Join Josh and Kit as they dive into how our story, our past, shapes our identity, our relationships, and our sexuality.
1. Things that came at us that were harmful.
2. Things that we needed that we didn’t get.
…our sexual fantasies are our souls’ attempts at healing our wounds…
…what is coming out sideways now, how do you get curious about it…
…we are not looking to create or dig up something that is not there…
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
If you find yourself stuck today, in any area of your life, sexually relationally, career wise, something in your family that’s not moving, not having a family and what, whatever, if you’re stuck in some area of your life today, is it possible that part of the reason you’re stuck today is because a part of you is still stuck in yesterday, there’s something from your past that’s holding you up today. That’s we’re gonna talk about today, and we’re gonna help you fix it, we’re gonna solve it, no, we’re not gonna solve it for you. We’re gonna start talking about that today. So Kitt and I are going to jump a little bit because we firmly believe from our years in ministry, that what happened to us in our formative years as kids impacts us today, and the development impact the development of and so it impacts us today in the area of identity, and impacts our relationships, and impacts us sexually. So we’re gonna walk through those and kind of talk about it. So kid, why don’t I just kick it to you? Like, what are we talking about? Let’s just start with like, what, what kinds of things from the past? And then we’ll get into the categories and how it impacts? What kinds of things in the past? Are we talking about when we’re saying the past is hindering us
today? Gosh, there’s so many different types, things that people intentionally Did that hurt us or, or things that were unintentionally done, but that somewhere along the line, you know, we got a message that we weren’t lovable, we weren’t valuable. And, you know, it happens a lot. And again, I will just say, right up front, like for those of us parents, like we have done that with our kids in ways we didn’t mean to, you know, you get busy you’re you’re you’re you know dismissive with one of your kids. But on the more serious side, you know, if there really is like a alcoholic in the home, and like with my my situation, and literally, my dad was not around. And I felt abandoned. I mean, he I didn’t see him, he didn’t have influence in my life, I could see my mom being really emotionally exhausted, she wasn’t available emotionally. So I received a message that, you know, people leave you, they don’t care about you. And that affected kind of how I thought about myself, my how I viewed myself how I viewed relationships, and you know, at some point affected my sexuality. So it affects these things.
So I hear a few things I want to just kind of point the magnifying glass on. So one is when you talk about receiving messages from in our pasts, and those can be positive or negative messages. Some of those literally are verbal messages, things that people said, kind words, blessings, they can also be things that people said that were hurtful words, harmful words, curses behind us. And those can go in and make a difference in our lives. But messages can also be things that happened to us things that we experienced, that we interpreted or understood to means things about us to mean things about our world to mean things about God to mean things about relationship are men and women, that that can carry with us as we go forward. So that’s one thing about messages. And then these kind of fit into two different categories when we’re thinking about your past. And we’re kind of looking and we wanted to encourage you listening, just to be curious about your past, as we talked about this, but maybe two big categories. One category are the things that came at us that were hurtful or harmful, that were wounds, abuses, we suffered mean things that were spoken. You know, I don’t know what, what, to whatever degree, those things came. So the things that came at us that were hurtful, the other categories are things that were missing for us things that we needed, that we didn’t get. So these kind of is a vacuum of something. So I needed a kind touch and there was not one, or I needed my father to be affectionate with me. And he wasn’t where I needed my mom to, you know, X, Y, and Z. And those those two can fall on a spectrum there can be on the one to one side of things, there can be significant serious neglect where a son or daughter was not given adequate food, or clothing, or nutrition, or XYZ. Education, they weren’t taught to I mean, all those things all the way down to maybe a lighter end of the spectrum, but still things that were that were significant, like a like a mom or dad who never said I loved you or who was not very affectionate or not present because they worked a lot. But all these things can it can impact it. So given that, let’s talk about how it impacts these different areas. So let’s start with identity. And we’re just gonna we’re spitballing it here a little bit. But we’ve we’ve done this long enough and talked to enough people and looked into our own lives enough to know that, that what happened the past can impact our sense of ourselves. And so let’s let’s connect some dots. Let’s talk about how that might And for people. You know,
I think one important thing is when you were talking and describing it, I was realizing that a lot of times in my own experience and with clients, I realize we don’t know, we don’t know that these things have happened, we’ve forgotten or repressed it. So just to just to state that, you know, and you said, Be curious about your past. really be curious about your story. What, what are you struggling with now? And how might that be tied to the past? And one area that came to my mind was messages that were told, either pronounced over us, like verbally told, or we just like, you know, surmise them, you aren’t enough? You aren’t enough? You don’t do this, right. You don’t do that. Right? You might as well not even try to do that. Because you’re not really strong enough, you’re weak, you’re too emotional. You’re too this. You’re too that. So you grew up believing that you’re not enough. And then that affects obviously, a great deal of how you’re going to live out your life.
