Peter, a 30-year old man was given to uncontrollable fits of anger. For almost no apparent reason and at the slightest provocation, he would flare up with rage, sometimes even to the point of physical violence. He was talented, but these bouts of anger were in the way, so he was not succeeding in life like his peers. He had cried to God for help and gone for several deliverance exercises, but his problem did not go away. One day, he was invited to a relationship seminar and, after hearing the speaker, he was deeply convicted to work on himself to overcome anger. After the meeting, he walked up to the minister and sought counsel. The saving grace of God was present for Peter that day.

As he recounted his story, beginning from his childhood, the minister discerned that Peter’s anger was as a result of childhood rejection from his parents. When he got angry, he was not necessarily angry at what was happening at the moment, but lashing out at his past and the unfair treatment he suffered as a defenseless child. This is Peter’s story:

“When I was six years old, my father decided to take a second wife. My mother found this unacceptable, so she decided to leave my father and take me with her. It was a troubling time for me because I loved them both and did not want them to be separated. My father refused to let my mother take me away. He was rich and influential and always got his way. My mother could not fight him, so she decided to stay because of me. In the end, it was unbearable for her when my father’s new wife moved in. The insults and pettiness from my stepmother was too much for her and she eventually left, but without me.

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I was very lonely, being an only child from my parents. My stepmother was already pregnant when she married my father, a few months later, she gave birth to her first child. There was a big party for this child and a lot of merry making. Afterwards, my father did not give me any more attention. He did not care if I existed. My stepmother gradually turned me into a domestic help, but my father was oblivious of what was happening. My stepmother had four children for my father over the years. I remember painfully those years when we would all go to church together in the car and how differently I appeared and was treated from the rest of my siblings. My father, step-mother and four siblings would all be dressed in beautiful clothes and I would be in faded clothes. My siblings went to private schools and I went to a public school. My siblings were driven to school by the family chauffeur while I walked to school.

When we got home from school, whilst my siblings had siesta before attending to their home work with the help of a private tutor, I cleaned the house and washed the dishes and fetched water. I tried to contact my mother and to move in with her, but she had remarried and her husband did not want anything to do with me. It was challenging to continue with my education this way, but I persevered.

I eventually got into the university, but it was a struggle all through. I had no text books of my own. All the books I had to read were borrowed. As I struggled with financial and discriminatory challenges from school and at home respectively, I was also faced with the problem of anger. I had a lot of problems with my lecturers as a result of this, and I ended up with a 3rd class result. Several times, I have tried to control my anger, but after a couple of days, I would flare up again at the slightest provocation. I did not know what was causing this anger. 

To be continued …

Culled from How to Handle Rejection

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By Pastor Bimbo Odukoya