Thursday, September 29, 2016

Healing Our Inner Child 1 - Real vs. False Self

Healing our Inner Child

The inner child is a concept that has been explored by psychologist, psychotherapists, spiritual and religious leaders throughout time. The word “Inner” refers to what exists in our internal awareness as opposed to what exists outside the body which others can see. Some refer it to our true self or the real self. 

We are tripartite beings, for God has created us to be spirit, soul and body (1Thess.5:13), hence, what goes on in either the soul, the body or spirit will affect the other two parts. Physical tiredness affects our mental ability to concentrate. Thoughts of anger or depression can affect our appetite for food. The lack of spiritual tranquillity stirs unrest in our souls. Though the spirit realm is the predominant influence of all three, however, the influence of the soul and body must not be neglected. 

Wholesome and emotionally healthy children will grow up into wholesome and emotionally healthy adults.  The state of our childhood will therefore influence who we become as adults.  If our childhood was traumatised and scarred, we will carry those trauma and wounds in our inner child all the way to adulthood. Unless and until we start understanding the cause and effect relationship between what happened to the child that we were (the “cause”), and the impact it had on the adult we are (the “effect”), we will remain victims of our wounded inner child. Many genuinely called and anointed men and women of God started well but yet did not end well or fulfil the fullness of their destiny for the very reason that they were being destroyed by the wounds of their inner child. Our identity can affect our destiny. We hope this article will provoke and awaken us to seek our healing and transformation.

God’s Original Intent

The love of God is perfect, unconditional and pure. God’s original intent was for our parents to demonstrate His love to us and through them that we learn about the Father heart of God, His love, his care, his tenderness, his provision, his compassion, grace, etc.  And being nurtured under our parents’ love, we learn to trust relationships and heathy attachment and grow mature physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A healthy functional family is one which is based on God’s blueprint for marriage and family set out in the word. It is an interactive, supportive and loving atmosphere where each member can be real and accepted with unconditional love.

A strong family is committed to each family member, beginning with the spouse at marriage and extending to every single family member through all stages of family development.  The best way for parent to love their children is to first love their spouse.   A dysfunctional marriage breeds a dysfunctional family, and a dysfunctional family breeds a dysfunctional individual which ultimately breed a dysfunctional society. The late mother Theresa says it well “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family”.

A strong family spends time together. The reality of commitment is the intentional sharing of time with each other and together as a family. Quality without quantity is not sufficient.
A strong family has open and honest communication with all family members and speaks the truth in love. A strong family shows unconditional love.  They may experience crises like any other family but yet have the ability to resolves the problems they encounter due to the strong bond of love. Conflicts are dissolved in a godly and healthy manner.

A strong family regularly affirms each other.  They regularly express appreciation and affection to one another, giving sincere compliments, and building each other up emotionally.

Mankind’s love deficit

Sadly, however, on the day we are born into this world, we do not encounter God’s amazing, wonderful love, but instead we encounter the imperfect conditional love of humanity.

Imperfect human love or especially our parents’ wounding can leave very deep scars in our hearts, for their love is the first love we encounter at birth.  This love deficit leads to rejection.  Rejection produces emotions such as pain, resentment, anger and bitterness. The greater our parents or guardians nurture us away from God’s divine love plumb line, the greater the deficit created in our soul. This in turn creates a greater rejection in our spirit which breeds darkness in our soul. We can internalize or externalize the love deficit we suffered.  Unresolved conflicts in the soul of a child will leave wounds in his inner child which perpetuate all the way to adulthood, locking the adult into immature patterns of behaviour. Thus, many grow up biologically into adulthood but not emotionally.

Internalizing the love deficit - we internalize the abandonment & rejection we feel. Such responses result in insecurity and negative emotions like implosive anger, self-hatred (rejecting oneself after being rejected by others which often leads to self-destructive behaviour), eating disorder, mental disorder, depression, intellectual suicide (refusing to learn and grow) and eventually suicide.  Love deficit is the cause of most neurotic and character disorder behaviour. A healthy human relationship starts from loving ourselves – “love your neighbour as yourself…” (Matt.22:38).