Yeah, so just messages, I mean, comes to identity. Mm hmm. Things that were spoken or nonverbal things that you experienced that that you took in as a sensor yourself, which is really, really normal for little kids to do. Little kids are, they are egocentric, the world revolves around them. You know, if mom or dad is not when kids are really relatable, when mom or dad are not in the room, Mom and Dad don’t exist anymore. What happened to mom and dad? Mm hmm. So there’s this kind of, so it’s a really normal thing for people when when something happens with a parent or significant person in their life, to take that in as it was my fault. I did it and what does that mean about my identity, the kind of person that I am. I know. And I’ve talked to my own father about this, as we’ve, over the years, gone through a lot of healing. But my parents were divorced when I was very little. And I knew in my head growing up, I heard that I heard from my parents that the divorce was about their relationship. But something deep inside of me believed that if I was worth more, they would have stayed together. If I was worth more, I would have grown up with my dad, if I was worth more he would have come to me then with me. And and that was something that was a deep, deep message. I’m not saying that I walked around a little kid thinking those thoughts. But that was it. That was an impression that I carried somewhere deep inside of me, that came out sideways.
That’s why it’s so important. What’s coming out sideways now. And how do you like get curious about it? Because I know for me, I was told you’re too much, that you’re not enough. You’re too much.
What does that mean? You’re too much.
You’re too emotional. You’re too talkative. You’re too mischievious You’re too much. Just stop. And so you know, again, I wasn’t able to understand that there were certain ways that I was wired, that, you know, again, we can all grow into our wholeness. But there were certain ways that I was wired. That was how God created me. And so those were kind of shamed. Yeah. And I didn’t know it. I didn’t know I didn’t really have this vivid memory so that when I was, you know, 16 or 20, I was like, Oh, yeah, my mom said, That must be why I’m acting out sexually right now. That might be why I’m people pleasing all the time. Like, I didn’t connect those dots until much, much later.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I didn’t either. I mean, I, you know, when I first started trying to recover from this sexual addiction, I developed, and people started talking about family of origin. I was I, you know, I, I was interested, but I had no idea how much was really going on for me in that realm. So that’s identity, I think, you know, let’s just, just to help people a little bit. Yeah, we talked about nonverbal messages. And so I think some examples I shared about my dad not being present, my dad was always very, very verbally affirming, and loving. Yeah, I mean, actually, in some ways that I’ve just been such a gift to me and my family, my siblings over the years. But I think if if a parent is is angry, I was hugging somebody recently, who’s who’s had one parent who was very angry, and we get really, just, and it’s rooted in that parents own stress from their work. But that anger spoke something to those kids in that house about their kids. And maybe it was a similar message, like you’re, you know, you’re too much, or your emotions don’t matter, or I don’t want you here, you know, you shouldn’t be here, those kinds of things. So I think abuse, that kind of stuff. We can, you know, we’ve had conversations, so many conversations. So we just have went offline before we started this. Kids can be so mean. And so peers who speak words like that. And it’s like little kids and adolescents can just sniff out differences and insecurity and go at it. And so I think some of those words can can be reaffirming or kind of, in a negative way, reaffirming some of these messages that that really leaves somebody feeling like what is going on with me,
and we’re not looking to create that something that’s not there or dig up something that’s not important. We’re really just saying, Are there important things as you recall your story, you know, that, that you can connect the dots to pain and struggle that you’re having today?
