You Know You're In Trouble If...
By: Jeff Pipe, PsyD
If you think that you had a good childhood home and you cannot articulate how your childhood home impacted your style of relating, then you are in denial. If you claim that you don’t have any issues from your childhood home, then your head is in the sand. If you’ve not worked through the issues and dysfunction in your own home and/or forgiven your parents for their specific failures, then it’s time to get in counseling and let someone help you figure it out. Until you wake-up and embrace some awareness of how your past has influenced your present emotional, relational and spiritual functioning, you will remain enslaved to emotional impulses you don’t recognize or understand and fail to embrace a more conscious and intentional level of living.
If you do understand the impact your childhood relationships had on you and the challenges in your home, you are off to a great start. Insight is very important and will take you a long way. However, if you still struggle with strong emotional consequences from your childhood experience - if you are angry, depressed, ashamed or anxious about the things you experienced as a child - then its time to dig in and do some more work. It is very likely that you are over-correcting for your childhood experience in your current relationships, particularly with your spouse and children. Your self-awareness allows you to recognize where you need to do things differently and you are pointed in the right direction, but it is very likely that those unresolved emotions are influencing you more than you’ve thought. It’s time for another layer of work - perhaps another layer of healing from some of the wounds and/or re-building your ability to trust more vulnerably.
Again, what we are really talking about here is sanctification. The old man is dead, but deconstructing him/her is a never-ending project. You peel back one layer, do the work, allow the Gospel in deeper, come to experience more of God’s love for you and grow in your own ability to love. Then another layer is exposed and you start again. Forgiving your parents and others who let you down is the easy part; healing and learning to relate to others in a genuinely trusting, vulnerable and bold manner as Jesus did is much more challenging.
The good news is that you’re not alone in this; you are surrounded by a community of believers; and Jesus, Himself, is directly involved with you in this process. You can’t do this work alone; you weren’t wired to do it alone. You probably need to get back into counseling because the emotional work requires some thoughtful help. Maybe you can do it on the cheap if you’ve got some exceptionally honest and thoughtful friends and/or one of those very uncommon pastors who can counsel. You were put in community for a reason and you need someone who can help translate the insights you have into heart change - a deeper and more dependent relationship with Christ, your spouse and others. You can’t do this work alone.
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Legacy Strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.