Externalizing the love deficit – we turn our rejection into explosive anger (Rage) which leads to social illnesses, rebellion against authority, sexual immorality (balancing the love debit through lust credit), addiction and compulsive behaviour like drugs, alcoholism, materialism, etc.
To put it simply, a love deficit creates darkness in our soul and gives the enemy ground to traffic easily in our life.

Fuminnori Nakamura, a Japanese author came to international attention in 2012 when his English book “The Thief,” was named among the “Best fiction of the year” by The Wall Street Journal.  In March that year, the book was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A crime novelist, Fuminori Nakamura is a self-described pessimist and he thinks that everyone has a dark side trapped by circumstances, by society and its expectations.

His other books include ‘The gun”, “The child in the ground”, “Last winter”, “We parted” and “Evil and the mask”. In all these books, he wrote not just the crime, but also the driving forces behind the act – loneliness, despair, pressure and stress, tension and expectation from people”- all factors which force the inner child to surface. These are people who live a completely normal life, but who suddenly snap to become another person.

In Mark 7:21, we learn that every negative behaviour proceed from the unhealthy heart of man “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man”.

As layer upon layer of denial, emotional dishonesty, buried trauma, unfulfilled needs, etc., continue to build up, our hearts are broken, our spirits wounded and our minds becomes dysfunctionally programmed.  Unfortunately, our choices and behaviour as adults are made in reaction to our childhood wounds and programming, and thus our lives are being dictated by our wounded inner children, if not healed.

Love Deficit leads to Rejection & Identity Issues

Our core or earliest relationship with ourselves was formed when we were young. As a child, words of criticism and rejection from authority over us like parents, guardian, teachers, etc. often stick in our memory and shape our view of ourselves; and we subsequently spend a lifetime trying to validate our self-worth. Sadly, if we grow up in a dysfunctional family, the little child at the core of our being will believe that he/she is unworthy and unlovable. And that often is the foundation on which we build our concept or derived our identity.

We need to learn how to take responsibility without taking the blame. We need to be aware of our feelings without being a victim of them. We need to heal and nurture our inner child and not allow our wounds to control or dictate our lives.  Rejection causes strong emotional pain. 

Functional MRI studies revealed that the same areas of the brain are activated when we experience rejection and when we experience physical pain. In other words, rejections hurt because they literally mimic physical pain in our brain. Rejection is a form of psychological injury, one that can and should be treated.

Rejection destroys our self-esteem, damages our identity and sabotages our purpose in life. It causes emotional wounds, which often leads to withdrawal, apathy, rebellion, hostility, overachieving, compulsive/addictive behaviours or even gender confusion. This is the reason why it is one of the most common tools the devil will use to destroy a person's life. The goal of the enemy is first to get us built up with emotional baggage inside and then negative feelings in our hearts against one another, and eventually God. We tend to treat others the way we feel about ourselves.

Rejection creates a feeling of being excluded or unwanted and it makes us feel unworthy or like we never fit in or measure up.  It leads to self-rejection and we become critical of ourselves and others. People with low self-esteem often try to bring other people down.  If we don’t love ourselves, we are not equipped to love others.  Thus, an attitude of anger permeates our lives and leads us to find fault with others.  An arrogant demeanor is really just a cover-up for feelings of inferiority.   Children growing up in homes where a violent father rules, have the tendency to display aggression and anger as they grow up too, even when the violent father is no longer in their lives.  Such children use violence to mask their insecurity and fear.
Those of us who struggle with feelings of rejection are easily hurt and prone to misinterpreting comments as being unkind as we always don’t feel worthy and have difficulty accepting affection. Some of us become suspicious of anyone who tries to befriend us because we believe they must have an ulterior motive.  To avoid rejection, some of us become loners.  
If we had suffered rejection, we also tend to raise a wall emotionally so that we will not be hurt anymore. We will then unconsciously bury the need we felt for trust and intimacy and begin to isolate from our own feelings as well as the feelings of others. We will grow up not knowing how to meet the needs of others, especially the needs for closeness and intimacy because we are cut off from our own. And, sadly, many of us would never again reach out to anyone for emotional comfort, for the fear of being rejected and hurt. 

