Let’s start off by remembering why people become controllers or victims.
I was sitting with a group of six female inmates yesterday (prison ministry) listening to their childhood histories.
Each one had stories of abuse, betrayal, abandonment, loneliness fear and anger from their growing up years.
Clearly, not one of them received what was needed for a child to develop dependency and trust.
None experienced a parent as someone that was there for love, nurturing, protection and help.
No one had a memory of comfort.
One inmate remembered being six years old and begging to live with her aunt so she didn’t have to watch her parents’ batter one another.
She lived her childhood wanting to run away.
As an adult (more accurately a wounded child in an adult body) she is still running away and has left two marriages and two kids at the tender age of 26.
Can you understand why each of these women has difficulty with giving?
In God’s ideal design babies, toddlers and young children do a lot of receiving before they learn to give.
What these gals received as kids caused more pain than pleasure.
Now they look for non relational ways to distract them from the painful feelings of those growing up years.
Drug, alcohol and other addictive behaviors serve to deaden the pain but make it difficult to not repeat history with their own kids.
Controllers take charge to keep powerless, hopeless childhood feelings from resurfacing.
One of my inmates was a controller.
She kept her kids away from her abusive ex husband but was in jail herself for alcohol abuse. She tried to control the chaos around her but could not control herself on the inside.
The rest of the inmates were victims barred from seeing their kids by grandparents and ex husbands.
The stories of these inmates might sound extreme but all people from chaotic childhood homes have great difficulty giving and receiving.
Controllers don’t want anything except compliance.
Victims continue to tolerate the intolerable which they learned to do as kids.
For healing to occur these gals will have to face the pain they constantly medicate.
They each need a mentor or sponsor that can listen with tenderness to their childhood experiences and offer comfort and validation for the pain they lived through.
For many this may be their fist experience of receiving love.
Over time, the experience of receiving builds a foundation of love and trust that makes giving possible.
If you came from a chaotic home, do you have mentor or sponsor?
You cannot heal alone.
If you know someone with this kind of background perhaps you could take them under your wing and teach them what love is all about.
Milan & Kay
Next Week: More Relationship Tips and Advice