Continuing in Chapter #2!
When a similar hurtful incident occurs later in our adolescence or adulthood, we may succumb to the reactions, emotions, or thoughts we initially made room for in our youth. When hurts, large or small, take place in our formative years, the enemy can create havoc in our souls – lies about ourselves and about God are his weapons of choice.
Take for example a parent’s divorce. Let’s say a dad or mom walks out the door and life is never the same it once was for the family. One sibling may say, “Good riddance!” and move on, seemingly unscathed by the trauma. The next sibling may believe that it is all their fault that the family split has happened. Sibling number three, may seethe in anger at the unfairness of it all. How the individual interprets the situation or allows the enemy to whisper into their ear can set up a lifetime of hurt whenever similar losses take place in the child’s future– i.e. the break-up of a girlfriend, the loss of a job, or a wayward child. A person may act out in their lives what they falsely believed to be true at the time of the first incident.
The child who believes the break-up of her family was her fault may find the wounds of the past resurfacing when, let’s say, a dear friend cancels a lunch date. Feelings of sadness beyond what might be considered normal arise or possibly they question themselves, “Did I do something wrong?” Tormenting thoughts of self-analyzation may happen as she turns over in her mind where she may have erred causing the friend to break the date. This unhealthy inward focus then spirals into dark places in her mind and heart that may take hours or days to recover from. Sound familiar?
Sibling number three from our example may struggle in adulthood with pornographic images. This temptation seems particularly hard to overcome when he experiences a boatload of blue feelings or disappointment. Self-pity may arise. Pornography, or any harmful indulgence, may be a self-medicating balm that feels deserved because, gosh darn, life is hard and unfair and I deserve some relief!
In their book, It’s Momplicated, about mother and daughter relationships, authors, Debbie Alsdorf and Joan Edwards Kay, relate their own dance with lies about themselves that they carried well into adulthood:
I wish this weren’t my story (Debbie writes). These kinds of life-shaping wounds go deep. My mother left her imprint on me, and it shaped me. And though it wasn’t all bad, I have spent years understanding the impact and unraveling the pain…I sought counseling in my fifties and was surprised to learn that a current situation was triggering feelings of rejection that had developed in my early relationship with my mother…It has been theorized that each of us holds three to five core lies about ourselves or God…[i]
[i] Debbie Alsdorf, Joan Edwards Kay, It’s Momplicated (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2018) 6, 154,158