4 Steps to Healing “The Father Wound”

 

Father-and-child-holding-hands-247x300Caden had trouble just being himself…He always had to wear a mask of perfection for fear of not being accepted.  No one knew the real Caden.  Inside he yearned for love and validation and thought the only way he could do that is be someone other than who he is.  Underneath he had violent anger always brewing.  What is at the root?  His father left him when he was 6 and said he wasn’t ever coming back to live with him again.  In the ensuing years, his father would come to town to visit his new wife’s family and wouldn’t even call Caden.  Caden found out through his friends.  It was a small town.  So, Caden had a split personality.  One side of him was raging, but he kept it carefully hidden…most of the time.  The other side of him was the perfect family man loved by all.  He was a walking time bomb.

Maddy has spent her life yearning for her Dad’s attention, but time and again his attention went to alcohol instead.  She adored her dad, but he was always distracted with his heavy need for a numbing agent because of his own pain and his own father wounds.  When she was a  teen, Maddy’s dad was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and went to jail….now, Maddy lost all sense of who she was in this world.  It took her many years to learn her worth outside of her Dad.  He loved her, but alcohol ruled him most of her life.  He was an absent Dad.

Joyce’s dad left when she was a adolescent.  Joyce was molested when very young by another family member. Her dad couldn’t handle this so left the family to go out on his own.  When her dad abandoned her, Joyce sought male attention through her boyfriends and was led into a world of sex and drugs, and eventually married an alcoholic, which ended in more rejection.  Joyce thinks today that there is not a man that can be trusted.

Tom heard his dad rage at his mom for years.  As a little boy, he would lock himself in his room and put his head under the pillow to try to drown out the yelling.  He became very introverted and quiet.  He isolated himself and was afraid to trust anyone for years.  He began to feel his dads rage and struggled with his lack of direction in life with no role model.  Today he is not sure how he feels about God.

There are many father’s that are physically available, but not emotionally. They satisfy the material needs for their families, but are incapable of fulfilling the need for intimacy and connection in their children. 

Father-holding-child-with-delight-300x300‘Every man carries a wound.  And the wound is nearly always given by his father.” ~ John Eldredge

All of these people I have talked about have a hard time relating to God as their Father…their “Abba, Daddy.”

I, too, for many years, had a hard time relating to God as Daddy– but more to Jesus as my constant companion.  I was a victim of incest by my dad and spent my years growing up avoiding being alone with him.  It is hard to relate to what an earthly dad should be like, or one who makes you feel safe when you are with him.

father-and-child-google-images-300x150A father is one of the most important role models in our lives.  To feel loved and accepted by your dad is vital to you having a healthy relationship with God and with others.  Unfortunately, there are many of us who didn’t have that. 

Does that mean we are exempt from having a healthy relationship with our loving God, the Father ,if we didn’t have a Dad that was trustworthy?  Of course not!

There is nothing impossible with God.  We just have to be willing to do the work!

Some of our deepest wounds stem from a lack of intimacy with our earthly fathers.

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nIf men don’t seek God’s healing from this wound they will likely repeat this pattern in their own lives with their children.  If women don’t seek God’s healing from lack of intimacy with a safe Dad, they too, will repeat the patterns down through the generations of their families by choosing men that are like their Dads in order to somehow to fulfill her own needs of a dad by repeating the process. 

But, good news….

You have the power to break this generational pattern, starting with your own healing!

If you struggle with understanding and receiving God’s love, it may be related to the internal pain caused by the lack of affection from your father.  The father wound will block you not only from knowing God’s love for you, but also from your ability to love others fully.

But, the good news is, there are some steps you can take to find restoration for your broken heart.  Your past does not have to dictate your future.  Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to be everything we need!

Embracing the Father’s love is at the core of living the abundant life that Christ died for you to live.

hidingAs painful as it may be, you must re-visit the past and find where the gaps are.  Go back to the times you felt rejected or hurt by your dad and face those painful memories.  Maybe he didn’t protect you or keep you safe, or maybe he was never around.  Whatever the case, write down any thoughts you may have. This is an important step towards resolving your pain.

What emotions do you feel when you see the pictures I have posted on this blog site?  Does it reflect what your relationship with your father ought to have been?  Do they make you feel sorrow for what you didn’t have.

When I look at them myself, I feel numb.  I can’t relate to them because I never had that.

Many years ago, I did this exercise in a small recovery group I was leading.

father-and-son-4-300x200We looked at photographs of fathers loving their children.  The room was silent as each woman reflected on her own relationship with her earthly father.

