Dysfunction could very well be the result of
Its Identification, Treatment and Cure
- January 29, 2009
It is rewarding to see that little by little
science is slowly opening its eyes to the spiritual realities.
According to Dr. Jose Luis Gonzáles de Rivera, Head of
Psychiatry of the Fundación Jiménez Diaz (Madrid, Spain)
as well as President of the Spanish Society of Psychotherapy
(Asociación Española de Psicoterapia): (1)
is not that antidepressants are not effective; it is that
they are very effective in certain cases of depression and not very
effective in others. Antidepressants could be considered
miraculous in the case when the individual in question has a genetic
deficiency in the generation of neurotransmitters; however, the
patients who fit that profile are a minority. Most of the
depression disorders are the result of a loss, continuous
pressure, lack of affection or interpersonal relations..."
This document is written for an audience who
acknowledges: (a) The absolute
supremacy of God as Creator and
Sustainer of His Creation; and (b)
The manifestation of evil in satan
and his fallen angels. However, if you do not subscribe to such
beliefs, you may substitute them for whatever you see good and evil
manifested in; the message we are attempting to convey, will be exactly
There are three basic premises on which we
will base the following treatise:
Man was created in the
Image of God; [Genesis 1:26-27,
2. Illnesses and,
ultimately, death are direct or indirect consequences of the original
and subsequent sins of self and others; [Genesis 2:17, 3:16-19,
2:24, Romans 6:23] and
3. What takes place
in the spiritual domain is manifested, one way or another, in the
physical world. [Genesis 1:3-27]
There are three additional premises on which the
following treatise will also be based:
When God created the
Universe with all it contains, the laws, physical and spiritual, also
came into being simultaneously. Laws which are immutable and will not
be changed, not even by God, since what He creates is by nature perfect
and does not need changing;
2. Individuals are
only responsible for their own sins and not for the sins of others. If
we sin as a consequence of the sinful influence of others, we are still
responsible for the sin we committed. [Genesis
3. The debts that we accrue
with God as a result of our violations of the immutable Divine Laws can
only be attenuated, that is, reduced, by the liberal action of the
Divine Mercy of God. [Wisdom 3:1-9,
The liberality of the Divine Mercy of God is
The level of our Faith
in God and His Mercy. [Luke 11:9-13,
The intensity of
our desire to do His Will. [Luke
The level of
exposure we have had to His Divine Word and the Sacraments. [Matthew
The level of
abandonment to His Will (different than No. 1 above). [Luke
The level of
purity of our intentions. [Mark
10:15-16, Luke 16:15]
Since God can truly read our hearts, He continually
monitors our spiritual disposition [Nos. 1 through 5 above, for
example] and shields us accordingly from the full brunt of the
consequences of each and every one of our transgressions with the
action of His Mercy . [Wisdom 1:6,
Luke 5:22, 6:8, 11:7, 24:38,
15:19, Mark 7:21]
With the above as the backdrop for our discussion we
may now proceed.
CASE OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP
[NOTE: We shall take, as an illustrative instrument
for our discussion, the case of a female who was raised amongst
The first step such an individual must take is to
realize that alcoholism is a psychosomatic disease. A spiritual
dysfunction which coincided with a body which has a natural, chemically
driven, disposition to excessive consumption of alcohol.
With such dysfunctional options, satan goes to work
attempting to cause as much harm as he can to the individuals who come
in contact with the alcoholic or
alcoholic behaving individual.
For this to be truly effective, the master of deceit
needs to create one key illusion: Implant in the mind of his victim(s)
that the dysfunctional behavior of the alcoholic is the victim's fault
and that it is the victim's responsibility to acquiesce to the
alcoholic demands to make up for causing such behavior in the alcoholic
and to appease him. Here is where satan brings into play profound and
destructive feelings of guilt.
A key point of clarification - a non drinking
individual may exhibit the psychological behavior of an alcoholic
[except for the drunkenness] and inflict as much suffering on his
victims as he would if he were drinking a liter of hard liquor a day.
HOW IT DESTROYS
Love is a God-given attribute which is nourished as
humans are loved by other humans (2). As love develops,
spiritual/psychological characteristics such as egocentrism, the "I"
syndrome, start to lose ground and humans become loving, caring and
truly selfless individuals. That was the original plan of God, Who
entrusted such teaching of love, by word and deed, to the
the newly created human. [Mark 9:41,
What happens when a child does not encounter the
nurturing environment for love to develop? They subconsciously
interpret whatever else they may experience as an expression of love,
warped as it may be.
They may be conscious that abusive behavior is not
love but they are still subconsciously drawn to it.
This is probably the most destructive tool of satan.
