and points to resources that deal biblically with all of the issues of life.

Empower: ABC provides excellent materials for growth in Christ and for use in effective biblical counseling.

To find out more, visit the Association of Biblical Counselors website.

Toxic Tuesday: Good Parents ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

Here are a few questions I have learned to ask over the years. I’ve been known to ask these questions after play dates, youth group, extracurricular outings and even after church on Sundays. I don’t ask every question after each encounter and I don’t question each activity. I ask these questions so casually that I don’t know if my kids are aware of my motives.

read more Toxic Tuesday: Good Parents ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

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They hate you because they hate Jesus in you.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18 (NIV)

They cannot tolerate your calmness in the storm, your resolve to listen only to your Savior in trust and obedience, and your ability to not allow their arrows to penetrate your heart, soul, mind and strength. Little does the abusive person know; Jesus is deflecting the arrows from ever reaching you as your gaze it set on Him.

Mindset of abusive people:
self control or lack thereof

 

 

 

Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Parents Part 3

Remember, God trumps your earthly parent. He is the Master. He is the REAL parent, the one who “subcontracted” the role to your earthly parents for a season. If you are His servant, you belong to Him. Be wise about dealing with your NPDer, but don’t fear them. You are in Your God-Daddy’s Arms. To the extent that He directs you to meet their demands, do it. But not because of them. Because of HIM :-)!!

read more Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Parents Part 3

Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Parents Part 2

November 4, 2014 – Joy S. Well, happy readers, thank you again to Carolyn for allowing me to rejoin you for Part 2 of Toxic Tuesday:  Narcissistic Personality Disordered Parent. In my last post, I promised to share strategies I’ve discovered for escaping unforgiveness toward a NPD parent.  Lest you think that I was “spiritual” enough to figure them out on my own, I will start with a disclaimer. For the LONGEST time I knew forgiveness was the correct Christian response and I felt terribly guilty over my bitterness toward my NPD parent.  Sometimes I’d think that I was over the hurt.  Then something would reveal deep bitterness in my heart, and the cycle would begin again.  I questioned my salvation.  I knew there were other people who had truly forgiven their rapists, their child’s murderer, or the crook who stole their entire life savings.  Since these were all much worse tragedies than what I suffered, I thought maybe I

read more Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Parents Part 2

Teach Your Daughters to Fear God, Not Men!

A friend sent me this article via Facebook. This is an excellent read, recommended by Kirk Cameron, and I especially appreciate the call to the church to get involved when women are in these types of relationships. Great food for thought and more importantly for action. I’ll be re-reading and praying about this.

Click here to read this short article: Teach Your Daughters to Fear God, Not Men!.

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