Dealing with Childhood Hurts

January’s “Share Your Story” is by, Shannon Little

Shannon has been married for almost 15 years. 
She and Brian actually were divorced from each other for a few years and remarried 9 years ago.
They have two sons, Cameron (13) and Caden (8).
She lives by the mantra … balance mind, body, spirit.

The depth of my “messy marriage” at times has felt insurmountable. Our troubles stem from depression and hurts from my husband’s childhood that have not been healed. It’s hard to imagine the man I love and adore was once a scared little boy that lived in constant fear of his father’s anger and disapproval. 

Some of the stories that my husband’s shared in counseling have evoked feelings of hatred in me of his father, and downright sadness knowing that he had to endure this pain as a child.

I’m the daughter of an alcoholic father and overbearing mother. There were no boundaries in our house. No matter how mad or upset you were, it was perfectly OK to lash out and hurt others.

My husband’s home was very different. Having an alcoholic father and very passive mother, no matter how mad or upset you were, you DID NOT talk about your feelings because they do not matter.

depression
by Eddi van W.

My husband is being treated for depression now. Having been treated for depression in “my” past, I knew that we could get through this. Depression is an ugly disease. It takes a person’s energy, their willpower, their motivation, to name a few.

For the last year and a half we’ve been seeing a marriage counselor once a week or every two weeks. Communication is our big struggle. Natural defenses were built up and my husband’s defense is to shut down. If a person’s feelings or emotions are not validated as a child, they won’t be able to share them as an adult. Likewise, they also don’t know how to handle other’s emotions.

My greatest desire is to honor God and my husband in my marriage—this meant loving someone who at times seemed unlovable

Forgiving someone, who at times, I thought, did not deserve forgiveness.

I remain focused on guarding my heart and mind from negative influences (That even means well intentioned “friends”). I actually prayed to God and asked him on MANY occasions …

“When can I give up? I can’t do this anymore. How long do I have to suffer? Can I give up now?” 

And every time, His only answer was not yet. I just kept asking for the strength and understanding to persevere. 

Finally after a year and a half of loneliness and rejection, God gave me a different answer. His answer was NOT divorce … but that it would be best for my husband to leave the house. It was a very clear answer to me.

It took all the courage and strength I had but I told my husband that he would need to leave our home. The emotional roller coaster was affecting our kids negatively and we all needed the ride to stop. After 5 weeks of being separated my husband is back home and we are continuing our journey.
 
My husband is active in a recovery group at our church, Metro. A recent series of messages called,  “God, Brokenness and Glue” could not have come at a better time in our lives. Through his group at church, my husband is learning that there are a lot of other men in this world that had horrible things happen to them growing up. And as we move together through this healing process, it is one step forward, two steps back, quite often.

But with God as our anchor we can weather this storm.

And as I tell my husband, I know we can get back to the mountaintop again.  
And there’s no one else I’d rather be standing there with than him

**********

Linking up with NOBH, Marriage Monday, Matrimonial Monday, Playdates with God and Monday’s Musings 

  • Josanne

    Wow–this really pulled on some of my heartstrings. Although I never had to deal with alcoholism in our home growing up, I’ve seen the effects of it in the lives of friends and family. I’ve heard the stories that are just heartbreaking.
    It is always encouraging to hear of those who work thru their problems, and my best wishes to you and your husband. So many children grow up into scarred adults, who just don’t know how to get past their hurts, and it’s always wonderful to hear of those who give it their all, search out the solution, and do all they can do heal, which is also healing to the family.
    May God bless you both during this process. Thank you for this post.

  • How courageous of you to share your story, Shannon. And how affirming of the Lord’s power and promise to help us forgive. Even though I don’t have the same kind of story, I can apply these lessons to my own circumstances. Thanks for sharing!

  • Shannon

    Lisa, you are so right. You can certainly apply these lessons to any circumstance. I try to remember in my daily life that people in general usually have a lot more going on that what others see on the surface.

