Post-Abortion's Emotional Disorders


Introduction

Guilt, shame, and anger are the main emotions that an abortion overtaxes. They function as a warning system to moral boundaries for a healthy person. However, a person who has been debilitated by acting against human nature, in this case against the natural instinct that humans protect their offspring, may experience guilt, shame, and anger to a pathological extent. While not a stand-alone psychiatric diagnosis, they can become pathogenic components of several psychiatric diagnoses. After an abortion, a woman may experience guilt, shame, and anger to a degree that far exceeds her ability to cope, turning life into an endless onslaught of pain and distress.

All three are moral consequences caused by abortion. They function within a person's conscience and are therefore referred to as moral emotions. Christian counselors offer a truly healing approach to these three moral emotions because they can guide a woman to understand the connections between their abortion and their suffering which, understanding this connection, is intrinsically healing.

Guilt

The desire to procreate is hard-wired into every life on earth as well as into the body, psyche, and soul of every human being. Abortion goes up against this most basic instinct. Every fiber in our bodies prioritizes supporting procreation. It is logical then that this priority carries over into the emotional, psychological, and noetic realms. 


Shame

Where guilt is a response to breaking natural, moral, legal, or religious norms, shame springs from a person's wounded self-assessment. Guilt follows having done something wrong; shame follows when something is wrong with me. Because an abortion fractures a woman's integrity, she will likely experience both guilt and shame. With shame, she may feel deeply embarrassed and may develop a strong urge to hide or run away. This is why many stop going to church – to run away from God.  She experiences feelings of humiliation not connected to any actual humiliation from the outside. In a mirror-like fashion, hyper-sensitivity develops towards the slightest perception of criticism, often totally unrelated to the reality of a situation.  As with guilt, this leads to self- loathing, negative self-talk, and feelings of total worthlessness.

Anger

Anger, like guilt and shame, has a purpose in healthy people but can become toxic when pushed out of proportion. Righteous anger is a reaction acknowledging injustice or offense against natural law. There are several ways a woman might experience righteous anger after an abortion. She might be angry with the father or the doctor who pushed her into the abortion; she might experience anger with the staff at the abortion clinic, with family that didn't help, friends that disappeared, with herself, or even God for letting the abortion happen. To heal this kind of anger requires a process of acceptance and forgiveness.

However, anger may become perverted given that abortion in itself is a perversion of the basics of life. Then anger turns away from the original offense, the abortion, and attaches itself to other, even unrelated objects and people. 

It is obvious that in the context of counseling anger requires astute attention. A counselor needs the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to help preempt bouts of anger dangerous to their patient or others. A Christian counselor can offer not only a deeper understanding of what anger is but also a broader tool kit for dealing with anger than secular counselors might have. Prayer, meditation, and confession are just a few and we will go deeper into these in a later chapter. Most anger is a serious matter and needs to be dealt with in wise ways. 

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