Family Traditions

…Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7

In therapy, we call them family traditions.  They are the negative thought processes and behavior patterns that are passed on from generation to generation. Often, we end up passing on to our children the very messages we hate the most in our own lives.

Laureen was in her middle thirties when I first  saw her. Anger overflowed as she told me how her mother had blamed her for everything bad that had happened in her life. Laureen’s mother was pregnant when she married Laureen’s father. Somehow that became Laureen’s fault. Her mother smoked a pack of cigarettes everyday and eventually got emphysema-and she smoked, she said, because Laureen made her nervous. What a burden for a little girl to bear.

Laureen married and moved far away from her mother, but she could never move away from that voice inside of her that kept yelling, “It’s all your fault!” When Laureen’s children were born, she passed that message of blame along to them both verbally and nonverbally.  By the time I started seeing Laureen, a third generationwas already struggling with the psychological fallout of blame passed from mother to daughter to child. Only with God’s help could Laureen ever have a chance of breaking the “family traditions” that had been so woven into her life.

Thought:  What family traditions are you ready to end today?






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