Freedom from Family Life traumas (pt. 4)

ACCEPT YOUR FAMILY AS A GIFT FROM GOD

Family trauma can lead to unhealthy assumptions about family and total rejection of the family life. Most young adults and even older adults today live in unhealthy relationships because of lack trust in true family relationship.

Believe in family as a Divine institution going through a process of restoration
Recognize that family members make mistakes and need to be forgiven
Pursue peace with all members of the family
Refuse to see your family as a curse, but a blessing
Believe that God can transform your family

SEEK THE HELP OF A QUALIFIED CHRISTIAN COUNSELLOR

Qualified Christian cousellors are trained to help you see your problems from a redemptive perspective. They will help you see the possibilities ahead of you which you may have considered impossible due to your present self-concept or awareness.

SEEK DELIVERANCE FOR REPETITIVE FAMILY TRAUMA

Most family traumas are generational. Often times, a particular type of trauma run in particular family line. In some cases, the individuals in these families found themselves helpless in the same situations that drowned their parents and grand-parents. This type of deep spiritual problems will require a deliverance prayer from someone gifted and experienced in the area of deliverance ministry.

ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND THE LORD OF YOUR FAMILY

The family that serves God together and pray together is the family that stays together under love and protection of the Lord. While Christian Families are not immune from family traumas, they stand better chances of easily overcoming the effects of family traumas.

CONCLUSION

Family is a beautiful institution designed by God to provide nurturing and protection for the people involved. The health of the future generation often depends on the health of the nuclear family. The society is often a product of what happens in the family. However, as Christians we must not let the failures in our family interactions to define us, because in Christ, we have a stronger family filled with unconditional love and acceptance.

No matter what you are currently experiencing as a result of family trauma, be assured, there is hope for you and your family.

Freedom from Family Life traumas (pt. 3)

FACTORS THAT FACILITATE FAMILY TRAUMAS

Lack of or poor communication skills
Lack of interpersonal skills
Lack of problem solving or coping skills
Lack of commitment to the family or relationship
Lack of headship or leadership in the family
Lack of stability (frequent relocations)

TRAUMAS AND EFFECTS ON THE FAMILY

Despair and frequents exhaustion
Frustration-this lead may lead to verbal abuse and violent behaviours in the family
Anger
Anxiety and depression
Feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
Physical withdrawal
Alcohol, drug abuse
Sexual abuse- including rape and incest
Sexual immorality
Manipulations and control of one another
Self-blame and counter-blames (blaming one another for every fault)
Lack of trust
Low self-esteem/poor self-image
Delinquency-especially in school works and social interactions
Decline in work efficiency
Emotional withdrawals
Separation and divorce
Physical illnesses
Phobia
Mental illnesses

HOW TO BE FREE FROM FAMILY TRAUMAS

DEALING WITH INNER WOUNDS

Family trauma can cause deep hurts and emotional wounds which can lead to bitterness and resentments. If these are not dealt with quickly, they can lead to a pattern of behavior which can become a stronghold that imprisons the individual.

Accept the fact that what happened has happened. It is gone!

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

Learn to forgive and love

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”-Matthew 6:14 (NASB)

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”- Luke 6:27,28 (NASB)

Accept who you are Christ

“How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ.
Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love.  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!”- Ephesians 1:3-5 (TLB)
Think and Focus on what is True and Holy

“And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”- Philippians 4:8 (TLB)

Freedom from Family Life traumas (pt. 2)

COMMON PHASES OF RESPONSE TO TRAUMA

OUTCRY PHASE: The immediate response to a traumatic event may range from acute alarm (mild attack of fear, though very serious) to stunned inability to take in the meaning of the experience (leading to panic attack).

DENIAL PHASE: Following the initial shock, some people may experience denial lasting weeks or months before manifesting emotional responses to the trauma. Symptoms include: amnesia, numbness, sleep disturbances, somatic symptoms, frantic over-activity and withdrawal.

INTRUSIVE PHASE: This is characterized by experience of flash recollection of the trauma resulting in what can be described as sudden emergence of exaggerated startled responses, intrusive thoughts, and preoccupation, sleep and REM disturbances. This can lead to considerable anxiety and a fear of going insane. Most individuals will respond well to reassurances that these experiences are normal and transient.

WORKING THROUGH PHASE: During this phase, individuals examine meanings of the traumatic event and other associated events and memories. They mourn loses and injuries and consider new plans for coping with future.