The only sound we heard was the sound of tears and for some you could see blank faces or angry faces.  For the first time ever, many of the women allowed themselves to feel the pain that night because they were willing to imagine what an endearing relationship with their dads would feel like.  They told me later it was a very painful but healing exercise for them.

Try to discover and face the emotions you have carried with you due to the lack of love you’ve received from your father.

Allow yourself to grieve for the little child that was robbed of the rich relationship that comes from an attentive, caring father.  It was a loss you must recognize so you can allow the Lord to now come and fill that empty place.  Here are some steps to help you get there.

1. Step one in your healing from the father wound is to face your pain and to step out of denial.  Admit you have been wounded.

2. Step two, once you can admit that you have been wounded by your father, you can start the process of recovery.

  • jesus-with-children-0408Go to your Father in Heaven and talk to Him about your sadness and pain.  The truth is that He is the only one that can heal the father wound you carry.  He is the only one that you can count on to never fail you or leave you.

  • You can trust Him to carry you through your journey of healing.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the areas of your life that are bruised or damaged.

3. Step 3 is to forgive your dad.

  • This step may be the most painful one, but it is the most critical one.

  • Forgiveness is a process that starts with prayer.  Pray through gritted teeth if you have to, but push yourself to pray and ask God to help you to forgive your dad.  Remember, forgiveness is not saying what you did to me is okay.  It is saying I release you to God so that I am no longer tied to the pain.

  • cupped handsExtend grace to your earthly father for all the imperfections he has.  Forgive him for every pain he has caused you.  Say it out loud.  Cry if you need to cry.

  • If possible, have a friend with you for this step, for support and encouragement.

  • Set yourself free from the father wound by faith and allow your heavenly Father to heal you.

4. Step four is to recognize that only God the Father can fulfill all your needs through His son, Jesus.

  • It’s never too late to let God replace His love for that which was missing from your earthly father.

jesus and boy“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing.” Psalm 68:5-6

Take a risk, open your heart and fully grasp the Father’s love for you.  He is your ultimate Daddy, and He adoringly calls you His child.

“And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:18

May the Lord guide you and comfort you as you surrender your father wound to Him, and may you be healed forever so that you can live a rich and satisfying life.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children.  Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father.‘” ~ Romans 8:15

I want to tell you that despite the depths of your wounds, and I know for many of you those run dramatically deep, that you are not defined by your genealogy. 

As you process and pray through your “father wounds”, you will experience the love and delight of your Heavenly Father.  You are His!  You are the Beloved!  You are precious in His sight!

530443_10150790377567355_563857079_n“Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes.  Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.” 
–Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved.

 

Sugar Coated Anger….15 Ways to Recognize Passive Aggressive Behavior!

7699943_f260My belief has always been, when the dark and hidden areas of our minds are exposed to light and truth, the darkness has to go.  Light and darkness simply cannot dwell in the same place. 

So, as a Life Coach, I endeavor to ask the right questions that will uncover areas in ourselves that will ultimately answer our questions and set us free from bondage.  Or to help us see the truth within relationships that perplex us, that also sets us free from the actions of others.

Sometimes our communication and conflict management patterns can be out of whack.  

This can be for a variety of reasons based on our background and learned behavior.  Those patterns can change with some insights, skills and relationship help.

And if you want it to change. 

You have to want it to change. 

It is always about a choice, isn’t it?

So, if this post helps you see your own passive-aggressive behaviors, you will understand why others find it difficult to be around you, trust you, and respect you as you would like to be trusted and respected.

passive-aggressive-spouse (1)You confuse them.  People move away from folks who purposefully confuse them — if they are smart.  It can be such a drain.

Or if it answers your questions or rings a bell in some of your relationship conflicts with the other people in your life who have these traits this will help you realize you are not really crazy–and it is not you!

Just becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that our behavior patterns change overnight.  The minute we become believers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are born anew.  We get brand new hearts, alive unto God.  And we are saved by His grace, not by our own goodness, but by His. 

But our souls, (mind, will, and emotions) have to be renewed on a daily basis by a continued pursued relationship with Jesus.  His spirit helps us to change and it is never ending growth.  We have to learn how to recognize old coping skills from the past and allow the Lord to show us how to move past them and find our security, comfort, and value from Him alone.