Yeah, another reason That before we move on from identity is in the area of sexuality, kids who have experienced sexual abuse, I think there can be the message of somehow I caused this this was about me. I was putting off some kind of vibe. And so I’ve talked to some adults who have were sexually abused by someone of the same gender when they were a little kid and felt like, Oh my gosh, like, What is it? What does that mean about me? Does that mean that I’m gay? Or does that mean that I’m, you know, I invited that in some way I’m have some kind of shamefulness that I invited upon myself. So they feel guilty, or, you know, certainly not exclusive to being abused by some of the same gender someone who was abused by the other gender can also have a sense of, of just, you know, I invited this, this was my fault, I must be dirty or perverse in some way. And that’s those wounds can run so, so deep, and a person
can also create a tremendous amount of fear in a young girl, you know, who has been abused in some way to just really deep fear of men really deep fear, that if not acknowledged, and talked through some will, you know, just linger in ways that you might not fully understand but will affect the choices that you make.
So let’s go into it. Because now we’re now we’re in, we moved into the territory of relationships. So we’ve said that our past can impact our sense of identity, our past can impact our sense of our ability in relationship, you’ve described one on the significant end of things where whatever we experienced in, in relationship to somebody, if there’s abuse, that abuse can actually impact how we relate with, with people like that. People have that gender, people have that kind of personality type people in that type of position of authority. I know there’s so many people who, who really wrestle with authority figures today, because authority figures when they were growing up, that we’d be used their authority, or across lines and their authority. So what are some other examples of relationally? How, how our past can impact us,
I was just remembering one for me that I didn’t remember for a very long time, high school principal. And I was going through a really hard time in my family and called me in to find out why I was skipping school and then was visibly inappropriate. And, and, and I really didn’t know what was going on. I mean, I did, but I didn’t acknowledge it. And then years later, I’d be like, Why in the world didn’t I like, you know, let him have it and run out of there. And I had a lot of shame about that. But I was scared, I was vulnerable, I didn’t understand. And so, you know, years later, when I was thinking about why I was dependent, submissive, fearful, and the way that I was, you know, and one of the, one of the times I was having a conversation, that memory came back. So, you know, looking back and, and thinking about, you know, specific experiences in your life, and then trying to, you know, figure out how they affect you today in relationships is helpful, and you probably don’t remember a lot of them. And so you might have to, you know, really spend some time writing out kind of some some things about your, your childhood, you know,
my experience has actually been interesting, I found that there are some things that people just they remember, very, very quickly, you know, usually maybe incidences or specific things that they were just keenly aware of, as they were growing up, that stuck with them. Yeah. And it’s almost as if I almost feel like there’s a mechanism that God has placed in us to, to hold on to some kind of kind of archetypal moments, significant moments because he really wants to heal. And then there are other areas of our life that were so normal in our experience, or that just seemed to kind of fit in some way that we didn’t remember, or they were so traumatic and so difficult, we’d had no category where to put them. And so we stuffed them, so that, you know, someplace to begin might be those memories that come easily. And then also to spend some time with your story to find out what else might be going on there and getting some help to do that. We’ll talk more about that at the end. But yeah, so in those two categories of that I mentioned, the beginning the things that came at you, and then things that were missing. I think one things that can happen at family origin, when it comes to relationships is our relationship with our mother. And our father, especially, really is the template through which we understand relationships with men and with women. Yeah. And so if we have a relationship with a with a with a mother, who is very controlling, it can set us up to, to kind of respond to women or to other women like that, if not all women but other women like that, in a way that’s very reactive, not to the woman in front of us, but to our experience of woman, you know, the archetype of a woman of mom. We grew up in a family that did not have room for emotions. You know, the dinner table was about manners and about what happened today, but you don’t talk about how you feel. Well, then, where did you learn relationally to relate with people emotionally to bring your emotions into relationships. even have a category for that.
And so being aware of that is so important. Because then you can actually learn, you can learn it because you didn’t learn it then doesn’t mean you can’t learn it now. And that’s where a lot of the hope is, you know, there’s some re parenting that can happen, so that in the relationships that you’re in now, you know, you don’t have to be like, Oh, well, I never learned how to express myself emotionally. So I guess I’m doomed, you know, it’s like, no, like, be aware of that. And then, like, how do you want to process that in, in a relationship or with somebody, and you know that there’s great hope in that because God wants to help us in our relationships when they’re struggling?
