Welcome back to part two of this series of emotional healing. Today I’m going to go over the last three behaviors highlighted in John Bradshaw’s book, Homecoming. I’m also going to tie all of this together in how I think God plays a role in all of this.
Thought Distortions, Emptiness and Addictions, Compulsive Behavior.
According to Bradshaw, Thought distortions are another sign of a wounded inner child. Children obviously don’t think like adults, for one, they absolutize things. For example, if a parent is absent in a child’s life the child can only interpret it in one of two ways, they either love me or don’t love me, their is no in between.
So lets say that your dad was an alcoholic and he eventually left the family or your mom decided to go through with a divorce.
As a child, your brain was not developed enough to understand what that meant and also has no idea what context was. Its likely that you absolutized the event by concluding that your father didn’t love you enough and this manifested in unhealthy ways. For example, you may be overly fixated on gaining male affection or you have a particularly distrust and/or hate for males.
Emptiness and Addictions and compulsive behavior are the last signs of a wounded inner child.
Anytime we have a wounded inner child and fail to grieve in a healthy way later on, we tend to seek out things that will help us so that we don’t have to feel the pain we experienced as a child.
Different Types of addictions from emptiness.
Their are several addictive ways we do this according to Bradshaw, there are activity addictions (always busy, shopping, work, gambling, sex), cognitive addictions (living in your head and not letting yourself feel anything), feeling addictions (addicted to the feeling of sadness/grief, rage, anger), and addictions to things (money being the most common).
The final thing I want to mention is what often manifests when a child goes through a traumatic experience where the child is not allowed to healthily express his or her emotions or the parent(s) improperly modeled ways to express emotions.
When children experience painful things its not uncommon for them to ‘make up’ a false identity. This identity is not their true identity but is a mistaken identity that is molded by the way their parents/caretakers act.
It can also be shaped by the things they think are important to the parents in order to receive positive affirmation.
Over time they associate so much with this false identity that they begin to think that this is their actual identity.
This couldn’t be further from the truth and this is where Bradshaw and I differ. As Christians, we know our true identity is found in Jesus Christ but how do you tell that to someone who has lived years living an actualized false identity?
Its not easy but here are some things you can do.
1) Pray about these scriptures and write them out using your non-dominant hand (part of this is Bradshaw’s theory).
You are God’s
Possession (Genesis 17:8/ 1 Cor 6:20)
Chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
Precious jewel (Malachi 3:17)
Beloved (Romans 1:7/2 Thessalonians 2:13)
You cannot be separated from God’s love (8:35-39), you can do all things through Christ (Philip 4:13), your are complete in him (Colossians 2:10).
The importance of prayer is obvious, you must let God into your heart. You have to start breaking down the barriers and even the false identity you have created in order to re-discover your identify in Jesus Christ.
The purpose of writing using your non-dominant hand is a psychological exercise that helps to tap into your wounded inner child.
2) Write a letter to your wounded inner child using your non-dominant hand.
If God wrote you a letter, what might He say to you? In this exercise, pray and ask God to give you the words to speak to your wounded inner child. The purpose of this is to establish trust and cultivate a supportive environment for your wounded inner child so he or she can fully express themselves (for many, this has been years).
I sincerely hope that this article was helpful.
I pray today that you will experience healing, love, contentment, and peace in your life and will finally be able to break free from all of those unhealthy behaviors that is damaging yourself, others, and your relationship with God.
If you are interested in learning about the inner child we all have and how to heal from past hurts, you can get your own copy through amazon here:
Do you recognize any of these behaviors in your own life?