Most people grow up saying things like, “I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to my children,” which in the case of abuse, is understandable, right? Or “This happened to me, so I’m going to do it ALL differently—better than my parents did.” But the truth is trauma changes you.
It distorts your perceptions, amplifies fear, and impacts ALL of your choices. And, in an effort to self-protect from past abuse (or especially to protect your children from it), sometimes you can simply create a new and different form of dysfunction.
To some extent, that’s what I did. My parenting had a lot of fear and anxiety attached to it. Of course it was born out of a fierce love for my children, but some of that love was still dysfunctional at times because it lacked the quiet trust that comes from remembering my children ultimately belong to God…and He is good. He loves and protects them better than I ever could.
So be careful. That pendulum can knock you out.
And if you have unresolved trauma in your past, please get help – don’t stuff it thinking you can “handle it.” Find a professional therapist and don’t simply pass on new and improved “trauma scraps” to your children.
And if you are a pastor or ministry leader, stop trying to handle these situations yourself without any specialized qualifications or training. Become trauma-informed. Find trustworthy therapists in your area to where you can refer people in need. Otherwise we’ll have a church filled with the blind leading the blind, and propagating the very dangers we’re trying to avoid