How to Break Family Curses

(Unsplash/Erwin Vorotman)

We all have them—negative memories, character traits and struggles from our upbringing and our past. It may be a difficulty saying the words, "I love you" or showing physical affection to our spouse or children. Or it may be something painful, like the struggle of dealing with a crazy temper or not speaking up in the heat of the moment. It might even be something harmful like an addiction to substance abuse or even physical abuse.

These struggles are very real; when passed down from one generation to the next, these negative habits or traits are often referred to as family curses. And we all have them, whether they're big, glaring, or small and hidden. But saying "I can never change because that's just who I am or that's just how I was raised" is not an acceptable excuse. Whatever the family curse is, it's time to break it before it gets passed onto future generations. Here are some practical ideas for how to break a family curse. (Easily remembered by A.B.C.)

1. Admit that it's a problem.

The first step to change in any area of our life is to acknowledge that the way we're doing things is not working and is not beneficial to our end goal. I have met many people who will excuse and justify a lot of wrong behavior simply because of their last name by saying, "Well, that's just a part of me being a _______." A last name is never an excuse for losing one's temper, speaking one's mind no matter who it hurts or failing to say the words "I love you" to those who need to hear it. A person's past is not the No. 1 determining factor of their future—their choices are. Until you recognize this issue as a problem, you will never work towards a solution. So start by getting honest with yourself and admit that it's a problem.

2. Begin the process of change.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Determining you're going to change for yourself, your family and your future will not happen simply out of a desire to change. You've got to make a commitment to start catching yourself when you slip and make course corrections in your actions and behavior. You might even need to ask someone (or your entire family) to help hold you accountable to your commitment. And when they point things out to you and actually hold you accountable, it's imperative that you're not defensive, but humble. If your family curse is something more extreme, it might even require that you get outside help. This is going to be a process with ups and downs, but you can succeed if you stay committed to the end result.

3. Commit to finishing the course.

Family curses are hard to break. If they were easy to break, everyone would be doing it. So once you've admitted the problem and begun the process of change, it is imperative that you commit to finishing the course. Keep working until you make the necessary changes for your family's future generations that are counting on you to lay the foundation for them to build on. It's not fair for our children to have to face family curses in their future simply because we weren't willing to come face to face with them in the present. For the sake of yourself, your children, and your grandchildren—commit to finishing the course.

Note: The above are practical steps to help make life-changing results happen. Seek additional counsel or professional treatment as needed, depending on the severity of your family curse.

What family curse has come to your mind as you're reading this that you need to change?

Andrew Linder is a husband and the father of four awesome kids. He is passionate about intentional parenting and helping other parents and leaders effectively reach the next generation.

This article originally appeared at

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