Controlling God Through Shame

Controlling God Through Core Shame

Excerpted from Do I Have To Give Up ME to be Loved by GOD?

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Every day I hear clients say to me, regarding their beliefs about God, “God is not going to be here for me because I am not good enough.” In essence, they are saying, “I am in control of whether God is unconditionally loving. My worth, or lack of it, determines whether the Spirit of Unconditional Love is here for me.”

How did we come to believe that we could control God?

Some of us were brought up by parents whose “love” was conditional. We had to earn our parents’ love by our acting the way they wanted us to. In the process, we learned many ways to control getting the “love” (in reality, approval) that we needed. And we probably projected our parents’ feelings onto God. We believed that God’s love was conditional. (It’s not. It’s a free and unconditional gift.) We believed we could win God’s love by being “good” and doing things “right.” This got us into even deeper water, since “good” and “right” are usually defined by parents, teachers, religious leaders and others in authority, rather than by our own inner spiritual Guidance. In reality, “good” is whatever is truly loving to ourselves and others.

Children are often systematically taught to try to win love from others and God. We train them in the art of control by controlling them and by rewarding their various attempts to control us (by giving them candy or kisses when they are good, for example). Parents try many ways to control their kids: anger, threats, sarcasm, punishment, criticism, judgments, withdrawal, physical violence, treats, money, shame and smothering. Kids, in turn, may try to get parental approval or attention by being nice, by caretaking (giving themselves up and doing what parents want them to do), overachieving, becoming invisible, becoming ill, acting out or having temper tantrums. Anytime we role-model controlling behavior by trying to control our children or reward their manipulative behavior with our attention, we teach them the soul-deadening art of control.

Many children learn to believe they can manipulate love by being good or doing things right. Until they learn that real love is a free gift and cannot be bought or bargained for, they will find endless ways to try to get it. They will try to be perfect, follow all the rules, be polite, always be right – or righteous. Being good may mean suppressing their sexuality. Being the right way may mean dieting or throwing up to the point of starvation to look right so others will love them.

Being good may even include children denying their own feelings and taking responsibility for other’s feelings: Children are routinely told that focusing on themselves is “selfish.” (When people with this kind of training grow up, they may continue the pattern by following the rules of a church, being a community do-gooder or being self-sacrificing not because they are moved from their hearts to do so, but in the hope of earning others’ and God’s approval.)

All of this training in how to control others in order to get the “love” we need ultimately leads to the avoidance of personal responsibility for our needs, feelings and behavior and the absence of loving, compassionate behavior toward ourselves and others.

*I found this article on this blog… >> Diary of a Mad Woman <<


~ by Eva on October 31, 2009.

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