  • Shannon

    Thank you Josanne. Unfortunately, I think our story is fairly common. If it doesn’t fit your life, you probably know someone that has something similar going on. And I guess that makes most of us feel better in some way. 🙂

  • Heather C

    Shannon, very eloquent. I loved the post! My marriage has faced similar experiences, including the not now responses from God. Some areas I am still waiting and others I have my answer. Thankfully though we always have God!

  • Shannon

    Amen! We always have God. And what more do we need?

  • Wow, you tell your story well, Shannon.
    How beautiful to see your obedience in the face of pain, your persistence to the cause of love, your faith standing when your knees feel like giving in. Thank you for opening your heart.
    You are a brave woman.

  • This is an incredible story of God’s redemption of what seemed lost, Shannon. I’m so glad you’re brave and vulnerable enough to share it with all of us. I know it will make a HUGE difference. Thanks so much!

  • Kimberly Green

    Thanks for sharing your story, Shannon. What a testimony of what God can and wants to do in our lives if we can set aside pride and trust Him. It absolutely takes both partners committed to the Lord and to healing to make it work!

  • Shannon

    Thanks for the kind words Kim! I can atest to the fact that setting aside my pride was NOT the easiest thing to do. But I feel so richly rewarded even as we have just begun to come out of this.

  • Shannon

    Thanks Beth!

  • Shannon

    Thank you Kelli.

  • e-Mom

    Thanks for linking up with us at Marriage Monday today. God has the power to bring healing to any marriage… if we let Him.
    Blessings, e-Mom @ Chrysalis

  • Eunice Aclan

    This is another encouraging story of how God can heal broken hearts and deeply wounded souls. I’m also married to someone who was terribly hurt as a child leaving him a scar which vanished only when I showed him unconditional love. Although, like you, Shannon, I was almost giving up at times, I would always pray to God for strength. He was then an unbeliever but I hadn’t given up on him until he finally accepted Jesus into his life. Now, he is a happy person…after a long process. I really thank God for His wonderful working in our lives that even if I equally yoked with an unbeliever, He used me as an instrument for the healing and conversion of my dear husband. I pray for you, Shannon and your husband.

    @Beth, thanks for leaving an inspiring comment in my post that has led me here.

  • Julie Lay

    Praying for you Shannon! I had been blessed to know you through a couple of your UL parties and we just started going to Metro in Van not that long ago. I agree that the series God, Brokenness and Glue could not have come at a better time in my life either. Thank you for your story to encourage us all.

  • Lisa Maria

    Its wonderful that you didn’t give up on him Shannon! Thank God for the healing power of His grace. It is so hard sometimes to recognize the hurt little child in a spouse when his actions are abusive (emotionally or physically).

    God bless you and your family!

  • Miriam Pauline

    Bless you for sharing your story through MM this week. Praying for you all as you put the past to rest for your future.

  • Shannon

    Thank you for prayers Miriam.

  • Shannon

    Lisa Maria. You are SO right. When my husband would lash out at me it was very hard NOT to take it personally. But just knowing my husband, I could tell this pain/lashing out was coming from somewhere else and really was not because of me. But it was tough.

  • Shannon

    Julie!! I remember my girls! Hope all is well., Amazing God would put us in each others paths again! Thank you for your kind words.

  • Shannon

    Unconditional love. Amen to that! I think that’s what it really takes. Hard at times to give. But, exactly what my God gives me everyday!

  • laura boggess

    I am so thankful your church is there for you and your husband as you battle through these difficult things! Bless you as you listen for God’s leading.

  • rboerner

    WOW! I have very few words because I feel like I just read my life. We both came from broken homes and my husband never experienced unconditional love. His family gives and takes their love away depending on the circumstances. I believe he is in a depression now. My husband has made some changes and I give all the credit to my Heavenly Father because there is power in PRAYER! For many of his issues, he will need a counselor or recovery group of some sort and that is my continued prayer. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been exactly where you were and wondered when I could give up. God is amazing and His healing power gives me HOPE! (So much for a few words huh?) 🙂

  • Shannon

    Thank you for your kind words. God is good. And He is faithful.

  • Proud of you for following God in this even though it’s hard. I admire you.