This journey of self-awareness and self-discovery, which I have been on for many years, has seen many breakthroughs, each one adding a small piece to the puzzle that is me. One of the more perplexing areas of me, is my relationships with those I love most, or rather the emotions that drag me into places I have no memory of choosing to go, and my family members are usually the catalyst.
Emotional control has been at the forefront of my motivation since my mid 20’s. Prior to that I was extremely emotionally manipulative and reactive, I had no idea how destructive uncontrolled emotions could be. However, this journey has taught me that emotions are fickle and can’t be trusted to influence all my actions and decisions.
I often wondered why my family had such uncontrollable emotional surges, and by faith I came to suspect that an emotional generational curse has been our inheritance. Desperate to overcome and break curses since I can remember, I knew if I didn’t break them, then I would pass them onto my children, which was and is completely unacceptable to me. The curse needed to reveal some specifics for me to fully understand what was being passed along. During a recent session of NET (Neuro-emotional technique) I received the confirmation I was looking for, along with some details to help identify and address this long term issue.
One of the main problems that arises from this curse is an emotional domino effect. Powerful feelings don’t only affect the person experiencing them but attempt to knock over each person who comes into contact with them. We find it especially hard to validate ourselves and our feelings without everyone else feeling the same way. I call this Emotional Co-dependence. It is the inability to be alone is your own feelings.
After some wonderful counsel from a distant relative who has learned to tackle similar issues, I began to trial the concept of staying on my own emotional ground. In other words, if I don’t feel guilty about a decision I have made on my own, even if members of my family don’t approve, I need to validate my own reasons and not allow their perspective or guilt trips to move me from the stance I choose to take. I also need to stay calm when a family member is irrational and emotionally out of control. I try to stay positive even when someone is being negative. And most difficult of all, I hope to stay sure of myself even when being challenged to be different, without getting defensive.
This is not easy by any means. It takes a lot of self-awareness and self-control to undo the automatic responses that have been woven into your nervous system since before your birth. The keys are persistence and patience. I may not always succeed in staying on my own emotional ground, however I am aiming for quality over quantity at this stage. I may feel alienated for a little while, I may seem aloof and uncaring to those I used to jump into the emotional boat with. Yet I have seen evidence within my family that if I stick to my new strategy, and wait patiently for the initial emotions to pass we can connect again in much healthier, independent ways.
I realise that undoing strongholds with such deep roots will not happen overnight, and I try to give myself grace when I slip back into old habits. I feel rejuvenated by these new understandings, and grateful to God for His strength to help me when I am weak, and His mercy when I fall. I pray this curse will not be so difficult for my children to overcome now that God is helping me undermine some of its power. Amen!
I needed this reminder.
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
So often many of us want to crawl into a hole when faced with the reality that we aren’t perfect. There are so many more complex points I could write on this topic, but in this post I will just try to touch on a few basics. There is a cloudy grey area between being perfect and being good enough, and many of us feel if we fall short of perfection we must not be good enough. Sure we tell ourselves over and over again the cliche that “Nobody’s Perfect”, we try to convince ourselves that we are ok with that, but it only seems to distract us for a moment and before long we are back wondering how we can feel good enough for longer?
Self-indulgence seems the most common way to distract ourselves for longer, things like overeating, retail therapy, casual sex, drinking, drugs, gambling, any form of…
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I lost my Dear Dad to cancer a few years ago. Many of you will have read about this on my “About” page and in various posts. He had been separated from me for all of my teen years and early adulthood. When we finally reconnected we became extremely close and the lessons I learned from him changed me and saved me. I was called by God to put our story into book form a number of years before he passed and we began to work on it together.
I was working on a section of our book this week, specifically the chapter around the time we reconnected. I was detailing how we would meet up for lunch once a week and he would arrange times to call me on the phone at least once during the rest of the week.
I had been writing for a large part of the morning, and once I was happy with this section I took a break to have some breakfast. About an hour later I thought it would be good to do some research on Dad’s spiritual perspectives. He was a pedantic document hoarder and I still have many folders and files of his research, along with some personal letters, articles and clippings etc.
