This is the fourth of a four-part series
When I think about my life, I can see a timeline of where I was and how I got to where I am. God, in His unchanging grace and love, has patiently carried me through many trials and tribulations. He has given purpose to events and moments that at first didn’t make any sense. When I stood up to my mother and stopped her from hitting me for good, I couldn’t have known how much that one moment was going to impact my life. I’ve been back to that moment many times in the past couple of months. I’ve seen what began on that day. I have felt what was changed in me.
Another event occurred in my early twenties, not long after I became a Christian. Because of the multiple traumas I had suffered, I was heading in the direction of becoming a sociopath. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back there was a certain kind of cold indifference I felt in my day-to- day life. I didn’t care who I used. I didn’t care who I hurt. I didn’t care about the consequences of my actions. Until God.
I was using and manipulating this girl for quite some time, both before and after I became a Christian. Even after my conversion, though I had a conscience about what I was doing. I simply didn’t care. It wasn’t intentional; I was hurt so I was going to hurt someone, that kind of thing. I was doing what I had been taught by my mother. And because I’m highly intelligent, I could take it a lot further and be way less obvious about my intentions. It was really awful. But I didn’t care. It scares me now to remember how cold I was.
But one night, God woke me up — and not just physically. He showed me what I was doing from His perspective. It wasn’t a clear, “This isn’t right and you need to stop” kind of warning. It was an emotional, heartbreaking revelation. I finally saw what I was doing and what I was becoming. That night changed me forever.
I often say that supernaturally I’m an emotionally sensitive person. Naturally, however, I’m not. I can easily detach from everything. This has been a helpful tool when I’ve gone through some difficult times, especially in times of intensive therapy. But I can’t use it for what did in the past.
I found the third and final Saturday self-defense training session to be the most difficult of all. Steph wanted me to punch her in the arms. The theme was dislodging the lies about myself that I had believe for so long. I had a long- time fear of becoming my mother. I also had a long-time fear of still becoming a sociopath. I had a fear of becoming an abuser and an addict of some kind.
Punching my sister in her arms represented her being the “devil’s advocate.” It started out as me again saying what I am not and beginning to believe it. These declarations ran deep. They had been rooted in me for so long. I had become unaware of their existence. My sister began saying contradictory things that the enemy would say. She was pushing me to feel the anger and injustice of what had been said to me. She was pushing me to understand what made me believe these things about myself.
This was by far the most emotionally intense therapy training session. I really wanted to quit. More than any of the other two. I felt like there was a sort of screaming in my head that was very angry at what was happening. It was hard to stay in this fight. I really wanted to run away. More than I had the two previous times. I knew I had to stay and fight through it. But the screaming was trying to tear me apart.
As my sister was saying things to me, it was provoking me to anger and aggression about what I had believed about myself. I was feeling the years of oppression I wasn’t even aware of. Reaching the apex was the toughest this time. I never felt such resistance in me. I saw these lies had deep roots in my soul. I had to get to the place where I was no longer letting the enemy have control over me. Finally getting to the apex, I felt myself being freed from these lies. I heard God say, “You are not nor will you ever be what you have believed about yourself.” I didn’t even know I believed these things about myself until that day.
Using self-defense as a therapeutic technique is as life-saving for healing from trauma as it is life-saving to keep yourself from being harmed by a would-be attacker. Giving yourself over to an unknown process is very scary and hard to do. Anything worth doing is never easy. But always 100% worth it. Confronting what controls us and breaking the cycle, whatever it may be, is what sets us free.