original art by Christina King
You are not a disorder, you are a person.
We are body, soul and spirit. We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit). Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.
Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power? I say no. I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles. In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power. Christ desires to restore us. Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth. He makes us whole. I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17
We are not disorders. I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity. To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.
I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?
Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.
Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way. It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct. This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true. This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect. When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.
Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul. It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul. We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone. Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.
The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity. Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.
the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.
Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body. For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up. When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame. He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants. They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons. When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects. They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.
What was good and right became disordered due to sin. This is the reality of the world we live in. If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another. If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness. Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.
We are complex human beings. The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.
Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up. We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.
Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness. Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing. Anything else merely treats a part of a person. Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.
For information on finding freedom and healing with what is labeled as “Borderline Personality Disorder” order my book on LuLu