Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of Self
by Toni Weisz/Stinking Thinking
Scripture References: Isaiah 43:18–19 and Psalm 62:18–19
Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us (especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or disturbing thoughts, such as a distorted view of God, ourselves, or others. We will learn to discern the truth from the lies we have believed all of our lives. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in every area of your life.
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Psalm 62: 6–8
“He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
I was the oldest of three and came from a strict second-generation, Italian-American family. My father and his two brothers and sister ran a family-owned construction company started by my grandfather.
My grandfather had a drinking problem. And my dad acted like an alcoholic even though he did not drink. I refer to his behavior as a “rageaholic.” He worked extremely long hours and was dealing with a lot of stress and family drama. He was not able to communicate in a healthy manner without becoming angry and raising his voice. He had a very short fuse. So, when he was home, I would literally want to run and hide.
I had an over–developed sense of responsibility, and I took on shame very quickly as a child. My dad was very unpredictable and scary at times. As a result of this, I hid behind my wall to protect myself. I pretended to be the good, quiet one, in order to protect myself and to set myself apart from my sister (who was 15 months my junior) and my brother (who was born three years after her).
How was I supposed to get the love and attention I needed? After the “good, quiet one” persona was not working anymore, I started sneaking Scotch whiskey from my parents’ liquor cabinet. Like I said, my dad did not drink, so he did not know I was watering down his liquor until I overheard my uncle comment on it one day when he had a drink. I thought, “Oh no, I am in trouble now.” But nothing ever came from that.
Now I was really hiding because of all the sins I was pilling up while still keeping up the façade of the good, quiet one. By 13, I was getting high and doing other drugs. At 16, I was having sex. And at 21, I was pregnant and unmarried. My life was a recipe for disaster.
I felt very insecure because I started gaining a lot of weight from all the extra calories from the liquor and binging after getting high. I felt ugly, fat, unloved, alone, and depressed. I never developed my voice either, so all the stuffing I had been doing during my life was about to come out sideways, and I would not be able to control it. I would become like my father, a “rageaholic.”
After many years of destructive choices, unhealthy copying mechanisms and addictions, my self-loathing was at an all-time high. My depression was preventing me from functioning normally and all the pain I had been stuffing all my life was coming out sideways. I had no control over it. I was like a walking volcano. I literally just wanted to end this disaster of a life and stop the torment I was experiencing.
I felt I was not worthy to be loved. In fact, I thought I deserved to be emotionally abused by others because of my abortion. I did not see myself as a person of value to anyone, not even to God. This destructive pattern would continue until I was 34, when by the grace of God, I heard the gospel and within 4 weeks got saved and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and be my Lord and Savior. The most beautiful and memorable day of my life is February 6, 1994, when I became born-again.
Even after my salvation, I felt I had to work for God’s love and for the approval of others in leadership at Church. My people–pleasing was consuming my life, and God showed me that this is idolatry, that anything that I put above God is an idol.
Slowly over time as He poured His love and grace over me and with many years of recovery, intensive inner–healing work, and involvement in high–accountability groups, God showed me His love for me was not based upon my good works and that it was only because of Jesus’ death on the cross on my behalf that I was now righteous before God.
I stopped striving to please people and only live my life to please God. As a result of this new mindset, I have become more dependent upon God and bolder and more courageous. I am so grateful for the wonderful adventure the Lord and I are on right now.
QUESTIONS TO TAKE TO HEART:
- How has your distorted view of yourself opened you up to all kinds of abuse and sin as a way of trying to cope with all the pain?
- How has your distorted view of yourself changed over the years as God has given you awareness and the courage to change?
Please reach out if you need prayer or someone to talk to. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are loved,