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Family Trauma: Responding With Control or Love

June 20, AD2014 20 Comments


In the past six months, my large family of eleven has been tested by multiple traumas; we have been  bombarded with illness, cancer and subsequent treatments, a threat of a premature birth of our fifth grandchild and a traumatic birth, celebrated  the birth of a fourth grandchild, suffered with  a daughter cracking under  a combination of  duress and post traumatic stress, commiserated and supported a daughter through first year university drama, and uncovered past wounds that are only now surfacing to the light.

All nine of my adult kids, my husband and I have experienced panic and fear. Some reacted with anger, others with anxiety and still others with depression, but through it all I know that I know that God is bringing everything out into the light to heal us. In the end, we will be closer than ever.

I have rediscovered the power of humility, forgiveness and  letting go of control. Everything in me screams to protect, patch up, smooth over, especially in the face of rage. But, I cannot control the way each person processes trauma or demanding situations. I mess up when I react and defend, or try to appease. Patience and silence is much more effective. God has a chance to move and whisper in those silent places.

I realized that the opposite to love is not hate, but control.  Sometimes as a parent, I think that I am doing what is right. Instead I damage my kids, despite the best of intentions.

Love really has blinded me as I try to protect instead end up controlling.

Control is an ugly word, betraying trust – worse than hate; it steals another’s sense of self, undermines confidence, stunts growth, kills the individual’s spirit and creativity.

An over controlling mother refuses to surrender her children to God, because she basically does not trust Him to do a better job than she can.

Ponder: Are you tempted to over control your children?

Prayer: Lord have mercy on us as mothers. Give us the grace to surrender our children to You.

© 2014. Melanie Jean Juneau. All rights reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Melanie Jean Juneau serves as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Stand. She is a mother of nine children who has edited her kid's university term papers for over a decade. She blogs at  joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 . Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, a columnist at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC, author of Echoes of the Divine and Oopsy Daisy, and coauthor of Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood

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