Repetition Compulsion

“As the Jews were called by Moses to escape from the country of Egypt, to follow him in the dark night, to cross the Red Sea, so also is each individual brought into the wilderness, where a new period begins. He is free, but not yet enjoying the glory of the promised land, because he has taken with him, out of the land of Egypt, the soul of a slave, the habits of a slave, the temptations of a slave; and the education of a free man takes infinitely more time than the discovery of his enslavement. The spirit of slavery remains very close, and its standards are still there and very potent: a slave has somewhere to rest his head, a slave is assured of food, a slave has a social standing, however low, he is secure because his master is responsible for him. So to be a slave, however painful, humiliating and distressing the situation, is also a form of security, while to become a free person is a state of utter insecurity; we take our destiny into our own hands and it is only when our freedom is rooted in God that we become secure in a new way, and a very different one.” (Bloom, Anthony Bloom, Living Prayer). One form of “slavery” is “repetition compulsion” which is an unconscious defense mechanism Freud defined as “the desire to return to an earlier state of things.” We unconsciously are compelled to repeat what happened to us in our childhood, expecting others to treat us in the same way we were treated growing up. We may do this to validate that it was real or because we expect it. Jesus taught this in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not judge you will bring upon yourself whatever judgements you make”. In my life I have placed myself in situations where someone close to me will abandon me like my father did.

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About pastorjoejohnson

Heart of the Father Ministry Founder and Director
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