Yeah. And I think that that’s, that is good news. Because I think a lot of us if what we’ve grown up with is normal, and we’re still experiencing it today. But there’s something that’s just not working today. Like maybe, you know, the person we’re in relationship with is not, is not amenable to the way that we’re trying to do relationship, but they’re just frustrated for us to grow. I mean, that’s just a great gift to say, Okay, well, I’m, I need to grow beyond who I was, and what I experienced a relationship when I was a kid,
and to have compassion for each other, because you know, that in a relationship, especially long term, that each of you’re going to have those things. And so when somebody’s having a struggle expressing emotions, or when someone’s expressing too many emotions, you can be like, Okay, let me understand you. Let me understand what happened in your life. That’s so freeing, because then you’re not like, Oh, you must just you’re just doing this to, you know, be mean to mean to mess with our relationship, when in reality, it’s like, tell me about, tell me about how you grew up. Tell me about how this is for you.
Yeah. So I remember sitting in a workshop at one point, and there were two people who were talking during the workshop. And which was annoying, but it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t, it was a little inappropriate. But what I was having this internal reaction that I was getting so angry, I was like, I literally, I want to turn on, just yell at them. I ended up having to get up and leave the room. And I wanted to be in this workshop. But I was that angry. And it, you know, later on somebody caring about me was was kind enough to sit with me and ask what was going on for you. And it ended up that part of what was happening was, this experience of these people talking behind me was reminding me of something that I experienced a lot growing up, and that I never had addressed and did not know of a category for how to deal with, and it was coming up. And as uncomfortable as it was in that moment to experience it and is out of control as I felt like I just had no way of dealing with it. It was such a gift to realize that and for that person to come and talk to me because it actually opened up this old wound that now I could deal with, and grow beyond and learn to learn to relate differently.
That’s really so much of what we’re talking about here. Like what what’s going on with you, like we can pay attention to our bodies, to your anger to emotions, and then be like, what’s going on? And I know that I worked with a woman in the past and who was had been kind of told by her parents, you know, like, oh, you’re the quiet one, you’re the, you know, you don’t even think about going to college because you know, you know, you’re the You’re the one that’s just gonna stay close to home. And so she would get in relationships, and she’d be like, I’m invisible. Don’t pay attention me. Nevermind, I’ll just do he be the passive one. And you you know, and so, you know, that was a really big aha for her. She didn’t know why she was operating that way. She knew that it was causing problems later in her life. But it was really talking through. Like, let’s go let’s go back. Tell me about you know, memories you have when you were 16 1718 1920. Yeah.
So we’ve talked about identity. We’ve talked about relationships. Let’s talk about sexual sexuality. Yeah. Our past so this is an interesting topic. Because when we look at our with ourselves a little kid, unless there was sexual abuse, or some type of early sexual exposure, we can talk a little about that. It we, you know, but we weren’t having sexual relationships with your kids. And so how does that impact me today? sexually? So, kid, I’ll just let you do the heavy lifting on that. How does How do our pasts How do our childhoods impact our sexual experience as adults, whether singles or married? or?
Yeah, well, two things that come to my mind about my story is just the loneliness that I had with my parents being really dysfunctional and my dad like being gone and my mom being gone emotionally because they were really disconnected from me and so I was really lonely. And so I did, you know, seek out attention from boys really early and, and I was preoccupied by it. And so for some reason, my mom was very codependent. My mom was very emotional adoring of my dad even though he was, you know, dysfunctional. So I got both These messages I’m, I’m lonely, I’m needy, and men are the answer, you know. And so that just became a part of my life for a very long time. And then coupled with that, at the same time, I started telling you the story before we started to record that I got a hate letter from some friends of mine, I moved from a small farm town when I was 12 to a bigger town, and they sent me this hate letter and And I remember thinking, you know, being really, really hurt and deeply offended but that did affect me to be like, I’m going to be a people pleaser now. I’m not going to do anything to rock the boat or hurt people. So that that along with the, the loneliness and the abandonment, and then and then the people pleasing. I thought, okay, I, I’m going to just give myself kind of abandoned Tu, Tu, Tu, Tu boys and to this sexuality, because that’s going to somehow make me acceptable.