COMPLETION PHASE: This phase is reached when the person recognize the impact of the trauma on their psyches, exhibit hopeful plans for the future and have resumed normal life, work, and leisure activities.

PATHOLOGICAL REACTIONS TO TRAUMA

MALDAPTIVE RESPONSES: This includes anxiety attacks, withdrawals, substance abuse, psychosomatic reactions, depression, psychoses and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
SELF-IMAGE DISTORTION: Identity impairment and poor self-image
RELATIONAL IMPAIRMENT: Moderate to severe impairment in family/marriage/sexual functioning, work/social functioning and spiritual functioning.

TRAUMAS OF FAMILY LIFE

This implies a family life filled with and producing conflict and destructive interpersonal behaviours and attitudes. This eventually becomes the reality of the nature of interactions experienced by members in such a family

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A HEALTHY FAMILY

Communicates and listens
Affirms and supports one another
Develops a sense of trust
Demonstrates respect toward one another
Has a sense of play and humour
Exhibits a sense of shared responsibility
Teaches the Truth on what is Wrong and what is Right
Has a strong sense of family virtues
Share a common Christian/Biblical Values
Spends time together in active interactions
Admits mistakes, seeks and received forgiveness
Supports one another in careers and calling.

STAGES IN FAMILY LIFE TRAUMAS

Marriage Adjustment- This occurs during the 1st to 5th year of marriage and may last longer
Separation which may lead to Divorce
Pressure of work or at work
Buying a property
Infertility
Pregnancy or birth complications
Arrival of new baby in the family
Raising children
Menopause
Unemployment
Debilitating illnesses such as mental illness (Alzheimer, Bipolar etc.)
Death in the family

Freedom from Family Life traumas (pt. 1)

DEFINITIONS

TRAUMA: “a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time” –Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Broadly speaking, a trauma is usually the result of an event or disaster that has occurred and thereby producing a distressing state of mind in the individual concerned and evoking emotional responses and behavior that is not in keeping with the person’s normal behavior and responses.
Trauma can range from mild to severe!

EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA
Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

TRAUMA AND STAGES OF LIFE
Trauma can occur at any stage in an individual’s development.
1)Foetus in the womb
2)During birth
3)Puberty and Teenage
4)Adolescence
5)Adult
6)Menopause
7)Old Age
8)Death

FACTORS THAT CAN CAUSE EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMAS

1)Major illness-especially terminal illness (Malignant Cancer)
2)Accidents (Especially fatal accidents)
3)Severe Bullying (especially verbal and physical bullying at school)
4)Suddenly loss of job and financial crises
5)Abuse (Includes: domestic, sexual, verbal, emotional, physical etc)
6)Fear (Both known and unknown cause)
7)Bereavement (Loss of someone dear to you)
8)Sports injuries
9)Relationship break-ups (dumping and jumping)
10)Major surgery at the early part of life (especially first few weeks to months of birth)

EMOTIONAL TRAUMA PATHWAYS

1)It happened unexpectedly.
2)You were unprepared for it.
3)You felt powerless to prevent it.
4)It happened repeatedly.
5)Someone was intentionally cruel.
6)It happened in childhood.

Understanding Guilt pt. 2

SUBJECTIVE GUILT

This is the uncomfortable feeling of regret, remorse, shame, and self-condemnation that often comes when we have done or thought something that we feel is wrong, or failed to do something that should have been done. Often there is discouragement, anxiety, fear of punishment or rejection, self-condemnation, and a sense of isolation, all tied together as part of the guilt feeling.

They can stimulate us to change our behavior and seek forgiveness from God or from other human beings. But guilt feelings also can be destructive, inhibitory influences that make life miserable.

TYPES OF SUBJECTIVE GUILT FEELINGS

Appropriate Guilt Feelings: This is present when we have broken a law, disobey biblical teachings, or violated the dictates of our conscience and feel remorse in proportion to the seriousness of the act.

Inappropriate Guilt Feelings: These are out of proportion to the seriousness of the act.

All these show that guilt is pervasive and complex experience. It is important to always distinguish between objective and subjective guilt.

BIBLICAL TEACHING ABOUT GUILT

The Bible describes guilt in subjective terms. It is always refers to theological guilt. A person is guilty when he or she has broken God’s law. Biblical guilt and sin are often discussed together.

Biblical Examples

DAVID: Psalm 32

DAVID: Psalm 51

PAUL: Romans 7:18-25

HOW BELIEVERS SHOULD DEAL WITH SUBJECTIVE GUILT FEELING

It is true that the believer has no reason to have guilt feelings because Christ has paid for and forgiven our sins. Even so, we continue with mental self-punishment, dwelling on the guilt we feel over our sins or other actions.

