Self-esteem Scarred for Life
I’m writing because I have been dealing with tough issues for a long time. When I was growing up at a Chinese Christian church in junior high school, I was very happy, enthusiastic, & bright. I had a bright future.
At the church, I was popular among my junior high peers as well as among those older & younger than me. However, when my church underwent some changes (a pastor was removed from his position & some attendees went with him & his family), the church sat in a position lacking direction. With this going on, some of my junior high peers who WEREN’T so fond of me, began assembling to fight for their views & influence in our church. One particular individual was jealous of me. He wanted to hurt me emotionally & manipulate me so he could have more say than I would, and in essence, become more popular. He attacked me verbally & emotionally, scarring me in late junior high-early high school.
At that time, I was already feeling somewhat depressed because someone else chastised me for acting a little mischievous at church even though I meant well. His scarring me lasted throughout high school & college. In college, I became somewhat suicidal because this person and a few others had effectively manipulated me, pushing me out of our church. Basically, they wanted to be in control of the church, so they abused me emotionally.
Is there anything I can do? I received some counseling in college, but counseling didn’t help much. At the end of college, I finally confronted the individual who scarred me. He said with a smirk over the phone during our conversation, “I guess you’ll just have to forgive me.” He said it because he felt he would get away with what he did because I was bound by Christianity to forgive “70 times 7.”
When I later asked him if he was jealous of me (his older sister had told me he was), he replied a resounding “YEAH!” I was hurt, understandably. He went so far as to scar me just because he was jealous of the popularity I had at church. What he did did not make much sense to me.
Later, he did come to Christ, but I still live with the scars. For a long time, he showed further jealousy, though, this time to other people. While we were attending a luncheon for someone getting married, he laughed at non-christians saying that we were on the “right” side because we would go to heaven and they hell. He’s right, but it’s nothing to laugh about.
What should I do? I believe he has become more of a sincere Christian, but the scars he made remain.
He, along with a few others changed my life. Things had gotten to the point where I wanted to sue these people for damages. They altered my life by affecting my emotional development adversely.
Is there anything I can do legally? I’ve worked off & on over the past six years since graduating from college.
I’ve gone to see a clinical psychiatrist who prescribed me anti-depressant medications because of my suicidal tendency. Please help. I need some answers.
Answer: Dear Friend,
Are you suicidal now? If so, the medication is not helping and you need to talk with your psychiatrist. You may need to get into an in-patient program. You need counseling for sure and I recommend you contact AACC for a referral to a counseling professional in your area.
What really impresses me is that you are very angry at this man (& others) and that you are letting him/them control your life. What he says- you believe…about yourself. And maybe you are even angry at yourself that you are letting his words affect you so much. His words and perceptions about you are not the truth.
Here’s the truth: What Jesus Christ says about who you are as His child, as His servant and as His friend- is the truth about who you are. Your problem is really your own choosing. Why? You have chosen to believe what this man says as truth vs. what Jesus Christ says.
What does Jesus say? Examine the verses below. What do you see?
- John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
- John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
- John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
- John 14:13-21 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
- Matt 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
- Acts 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
- Acts 10:43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
- Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
- Col 1:13-14 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Biblical Truths about Your Identity:
So what did you see from these verses? That you are a Child of the God of the universe because you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. That Christ lives in you and you live in Christ. That when you are letting Him have control of your life, you will produce valuable works which glorify God. That this Jesus will hear your prayers and answer them. That the Father and the Son love you. That you have forgiveness and eternal life because of your relationship with and faith in Christ. What more validation can a person want than to have the approval, love, forgiveness and inheritance of our Lord Jesus Christ?
This must take pre-eminence in your life.
Jesus Christ is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. What He says is true, not what this man says. When you grow in this understanding of who you are in Christ, you can let go of the hurt that this man caused and is causing. Actually, you will then have a solid understanding of God’s love and nothing will shake you…. no hurtful comment, derision, rejecting look, even if someone hits you or spits at you, you will be able to say….. SO WHAT! The God of the universe loves me and has given me innate value and worth because of my relationship with Christ. Now I know that sounds too easy and that of course, you would be angry if someone hurts you or rejects you, but eventually, you can rely on God’s Word about you vs. some human being’s words. If you would like to know God personally- Read the articles on this site about faith.
I realize that there is a lot more to your problem than spiritual & self-esteem problems. You most likely have a deficit of neurochemicals causing some of your depression and therefore, you need to take medication. See my article on depression . Also, see the article I have written on forgiveness and assertiveness.
On our resources page there are many books which can help you : Putting Your Past Behind You: Finding Hope for Life’s Deepest Hurts by Erwin Lutzer; The Search for Significance by Robert McGee (this book will radically change your perception about yourself and help you find your significance in the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ);The Freedom from Depression Workbook by Les Carter, Frank Minirth; Truth Talk: Telling Yourself and Each Other the Truth by William Backus, Marie Chapian.
You need to change the way you think about yourself. Your thinking must line-up with scripture. When you begin to feel better about yourself you will have the motivation to forgive. Forgiveness includes a sense of humility and right perspective. We are all the same at the foot of the cross. The ground is even for us all. We all need the forgiveness that Jesus gives so freely. But He died and provided forgiveness for us because He loved us. He wanted us. He wants you to become more like Him. Don’t let the words of this man haunt you and control the way you look at yourself. Read Psalm 139….. God loves you, made you, knows every hair on your head, shed His blood so He could redeem you and make you His own. That is the truth you need to be living by. God bless you! Praying for you.
© 2007 Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC