How do you relate with others? Are you secure? Do you struggle with social anxiety? Sometimes understanding the truth of how we relate to people is the first step to beginning to make the necessary changes in how we relate to people. Most people fail to understand that attachment takes place in the first three years of a person’s life, and the individual’s world view is primarily established in the first twelve years of a person’s life. We have very little control over how we learned to attach to and relate to people, but we do have power over how we change to relate to people. In this podcast, Sharon Wegman and Cait Beiler discuss the basics of Attachment theory which was originated by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth and consider how the therapeutic process can bring change to how we relate to people.
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It’s common for people sitting across from me in the counseling office to talk about their inability to feel safe or connected to God. Their walk with God seems very distant or is plagued with feels of guilt and shame. Some people are pretty clear that they want no part of God because of how God was presented to them by authority figures. They are clear that God represents pain and they want no part of him because of the way he has been described to them. An essential piece of developing an excellent spiritual walk involves understanding how our childhood attachment issues with authority figures impact our current spiritual struggles. In the attached podcast, Sharon Wegman and Cait Beiler discuss how childhood issues can affect our spiritual walk.
How do you feel after someone has manipulated, guilted or shamed you into doing something for them? You do not feel good about yourself. You feel shameful and have poor self-esteem after the matter. To compound matters, how do you feel when you have no choice in a matter, and you are not allowed to share your feelings or say no? You probably feel powerless and violated in addition to feeling guilty, shameful, condemned, and perhaps lacking trust in the other person. Unfortunately, parents in their own feelings of powerlessness sometimes resort to manipulative techniques to get their children to comply with their requests. We have all been there and done that type of behavior in the parenting journey, however, if we grew up with emotionally or verbally abusive behavior, we may not realize when we are being manipulative in our parenting. We desire to empower our children to move toward the design their creator has made them, but we take away some of the fuel they need to achieve their plan when we inadvertently steal some of their emotional strength via manipulative parenting techniques. In the attached podcast, Licensed professional counselor, Sharon Wegman, and counselor Cait Beiler discuss the seven cardinal sins parents can inadvertently do that harm their children. Ephesians 6:4 cautions parents, and our podcast focuses on these provoking behaviors:
- Too much talking, lecturing, and nagging.
- Parental tirades and temper tantrums.
- Parental tears and guilt trips.
- Parental threats of harm to the child.
- Inconsistency in the parenting.
- Disagreement in front of the children.
- Lack of giving to the children.
Characteristics of Successful Parents
Parenting is the toughest job out there. It triggers more emotional reactions than we could ever imagine before walking out the journey of parenting. Each phase of the child’s development triggers different responses from us, but the underlying theme is powerlessness. Am I doing this right? Am I messing up my child with my dysfunction? How can I parent well in the midst of a busy schedule? All these questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to parenting while feeling powerless. In the first of a two-part podcast, Sharon Wegman, LPC, and Cait Beiler discuss ten characteristics of successful parents from a counseling point of view.
Included in their discussion are the following 10 Characteristics of Successful Parents;
- Confident in parenting without being severe or authoritarian as the means of asserting their authority.
- Clear and consistent with expectations.
- Treat their children with respect despite how angry and frustrated they are feeling.
- Remain verbally and physically affectionate throughout the teen years.
- Are emotionally accessible to their children.
- Good sense of humor and can laugh at themselves.
- Never punish unfairly and never demean their children by treating them as inferiors.
- Stand their ground on points that matter.
- Seek help from others when they don’t know what to do.
- Seek God for answers, wisdom, and strength for their parenting problems.
School summer vacation has an immense undercurrent to it these days. Below the surface of the joy that the children feel about summer vacation from school, there exists a hint of angst when parents think about children being home in summer. It is rare though when a parent openly shares their negative feelings of shame and guilt associated with children being home. There is less structure, less mom time, and less money available because food, entertainment, camp, and vacation expenses go up. Moms, in particular, feel more guilt and shame over not being able to be the fantastic mom portrayed in social media. Therefore, they find it difficult to focus on the positive aspects of connecting with their children and find summer to be a struggle. Two conflicting emotions are colliding! However, God desires to empower us in all the losses and negative feelings we experience during this season. We love our children; however, we may need some assistance in processing our feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and powerlessness that get stirred by the summer break. Join host Sharon Wegman and her guest host Jesukah Beachy (mom of four girls) as they discuss how to bring empowerment to the negative feelings tied to summer break.
In the past several months, there have been several very costly mistakes made by the members of my household, including yours truly. In my case, it was a mistake that cost thousands of dollars and was the single largest mistake of my adult life. However, as time and perspective have added to the event, there is redemption. It’s been a bittersweet time in my family because there is a pain with the mistakes, but there have been incredible lessons that have come out of the situations if we choose to learn instead of defining ourselves by the mistake. Shame would like to define you by your mistake because shame would want to keep you powerless and move you toward hiding and numbing behaviors. In turn, this chains a prisoner to the mistake. However, that is not the attitude of any emotionally healthy parent nor of God. No good parent wants their child to identify only with the negative aspects of their being or with their mistakes. Alternatively, abusive parents may use shame and guilt as a manipulation tool to remain in control of the child’s behavior. Good parents know that the child who focuses on their mistakes or their weak areas will not move toward their potential and, in turn, will stay powerless and/or start operating in more fear. Parents who understand this paradigm will work hard to try and tell and show their child their value.
Have you ever met a person that does not accept compliments well? The moment we tell the individual something terrific about them or their action, they discount the praise by telling you why it is not true or why someone else is better. In this person, shame is the shield they choose to carry and the only evidence that will, unfortunately, penetrate that shield are things that focus on the negative aspects of self. Your efforts feel invalidated and powerless when you are the person who is trying to affirm and compliment because shame prevents the positive truth from passing to the depths of the person. As a parent, we can feel very helpless when our children embrace negative cycles instead of choosing positive. Our efforts can feel as if they are in vain and we desire is to see our children embracing positive and moving toward truth that is powerful. God feels the same way. He wishes to penetrate our shield of shame and see us move powerfully. However, he has given us free will and will not penetrate our shame unless we invite him to do so. God, like good parents, is more focused on how you think about yourself and how you process mistakes and failures than he is about the mistake or the failure. Of course, there are natural and logical consequences of every mistake that is made. If we did not receive natural or logical consequences to our mistakes or failures, we would not learn to be wise. If I tell my child not to touch a hot stove and they do so, they will burn themselves. This natural consequence helps become the bridge between inexperience and wisdom. However, repeatedly focusing on their failure to obey my directions and their mistake of touching the stove, will only create shame in the child and shame only produces more powerlessness. Unfortunately, if I believe myself to be shameful, I will behave out of a motivation of shame. God, like good parents, is more focused on you seeing yourself through his eyes of love and not through the shame lens of your mistakes. He, like good parents, wishes you to live to your fullest potential. Where are you operating in shame? Where do you focus on the mistakes of your past as your identity? God desires to release you from that heavy load of shame, but you are going to have to begin to let his truth and other people’s positive truth about you change the way you think. We find what we are looking for in life. What are you looking for today? Shame’s powerlessness or Freedom’s powerfulness?
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.