Deep Emotional Pain ~ can create soul wounds


Intense emotional pain often isolates us. In our society today , which demands an absence of paint and a totally unrealistic demand for ‘safe spaces’, we might not even want to admit our pain to others. Some respond with anger as a way of fending off pain they feel entitled not to have. Both of these responses isolate us from others.

I’m a seasoned citizen and at my ripe, and I hope, discerning age, I’ve met people who have had real emotional wounds inflicted on them by others. They’ve been sexually abused, which is akin to murder of the psyche, except the victim must go on living. They grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic or drug addict who destroyed everything that was meaningful and good in the family. A parent, or parents abandoned them when they were young. They or a loved one was severely physically injured by the actions of another; or a loved one was murdered or committed suicide. These types of situations cause real, deep emotional pain and often result in lasting soul wounds…damage to the psyche. And, of course, there are other situations, just as emotionally devastating.

I’m talking here to people with real, obvious, deep emotional pain. It is plain to see the world is corrupted by sin. Even the nonreligious will admit this. Jesus said that we would have suffering int this life, in this world.

 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [NASB]

Over the years, I’ve talked to folks who have had real, deep emotional pain inflicted upon them by others or by life situations. They’re pain is very real. The inciting incident was not imaginary. It did happen. Their family member was maimed or killed by a drunk driver. Their husband did cheat on them and remove all funds from their joint account before filing for divorce. Yes, the pain is very real. But, what I’ve learned is that way down at the bottom of it, shame is attached. People think: if I had been worthy I wouldn’t have been put up for adoption; there was something flawed about me that made him sexually abuse me and in fact he told me exactly that over-and-over.

This attached shame prevents the injured one from sharing with others, or even if they do share intellectually, on an emotional level they continue to condemn themselves. This self-condemnation is a killer. It binds people in heavy emotional chains. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a total transformation of the mind away from condemnation. Self-condemnation and condemnation of others is a soul killer. No matter who you condemn, yourself or others, you’re destroying your own soul’s health and destroying joy.

As a Christian, I turn to some of the great Christian teachers when I feel a case of self-condemnation or condemnation of others coming on. And I do, and have had cases of self-condemnation or condemnation of others. Of course I have. I’m human. At those times, I click away on my TV remote until I land on a Christian show featuring the teachings of Joyce Meyers, T.D. Jakes, Paul Daughtery, and many others. I personally find a good word for healing there.


What brought this article on was the passing, three weeks before Christmas, of my husband Joseph D. Chillemi. I, in my human limited mentality, thought this would be the worst Christmas ever. But the whisper of the spirit of Christmas, gently wrapped around me as if I were in swaddling clothes and kept me safe as a baby. It was Jesus,  coming to me as the baby Jesus, who I encountered…as hope, light, love. So, yes, I was in a state of deep soul searing pain, and yet, Christmas was all about love and joy for me. This year, I learned how the spirit of the Christmas season so often touches nonChristians. How is that possible I would experience this when in deep mourning? I have to chuckle here, because my God can do for His people two or more things at once. [a wee jest there] He invented multitasking.

And so, the Lord had me write this article about deep pain as a way to honor my husband.

Joseph D. Chillemi; July 30, 1951 – December 8, 2016; husband, father, son, friend, social worker


22 thoughts on “Deep Emotional Pain ~ can create soul wounds

  1. I’m so sorry for your tremendous loss. And yet, in your grief you reach out to others who may be hurting. That’s evidence of God’s love within and His courage. Both of those compel and enable you to share at a time many would choose to withdraw.

    We’re praying for you. Thank you for sharing. I’m blessed to be one who was touched by your post.


    1. Nancy, God is so good and comforting. He comforts in ways we could never think possible. My husband Joseph was a social worker. He spent his adult life helping people so this is a wonderful way for the Lord to have me honor him.


  2. Nike, I was deeply touched by your post, and I thank you for sharing. Through your pain and your words, I see His arms wrapped around you. I pray for His continued strength for you and your family. God bless you.


  3. What a loving tribute to your husband. I know it would please him.
    God gave you a precious gift this year after your great loss, and I
    know He has more for you to share on this subject of pain that so
    many go through. Bless you and God keep His big arms around you,


    1. Diane, thank you for dropping by and sharing your kind words. The subject of ‘pain’ is one that needs to be shared about from the heart. Have a blessed new year.


  4. That is a poignant and helpful tribute in honor of your husband. I came over from FB to read it, as my husband died on Nove. 12. We are in the tough arena of widow now, together. Take care.


  5. Jude Urbanski

    Nike, thank you for this article. It touched me that God gave you such a gift this Christmas of love in your heart. That is very special. Prayers with you for the days ahead and I am very sorry of this great loss.


    1. Jude, Yes, God gave me the gift of the love of the Christ child. There is an innocence that is part of that. There is a gentleness. There is hope. I think that’s why so many nonbelievers are open to the love of Jesus at that time of year.


  6. bethpalmeida15

    Oh this article! First, let me say how very sorry I am for your loss. I can’t begin to imagine living without my husband but I definitely understand the way you described the comfort you received from Jesus.
    I am one of those who had a troubled home life as a child. If I hadn’t known God, there is no telling where I’d be now.
    I stepped away from the Lord for about 3 years after a particularly rough time in my life and, although I KNEW He still loved me and was waiting for me to come back into His embrace, self-condemnation was all I had or did for a very long time. I learned then that it is much, much harder for us to forgive ourselves when we mess up or THINK we’ve messed up, than it is for us to forgive others that really HAVE hurt us or those we care about. Even now, years after running back to God like the prodigal daughter, I still have days when the self-condemnation is like a thick fog covering my world or like a stone tied around my neck trying to drag me to the bottom of the deepest part of the sea.
    I wrote a post a while back about how my life has been blessed so extravagantly, to spite the times I’ve walked away from God, away from The Word, away from Jesus. If you have a minute later, I would love it if you could read it and let me know what you think. You write beautifully and I would appreciate any advice. Here is the link;
    Again, thank you for this post & for explaining how self-condemnation and condemnation of others can wreck our Spiritual lives.
    Bless you and I will keep you in my prayers.


    1. Thank you for your transparency in your sharing in the comments. You are so right. Self-condemnation is a killer. I clicked on your link and read your blog article and left a comment there. Bless you. Stop by again.


  7. Nike – my deepest heartfelt condolences to you and your family for the loss of your beloved husband Joseph. Any deep emotional loss is hard enough – but to lose your husband during the holiday season is harder still… God visits us in the darkest night with the hope of a new dawn. Grieving and sorrow are components of healing and wholeness. Our God is indeed compassionate and full of mercy. May He continue to comfort you in the days ahead. Hold fast to your wonderful memories as you navigate life minus your soul mate. Thank you for the reminder that pain in any form wounds the soul. Our “soul lover” is the only One who can mend that broken heart with His own sacrificial gift – namely Jesus.

    May God continue to sustain you, bless you, and carry you by His Spirit.


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