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Healing Shame Based Families

The emphasis of shame based families is projecting a healthy image to others even though the family is dysfunctional. Let us surrender now our obsessions with making our families look good to others at the expense of our hurting members.

 

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by Greg Brezina

 

The emphasis of shame based families is projecting a healthy image to others even though the family is dysfunctional. What matters most to shame based families is not the healing of its hurting members, but that the family maintain its reputation at all costs.

 

Shame based families try hard to hide family problems such as addiction to pornography, alcohol or drugs, gambling, abortion, marital discord, adultery, outbursts of anger, sexual perversions, rebellious teens, etc. When a family member, perpetrator or victim of one of these problems seeks healing and shares it with others, some family members are usually angered. They are not angry because a family member is hurting. They are angry because the family “secret” has been exposed, and they are embarrassed.

 

Those embarrassed decide that the one who shared the “secret” is the family’s greater problem and must be controlled. Shame is the method of control and is administered by some form of rejection such as condemnation and/or withdrawal. Consequently, the family member is not healed, the agonizing pain of dysfunctional family relationships increases, and a shamed based family is passed on to the next generation.

 

Jesus gives us the simple solution for the healing of shame based families when He says, "...first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” The solution is simple - heal the hurting family members, and then the family will begin to look good on the outside. Although the solution is simple, healing is usually a painful process that takes time. Knowing this, let us surrender now our obsessions with making our families look good to others at the expense of our hurting members.

 

Let us give our hurting family members grace like Jesus did so they can heal.