None of us mean to hurt our children, our hearts desire is their good. Sometimes we parent without realizing what the results of our actions are. I know I look at this list and cringe because I see some things I have done but never want to do again. I am also thankful that love covers a multitude of sin and that God's most generous, amazing grace sees us all through our weaknesses.
Written by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen
1. OUT-LOUD SHAMING The dynamic: This is the "shame on you" that comes from belittling. It is any message communicated out loud that says, "Something is wrong with you."
The effects: Negative view of self, even self-hatred.
2. FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE The dynamic: How people act is more important than who they are. Love and acceptance are earned by doing or not doing certain things.
The effects: Perfectionism, or giving up without trying; view of God as more concerned with how you act than who you are; cannot ask for help; high need for the approval of others.
3. MANIPULATION The dynamic: Relationships and behaviors are manipulated by very powerful unspoken rules. Yet the unspoken rules communicate these and other shaming messages.
Coding: Messages are sent through a verbal code that others are supposed to decode. "Don't you think it would be better this way?" means, "I want you to do it this way."
Triangling: This means to send a message to someone through another person, instead of delivering it directly.
The effects: Great "radar" - the ability to pick up tension in situations and relationships; ability to decode messages; talking about people instead of to them; difficulty trusting people.
4. IDOLATRY The dynamic: The "god" served by the shame-based relationship system is an impossible-to-please judge. It is a god invented to enforce the performance standard.
The effects: Distorted image of God; high level of anxiety; high need to control thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others.
5. PREOCCUPATION WITH FAULT AND BLAME The dynamic: Reaction is swift and furious toward the one who fails to perform the way the system deems fit. Responsibility and accountability are not the issues here: Fault and blame are the issues.The shame-based system wants a confession in order to know whom to shame.
The effects: The sense that if something is wrong or someone is upset you must have caused it; a high need to be punished for or to pay for mistakes in order to feel good about yourself; difficulty forgiving self.
6. OBSCURED REALITY The dynamic: Members are to deny any thought that is different than those of people in authority. Anything that has the potential to shame those in authority is ignored or denied. Interaction with people and places outside the system threatens the order of things. Consequently, you can't find out what "normal" is. Problems are denied, and therefore they remain.
The effects: Out-of-touch with feelings, needs, thoughts; ignoring your "radar" because you are being "too critical;" feel like no one else understands you; threatened by opinions that differ from yours; suspicious or afraid of others.
7. UNBALANCED INTERRELATEDNESS The dynamic: Either under involved or over involved with each other. Consequently, rules take the place of people. There is no relationship structure in which to learn about behaviors and consequences. People find out about life alone and by accident.
The effects: Fear of being deserted; high need for structure; a sense that if there is a problem, you have to solve it; feeling selfish for having needs; putting up boundaries that keep safe people away; feelings of guilt when you haven't done anything wrong.
When evaluating the emotional foundation the shame-based systems create, it is clear that honesty and trust are undermined in the relationship. This can also hinder a person's maturing in a relationship with God.
None of us are going to be perfect parents. Our children are not going to be perfect people. The point of this post is not to add more guilt, becasue frankly, who needs more guilt? But rather just a snapshot of thoughts and ideas to consider and take before the Lord. He is so patient with us and will parent US. He doesn't shame us, instead He is the ultimate Good Shepherd. His agenda is His Father's and His father's agenda is fellowship with His children, His agenda is love.