We do not want to be too intimate and open with friends, and that is why so many friendships are superficial today. Many are also not truly emotionally intimate with our spouse because there is no complete trust and connection. We tend to get and demand from the relationship rather that give and sacrifice. Our healing can only be complete when we are connected back to, and experience the source of true love.

Rejection can also lead to grandiosity – extreme self-involvement and lack of interest and empathy for others, in spite of the pursuit of others to obtain admiration and approval. People with such personality are often driven to the acquisition of wealth, power and beauty and the need to have others admire their grandiosity. We replace the need for others with the desire for things and we begin to see others as means to an end rather than as ends in themselves. In fact, the genesis of all addiction patterns can be traced back to this process, known as the “replacement defense”. Sadly, underneath this external fa├žade there is an emptiness filled with envy and rage.

Rejection has a lot of fruit which can widely vary from one person to another. Some of the common symptoms of rejection include:
  • Fabricated personalities or false self (being somebody we aren't, in order to be accepted)
  • The tendency to reject others, so that we aren't the first one to be rejected
  • The need to fit in or be accepted by others and be a part of everything
  • Self-pity where we feel bad for ourselves being all alone
  • Inability to be corrected or receive constructive criticism (we view that as rejection). Stubbornness can also be rooted in rejection as well for this same reason. Some develop into opinionated personalities and the need to be right about things all the time or else we feel worthless... that's because "who we are and our significance" (our identity) are based upon us being right.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, or hopelessness
  • Seeking a parent's approval in unhealthy ways and basing our identity upon what they think of us
  • Envy, jealousy, and even hate can be rooted in rejection
The root of rejection is actually incredibly simple: love deficit in our growing up years which result in misplaced identity. Due to rejection, many seek our identity in people, especially our parents and people in authority and some even in their life partners? Others may seek it in their work, ministry, achievements and possessions which unfortunately set us up for “Performance Orientation” bondages.

When we begin to serve God for the praise of man or base our identity in what we do, no matter how great the call of God is on our lives, no matter how powerful the gifts or the anointing in our ministry, that underlying attitude of unhealthy self-love which is different from loving our neighbours as loving ourselves can begin to produce a hidden resentment and anger fuelled by a fear of rejection and a fear of failure.  We need to recognize that our ministry unto the Lord is temporal; however, our identity is eternal.

Whenever we feel the hurt and pain from rejection, it's because our identity depends upon what that others think of us. If our identity didn't depend on what others think of us, we would be virtually immune from the damage of rejection. The closer a person is to us; the deeper their rejection can wound us. Authority figures often also have the potential to deeply wound us, because we tend to look up to them and rely on them for our identity.
Whenever we base our identity on somebody or something other than what God's Word has to say about us, it will make us vulnerable to rejection. 

However, when we base our identity upon what the Word of God has to say about us, we will become virtually rejection-proof. We are not going to settle the rejection issues fully until we can get it down into our spirit that we are accepted, loved, and appreciated by God. Yes, we are greatly favoured and deeply loved by God our Father because we are in Jesus Christ. Tearing down the strongholds of rejection is as simple as merely receiving with childlike faith, what God's Word has to say about our identity, who we are as a new creature in Christ, and how we are called to life, purpose, and meaning in Christ. Rising above rejection is all about restoring a healthy identity which is tied to healing our love deficit. 

The key to overcoming rejection is to solve our identity problems.  We need to start seeing ourselves for who we are in Christ, and the person that God has really formed within us. Our identity must come from Him and what His Word says about us. Meditating on bible verses which speak of who we are in Christ are incredible tools to help renew your mind and tear down these strongholds.

In order to truly find one’s identity, we need to remember that “In the beginning God created…” (Gen.1:1). Thus, if we really desire to understand our identity we must first understand who God is. “For in Him we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Truly knowing God produces security, self-worth and significant.

Love Deficit leads to Co-dependence

Love deficit has created two evil – the suppression of our inner child and the birth of false self which infect us with a disease common known as co-dependence.

Co-dependency, originally termed “co-alcoholism” in the 1970 was coined when addiction specialists, who worked with alcoholics and their families, began to notice that each family member actually played a unique role in perpetuating the addiction process. The addict was dependent on alcohol and the family members were dependent on the alcoholic. They had a need to be needed by the addict.