So, I am offering you a list of what you can look for in a passive aggressive person, or to even recognize some of the traits in yourself.  If so, I hope you find it home-hitting and immediately revealing and you start the journey to correct it.

passiveaggression1If these traits describe you as you usually are, I invite you to sit up and take notice.  You likely do not even realize you are doing these things.  Once you read them and ponder your own behavior, you may finally understand why you are having difficulties having the relationships you most want, at home and at work or in the church.

More good news, the more willing to work on yourself you are, the greater your chances of having the life with others that you crave.  When you realize how you are pushing them away by your crazy-making behaviors, you can change things within yourself. When you are trustworthy within yourself, you will be perceived as trustworthy by others.

Although men and women express their passive-aggressive behaviors somewhat differently, generally, you are behaving in passive-aggressive ways if you are regularly:

1. Unwilling to speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone.

How this shows up in communication is being “assertively unassertive”.  You say “Yes” (assertive) when you really mean “No way” (unassertive).  Then, you let your behavior say “No way” for you.  People become confused and mistrusting of you.

2. Appearing sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath and your actions are just off enough to the point that those close to you sense it.  It makes those around you annoyed and confused.

sb_passiveagressive2People who do not get along with others are interested only in themselves; they will disagree with what everyone else knows is right.  A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Pro. 18:1&2 NLT

 3. You fear direct communication because you fear rejection. You then often push away the people you care about because you don’t want to seem in need of support.

relationship difficultiesAll the while, you are afraid of being alone and so you want to control those around you so they won’t leave you.  Very confusing!

4. Complaining that others treat you unfairly frequently.  Rather than taking responsibility for stepping up and speaking your truth, you set yourself up as the (innocent) victim.  You say others are hard on you, unfair, unreasonable and excessively demanding.

5. Procrastinating frequently, especially on things you do for others.  One way of controlling others is to make them wait.  Ouch!!  I know that speaks to so many of us.  You have lots of excuses why you haven’t been able to get things done.  You even blame others for why that is so.  It’s amazingly unreasonable, but you do it even though it destroys relationship, damages careers, loses friendships and jobs.

And, you tell others how justified you are in being angry because, once again, others treated you unfairly.

6. Unwilling to give a straight answer.  Another way of controlling others is to send mixed messages, ones that leave the other person completely unclear about your thoughts, plans or intentions.

Then, you make them feel wrong when you tell them that what they took from your communication was not what you meant.  Silly them!

depositphotos_21157319-Man-telling-spooky-story7. The silent treatment.  Passive aggressive behavior is recognizable by the disconnect between what is being said and what is being done. Nothing highlights this more than the famous silent treatment. Silence generally signifies agreement but not in this case.  When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you realize that the other person is far from agreeable.  They have a big problem with you and just to allow themselves the victory, they have no intention of telling you what that is.

There are 2 other common versions of the silent treatment.  One is to answer the question ‘What’s wrong?’ with ‘nothing’, when there certainly is something wrong.  The other is to answer any question with just one word.  This is intended to signal that there is a problem, without you having to say it.

8-Examples-of-passive-aggressive-behaviourBoth expressions say “You poor confused person. You’re not worth talking to.”  But the real reason for their behavior is that they have not, cannot, or will not take responsibility for their own behavior.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 ESV

8. Frequently feeling inadequate but covering it up with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity. 

bully-free-workplacesWhether you set yourself up to be a self-sabotaging failure — “Why do you have such unrealistic expectations of me?” or a tyrant or goddess incapable of anything less than perfection, “To whom do you think you are speaking?”  You are shaking in your boots from fear of competition and being found out as less than perfect.

9. Often late and/or forgetful.  One way of driving people away is to be thoughtless, inconsiderate and infuriating.

And, then, to put the cherry on top, you suggest that it’s unrealistic to expect you to arrive on time, or, in your words, “think of everything”.  Being chronically late is disrespectful of others.  Supposedly forgetting to do what you have agreed to do is simply demonstrating your lack of trustworthiness.  Who wants to be around that for long?

Pro. 16:7   When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.

10. Making up stories, excuses and lies.  You are the master of avoidance of the straight answer.  You’ll go to great lengths to tell a story, withhold information, or even withhold love and affirmation in your primary relationships.  It seems that if you let folks think you like them too much, that would be giving them power.  You’d rather be in control by creating a story that seems plausible, gets them off your back, and makes reality look better from your viewpoint.