He has short-circuited the psychological mechanism which God implanted
in His creatures. Therefore, the woman who was nurtured amidst the
dysfunctional atmosphere created by an alcoholic parent will continue
to seek such environment in her life while feeding her destructive
This short-circuiting mechanism manifest itself in
the same way whether the individual lived in an environment of physical
abuse, sexual abuse (3), or verbal abuse.
Since part of the deadly psychological poison given
to the victim is the feeling of guilt (the feeling of responsibility
for the dysfunctional behavior of the other individual) the victim will
in essence become unconscious enablers and perpetuators of such
dysfunction while they desperately try to make up for causing such
problems to their "loved" ones. A vicious self feeding and destructive
cycle - the masterpiece of satan. [Exodus
Many victims cannot see this in themselves because
they are blinded to it. satan knows that a blind soul cannot find the
way out. The key for self identification for an enabler is: guilt. If
destructive and crippling guilt is present in an individual, they most
likely are enablers.
Such feeling is not the same as salutary guilt,
which helps us recognize our real shortcomings and, without destructive
feelings and behavior, propels us to take the appropriate steps to
correct whatever is wrong with us and/or our behavior.
Example of salutary guilt - We recognize that
knowingly or unknowingly we have offended someone. Salutary guilt
propels us to approach the offended party and apologize from the heart.
If the offended party takes an upper handed attitude and does not
accept the apology or wants to hold the offense "over the offender's
head", the offender goes no further and walks away.
Why? Because such behavior by the offended party is
just another manipulative evil trap. When we sincerely apologize to
someone whom we have offended - we are really apologizing to God. The
condition of humility and contrition is fulfilled by
confessing it to
the individual we offended. [For Catholics, such action does not
preempt the need for Sacramental Reconciliation.]
Thus, the case must be considered closed by the
apologizing party. If the offended party continues to make an issue of
the offense, that becomes his/her problem and a matter for which he/she
will have to account to God.
DAWNING OF THE SOLUTION
Is there a way out? No, not for man; but it is
possible for God since for God all is possible. [Matthew
"What does that mean?", the
victim may ask. "I am
the one living with the abusive individual. God isn't!", she may
That logic would be valid if we did not understand
what Jesus Christ meant when He said that all is possible for God.
[Mark 9:23, 10:27, 14:36]
What Our Lord meant was
precisely that when
invested with the Grace of God, for Whom all is possible, a Grace which
is available to all, a human can overcome everything in
the Will of God.
If the reader does not believe this, then the reader
does not believe that there is salvation for mankind because that was
precisely the issue which triggered such statement by Our Lord. [Isaiah
53:5, Matthew 19:25,
"Fine", the victim may say, "what can I do with that
Grace? And for that matter, which Grace are we talking about, anyway?"
It is truly quite simple once is given by the Holy
Spirit of God.
God is truly Almighty -
nothing is impossible for Him. [Matthew
19:26, Luke 1:37]
God loves each one
of us with intensity and desires not to punish us but that we live a
full and love-filled life. [Luke
10:25-28, 15:4-7; 11-32]
We are to live in
partnership with God; a partnership in which man does whatever is
possible for him, within reason, in whatever situation he is facing;
then, God will do the rest. That is, whatever is beyond man's limited
capabilities, God will achieve for man. [Genesis 2:15-17, Luke
Matthew 9:35, 19:26, Acts 9:36-41]
"Yes, that is all good and well but I
still have an
abusive husband. How do I break the cycle?", the victim may sill
First of all the individual must realize that
whatever ails the aggressor is not her
fault. "I am not responsible
his behavior." must become like a mantra until it finally sinks
When the aggressor sees that such behavior
controlling link has been broken he will try to reestablish it through
different (but equivalent) channels; all based on some form of guilt
Now, the victim begins to spiritually rise free of
guilt. The aggressor finally realizes that the manipulative link is
permanently severed and he will finally realize that he is the one who
has the problem and finds himself facing two options: (1) Seek help; or
(2) Find someone else who will continue to enable his destructive
As the reader can see, the choice is between good
and evil; and that is a choice that the offending party will have to
make and the victim must stay out of it. If the victim fears to be
abandoned by the spouse and returns to the old destructive pattern, not
only life will be miserable, but accounting must be made to God for
being an enabler. [Matthew 2:12,
If the victim hold on tight to God by placing her
trust in Him, God will work out the solution which may include up to
starting life anew (4). Should the victim fear that? Starting life
anew? Why should she fear that? She never had a life before; now she
has a chance to have one. [Genesis
12:1-3, Wisdom 1:12-16,
THE "WHY ME?" SYNDROME
In this section we will explore, and perhaps answer,
the often heard question: "Why do I always get drawn to the same type
of dysfunctional people."
"Experts" and other "luminaries" make millions
writing and selling thick books and giving conferences attempting to
answer such question. It is never quite answered since that would dry
their source of income.
