Don Cobb
The Miracle -- Part One: The state of our nation
By Don Cobb
March 8, 2009

Life isn't rocket science. It's really not. People can be complicated, but when a person's life, heart and mind are in good working order, people simply aren't complicated at all. We all have the same needs, and when those needs aren't met, we all respond in similar fashion. We get upside down, demanding, angry and unreasonable. We become complicated. Our minds, desperate to resolve our perceived needs, act erratically and irrationally, unreasonably, even. America today, has collectively chosen to take the path of least resistance for the past 40 years, and as it virtually always does, the easy way has come with a horrible price. Right has become wrong. Good has become bad. Evil is wonderful and sick behavior is applauded, and people of faith, as well as all people of good moral and ethical character, have been made to feel like outcasts here in America.

This is, by the way, the beginning of my series on The Miracle, the process by which truth is revealed, broken lives are mended, hearts and minds set straight and restored to sanity, and relationships and families are restored. Let me first acknowledge that every generation prior to ours has fallen way short of perfect. Way short, even, of civilility, collectively speaking. We yelled at those whom we were entrusted to love and teach, we hit them, we made them afraid of us so that they might do what we told them. It's generational, this abuse I just described. That's right, I called it "abuse." Without getting into major exhortations about just how abusive the generation before us ("us" being Baby Boomers), let's just say that our parents' generation, collectively speaking, had it worse than we did. Truly, however, they didn't learn how to really love on their children. Oh, they made sacrifices for us, and they loved us as best they could, many of them. But they didn't have the benefit of being loved on themselves, many of them, as their parents had learned the "a child should be seen and not heard" philosophy of child rearing. That apple, I think you'll agree, falls pretty darned far from the Love Tree. And our parents paid a price for that lack of loving upbringing, as have we. Being raised by people who were raised by abusive parents pretty much guarantees that the next generation will be experiencing abuse, too. And we did.

That said, the evidence is all around us. Whenever a child's needs aren't met or they're subjected to abuse of any kind, they retreat into Self, becoming selfish, self-centered, oftentimes self-reliant and sometimes self-obsessed, frequently rejecting God because "Where was God when I needed Him?" Look around. One needn't look far to see examples of what I've just described. Hollywood, Washington D.C., liberalism, addictions. All are mired in, and filled with, individuals who are collectively self-centered to the extreme. All, coincidentally, are victims having experienced Generational Abuse themselves. That's why they take, take, take and want, want, want. They are needy in ways they don't even realize. Sadly, nothing outside of themselves — not money, attention, fame, power — will fill or heal that needy place that has become what seems like 'just the way I am." Emotional neediness doesn't go away. Drugs and alcohol might mask it for a season, and getting attention might distract us from the emptiness for a time, but the emotional damage caused by not getting our needs met as children does not go away by itself.

I know, I know. We all claim we weren't abused. Did you know that virtually all victims of abuse think their experience is 'normal'? It's true. Another lie from Hell is this one: "That's how my parents raised me and I didn't turn out so bad." And, sadly, that phenomenon is probably closer to typical than to being the exception. Even children of alcoholics, despite knowing their parents are alcoholic, don't realize what a huge price comes with being raised in an alcoholic household, sometimes never seeking help to recover from the lack of real loving relationship in their home growing up and from not having adults who were interested in identifying and seeing to it that a child's individual needs were met. Victims of sexual or physical abuse will oftentimes spend decades thinking "That was then and this is now," not realizing how incredibly damaged a person's psyche becomes after molestation, neglect, emotional abandonment or abuse. Oftentimes fearing confrontation with the perpetrators who may be named "Dad" or "Mom" or include other family members or friends who sometimes refuse to believe that their own family would do such things is the basis for reluctance to address such instances of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Abuse is generational. Children raised by abusers or alcoholics are not handed down healthy life coping skills because typically none exist in homes such as these. ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) as well as people who were raised in the "Children should be seen and not heard" method sometimes don't realize that their own needs likely were not met during critical times of their lives, and also don't realize that they really aren't armed to do life in a healthy way. Passing down what they learned from their abusive and/or alcoholic parents, these ACOAs, for example, rule their children in the same way they were raised. Utilizing varying degrees of fear, intimidation, threats — even implied threats — and physical violence to try to control their children are not the ingredients for a child's healthy upbringing. Quite the contrary, yet frankly, it appears to be the norm, not the exception in America today. When the people that a child loves most, who are supposed to be protecting and nurturing them, are yelling at them, using fear to intimidate them, threatening and hitting them because the child is acting out because they aren't getting their actual needs met, a child's psyche is deeply damaged, and exacerbates the cycle of "needs not met; force the child to comply; needs still not met; continue to try to force the child to comply."

The first step toward healing is admitting that one is sick. Collectively speaking, America is very sick, and has been for a very long time. We raise our children as second class citizens, as we were raised in the same dysfunctional way. Despite any appearance that this series might be negative in nature, The Miracle is quite the contrary. First, we establish the truth. We look long and hard at what's going on in our nation, and we investigate, discover and admit the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. I'll continue this national self-evaluation in my next column, in which I'll finish establishing the uncomfortable truth so that we can get this party started, personally, and collectively...

© Don Cobb


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Don Cobb

Don Cobb, RAS is an addiction recovery professional and serves as Executive Director for North Bay Recovery Services in Sonoma County, CA. Don recently published a book entitled 12 Steps: NOT For Dummies... (more)


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