‘Before I can face the future, I must first deal with the past.’ D. J. Machale
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV).
How many people do you know that emotionally still act out as infants and/or as children? They act out in childish ways. Please do not confuse childlike with childish. Childlike is an adult having good qualities associated with a child such as innocence, trusting, playful, one with wonder and is adventurous, transparent and vulnerable. Childish can be defined as; immature, juvenile, babyish, selfish, outburst of temper, lacks patience and self-control. A Childish behavior comes from a childhood where they never saw patience, self-control, healthy boundaries, respect and/or love. Children mimic what they see and become a product or a victim of their environment.
If your parents were insecure you grew up insecure. Controlling parents raise children who fear authority figures. Those who were critical parents raise children who will turn out to be shame based and will grow up with low self-worth and low self-esteem. Angry parents raise angry, rebellious acting out children, either with rage or being passive aggressive. Those children who internalize their anger will project their anger towards themselves. Internalized anger demands punishment, needless to say these children punish themselves doing so by sabotaging their happiness. Those who neglect, reject or abandon their children will raise children who fear rejection, they will also have a fear of not being in control. These children will grow up fearing intimacy and have a need to be in control. They will never allow anyone too close to their heart in fear of being rejected, abandoned and/or controlled. If you were abused in any way you will struggle with an extreme personality which makes you prone to have an addictive personality. Abused children end up with either a victim or grandiose mentality. The victim is motivated by guilt and shame, those with a grandiose mentality are motivated with entitlement.
Children growing up in a dysfunctional family will have a hard time navigating through life. They will make unhealthy, non-productive choices and will end up sabotaging their happiness. If they don’t deal and recover from their past they will pass down the same dysfunction to the next generation.
‘Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.’ Iyanla Vanzant
All who grew up in a dysfunctional family will grow up with a survivor mentality. To survive they will need to play a role and put on a mask. They don’t know who they are so they create an image; a persona of who they want people to see. These children will create an extreme need for acceptance, approval, attention and/or to be loved. These extreme needs will in time turn into addictions resulting in things such as eating disorders, abuse of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex and so on. What a mess we become when we don’t deal with the past.
Adult children from dysfunctional families don’t have a clue what normal is. If you are an adult child of a dysfunctional family please get help. Take ownership of your life, confess the sins done against you and confess your sins done against yourself, God and others (1 John 1:9), and work on overcoming. You have but only one life to live please don’t live it out of your past.
‘Don’t ignore the past, but deal with it, on your own pace. Once you deal with it, you are free of it; and you are free to embrace your life and be a happy loving person because if you don’t, the past will come back to haunt and keep you coming back to haunt you.’ Boris Kodjoe
“Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not hide my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5 Berean Study Bible).