I pulled out a familiar file, however a clear plastic sleeve came along attached to the back. In it I found a single letter and some photos of my Dad. Ones I had not seen before. I began to read the letter, which had been written to his brother about 10 years before he died. Dad was thanking his brother for the music they had shared and various other things. Then I read the last paragraph, where my Dad specifically mentions that He and I had begun meeting regularly for lunch and even talking on the phone!!! He also said that he was encouraged by my keenness to learn from him, that my faith was growing and how he knew God was in the middle of it all.
I am not ashamed to admit that I began to weep for joy. I praised God while tears soaked my cheeks. It was a truly special moment.
It blows my mind to wonder how many times God held that letter out of my sight so I would have to wait to read it until the very morning I was writing about the exact same thing!
I got a letter from Heaven this week! I praise God with all my heart that His detailed plan includes me, and is often shared with me. How miraculous a God we serve and know!
My psychologist recently explained to me a statistic regarding the families of origin of a person in therapy. He said that when a family have had a difficult childhood or shared a major disruption in their home life, then many family members develop foundational issues well into adulthood. Ranging from nervous/mood disorders to depression, addiction, psychosis, violence, crime, and so forth. He explained what happens when one of these family members goes into therapy and begins to make healthy changes to their self-awareness, their self-control and their lifestyle, helping to manage many of these types of issues to cause less and less dysfunction in their lives.
Then he said….
“It is almost always extremely difficult for that person in therapy to maintain close relationships with the other members of their family of origin.”
He explained that, in a subconscious way, the family members find it uncomfortable to be around the person who has changed. They have become unfamiliar, which is unsettling. He said “Often certain ‘set-ups’ are created to attempt to bring out the old habits of the changed person, thus trying to make the person recognizable once again.”
In my understanding of inner angels and enemies, it seems obvious that these ‘subconscious set-ups’ are the work of inner enemies. Inner enemies are always at the forefront of family disputes, as they attempt to destroy the family unit which God originally designed. Inner enemies don’t want to encourage us to change and become stable functioning adults. They have their own agenda, to cause dysfunction.
The types of set-ups my psychologist was talking about, are commonly forceful disputes over both trivial and serious matters, usually in an attempt to challenge the opinion, behaviour or perspective of the other person.
I believe his statements go both ways….
Someone who has been in therapy for long enough, will usually have developed a variety of new boundaries of what they believe is acceptable behaviour. With the aid of their inner angels, they may have changed their own behaviour according to these boundaries. This can cause them to struggle immensely when spending time with anyone who behaves in ways they have worked hard to avoid in themselves.
My Mother used to say, “You are who you hang with”. From experience I know this to be true. When I hung around people who did a lot of drugs and slept around, my internal moral compass changed and I found myself desensitised to behaviours that I had once found unacceptable. Growing up around yelling, name calling and nastiness created a common fall back reaction in disputes of all kinds.
I woke up one day discovering that I found my own behaviour unacceptable.
As time has gone on I have removed myself, or God has removed these types of people from my life. I am blessed to now be surrounded by people who understand boundaries and treat each other with emotional decency and respect. They also treat themselves with self-worth, and a healthy self-accountability for their own flaws.
As I explained before, this means it is very difficult to spend any length of time with people who behave in ways I have distanced myself from. I do not accept uncontrollable anger, sexual immorality, violence and abuse as healthy influences in my life. I find it equally difficult to be around those who blame others for their actions, as a way of avoiding their own accountability.
The thing that is most difficult regarding families of origin, and the statistic my psychologist explained, is the deep affection and connection you share. You see all the good in them and remember the good times, and you want desperately to share many more happy times with them.
Unfortunately sometimes, no matter how much you focus on the good in people, there comes a time when you must open your eyes to the whole picture and accept that their destructive issues may never improve. Then a hard decision must be made. Sharing history, blood and love doesn’t always mean you must automatically share your time, your trust and your life.
We must continue to pray for those who we may not be able to have close relationships with. I believe wholeheartedly in a God who can restore and completely alter a person’s heart, attitude, behaviour and lifestyle, but it takes time and a joint effort. I pray for all of us to embody the respect, and love that God intended us to have amongst each other, so we can show those inner enemies what a family under God looks like. Amen!
Man, do I ever need this post!
