Updated: Jan 3, 2020
What are the potential consequences of living in the warped reality of false beliefs? The most common consequences of relying on false beliefs as a form of truth are the following: low self-esteem, depression, guilt, self-blame, shame, identity distortion, and living in isolation.
All these consequences can lead to the development of self-harm and self-mutilation. It can also lead to substance abuse, addictions, eating disorders, chronic depression, personality disorders, and suicidal thoughts or attempts
Beliefs are Powerful
What we believe about ourselves becomes our inner voice and internal mirror. What we believe takes place in our thoughts, and it’s our thoughts that produce impulses to act on those beliefs. The following are the beliefs that must be adopted by sexual abuse survivors.
You are not at fault for what happened to you.
What happened to you was not provoked by you.
You have nothing to be ashamed of.
You were created in God’s image. You’re meant to reflect a significant aspect of God.
You are not what happened to you.
What happened to you does not control who you are nor who you become.
You are not damaged.
You can heal.
Our belief systems dominate our decisions. And because of this, we must be vigilant over our thoughts and what we believe to be true about ourselves. The mind is the battlefield; therefore, we must equip ourselves well to fight off the thoughts and notions that cause us to engage in harmful activities or self-destructive patterns.
1 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
God gave us the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. What does this tell us? It tells us that we have been wired with power, love, and the ability to possess self-control. So, how do we control our thoughts? We control our self-defeating thoughts by shifting our focus. Any thought we entertain receives our attention, so we must be aware of the ideas that consume our minds.
Now, it’s understandable that for sexual abuse survivors, the mental processes are cluttered. At times the mind drifts into numbness or dissociation. Survivors that suffer post-traumatic stress disorders tend to have a difficult time concentrating and overall functioning in day to day activities. This means that more work needs to be done to focus on helpful and positive thoughts. The focus will not come easy; therefore, habits of mental self-discipline will be required.
Romans 12:2,” Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
There is good news about false belief systems, and that is, that beliefs are learned; therefore, they can be unlearned. False beliefs are narratives that we live on based on our experiences with others. False beliefs can be torn apart and shredded through continuous reflection on the word of God and by spending time in prayer.
Unlearning beliefs is an act that transforms into art. The art of unlearning beliefs is to replace those beliefs with new information and a new set of beliefs. Those beliefs must derive from the narrative that protects the victim from diving into self-blame, guilt, and shame.
To unlearn beliefs takes the constant renewal of the mind. The scriptures tell us that transformation is possible. The revival of our mind is possible. However, to renew our mind requires that we persevere passed the false beliefs and cling to the new set of beliefs that are anchored in Jesus Christ and scriptures.
It would be wise to develop a reliable support system that will keep you accountable when your thoughts begin to drift toward self-defeating thoughts. Self-discipline also requires practice and for you to develop a practical faith. Write down the bible verse that counteracts your negative beliefs about who you are. Post them all over your home. Say them out loud, repeat them, and memorize them. Remembering scripture will become your greatest resource when the shame and guilt want to come and settle in your heart. Only the word of God can draw away anything that isn’t aligned to him and his will, and that includes fear, sadness, shame, and guilt.