11. Constantly protecting yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, dependent or simply human.

12. Complaints of injustice and lack of appreciation

13. Dragging your feet to frustrate others.  Again, a control move somewhat like procrastinating, but the difference is you begin and appear as though you are doing what you said you would do.  But, you always have an excuse why you cannot continue or complete the task.  You won’t even say when it will be — or even might be — done.  Do you know anyone like this? 

people-running-scared-clipart-1044249-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Fearful-Man-RunningEverything is viewed as an attack on you.  When something doesn’t go your way, it is seen as unfair or an injustice.  It’s all about how the world impacts you.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1-20 ESV

14. Disguising criticism with compliments

At first, passive aggressive people may seem pleasant and warm.  They often appear to be complimentary.  It is only after they have left that you realize that the compliment was actually disguising a cheap jibe.

15. Always getting in the last punch.

Passive aggressive people love to throw the last punch.  So much so, that even when an argument has been reconciled, they slip one last insulting remark into the conversation. This remark is often more subtle than the ones which went before but it is still an insulting remark which allows them to feel victorious.

gods-willWe belong to God.  It is time for us to step into maturity and begin to face truth about the strong holds in our lives that hold us back from producing His fruit in us. 

The answer always lies in Jesus.  Our renewed minds will flow out from Him if we are willing to admit the truth of our actions to ourselves and then to Him.  It is not in our own power but in His.  In our weaknesses He is made strong, but we have to be willing to get out of denial and face our truth.  He will help us with the rest! 

loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Soul Clutter—5 Ways to Get Rid of It!

Clear-out-the-clutter_Self- You know what clutter is, right?  It is the stuff we put on the table thinking we will put it away later.  It is the closet full of shoes we never wear.   It’s the clothes hanging in our closets year after year and we know we will never wear it, but, hey, maybe we will.  And what about those cupboards jammed full of stuff we may someday use.

It is the same way that clutter comes to our souls. 

Remember we are spirit, that part of us that is alive unto God, the real us, the us that will live eternally.  We have a soul, which is our minds, will, and emotions.  And we live in a body.  We are triune, just like God. (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). 

Clutter comes to our souls—our minds.  It is the stuff that we shove down thinking we will take care of it later. 

Or we ignore it because it is too painful to give up or face. 

Or we fear it will change us somehow to give up that part of our thought life to Jesus. 

Soul clutter is the collection of emotional, relational, and spiritual issues we have been stepping over and ignoring.

Clutter can keep us tripping and stumbling around for a life time. 

So, what are some of those things that clutter our minds?  Mind-clutter

Insecurity?

Gossip?

Rejection?

Fear?

Legalism?

Bitterness?

Unforgiveness?

Body Image?

Addictions?

Insecurity?

Anger?

Obsessions?

Judgement?

The List goes on doesn’t it?  I am sure you can add a few of your own to this list.  As you meditate and come up with a list of your own clutter that is hindering your walk with God, what do you do with it?

Here are 5 things to do.

1. Acknowledge the presence of each thing that God shows you that you are harboring in those secret places of your heart.

It might require you to do some real soul searching and it is okay to give yourself time to work through the issues.  Surrender is the key.   See each thing resting in your cupped hands.  Then imagine Jesus walking up behind you and putting His arms around you, cupping His capable hands under yours.  Then drop that thing into His hands, and watch Him walk away with your issue.  Now breathe in the freedom!!

2. Don’t isolate, but reach out to someone you trust and feel safe with to confess your faults and perhaps pray with you as you work into letting it go.  

You don’t have to be alone.  We were created to stand together and grow from each other.     I would suggest a Life Coach if it is something you need more concentrated effort in.  

3. Talk to Jesus about it.  

There is nothing more comforting than to just be honest in your conversation with Jesus and know that He already knows you inside and out, and is there to heal you as you confess your faults to Him.  Dealing with clutter in your soul requires His power to overcome your weakness.

4. Journal your journey.

Just try it!!   I write to Jesus when I am journaling.  It is an excellent way of opening your whole self to the God who made you and knows you and loves you.   As you pour out your heart to Him, He will speak back to you and you can write that down too!!   You are also exposing those dark areas in yourself that you recognize to the light that dispels all darkness.

5. Allow God to lavishly envelope you in His grace. 

Grace is the secret, and honestly, I have met very few people who really get what Grace is. I, myself, feel like there is so much more revelation there always.  Grace is so huge, when we really get a glimpse into what He has provided for us it is so overwhelming you want to fall on your knees and stay there in praise and intimacy with Jesus. 

Don’t keep beating yourself up. 

