When children are raised with more criticism than encouragement, discrimination, abuse, neglect, loathing, or condemnation; and then suffer PTSD from violent criminal acts, that child would sooner lash out than treat others with calm grace. When a toxic parent (I hate that word) uses a long list of arsenal built over time such as lying, judging, abuse, using shame, manipulation, abandonment, humiliation and also criticisms to establish control over you, it’s not okay.
Christians must understand they are to revere parents. To respect despite how they act, the words they use, or how they lead their lives. In this difficulty, that many struggle with behavioral challenges they find increasingly difficult to navigate through. This concept is good in theory from a Proverbs 31 woman or a man raised with Timothy, but become increasingly difficult with a parent who falls extremely short of that kind of maturity. Nonetheless, it is still called us.
The negative behaviors that cause emotional damage are designed to control a child’s behavior but deliver merely doubt for their own importance, their worth, that they are deserving of love, of approval, of validation and that they are insignificant. To be taught that God loves above all rubies and jewels are merely words to these children. The concept of such love is so foreign that they live their lives in utter confusion.
It does not matter the depth of love you have for someone, if they remain broken and unwilling to change their brokenness, they will only continue to damage you from the inside out. No amount of self-reflection nor explanation will fix the brokenness inside you. So to keep the relationship you love intact, you must come to terms with the truth that you may need to understand appropriate boundaries, you must understand that you will be the stronger one and that the pain they cause may bubble up from time to time. So do not flog yourself over weakness for the choice to love them despite their actions, because that is quite a strength. Put up an emotional forcefield and allow their comments to bounce off you.
You may have been led to believe that you’re not lovable, smart enough, beautiful enough, capable or funny enough, or for that matter enough of anything. You may get an onslaught of well-armored attacks on you, but do not let that faze you. Own only the mistakes you make. Do not personalize someone else’s inability to take responsibility for their own actions. That will only cause you more anguish and suffering. Allow them to sit in their contempt as you break the bondage of their emotional control over you. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
My suggestion is for you to write down that which holds you back.
- What do the challenges that get in your way look like? Use facts!
- Next to the emotion you’re challenging, write what that’s costing you.
- Then write the emotion you want to replace the harmful ones.
- Find ways to refocus your mind on the positive in your life.
Thoughts drive feelings, feelings become actions and actions define our character. Just write one or two to get started, and pretty soon the fog will clear and you will begin to feel how precious you are to those who love you, and how precious you are to you. It is extremely challenging to alter your perspective simply by forcing your mind to focus on the good, but it can be done. This holiday season I wish that for you. That and all the blessings that were always intended for you before you were born. May this give you some healing.