Have you ever heard of the phrase “He/she’s a whinging Pom”- Well I am originally from England and I can testify this is an accurate title.
I am not completely convinced this constant “whinging” or complaining is always evidence of an unhappy heart or even an unhappy life. I would like to think it is a release of truth and way of sharing our personal experience of life’s daily frustrations and trials with others. A way of being vulnerable with our fellow man and experiencing empathy.
I tend to be a pretty open person, I share truths about my life easily, but especially with those who I trust and am closest to.
Like many of you, I have been weighed down most of my life with one trial after another. Whether it be illness, financial concerns, relationship upheavals, injury, grief, persecution and the like. It seems as soon as I get one sorted there is another one waiting in the midst to hit me from left field. Sound familiar?
I share my trials, like those listed above, and also the daily irritations of life, such as emotional instability, disappointment in others, offense at the deception of the world system, frustration and confusion of motherhood and wifedom, overwhelming workload, or just plain inconveniences.
However, there is an element of negativity to complaining that I recently became self-conscious of. That perhaps my constant sharing of all that is troubling me might actually be making those around me, those I love most, feel heavier because of it. This hit my heart hard! The last thing I want to do is drag anyone down. I have an extremely blessed life and want everyone to know how grateful I am.
Feeling convicted in my spirit by this, I was desperate to find a way to either stop complaining completely, or to change my attitude so that my complaining isn’t disheartening my loved ones and ruining my testimony. I have been praying on this, and seeking the Lord’s wisdom, and this morning I woke up with the answer!
It came to me like this…
LEARN TO FOCUS ON THE LOVE PATTERN
The pattern of life under God’s control is – Suffering leads to Growth or Change all while abounded by Blessings.
Let me explain that a little better….
Suffering softens us and exposes our weaknesses, so rather than complaining negatively about life’s trials, use the urge to complain to prompt us to “Boast in our weakness” (thanks Jefferson Bethke). By being grateful that God sees us completely and hears our cries for change, and accepting that these trials expose our weakness, we take our weakness to God which pushes us further and deeper into relationship and intimacy with Him through Christ. Whose grace and strength washes over us, giving us a new level of change or growth, plus a new level of faith and freedom. All the time He gives comforting signs He is with us, along with abundant provision and protection.
All this is done from His LOVE! Love for you and love for me. This ‘love pattern’ is designed to pull us into His loving arms, regardless of how ‘good’ we have been but rather dependant on how frail and flawed we admit that we are.
Our positive vulnerability will encourage others to be vulnerable, building true connection and empathy with those we share this earth with. All the while giving us an opportunity to share this wonderful news of redemption.
So therefore when someone asks us how our day was and we feel that familiar urge rise within us, lets shift the focus of our complaint from defeat to victory, using our trials to spread the joy of God’s LOVE PATTERN.
I need to end on a prayer here…
Dear Gracious Lord, I lift up your name in Glory as I realise this wisdom you have shared with us. Help us all to keep your love pattern the focus of our trials. Don’t let our weakness allow this wisdom to be forgotten, use us and our trials to spread your love! In the mighty name of your Son I pray! Amen!
One thing that has consistently blown my mind, since inviting God to guide my steps towards Him, to influence my heart and my life, is His always reliable and impeccably PERFECT timing!
I was once at an appointment for some treatment relating to my car accident, I had not been working for a number of years and money was tight. I had to pay quite a large amount upfront for this treatment and then take my receipt to Medicare to claim the subsidy that I would be reimbursed. My specialist was running late and my treatment took longer than usual. I had much less time than expected and I had to pop into the Medicare office to collect my refund, grab a few items from the shops and get back in time to pick up my children from school.
I rushed through the doors of the Medicare office, punched in to receive my number in the queue, I was ticket number 142 and the ticket they were serving was 79. I had quite a wait. So rather than waste precious time, I took my ticket and nipped across the road to get those few items I needed. I knew I had quite a while to kill so I took my time looking around to try and make sure I got everything I needed. I forgot for a moment my impending ticket number. All of a sudden it dawned on me that I should get back to Medicare before they called my number.