We must not intentionally arouse guilt feeling in others in order to force them to change behaviours, prevent them from being proud, protect them from future sin, stimulate Christian growth or stimulate financial contribution. Unfortunately many teachers, parents, coaches and preachers do these.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

Understanding Guilt pt. 1

Guilt can be an emotionally painful experience, and it comes up repeatedly in counseling. People who are depressed, lonely, grieving, members of violent families, sexual immoral or abused person, alcoholic, terminally ill, or facing almost any problems often are plagued with guilt. Guilt has been described as the intersection of religion and psychology.

TYPES OF GUILT

1) OBJECTIVE GUILT

Objective guilt occurs when a law has been broken and the lawbreaker is guilty even though he/she may not feel guilty.

2) SUBJECTIVE GUILT

Subjective guilt refers to inner feelings of remorse and self-condemnation that comes because of our actions

OBJECTIVE GUILT

This can be divided into

Legal
Theological
Personal
Social guilt
LEGAL GUILT: This is the violation of society’s laws. For example, a person who steals from a store is legally guilty of theft, even if he or she is never caught and regardless of whether or not the person feels any remorse.

THEOLOGICAL GUILT: This involves a failure to obey the laws of God. The Bible describes divine standards for human behaviors. Often times we violate this standards.

Many psychiatrists and psychologists do not admit the existence of theological guilt. To do so would be to admit that there are absolute moral standards. If absolute standards exist, there must be a standard-setter, and that is God. For many, it is easier to believe that right and wrong are relative-dependent on one’s own experiences, training, and subjective values. This has great practical implication in counseling.

PERSONAL GUILT: Here the individual violates his or her own personal standards or resists the urgings of conscience. No laws have been broken, and neither has the guilty person disobeyed God. This is not illegal, immoral, or unbiblical but the person feels guilty nevertheless.

SOCIAL GUILT: This comes when we break an unwritten but socially accepted rule. If a person is rude, talk loudly in a quiet library, pushes into the front of the queue, no law has been broken and the offender may or may not feel guilty, nevertheless the person is guilty of violating social expectations of other people.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

Anxiety: Causes and effect pt. 2

PANICK ATTACKS and POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: These are more serious anxiety. Often this is the anxiety that brings people to counselors.

PANICK attack involves sudden, often unexpected, rushes of intense fear accompanied by rapid heartbeat, trembling, and shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, or feelings of losing control. These attacks peak intensity within a few minutes and fade quickly after that. Many times they become associated with specific places or situations, such as being in a crowd, going to a dentist, riding in a car, or feeling trapped in a room. Because these attacks can be so scary and unpredictable, victims avoid the situations or places where the anxiety occurred in the past, lest they occur again.

POST-TRAUMATIC STREE DISORDER (PSTD) arises following intense stress, such as observing or experiencing events that involved death or great danger. These could include military conflict, rape, and involvement in a serious accident, kidnapping, a violent crime, prisoner abuse, or natural disasters, such as tornado or earthquake. Any of these can leave a lifelong legacy of anxiety.

For years after the trauma, some people have nightmares, irrational fears, depression, and loss of interest in activities that once were pleasant. For these people anxiety has become a way of life.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ANXIETY?
The Bible views anxiety in two ways: as a healthy concern and as fret or worry.

ANXIETY IN THE FORM OF REALISTIC CONCERN: This is neither condemned nor forbidden. Paul wrote that he was anxious (that is worried) about the possibility of being beaten, cold, hungry or in danger, but he did experience anxiety (that is concern) about the welfare of the churches. This sincere care for others put a daily burden on the apostle and made Timothy ‘genuinely anxious’ (concerned and interested as well. (2Corinthians 11:27-28; Philippians 2: 20)

ANXIETY AS FRET AND WORRY: This appears to be what Jesus had in mind in the Sermon on the Mount. He taught that we should not worry about life’s basic needs, such as food and clothing. We have a Heavenly Father who knows that what we need and will provide. (Matthew 6:25-34) see also (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7).
Anxiety as a fret or worry comes when we turn from God, shift the burdens of life on to ourselves, and show by our attitudes and actions that we alone are taking responsibility for handling problems. Instead of acknowledging God’s sovereignty and power, or determining to live for him and make his kingdom our primary concern, many of us slip into sinful self-reliance and preoccupation with our life pressures.
While it is OK to be responsible and handle our daily tasks, it is wrong, and unhealthy to be immobilized by excessive worry.