We are all prone to guilt.  Sometimes we are so given over to guilt we become paralyzed by the process and choke out the work God wants to do.   Let God forgive, heal, restore, soothe, mend, and strengthen you.  Someone said, “You cannot drink dry the river of grace or breathe the last of God’s gifts to you.”

I like that!     breaking_chains.208145743_std

Why have we listened to the noise in our heads for so long?  Why have we tripped over the same clutter for years?

Make a quality decision today to be free of these distractions that drown out His voice in your head. 

He says, “My sheep hear my voice”…..but if dogs are running around us sheep, barking continuously, how can we hear Him when He speaks?

When you pray that the Lord will reveal every hidden thing or thought in your life and bring it to the surface and be ready to deal with whatever needs to be done to get rid of it, He will always come in mercy to assist you and love you into freedom. 

Expect Him to be gentle and full of love.

Expect Him to bring healing.

Expect Him to come in great joy and rejoicing over you with love. 

Because that is who He is.

Nails In The Fence and the Wicked Tongue

 


anger-nails-in-the-fenceI really don’t like talking about the tongue, do you?  Yet the bible, the blueprint for our life, has so much to say about it. 

 Gentle words are a tree of life a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit;  , Proverbs 15:4 NLT

Have you ever been in the company of an angry person?  Have you been the brunt of their issues being lashed out at you? Have you been tempted yourself to just give in to your baser self and say whatever you want to say, in spite of who hears it?  

The bible says a lot about out of control anger and our tongues are a major part of venting our emotions.  


In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches, but a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
  James 3:5 NLT

 But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  James 3:8 NLT

There is a story that always worked to remind me to call on self control when I am the angriest and wanting to indulge myself and let my words fling over whoever is standing there.

 

“There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
holes from nailsFinally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.” Author Unknown

I have had so many toxic words spoken over me and to me throughout my life. I remember one time my precious and favorite grandma, whom I had spent all my summers with growing up, was losing her mental faculties after having a heart attack.  I was a young mom and had so many loving memories with grandma.  I had always felt she was my one family member who always had my back.  One day she called me right before her death. 

She started telling me that I didn’t know anything and that “I was uglier than home-made soap”.I could hear my grandpa yelling at her to stop in the background.

I will never forget those words.  My intellect told me she wasn’t herself, but the words cut like a knife.  I knew she would never say those things to me, but yet, she did, and the words have never left me.  Of course I forgave and the memories I have of her are good.  But I still have the memory of those words floating in my head and still feel the sting at hearing those words come out of my trusted and loved grandma’s mouth, and directed at me, her baby girl. 

You can forgive and not let the past define you.  You can even reason them away.  But somehow the words spoken harshly have left you a changed person inside.


And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 
James 3:6 NLT

In realizing the power of life and death are in the tongue I was always so careful how I talked to my own children growing up.   I would never call them a name, even when I was very angry at something they did. And I would not allow anyone else to either.  I endeavored to only speak life giving positive words to them.  Even when disciplining them, I would tell them that God had a plan for them and they were disciples, taught of the Lord, and obedient to His will. 

My own mother always told me I was fat, and so to this day I have to over-rule those words and conquer my addiction to food.  Even now that I am maintaining a good weight, I still see myself fat and struggle with that image she created with her words to me.  In other blogs I call those words spoken to us over and over as the “Voice”. 

nail1Words create, life or death, our choice.

Will we answer to God for destroying others with our words?  Yes, we will.  But even when we are forgiven, our words are still there in that person’s head.

It has taken me many years to learn that those words spoken to me were out of someone else’s insecurities and they do not define who I am.  Yet, because of those words, it is a fight and the hurt is there.

Some people are just not strong enough to overcome the death words in their life.

You know why? 

Because our words, without restraint, is the only thing the enemy can use against us.  He uses words to condemn, slice, wound, kill us, steal from us and destroy us.  Our own words are bringing life or death into our lives, our households, our children, and our grandchildren.  It is the only power Satan has in our life. 

And our tongue is the hardest to bring under God’s control. 

Self control is a fruit of His spirit.  Not our spirit.  When we focus on Him and His love in all situations, even our angry tirades, He provides His self control for us to use to conquer the rage. 

But we have to apply it and just do it!   

Learn to call upon Him for help in attaining this fruit of the spirit, self control.  Especially if you have a weakness of out of control anger. 

Let’s make it a practice to speak life into the lives of those Jesus brings to us.

  Let’s CHOOSE life and not death!!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18:21 NLT