Despite its physical invisibility, emotional abuse is very damaging. And many Christians have been wounded by it. Perpetrators are often spouses, parents, employers, ministers, or religious systems. Whether caused by words, actions, or even indifference, emotional abuse is common—yet often overlooked.
Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, founder and director of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in the Seattle, WA, area, wrote Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse in 2009 with coauthor Ann McMurray. The book explains how those who have been abused emotionally can overcome the past and rebuild their self-image.
That message came into the hands of one woman at just the right time in her life. She had already devoured many Christian counseling texts—learning about safe vs. unsafe people, gaining knowledge of boundaries that had been trampled in her life and how to erect them again, and discovering how to replace the lies in her operating system with the truth of God’s Word. She made tremendous strides in emotional restoration.
But, like a partially assembled jigsaw puzzle, patches of healed areas remained that she didn’t know how to connect in order to complete the picture. Dr. Jantz’s book helped her make many of those final connections.
She found these topics and passages to be especially helpful:
- Why we feel false guilt
- How we try to change our behavior, looks, etc., to get people to like/love us
- Illnesses and symptoms with an emotional basis
- The Illusionist—a type of abuser
- The Wrath-of-God abuser (In her childhood, this was a very legalistic church environment.)
- The emotionally detached parent
- Spiritual abuse
- Unrealistic guilt
- The effect emotional abuse has on all relationships
- Excessive compliance or passivity
- How emotional abuse skews one’s view of God
Although this woman had already made significant progress in most areas, the clear way in which the authors described the dynamics of abuse and how they affect the human spirit removed some remaining scales from her eyes. In addition to feeling new freedom in her spirit, she now finds herself breaking into spontaneous praise songs to God where previously she had to make a conscious effort to sing.
As former World Vision International president Ted Engstrom says, “The scriptural and biblically oriented guidance found in this carefully crafted book will prove of inestimable value to all who accept—and adopt—its valid advice.”
I agree. Every wounded Christian who reads the book will be able to find comfort and insights for healing.
© 2012 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.