The answer is one and is simple: The abused
individual was psychologically conditioned, probably since birth, to
such behavior by her parent(s) and/or siblings. Thus it represents a
"comfort zone." We must remember, such individual may even equate such
dysfunctional behavior as "love". After all, that is all she knew from
It is the old shoe syndrome -
"It is painful but I
am used to it, thus it is comfortable." To reinforce such destructive
attitude a "consoling" proverb has been composed: "A known evil is
better than good yet to know."
A version of this dysfunctional saying
manifests itself in many cultures.
What is then the solution for an individual in such
a destructive pattern of behavior?
It is also quite simple. Break the
How? Identifying it, facing it and seeking
interaction with support groups while embarking on a prayerful journey
to draw closer to God, thus, His powerful assistance.
A victim, say of an alcoholic husband, when meeting
with a support group like Al Anon for the first time, after hearing a
few testimonials from the other wives, will believe that all of them
are married to the same man! Why? Because the behavior's root is in the
supernatural domain and its father is only one - satan.; and although
he is bad, he is consistent!
If you are one of the ones who has tried a
support group just a few times and stopped going - the first question
that you may ask yourself is: "Why did I stopped going?"
There is a great possibility that down deep the
victim is not willing to make the effort to change from the status quo.
From prior conditioning, she may think that she is not worth it or she
may think that she deserves it. There is also the possibility that the
support group has an incapable moderator. If after a few weeks the
victim sees no spiritual and psychological progress, then she should
seek another group.
We must acknowledge that in some cases the spiritual
wounds are so deep that, like deep and festering wounds in the physical
body, even when healed, the individual will be spiritually disfigured
in that particular area. However, such cross will now become lighter to
carry until the end of the victims life. Otherwise the weight of the
cross would be so heavy that it may even lead to suicide (5).
A very timely example. The psychological wounds of a
terrified Kosovars fleeing Yugoslavia will disfigure their souls for
life and only God can help them lighten such overwhelming cross. No
psychologist nor psychiatrist will be able to do that. At best they can
give first aid to the psyche. We are dealing, to the chagrin of
psychologists and psychiatrist, with a wounded soul which can only be
nurtured back to some semblance of health by God.
This lightening of the cross, that changing to the
lighter yoke, is precisely what Jesus spoke about when He said: "Come
to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I well give you
OF THE SOLUTION
In this last section we will discuss how can the
victim, of an individual exhibiting the alcoholic personality, endure
the period of healing .
The only way is: With discipline and
assistance/spiritual guidance, both of which must be enhanced by
enriching her relationship with God.
Believe it or not, the offender is really weak and
fearful - no matter what a tough front he will try to project. When he
realizes that he can no longer manipulate her with fear and that he is
risking losing her, he will most likely be motivated to be healed very
If not, God will see, of His own accord and without
the victim's physical intervention, that she becomes free of
A key procedure to remember is to pray for your
enemies and persecutors [Luke
that and, like
everything else He taught us, it does not fail. It is a tragedy that
the clergy does not promote such healing attitude.
Fear of physical abuse up to and including death?
See the paragraph above. Without confrontation, but with diligence,
follow it. In very short order the victim will start seeing the
results. It does
"Why has the Church always told the wife to stay in
an abusive home?" someone has asked us.
The faithful must realize that neither the local
priest nor the local Bishop can be considered "the Church" if the
advise is destructive to the body and/or soul. Do not forget that Judas
Iscariot was one of the twelve Apostles, until he betrayed the Word of
We cannot, and will not, allow a man to clearly
contravene Divine Law and use his ecclesiastical position to
soul. Even if he occupies the highest office of a particular religious
organization which, in the Roman Catholic Church would be the Pope.
If the reader doubts this, consider the following.
Should we submit our children to the sexual abuses
(3) of some
members of the clergy who
are in turn shielded from
exposure and prosecution by the local Bishop, including the
Rome? (7) After
all, they are "the Church" by such broad definition. A
thousand times: No! [1 Corinthians
5:9-13, John 5:24, Acts
Should a faithful find himself/herself in such
quandary, we recommend them to seek the counsel of another member of
the clergy. There still is a small number of priests who are truly
worthy to exercise the priestly function and who could rightfully be
called Spiritual Fathers. If that fails, a good attorney will be of
great assistance. It seems that nowadays the Church of Rome carries its
ear in its purse, therefore its hearing is greatly improved when said
purse needs to be opened to pay damages to those they were entrusted to
guide and protect.
"Más Allá de
magazine, No. 239 / Año
XXI [Translation by The M+G+R
are not encouraging Divorce. When all else fails
Separation from an abusive spouse is certainly a viable option.
Separation is NOT against the Law of God; willfully submitting to the
designs of the evil one, through a dysfunctional human being, IS
against the Law of God.
En Español: La Disfunción Espiritual - Su identificación y
Originally issued only for
Worldwide Ecclesiastical Distribution. Spring 1999
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