However, by 1980s, the term become more inclusive and has been recognised as a separate disorder on its own. In its broadest sense it underlies all addictions, but yet is an addiction itself – addiction to people.  To put in simply, it means that people reach out to people in an attempt to fill a deep void within and some experts prefer to use the term “unhealthy people dependency”.

The genesis of co-dependence begins with the repression of our own feelings; it is often the product of a dysfunctional family and love deficit. Co-dependence is a disease of lost selfhood.  They are so focused and preoccupied on the needs of others that they neglect their true self to the point of having little self-identity or loss of identity and in a state of identity confusion and crisis.

Co-dependency victims can actually hinder the growth in others yet believing they are unselfishly helping them. They may well be interfering with the basic law of life – the law of cause and effect. By intervening and rescuing, co-dependency takes responsibility from others unto themselves, harming others and themselves. Co-dependence is one of the most common conditions causing confusion and suffering in the world. It may be subtle in its manifestations and therefore difficult to identify.

Co-dependency can be further entrenched in low self-worth. People with poor self-worth don’t believe anyone would want them for who they are or for the value of the relationship. They feel safe in relationship only when they are needed, so they always look for people who need them. As a result, they find themselves drawn to needy people who usually cannot build healthy relationships; and so they are trapped in cycles of rejection and co-dependency again and again.

This is especially true in a marriage relationship. We need to understand that it is not need but desire that makes a relationship strong. To build a healthy marriage relationship, we make ourselves desirable to our spouse and not make them need us which is a very common mistake made by co-dependence victim in marriages.  In their insecurity, their behaviour pushes their spouse away instead of pulling them into intimacy. A healthy marriage relationship should be interdependence, which is mutually reliance and dependence on each rather than co-dependence.

Let’s look at some characteristics of co-dependency:

-        Obsessive and compulsive dependency on another person
-        Control and manipulation of the person they are dependent on
-        A disrespectful love/hate relationship with that person
-        Obscure and blurred boundaries (physical & emotional)
-        Worry and frustration over things that cannot be changed
-        Thinking that happiness depends upon others
-        Excessive responsibility taken for others
-        Neglect of health and wellbeing
-        Low self-esteem
-        High sensitivity to emotional hurt
-        Extreme mood swing
-        Constantly looking for something missing in life
When we live in shame-based and co-dependent stance, focusing inordinately on others, we will always feel something is missing, somehow incomplete. We are unhappy, tense, empty, distressed, feel bad and/or numb.

Co-dependence people thrive on personal attention. They are perpetually very needy, some always seeking out for help & others help others out of their need to be needed. They can never satisfy. It clings like a leech, absorbing everything but never filling. They can attend teaching seminar after seminar and they do not bring about any significant change.

If we continue to value intimacy and love from people more than what God can do for us, we will continue to have a void in our hearts. We need to ultimately comes to term that only God can fill these deep human spiritual needs of security, self-worth and significant, which he demands in every person. Only He alone can fill, satisfy and give us fullness of joy “He satisfied the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Ps.107:9).

Symptoms of False self

Most families across the world are dysfunctional in that they don’t provide and support the healthy needs of their children. Since there are no perfect parents, we all have the disadvantage of inadequate modelling from the past. Hence, it means that everyone has suffered abuse or love deficit to some degree.

What result is an interruption of the healthy growth and development of children. When there is neglect, hurt, pain, rejection, abuse, trauma, etc. in our growing up years, and being a child, we cannot express ourselves, our inner child or true self goes into hiding within the unconscious part of our brain; we learn to suppress all our feelings and emotions. This block the growth of our true self, and thus a false-self emerge as an unconscious defence mechanism to run the show of our life in order to survive. We use our false-self to mask the inner pain, hurt, insecurity, inferiority, resentment, anger, etc. This is a simply the most natural defence mechanism against pain and hurt in our soul.  To be real seems threatening and scary as we will be rejected and shamed.

