(By John Joseph*)
From infancy emotional scripts are being created in our minds. We learn without even knowing we’re learning that mother is safe and cares for us. We learn that significant others are available to meet our needs and that we can trust them, too. Unfortunately, we also learn negative emotional scripts when mother isn’t available and, worse, when she or someone else near to us is abusive. Those of us who’ve been sexually violated in childhood were infused with a commanding negative script (maybe many of them) that we carry into adulthood.
This damning script says you are scum. It says you are worth nothing more than a rag and you deserve to be used this way. It takes great faith and perseverance for anyone to overcome these pernicious inner messages that seem to come out of nowhere. Many of our relationships have suffered for these scripts. Certainly we’ve suffered from them inwardly even if we’ve had the willpower to act outwardly as if we were “just like” everyone else. But can a powerful mental script be broken or changed?
In my experience the answer is yes with some strong cautions. Through therapy, medication, and a loving network of people around me I am getting better, albeit slowly. The abusive flashbacks are less frequent and shorter. The triggers that would hurl me headlong into shame are losing their strength as I grow in my understanding that I have a lot more control over them than I ever knew before. I am growing more hopeful that the thoughts and deep emotions that have controlled me, these negative scripts, will eventually be completely erased.
(*John Joseph is a pseudonym of a pastor. He's a regular contributor to this blog.)