Impatience often accompanies anxiety, and anxious people want help in handling their pressures quickly. It can be very hard to wait for God’s perfect time schedule.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude.

Anxiety: Causes and effect pt. 1

Anxiety, stress, fear, phobia, panic, and tension are words that have different technical meanings but often are used interchangeably to describe a common condition that may have reached epidemic proportions.
It appears in all age groups, including the elderly, children, and teenagers.

DEFINITION: Anxiety is an inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, worry, and/or dread that is accompanied by a heightened physical arousal.
In times of anxiety, the body appears to be on alert, ready to flee or fight.
The heart beats faster, blood pressure and muscle tensions increase, neurological and chemical changes occur within, and the person may feel faint, jumpy, and unable to relax or sleep.
Anxiety can arise in response to some specific danger often referred to as “fear” rather than anxiety, or it may come in reaction to an imaginary or anxious person senses that something terrible is going to happen, but he or she does not know what it is or why.

TYPES OF ANXIETY
1. NORMAL
Normal anxiety comes to all of us at times, usually when there is some threat or situational danger. Most often, this anxiety is proportional to the danger: the greater the threat, the greater the anxiety, although sometimes, we cannot know how serious a threat may be.
This is anxiety that can be recognized, managed, and reduced, especially when circumstances change and danger is reduced.
2. NEUROTIC
Neurotic anxiety involves intense exaggerated feelings of helplessness and dread even when the danger is mild or nonexistent. Many counselors believe this anxiety cannot be faced directly or dealt with rationally because it may arise from inner conflicts that are not conscious.
3. MODERATE
Moderate anxiety can be healthy and serve a useful purpose. Often it is motivating, helps people avoid dangerous situations, and leads to increased efficiency.

4. INTENSE
Intense anxiety is more stressful. It can shorten one’s attention span, make concentration difficult, cause forgetting, hinder performance, interfere with problem solving, l=block effective communication, arouse panic, and sometimes cause unpleasant physical symptoms such as paralysis, rapid heartbeat, or intense headaches.

5. STATE
State anxiety comes quickly, may or may not be of high intensity, and has a short duration. This is an acute, relatively brief apprehensive reaction that comes to all of us from time to time. Usually, it is a response to some real or imagined threat, like the inner surge of adrenaline you feel before making a speech or taking an important examination.
Sometimes, the anxiety is accompanied be excitement, in part because anxiety and excitement release the same hormones and turn on the same parts of the nervous system.

6. TRAIT
Trait anxiety is the persistent, ever present, ingrained emotional tension seen in people who appear to worry all the time. Often this causes physical illness because the body cannot function effectively when it remains in a perpetual state of tension and arousal.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

Establishing boundaries in your life

Boundaries are limits to what is acceptable or can be tolerated in a relationship. It is the emotional and physical space that we place between us and others. They are imaginary lines or limits that protect you, your time and energy. They keep others’ actions and behaviors from hurting, distracting, annoying, or imposing on you and help set limits on how others can treat you or behave around you. People treat you as you allow them to; however, you can actually teach others how to treat you based on how strong or weak your boundaries are.

 

Humans are a tripartite being and having strong boundaries help protect your body, mind, and spirit. Setting boundaries can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your life. It is a major step and is important in taking control or responsibility for your life. However, it’s often the area where most people seem to have the most difficulties.

 

Boundary setting is not about getting other people to change but about deciding what you will or will not tolerate in your life, and then communicating it firmly and consistently whenever needed. Boundaries are essential to becoming a healthy adult and balancing your work and personal life effectively. They demonstrate your commitment to self-respect.

 

Why establish boundaries someone may ask? Creating boundaries reduces burnout, allows for real growth, reveals the real you and enables you take full responsibility for your life. Boundaries strengthen a person’s life and protect its integrity. A relationship without boundaries is like an ancient city without walls. Such relationship is vulnerable and will easily fall to external aggressions. Life without boundaries is an undisciplined life heading nowhere. The foundation of every successful life must be based on concrete boundaries that guide and shield it from toxic external influences.

 

Strategies for establishing healthy boundaries.