As we continue to stifle and neglect our own feelings, we become increasingly tolerant of emotional pain and soon can become numb emotionally.  And because we stifle our feelings, we are unable to fully grieve our everyday losses. When we cannot express ourselves and grieve completely, we become emotionally ill as our real-self has an innate desire and energy to express itself or to release the tension build up. Secretly, we want to feel alive. The only way out is through negative compulsive behaviour. Such compulsive actions range across a wide spectrum, ranging from trying to control another person to overeating, over sexing, overworking, overspending or even over attending self-help meetings. We tend to use pain to medicate pain or pleasure to medicate our pain away.  Unable to cope with emotional pain, many have taken to inflicting physical pain on themselves to relieve the emotional pain.  

This helps to give temporary relief from tension, suffering and numbness, even though we might feel some shame about it. This is often called repetition compulsion; it comes from unsolved internal conflict in our subconscious mind. Hence, co-dependent illness is a breeding ground for all kinds of addictions.  Sadly, it doesn’t go away, after applying false medications to relieve the pain, shame and guilt often torment us which cause us to repeat the evil vicious cycle.

Today’s society is highly dysfunctional due to dysfunctional families.  It produces addicts and then condemns them for being sick. This unfortunately is the sad scenario and the plague of our time.  In our frantic pursuit of happiness, we seek instant relief to numb the pain and rejection and trauma. Instead of helping, this behaviour is worsening the situation.

An addiction cycle generally starts with a deficit of love with the addictive agent serving as the anaesthetic. The anaesthetic however wears off and the consequences often are disruption of relationships, guilt and further shame. This in turn produces more pain, which is followed again by the numbing effect of the addictive agent. The cycle continues with increasing momentum until the low self-esteem becomes self-hatred.

We may then feel out of control and thus have the need to control even more, which ends up projecting our hurt to others. Underlying religious legalism and rigidity there is often a serious addiction problem.

Let’s understand the Degenerative stages of co-dependence:

1)     Stifle our own inner Child due to love deficit and rejection
2)     Neglecting our own needs
3)     Increase tolerance or numbness to emotional pain
4)     Inability to grieve losses to completion
5)     Blocking growth (mental-emotional-spiritual)
6)     Addiction or compulsive behavior to medicate pain
7)     Progressive shame and loss of self–esteem
8)     Feeling out of control, need to control more
9)     Projection of pain to others by trying to control them
10)  Stress-related illness develops
11) Progressive deterioration: extreme mood swings, difficulty with intimate relationships, chronic unhappiness.

Dysfunctional Family

As early as the first year of life, a child has the ability to express emotion and it is during this critical time in our development that we learn how to relate to ourselves and others.  If we are not nurtured healthily and do not form healthy attachment with our parents, we become ill emotionally. We tend to fight, flight or freeze in our emotion and it causes us difficulty to form attachment to our friends later in lives and especially our future spouse and ultimately God. The foundation of all relationship is trust which we lack if we are growing up in a dysfunctional family.

If we lost the authentic self of Childlikeness, which generally loves to communicate, play and have fun, we will also lose the compassionate and gracious heart towards others as we tend to treat people how we feel about ourselves. Due to the pain and anger in our emotion, we tend to be critical, judgemental, get angry easily, withholding and fearful, plans and plods, pretends always to be strong, controlling, self-righteous, and very plastic and not genuine in our personality.

Thus, dysfunctional families produce dysfunctional individuals which in return produce dysfunctional families. Dysfunctional society encourages dependency but is often views as normal. For example, workaholic is the most common form of addiction. A workaholic and an alcoholic have the same root problem. Ministry is also another common addiction. Some people are so addicted to ministry activities that their spouse and children suffer. In fact, ministry addiction is the main reason why many leaders suffer burn out. It is an unbalanced commitment for the wrong reasons.

The main cause of co-dependence is dysfunctional families; and it will worsen if there is childhood abuse that adds shame to it. The emotional deprivation from the dysfunctional family produces a love deficit and a love hunger deep within the person. However, the exact nature of the “trouble” in family cannot be easily recognised, labelled or identify. 

Nevertheless, let’s look at some of the characteristics of dysfunctional families:


Arbitrary & chaotic - a family where rules are set up for no rhyme or reason.  The parents manage the family in a dictatorship style and the child has no right to be heard and loses trust in the rule setters and in their own self. They are unable to understand the environment. They live in chronic fear, as though “walking on eggshells”.