So I hurriedly headed for the checkout and wouldn’t you know it, two queues. I picked the shortest line and began waiting impatiently, worrying that surely by now my number would be close and I knew if I missed my number I would not have time to line up again. My feet were shifting restlessly as the lady in front of me started to load her items from her basket onto the counter. I couldn’t tell if she was being painstakingly slow on purpose, but my I felt my heart-rate rise with each item. Then came the dreaded price challenge, “I’m sure that was only $2.95 not $3.95” the lady contested. My heart clenched in my chest, heat began to rise up my neck and over my face. I was sure I would not be getting back my $150 refund today and I knew I needed it for fuel for the week. I knew I couldn’t get back here til next week at least…. I knew I needed the money for fuel to get back at all! I was just about to offer to pay the $1 difference to save her from taking up more time by sending the clerk to investigate, when I remembered my relationship with the Almighty and felt a sense of peace rise from within me.
The words “Trust God’s Timing” filled my thoughts. I recalled all the times I had trusted God previously when He had performed miracles in my life. I took a deep breath and relaxed. I made a conscious effort to stop my anxious thoughts and to believe that whatever happened would be just how He planned it.
The clerk came back, the lady was on her way and my sale was finalised (finally), yet I was peaceful. I strolled towards the Medicare office, my thoughts only on God’s power and love for me.
The doors parted and my eyes locked on the flashing ticket number being served….. 141. It clicked over to 142 right in front of my eyes and I walked straight up to the counter, beaming from ear to ear! The feeling of protection and faith that washed over me is indescribable. I wanted to shout and tell the whole room filled with people what had just transpired within my heart and mind, and then been confirmed in the physical.
I don’t believe there are words that can convey how miraculous, or how numerous, or how meticulously specific encounters like this have been in my life. Even if I manage to explain the main segments you must understand that there are too many elements to the puzzle that I cannot possibly recall all of them, pieces that evidence just how perfectly perfect the timing of each incident actually is. It is beyond me and my understanding, it is not knowledge that convicts me of these truths, it feels impossible to try to explain. We must make ourselves into the smallest of the small, and wide eyed to the enormity of things that exist beyond our understanding.
So lets open our hearts and our minds, remove all the barriers that lock us into our comfortable explainable comprehension, and believe for a moment that The Creator of the Universe, The One True God, The Most Omnipotent Being, The one who LOVES us regardless of our constant decrepitude, knows exactly where we will be, precisely what we will think, specifically which direction our heart will lean. He knows and has timed it all for us to experience a tiny shred of His capabilities, if only we play our part in meeting Him there.
No matter how much time passes between occurrences of these precisely perfect coincidences, one factor is always required, and that is my heartfelt recognition of His omnipotence and my complete trust in Him.
I must admit I am the weak link in this equation, I am so often a captive of my own desire to control, of my own fears, of my own doubt, that I forget to meet Him on that stable place of faith. However every single time I look for Him with a willing heart, I find exactly what I need to feel His presence, to know He is right next to me, to know which direction to step towards, or if standing still in the moment is His divine request.
I can testify that EVERY SINGLE TIME I have given the timing over to God He has blown my mind. Over and over again! He has not once, not ever, failed to meet me in the midst of my trust in Him.
Keep an eye out on this blog as I share more of these types of experiences. I have written others on this subject Here and Here, Here and Here and Here. I hope they bless you all as much as they have me.
As the mother of a gorgeous teenager I am being plunged head first into awareness of the various stages that teenagers face in this current era. My heart goes out to the many adolescents who are struggling through these stages, so I have decided to start a new category on this blog called Teen Trials. This subject has been close to my heart for a very long time as I have worked with teens previously and witnessed many degrees of fallout from this crucial phase.
First, a little background…..
I was raised in a single parent household and my mother worked long hours. This meant that my siblings and I were left to our own devices for most of the time. As you can imagine, we got up to much mischief, and thought we were adults long before we should have. As I grew into actual adulthood, I began to find large gaps in my understanding of the world, of relationships, of self-control, of self-esteem, of decisions, of faith. As a result I have made a conscious effort to be around my children as much as possible. I have tried to teach them every single thing I have learned throughout my life. I have struggled with my role as a parent right in plain sight of my children. It is not easy but I believe it is worth it.
A little understanding….