  1. ž Discover keys for creating healthy boundaries
  2. ž Identify your want/need
  3. ž Discover some of the subconscious belief that hinders you from creating boundaries
  4. ž Refrain from spending too much time with toxic people
  5. ž Surround yourself with those who celebrate you
  6. ž Honor yourself by fighting approval addiction
  7. ž Understand your boundary issues (Self-awareness)
  8. ž Educate others about unacceptable behaviors and expressions and help them understand how they can respect your boundaries.
  9. ž Teach them what you want
  10. ž Re-inforce your values
  11. ž Respect other people’s boundaries

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Addictions- breaking bad- Freedom from the shackles of addictions

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.- Philippians 2:13,14 (NASB)

A popular TV Drama Series from AMC with the above theme has won numerous awards. The episodes end with strength of purpose, commitment to a call and addiction to a controlled substance. Breaking from bad attitudes and behaviors that limit our usefulness in the kingdom requires the same intensity of purpose and commitment to a cause in order to be free. Also bear in mind that addictions are as self-limiting as phobias. Unfortunately, more emphasis is usually placed on addictions which are considered more debilitating and deadly. But some phobias can also exact similar deleterious effects and severely limit someone’s capacity to function effectively in life. Dealing with either phobias or addiction is a global campaign that seems to be escalating on a massive scale. But there is a kingdom solution to it.

WHO IS REALLY WORKING?
The dangers of building a doctrine on a Bible verse without due regard to the continuity of the texts is widely known among theologians. This practice often separates connected and continuous thought into meaningless fractional clauses and sentences. In order to fully understand v.12 in our text, you must connect it to v.13. The Grace Proponents will frown at the statement, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” because they believe grace covers everything. The Torah observing believers at the other hand will require some clarification on the statement, “for it is God who is at work in you”, because God does not assume our responsibilities for obeying His commandments.’
Both groups have a lot to add to our understanding of the text. Let’s look at the same text in The Amplified Version.

13[Not in your own strength]for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Now, the veil is being lifted. How does one break-out from addictions and phobias? Certainly; not by following the so called “Steps”. Whether it is alcoholic anonymous, depression anonymous, met addiction anonymous, thieves anonymous, liars anonymous, porn addiction anonymous, homophobia anonymous, agape-phobia anonymous and all the likes.

THE BATTLE OF LORDS

The good news is that God is at work through the Holy Spirit in any person that is wholly consecrated to Christ. This internal operation enables the believer to detach himself from the shackles of addictions and phobias to become a free citizen of God’s kingdom. The influence of addictions cannot hold down a life that is totally yielded to Christ. Addiction and phobias are issues of Lordship. When Jesus steps in as the Lord of your life; the lord of addictions and phobias will be ultimately dethroned. For a believer, this is the battle of lords. The Sovereign Lord, Yeshua Hamashiac (Jesus Christ) must be in-charge or the usurping lords of addictions under the control of Lucifer will reign. When Jesus takes over lordship of your life, then the battle is no longer yours but God’s. At this stage of your consecration, you can be free from all forms of addictions and phobias without all the struggles that are associated with it. All you need is to cooperate with Him by fully consecrating your whole life to Him, to live for Him and obey Him in all things.

Consequently, as your new Lord, He undertakes the task of working out His promises in your life in a miraculous way that will baffle you. Sometimes this internal operation of the Holy Spirit is gradual, while some other times it is instantaneous. A young man worked on our leadership team some years ago. He suffered from the demonic power of rage. He was obsessively and impulsively controlled by the spirit of anger to a dangerously controlling level. His parents had done all they could to help him without success. He did not only become suicidal, but also dangerous when this diabolic power came upon him. Oblivious of this, we engaged him to work with us because he was such a hardworking brother. Surprisingly, during one of our mission trips, he almost killed one of our sisters because she demanded him to stop the bus (he was the bus driver) for another sister to buy a loaf of bread. When we brought him before the central leadership for “judgement”, we were shocked to hear from him that he has been obsessed from childhood by this diabolic spirit. When we heard this, hands were laid on him, and he was set free that same hour. His release came so fast because, after the appalling incidence that happened, he was so ashamed of his conduct that he cried out loud to the Lord for help. Some of us wept with him. At this level of genuine consecration and total surrender to the Lord, no power of addiction or phobia could withstand the liberating power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you struggling with any type of obsessive compulsive addictions or phobias? Do not try to work your way out alone. Allow God to consume your whole life. Cry out loud to Him for help. Engage other anointed believers in Jesus Christ to lay hands and pray with you. Next, you need to become completely dedicated to the Lord through a deep personal relationship on a daily basis. You can only be ruled by one lord. Choose the Lord of Peace and Grace and not the lord of addictions and phobias.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

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