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Hiding behind masks erodes family

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

If not now, then when will we begin to unmask the enemy of ignorance and hypocrisy that continues to erode our families?

We are dying both mentally and emotionally because we refuse to embrace therapy as a meaningful and often necessary component of our internal healing. We have been taught that to look to anything accept our faith makes us less godly.

We grow up in homes where we are being abused sexually, physically, and emotionally. Yet, we only bow our heads and close our eyes as we are told. While we make that appointment with the Divine, we bite our tongues and hide our tears, our shame and our pain. It festers inside of us and manifests itself in unhealthy ways-drug abuse, promiscuity, life of crime-because we have disregarded the benefits of seeking help for our mental health.

We mistakenly acknowledge the surface successes that we have achieved in life as having risen above our troubled yesteryears. Maybe we have externally, but strip those things away and we are left with our most naked truth.

We don't wonder why our families are among the most dysfunctional. We simply accept it. We seldom embrace truth. Living behind the mask of the lies that we've been told and the secrets that we've kept are embraced as normal.

The "What goes on in the family stays in the family" is a learned mentality preached both in our homes and in our churches. It is the mentality that has robbed and raped our children and has beaten our mothers. Still, as a people, we perpetuate cycles of domestic violence and child sexual abuse by saying nothing and doing nothing. We put on our masks and we sit on the pews and we obediently say, "Amen" to the enemy-hypocrisy.

Still slaves to the erroneous teachings from generations ago, we continue to kill the spirits of our 4-year-old and 8-year-old sons and nephews with demands to "be a man," "don't cry," or to "stop acting like a sissy." Messages rooted in ignorance condition our boys to believe that to cry or to have feelings is to be emasculated.

We don't consider the multi-faceted truths of why our prisons are filled with our sons, fathers and brothers who have robbed, raped, killed, possessed, beat and dealt. We refuse to acknowledge the decaying effect that bottling up thoughts and feelings can bring about.

We too often elect not to deal with our realities because it makes us uncomfortable. It is easier to live behind the masks. It is easier to live the same old way we always have and to hold onto the same old ideology we've always known. We are dying people-of ignorance and of fear.

If we do not begin to take personal responsibility for our mental and emotional wellness, any hopes of breaking the vicious cycles that persist in our families will be lost. To seek therapy does not make you less holy, nor is it an indication that you have less of a relationship with God.

It is time that we reject this flawed thinking so that we may truly prosper -- in all aspects our existence.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.