I've come across a situation that I can't seem to figure out on my own. I've been researching it and praying for the Lord to reveal information to me about this. I'd love some input so here goes: I have someone close to me that I counsel quite often and she is dealing with, what I consider to be, a defense mechanism in her life that is daydreaming/fantasizing. As a child she grew up in a violent household and in order to survive the trauma around her she was able to lay down and daydream through entire episodes of fighting, yelling and the sounds of sexual activity coming from her mother's end of the house. From what I can gather in our talks she has grown very proficient at this to the point that she can be driving her vehicle and fall into daydreaming. The most troubling aspect of this for her is that she is now in her 30's, married to a wonderful Godly man, great kids and a comfortable life and yet she still daydreams and fantasizes about being somewhere else and being someone else. It's as if she hasn't found the switch to turn this off and it's really beginning to affect her life. She's constantly unsatisfied with her life. Always seeing how it could be more than it is. She's never satisfied with her physical appearance because she continually dreams of being someone completely different. To me it's almost a disconnected mentality and I'm not sure how she functions the way she does. She's had momentary victories over this but it always comes back. I've considered the spiritual applications in great detail to try and help her. Because of a history of mental illness (due to her childhood) and an abuse of prescription medications in her past, medicine is not an option for her right now. I'd love to hear comments or ideas on how to counsel this woman and some scripture to help would be wonderful. -Marilyn
I was just talking with someone yesterday about this.
You will find a wide variety of opinions on this! Especially in the medical/mental fields!
I had a pastor one time tell me: A pastor will tell you it's spiritual. A psychiatrist/psychologist will tell you it's mental. A doctor will tell you it's physical.
In my humble opinion...it's a mix of all three.
The abuse she's suffered has caused her brain to defend itself by 'detaching' from the reality of the moment. That abuse was not ordained by God. She has a trained brain that can jump back and forth into this self-hypnotic, detached state.
God gave me a wonderful tidbit not too long ago. It was a new way for me to look at forgiveness. You know the verse where it says that being nice to your enemies is like heaping hot coal on their head? That's kinda how I thought about forgiveness. I forgave them so that God could deal with them. It was retribution forgiveness. It helped me make it through many years. But I was still never free from my past.
God reminded me that when Jesus died on the cross. He didn't die for my sins alone. He died also for the sins of those who hurt me. The blood of Jesus was already shed for the abuse I suffered...a sacrifice was made. Whether the person who commited the sin ever accepts what Jesus did, doesn't matter. I am covered by that shed blood. I may still carry consequence from it...but it no longer has power over me. I no longer have to carry the anquish associated with it. I am FREE.
Spiritually, I have gone through the 7 steps in [url=http://www.ficm.org/newsite/index.php]Freedom in Christ.[/url]
I like it as it's a good structured way to clean 'house'. It will also give her some tools to stop the fantasies.
I like Philippians 4:4-9 Good section of verses to put to memory. Reciting verses can help keep her focused.
Physically. Sometimes there's a real medical situation that needs medication...sometimes it just stops the healing process. If I had a wound on my arm that kept getting infected and the doctor kept putting me on or applying antibiotics and it didn't heal...maybe we'd have to dig in below the surface to find the cause. Which in this case is the abuse she suffered.
First thing is she going to have to do is stop wanting to go there. I've counseled some hurting women and found it curious that not all of them want to stop hurting. They want to continue with the status quo. I think that's because they either like the attention they get, or because they know who they are now and are unsure of who they'll be when free of the past, or sometimes the past is just too scary to look at. Until someone is ready to move forward and 'dig into the infection', you're spinning your wheels. Does she tell you about these fantasies with excitement or frustration?
I'd work on the spiritual house cleaning and true forgiveness, then the mind should follow. It's a long road...none of this came about yesterday. It's a journey that can be just as fulfilling and exciting as the ones she dreams.
Not an expert...just been there and this helped me.
There is a word in the psychiatric field called "splitting" or even "disassociation". People with Multiple Personality Disorder can do this...thats how they develop different personalities. When a child/ or person (but usually a child) is traumatized in some manner, they learn to disassociate...or become detached from their reality. I have read numerous stories about cutters (self-mutilators) who do this, and when they come back from their other place...they find themselves cut up and covered in blood....and they dont even know how or why it happened.
She can go through the seven steps to freedom (been there), but in my *opinion* I think she needs some professional help as well as the 7 steps to freedom. Also, someone who can work with her, and someone to basically reparent her in some aspects.
Hope this helps.
ps. The comment above is really wise :)