Just like the rest of us, children have their own inner enemies, forces within the flesh guiding them towards unacceptable or unhealthy behaviour. I believe it is the job of the parent to point out these behaviours and use discipline to teach their little ones the destructive consequences of allowing inner enemies unfettered influence. The trouble teenagers face in this regard, is that adolescence is the transitional period where the child must take the reigns of control over their own inner enemies, and parents must find ways to encourage them.
Obviously this is one of the most difficult phases for both teens and their parents, and different parents have different techniques for getting through it. Some are overbearingly strict, which may cause the child to remove themselves from the discipline of their parents in order to gain their own self-control. Some try to be more of a friend, feeling that they should no longer set rules or guidelines for fear of being seen as unapproachable. While other parents take a distant approach and allow the teens much more freedom than is supportive, which may cause their teens to make irrational decisions long before they are mature minded enough to understand the long term consequences.
Then there are the parents who try to aim for a healthy balance, to give enough freedom for the final decision to be their teens own, but with enough support to be able to use their parents’ wisdom as a compass.
Some important keys….
The main keys to this balance are a strongly maintained relationship, open communication, respect, intimacy, value, support and faith. It must go both ways.
Here are a few things I have learned so far about these keys….
Name calling will diminish the level of respect. Without respect the wheels of intimacy fall off.
Yelling only encourages self-imposed deafness. They will simply stop trying to hear you. (It is almost impossible not to yell in the heat of the moment, but a rational talk, after giving them an apology, will open up those lines of communication again.)
Just letting them know you are there for them during the tough times gives them much needed support.
Faith is mimicked, we can’t expect our children to demonstrate more faith than we do.
Compassionate listening without dismissing or lecturing is hard, but try anyway as it helps them tremendously.
Time together creates a relationship, the more time you spend enjoying someone’s company, the stronger a relationship you have.
The more valuable a child feels, the less they will be seduced by a world that is full of false flattery. (Do you tell your child you love them all the time? Try telling them how precious they are to you, or how much you value them, how worthy they are. It sounds different to them.)
As I continue in my journey as the Mum of a young lady becoming an adult, I will share with you in this category. I’d love to hear any tips you would care to share to help me along the way and I hope some will share future posts with their teens also.
I used to believe that I was dead right about the way I assessed my emotions. I used them as platforms from which to bounce. I saw good emotions as reasons to smile, laugh and brag, and I saw negative emotions as an unacceptable state that I wanted to give away to anyone who would listen. I wanted to avoid and control negative feelings. I believed I was addressing everything and never “swept it under a rug”. I told myself this was healthy.
Realistically I was catapulting from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, and stability was so rare I could barely recognise it enough to know I needed it. Truth be told, I used emotions as an excuse to be reckless in my pursuit of happiness. I thought life owed me happiness, I knew no different. I believed my pain wouldn’t stop unless I focused on it, gave it credit and tried to find a way to stop it. Little did I know, I was adding fuel to the unstable emotional fire.
It was very difficult to firstly accept this mindset and then change it, especially as my entire family of origin are equally emotionally driven.
It is important to understand that emotions are powerful catalysts to another dimension. A dimension where an alien can easily take control of our ship if we fail to handle these inner enemies with caution.
When we become aware of the destructive nature of emotional instability we are on our way to laying a new foundation from which to bounce through life.
Try looking at emotions as an ocean, high waves and low, ripples that can carry on for miles, sometimes intense and sometimes peaceful but always temporary.
Acknowledge how you feel, and why, recall the evidence of past destructive tendencies, and remind yourself, “I am not to be trusted to make good choices right now”. Just like standing under an impending wave, keep your head down (lay low, try to engage with the world as little as possible), allow the waves to crash or wash over you and give it as much time is needed until the wave has passed. You may actually be surprised how much more quickly the emotions lose intensity once you learn to ride them out this way. Once it is safe to lift your head you will see how much more clearly you can think. A clear head space is vital for preventing the mess that is often left in the wake of uncontrolled emotions.
We can’t control emotions by stopping them or avoiding them, but we can control how much damage they cause us by controlling ourselves during those waves. Thanks be to God, I have noticed that I can manage the lows much better than I used to, and find long-lasting peace in the present, without all the emotions that only seemed to create temporary happiness.