Yeah, valuable. Yeah. We have to recognize here that that are the who we are. We are spiritual and physical creatures. And sexuality is often it is an outward physical expression of an inner heart part of who we are and how we feel what our experience has been. That doesn’t mean that that all that we want sexually accurately communicates who we are. But it does mean that that that, like you described, the the lack that we experienced or the wounds that we experienced, can come out sideways sexually, because that’s a very powerful way to feel something and to experience something that seems to speak to to some of those old wounds. So years ago, Dr. Mark Lazar, who is an expert in the field of sexual addiction recovery, he’s passed away, but he, he said something to the effect of our sexual fantasies are our souls are our hearts attempt at healing our wounds. Our sexual fantasies are our hearts attempt at healing our wounds. And I, I found that to be true. And recently, more recently, Jay stringer, who’s a therapist and a pastor has written a book called unwanted. We’re just really talking about his research. He’s studying things like 4000 people about who are dealing with unwanted sexual behaviors, diving into their fantasies and diving into their, their, their past their circumstances, their present, and making some correlations between things that people fantasize about, and what they’re really looking for. To heal wounds are to deal with situations in life that they haven’t otherwise dealt with, which I think is just amazing. We’ll actually, I’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. But sexuality is one of those things, I think, I think when we have a heart wound or something that’s that we’re carrying around inside our bodies sexuality is is a way that we try to resolve that. Because it it does seem to encompass so much of who we are, it seems to tap a deep, deep place in us. I think that’s got by God’s design. But I think that’s really helpful. That’s
that’s even just that I’m having an aha moment something a light bulb is going on in my head like, Yes, that’s right. I think we don’t talk enough about it that way that it’s like, here’s our sexuality, here’s our identity, here’s our relationships, but when you just talked about the, you know, sexuality being, you know, connected to our heart. You know, its body, heart, mind, and our sexuality is an intrinsic part of all that. So that is helpful. I, I think that’s worth really pondering and reflecting on.
And just just to be clarify our terms a little bit, especially in today’s day and age, when we’re talking about sexuality, we are not talking just about my sexual orientation. When we talk about sexuality, at regeneration, we’re really talking about it goes down to the level of we are male and female, we have deep, deep desires for connection. And those include deep, deep desire for physical connection, all ordered initially by God’s design. So, yeah, so we just want to clarify that when we were talking about these heart wounds, or these deep, needy places, and sexuality, we’re really talking about like, what are the what are the sexual ways that we’re trying to resolve things that that are can be resolved and how those
things connected? Yeah,
I don’t know. did a great job describing that, but yeah, yeah. So another couple examples. I think, for a lot of us if we grew up in a home where there was emotional dysfunction, and we never really learned to, to regulate our emotions to, to calm ourselves down when we’re stressed to, to deal with anger when it rise up. So you know, our emotions just rise and rise and rise, and we don’t know what to do with them. That’s pretty typical for people then to try to find some outside way to regulate their emotions to bring back equilibrium. And sex is one of the ways that people do it. And that’s so many people are struggling sexual addiction or unwanted sexual behaviors, or really, they just don’t know how else to cope with the difficulties of life that we all experience. That was certainly part of my story. I did not know how to, to regulate emotion. I’m still learning that as a 40 something year old man, but
again, I think that If you have a history, like I did have some, you know, some significant acting out as a, as a teenager, and then into my 20s, I like, there was kind of a disconnect between my, my mind, my heart in my body. And so at one point, it kind of came crashing down on me how I’d been living, and that shame. And so that’s a part of this too is if there if, you know, in my life, I was I, the grace of God kind of woke up to how I was living and acting out. And at the core of that was shame from things I’ve done in the past. Yeah, yeah. And ways that I was acting out responding to some hurt, and you know, but still. So again, that’s a that’s a byproduct and a great understanding that can come if you are curious about your story, you can understand where some of those negative emotions come from.
