Christian Counseling For Ending the Abuse
By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling
Tips taken from “How We Love” by Milan and Kay Yerkovich.
This article is part of a series about the personality imprints covered in “How We Love.” You can find an introductory article about imprints here. This article is a practical follow-up article to an article explaining the controller imprint. You can find that article here.
The authors do not recommend plunging headlong and trying to accomplish the following tasks in a few days. They suggest you first take a week or two to be sure you are a controller and then share with someone which aspects of your character or experiences put you in that category. After you have accomplished that, start on the following steps. Take as long as you need to go through them. It may take a few weeks, or even months, to get to the root of your problems.
“Act on the suggestions for as long as it takes to see results. However, if an issue doesn’t seem to apply to you, don’t spend time there. Move on and try something else.” (319)
1. Controllers are often angry because they have never had an opportunity to grieve what happened to them during childhood. Their anger covers up their more vulnerable feelings and helps them to avoid dealings with emotions such as sadness. If you have trouble dealing with “weak” feelings, consider sitting down with a professional Christian counselor. Do you like feeling angry all the time and taking it out on those around you? An experienced counselor will help you deal with those feelings and find the peace that will help you take your life and relationships in a more Godly direction. (349)
2. How do you help cover up what goes on at home? What are some differences between your public and private life? List some examples. (346)
3. “When you were growing up, did you ever say, ‘No!’ or ‘Stop!’ when someone was treating you badly? If so, was it difficult for you to confront them, and what happened? If not, what were you feeling?” (347)
4. Are you dealing with any health problems? What might your body be telling you that you do not want to hear? If you could talk to your symptoms, what would they tell you? (347)
• While learning to reduce your anger, you also need to learn how to enjoy periods of calm by learning how to recognize and soothe your underlying anxiety. “Detoxifying your mind and body from the adrenaline, anxiety, and constant stress it is used to will take time. Music, deep breathing, and relaxation exercises may help.” It may also help to pretend to speak to that frightened child inside you and tell them it’s okay to relax because you are learning how to keep them safe. (347)
5. Have you ever had trouble controlling your anger around your kids? Give some specific examples. (347)
6. Have you ever been surprised by how angry your children can make you? Have you ever talked to anyone about this or tried to get help? “Explain. Do you see your anger as a character flaw or a result of your childhood experiences? Explain what you think the source of your anger is.” (348)
7. Thinking about how Jesus displayed anger, and how anger was displayed in your home growing up, which of Jesus’ actions would you have liked to seen more of when you were growing up? What characteristics would you like to see yourself develop as a spouse or parent? (348)
8. Do you ever have trouble remembering or guessing how you might have felt during scary parts of your childhood? (349)
9. As you work out of your controller imprint, you will have to learn to forgive the people who hurt you– “letting the offender out of jail, so you can go free.”
• In tandem, you will need to take responsibility for your own transgressions, to acknowledge to others what you have done, and ask forgiveness. “It is amazing how much healing can occur as we begin to confess our own shortcomings and sinful behaviors.” (349)
Christian Counseling for Angry Struggles
Your anger, and the marriage problems caused by it, will not go away. You have to drive it off, like a wolf among a flock of sheep. If left unattended, your anger, like that wolf, will eventually devour everything weaker than itself. God does not want his children to hurt others because they are hurting. A counselor is equipped to show you how to handle your rage. Their combination of therapeutic techniques and spiritual guidance will help set you on a path to Godlier living.