The children are not allowed to express their feeling, especially painful or negative feeling such as anger. This may develop into anti-social behaviour, and various forms of acute and chronic illness, including stress related illness. What the child sees as reality is denied and a false belief system of reality is assumed. This denial and new belief system stifled and retard the child’s development and growth.

Childhood Abuse

Child abuse is common in dysfunctional families. Childhood abuse is defined as anything less than nurturing. Nurturing is caring, nourishing and helping children develop their own unique individuality. Anything less than nurturing is abuse and it creates adults with dependency problems. While severe physical abuse or sexual abuses are clearly recognizable as traumatic to children, other forms of subtle child abuse may be more difficult to recognize. These may include mild to moderate physical abuse, covert or less obvious sexual abuse, like touching children and adolescents in inappropriate parts of their anatomy, and any unnecessary sexually stimulating behaviour. These forms of abuse usually result in deep-seated feeling of shame and guilt that are unconsciously carried into adulthood.


Growing up in a troubled or dysfunctional family cause shame and low self-esteem, however, the manifestations of shame vary from individual to individuals. Nevertheless, it plays a major role in stifling our child within. It involves the rejection of self-as fundamentally bad, unworthy, inadequate, defective, and insufficient as a person. It is a deep sense that there is something uniquely wrong with oneself. It is a deep feeling of wrongness of being, a deep feeling of contamination, uncleanness, and of being uniquely flawed.

People often confuse shame and guilt. While we feel both, there is a difference between them. Guilt is the uncomfortable or painful feeling that results from doing something that violates or breaks a personal standard or value or causing hurt to others. Guilt thus, concerns our behaviour, feeling bad about what we have done, or about what we didn’t do that we were supposed to have done.
However, shame makes us see ourselves as a mistake rather than making a mistake. If we make a mistake, we can repent and not repeat the same mistake again, but if we feel that we are a mistake, there is no hope. In contrast to guilt where we feel bad from doing something wrong or bad, guilt seems to be correctable or forgivable, whereas there seems to be no way out of shame. Shame makes us feels hopeless, we feel isolated and lonely as though we are the only one who has the painful feeling. It creates self-rejection and self-hatred. When shame becomes internalised, the self is abandoned and identity is lost. Thus, false self takes over to run the show.

Shame results in elaborate “appearance management” – it creates a false self. When our child within feels the shame and cannot express it in a healthy way to safe and supportive people, our false self emerges and pretends not to have the shame, and would never tell anyone about it. Shame masks us.  We are afraid that if we tell others about our shame, they will think we are bad and look down on us. We don’t like that and thus often block it out or pretend that it is not there.

Shame often breeds hatred and unforgiveness towards ourselves and often results in various addictions and compulsion as the inner man desperately searches for something to alleviate the pain. In 2Cor.4:7, Paul says that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels”, – shame causes us to focus on self (the earthen vessels) rather than the treasure which the glory contains. We must always be mindful that God loves us as much as in our day of disgrace as he did in our day of grace.

Shame primarily comes through flawed identity imposed upon us by important people in our life, especially parents, an influencing adult or figure of authority. Their negative messages, negative affirmations, and beliefs and rules that we hear as we grow up like “shame on you!”, “you’re not good enough”, “I wish I never had you”, “you are stupid, useless, not fit to be in the family” etc. We hear them so often and especially from whom we are so dependent on and to whom we are so vulnerable, that we believe them. Thus, we incorporate or internalize them into our very being. Hence, shame is also a result of rejection, scorn, ridicule and unjust punishment.

To make it worst, the wound is compounded by negative rules that stifle and prohibit the
 otherwise healthy, healing and needed expression of our pain. Some family has unwritten “rules” which unconsciously mould the child’s identity at a very early age. These are often used to cover the shame of the parents and to make sure that their inadequacies are not exposed.

Some of these rules are:

-        Always be in control of all behavior, feelings and circumstance. It is wrong to feel sad, lonely, fearful, angry or whatever.  So, don’t cry, don’t get upset, be nice, don’t ask questions.  Never have the right to show our own feeling even at home.