There is no denying it, strong emotions easily influence our decisions, and not usually in a good way.
We’ve all experienced overwhelming emotions in varying degrees in our lives. Times when clarity evades us under a dark cloud of confusing heartache, desperation, anguish, guilt, fear….
Even enjoyable emotions can negatively influence our decisions, especially in relationships. We feel so strongly, emotionally excited, that we let our pursuit of those feelings misguide our ability to be logical and rational regarding the pace we let the relationship develop and how deeply or quickly we invest our trust. Not just in romantic relationships but friendships as well. Our desire to be loved and accepted can smother the logic that recognizes a red flag and should deter us from believing flattery and false promises.
Negative emotions can cause us to make rash reactive decisions, without evaluating at the time, we may not like the long term consequences. We have all made a decision in the heat of the moment only to realize we would have done things differently had we had control of the emotions effecting us at the time.
I suffer from a few psychological issues, mainly anxiety and a manic/depressive mood disorder. Unstable emotions play a huge role in my daily life. I am extremely guilty of letting emotions control my decisions in the past, and truth be told, they still haunt me sometimes.
So what has changed? …. Lots!
We may not be able to stop our emotions, but we can prevent them from poisoning our choices. Oh and don’t be confused here: Reactions are not choices. However, using our emotions to excuse our reactions is a choice.
Through many years of therapy and self-awareness I have learned not to trust my emotions. I have learned to accept them as a reactive response but I know if I act too quickly while experiencing the emotion I will regret it later. So I had to set myself some rules.
It is important to develop your own set of rules, by looking back over your life and seeing the patterns. If you know you always find yourself in the same predicaments over and over, seek a Councillor/Psychologist to help you establish some rules that are healthy for you and the decisions you want to make in future.
Look carefully at the people you spend time with. Are they empowering your emotions and encouraging impulsive choices? Or do they display self-control and rational choices? We are all influenced by the people we associate with on a regular basis, but the beauty is we get to choose not to spend time with those who negatively impact us.
A stable confidant is vital to this transition, to detoxing our decision making.
When dealing with volatile situations and strong emotions, get some distance from the immediate situation and speak to someone who you know has a calm, unemotional sense of reason before doing anything else.
Remember: A little prayer goes a long way. If you resonate with this post but doubt your ability to overcome your overpowering emotions, ask your Heavenly Father for some help, read His Word. Through Christ’s strength ALL things are possible!
Watching from the outside as someone you love is being put through the paces of a “life changing” experience can be quite nerve wracking. My Dad used to say “There can be no reconstruction without there first being deconstruction”, or simply, “No one can rebuild a better life until they go through the process of breaking down their current life.”
Friends, family and others can offer simple support or short term guidance to loved ones in crisis, but unfortunately sometimes certain attempts to help may actually enable the unhealthy patterns to continue. Offering comfort and attempts to fix or stop the suffering can prevent them learning the very important lesson which only rock bottom can teach.
When someone truly seeks Him, God is the ultimate designer of both deconstruction and reconstruction. The strategy in place is that before we can accept His blessings and have a productive, fulfilling and contented life, we must allow Him to shake things up, to show us where the problem areas are. Then we must learn to distance ourselves from the old ways we have been living and determine our minds to be renewed, through His word and an honest relationship with Him.
As you may have guessed, this is not a simple one time action. It takes many steps to undo all the unhealthy beliefs, habits and influences on our decisions, to completely remove their power over us. Sure enough, these steps aren’t all forward, we may take ten steps backwards before one faithfully productive step forward is earned. It can feel like we aren’t getting very far at all, and it can appear that way to those around us as well.
It can be tempting to get drawn in by those going through the ugliness of this phase, out of concern for the destruction we are witnessing, or our desire to prevent our loved ones from suffering. However, we may want to remember that progress isn’t pretty, and be reminded of how many times we had to fall and become a complete mess before we saw any progress in our own lives. Pray for them, love them, give them into God’s trustworthy hands, and try not to allow fear to motivate our contributions to their issues. Don’t let it make you lose faith in the possibility of positive faithful progress, which may be just around the next corner they take. Remember and believe that we serve a LOVING, FAITHFUL & AMAZING GOD!