Yeah. So distill this down, if you have things that came at you that hurt you, when you were a kid, and we all do same with your mother, or we had things that were missing in our lives that we needed. And so that wounded us or left us with a deep a deep want, and we all have those living in this fallen world. It can impact our our developing sense of identity, our ability to be within relationships, and eventually our ability to be to steward our sexuality and all that means for us as adults. So if you’re stuck today, in some area of your life, look back at what happened to you, and see if there are ways that your identity, your relationships have been impacted. And then also if sexualities been impacted for you in some way. But before we close, we don’t want to leave you without a couple practical steps that you might take to begin doing this. Or if you already been on this journey, what you can you can do. And I’d say really the first step, if you haven’t done it already, is to give yourself permission to look at your life without any judgment. But just with curiosity, what what have I been through? Dr. Doug Weiss in one of his his books, recommends people map out in five year increments, what they’re, you know, from zero to five, from six to 10, from 11, to 15. And just to write down in three columns, are good things that happened during this phase of my life, or bad things that happened to me in this phase of my life. And then what were there were other, he calls them ugly, what were the what were the things that I did that were destructive in this phase of my life. So the good things that happened to me or that I was involved in the bad things that happened to me or that I was involved in, and then the negative choices I made that impacted me, that’s just taking a historical look at your life. No, no judgement about it. But that may begin to give a little clue. And like, you know, there really was significant stuff for me,
another book that has been really helpful that I would put information on the show notes about his Dan Alexander’s book about understanding your story. And I think it’s really it’s a, it’s a beautiful, heartfelt, but also practical, wise way to think back on your story, to have compassion on your story. And to be able to learn these things that we’re talking about what kinds of things happened, how did I start to think about it? What do I do now? And then to do you can do that with another person, you can do it with a friend, you can do it with a helper, a coach, a therapist, you know, but just to begin to, I think everybody absolutely everybody, whether they’re experiencing, you know, a lot of struggle or not, can benefit from what’s my story, right? What’s my story? Who am I? What what’s happened to me? And how did that shape me It’s fascinating.
Another great resource. I mentioned Jay stringer, before his book unwanted, he actually has developed an online assessment that so if sexual struggles are part of where you’re stuck today, he’s in it, he’s taken his research and turn it into an online assessment that you can take that basically ask you a series of questions to help you unpack at the end, he’ll just offer some reflection back on some, some what his research has found as far as correlations between this type of behavior, this type of fantasy and this type of experience, to help you connect some of the dots. And it’s really meant to be worked through after the fact it’s meant to be worked through with with a therapist or somebody who can, who really has the wisdom to help you unpack that with you. And it’s something that I know that at least one of our spiritual coaches is helping help people with here and yeah, can be really, really a good move forward for a lot of people.
And so ultimately, you know, we want to bring all these things to God, you know, we really want to spend time sharing these things with him, right. And, you know, just like that’s the greatest antidote is just letting them come to light. Whether it’s confessing things, sharing things, lamenting about things, you know, and and being able to again, have some different tools to use to do that with somebody else. But you can also do it just in your own time with God, you know, just be able to talk to him as you get in touch with some of these things. And he wants to any can reparent us, you know, and allow us to, to heal from some of these places. So I think that’s a really important
thing. When I started getting in touch to the pain and anger that was inside of me that I didn’t know is inside of me Let it out. I it was so it was actually really hard for me to bring it to God because it felt so unchristian to me in a way I felt like God is you know, and again, and again, it’s felt the Holy Spirit just assuring me I, I’ve known it’s there all along. And this I’m, I’m inviting it up, I’m inviting that Jesus doesn’t just heal our physical bodies, he also wants to heal us inwardly. Matthew 19, Jesus says these words, and I think they’re, they’re fitting for us, even as adults, because we’re all carrying around these places in us that got stuck as kids and that leave us stuck now. So I want to close with this. He says, Let the little children come to me. And if I could be so bold as to rephrase. For the adults. Let the little children in you, those little kid places in you that were hurt because of something that happened to you, or that that lacked something that you needed, let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. For to such as these belong, the kingdom of God belong my kingdom, Jesus would say he wants to give you more of his kingdom in those places. So, Jesus, we just pray for our listeners. And for us as we continue to grow and heal God, we don’t want anything from our past, holding us up in the present. Or you who are outside of time, which you stir those places in us, that you see from our past that are holding us up today from becoming all that you intend for us to be and all you desire. And we take joy in US becoming in the areas of identity, relationships and sexuality, we pray. And we pray all this now with great hope. And thanks to you, Lord and the Mother, Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
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