Enemies of Change
My psychologist recently explained to me a statistic regarding the relationships of a person in therapy. He said that when long-term relationships have found common ground through either a dysfunctional childhood, or shared a major disruption or trauma in their home life, then many members of the group may develop 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 the members of this group 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.
“It is almost always extremely difficult for that person in therapy to maintain close relationships with those from their past, especially those who still have issues.”
He explained that, in a subconscious way, friends and family 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 relational disputes, as they attempt to destroy the connections 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 on a journey of self-discovery 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 completely 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 still 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 family and friends, 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 for each other, so we can show those inner enemies what relationships under God look like. Amen!