 -        Always must be right, cannot make mistake, everything must be the best. There is no room for learning process.
 -        Always be self-sufficient, don’t bother anyone with a need.

-         Always hide and maintain secrecy regarding anything wrong, especially things in regard to family.
-        Never acknowledge a mistake or make yourself vulnerable to anyone. Don’t trust anyone. So we learn that we are not to supposedly openly talk about it. And this is often transmitted from one generation to the next.
When everyone in a dysfunctional family lives together and operates primarily from their false self, it may be described as being shame based family. We all have shame. Shame is universal to being human. If we do not work through it and then let go of it, shame tends to accumulate and burden us more and more, until we become its victim.

Shame will cause us to surround ourselves with a wall of fear, as we do not want to be shamed further. Fear is a very powerful motivating factor; it motivates us to protect ourselves at all costs.


Insecurity is a direct result of love deficit and the message of rejection we receive in childhood. In contrast, security is directly related to love. Children raised in environments lacking in love often experience deep-seated sense of insecurity. In fact, researchers have found out that possessiveness is due to reunion attempts & insecurity. Those of us who suffered deep rejection will try to live out our past experience (reunion attempts) in future adult relationships. The fear of losing is very real. 

However, possessiveness always kills relationships as it tends to suffocate the other party.  Some of us bring our competitiveness and aggression into the workforce as we seek success in our careers to counter our insecurity.


One of most common fruits of dysfunctional families is perfectionism. It is a belief that ‘I must do well at all times’. The difference between perfectionism and the commitment to excellence needs to be understood.

Perfectionism is destructive; while excellence is a worthy thing to seek. The perfectionist among us sets impossible standards and when we cannot reach them, we are filled with guilt and frustration. The perfectionist cannot take defeat. Commitment to excellence, on other hand, sets high but reachable standards, while leaning on the grace of God to reach our full potential what God has created us to be, and we learn from failure.

The only remedy for perfectionism is to understand Grace. Dealing with human weakness and brokenness, grace is the divine acceptance of people where they are. Many know grace cognitively, but do not live in it themselves or in their relationship with others. Grace unlocks people from the prison of self-doubt, inadequacy, shame and bondage, and frees people to live more realistically and authentically.


Depression can be a very complex mixture of physical and mental factors. However, in its simplest form, depression is a mood message, indicating something needs to be rectified in our lives. Just like fever is a body message and a symptom that something is wrong with our bodies, so depression is a symptom of something dying or missing within. Medicine may help to heal our surface moods by balancing the biochemical in our brain but it cannot touch the spirit. We need to deal and confront our emotions to receive healing.


There are many sincere God fearing and God loving believers who are yet still drawn towards sin or sinful habits, in bondage and addictive behaviour with no victory. Many ascribe the problem to spiritual immaturity – that as we grow in Christ, all the problems will be solved.

However, the true fact is that many of us mature Christians live in bondages and many continuously fall into sin. In fact, there are many pastors, missionary or church leaders who struggle continually in bondage to habits and attitudes that they tried to overcome: hatred, frequent anger, lust, masturbation, pornography, drinking, eating, spending, gambling, addiction to drugs, etc.

In Rom.7:15, Paul describes his own disillusion “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Like Paul, most of us indulge in bad habits not because we desire to do them, but because of a compulsion to do so, we are compelled by something deep within us. Then, unable to fight the compulsion, we succumb to the habit. There is an unconscious compulsion that motivates us to do the things we don’t want to do.

In Heb.4:10, we are exalted to “be diligent to enter that rest”. Love deficit leads to a lack of peace/rest in our soul. When there is lack of peace and a lack of rest in our soul, our flesh is compelled to do something to attempt to bring peace and comfort to our soul.

2Cor.5:17 say that we are a “new creation” when we accepted Christ as our saviour and enter the kingdom of God. The question is what has become new - our spirit, our soul, or our body?

The fact is that we still have an old body and old soul. Certain areas of your soul might be instantly renewed (some old habits or broken) but generally, we didn’t get an entirely new soul. Only our spirit is new. Our unhealthy soul has great power to drag our spirit to sin in the flesh.

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