What If Jesus Was Born In An Abusive Family? Did Jesus really understand how difficult it is to love if one has never been loved

I grew up believing in Jesus and how he came to the world to save us from our sins.  I still remember hearing the Parable of the Good Samaritan’, I was seven years. The priest was an extremely good orator. And I was blown away by the parable – Love your fellow humans if you want to go to heaven.

Jesus family abuse love
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That’s easy I thought.  So single-mindedly I strove to be kind and loving to everyone.

Feeling Loving When You Are Loved

It was effortless because my mother was alive and she loved me deeply. Loving others came to me naturally.

Then she died and the abuse began, it was covert and insidious but nevertheless, its pervasive stink colored my subconscious and consciousness. Gradually, the first stirrings of hate, rage, and anger bubbled within me. Forget love for my fellow-beings. I couldn’t feel real love for my own son. Though I managed to act the part quite well.

So, the question that really gnaws me is ‘Would Jesus have come into His spiritual self if His parents were abusive? Or He had grown up an orphan? What if His mother had been neglectful when he was young? Or His father had been a drunk?

Simply Unfair

Oh, yes God did go through a very stringent selection process of choosing a very pious and good woman to be the mother, likewise with the choice of His father Joseph.

However, I feel that was just not fair to the rest of mankind. So many people have to deal with unloving parents and live with hostile families? How can they be expected to be loving when they don’t know what love is.

Enough of studies have shown that childhood development is impacted by how we are treated by our primary caregivers, namely our parents. When our parents treat us with love and kindness we feel loving. We are born longing for love and care but have to experience loving care to imbibe it.

And if one experiences abuse, neglect, violence or loss it detrimentally impacts your brain and shapes how you respond to life

So, what if

Jesus’ mother Mary was neglectful.

A child needs loving attunement. He needs to experience responsive caregiving – having his needs met in a timely and loving manner. If he gets love only then he can love. Empathy and nurturing can never be taught, they have to be experienced.

So, probably, Jesus would have not known how to love and probably He would have relationship issues.

Or both Jesus’ parents were rejecting

He definitely would have been negatively affected.  He’d suffer from low self-esteem. It would have impacted how He relates to others – He definitely would not know how to be loving.

Being rejected, especially by one’s parents in childhood feels the same for everyone. No matter what gender, race or culture. It is devastating. Parental rejection activates the same part of the brain which is activated by the experience of physical pain

Suppose Jesus’ father Joseph was an alcoholic

Here again, Jesus’ self-esteem and interpersonal relationships would have been impacted. He would be confused about what is normal, He would be ashamed and depressed. He would struggle to find meaning in life.

However,  I don’t think Jesus would accept his fate. He knew He had to fulfill his destiny. But He’d have struggled like the rest of us trauma survivors struggle. Nonetheless, He’d have taken the leap into the unknown, albeit much earlier in life.

Hero’s journey – Call To Adventure

The hero is presented with a problem, challenge or adventure. The hero must face the beginning of change. This call must be accepted, this can happen willingly, reluctantly, consciously or accidentally.

So, instead of leaving home at the age of 30, Jesus would have probably left home even before He turned 18 and would have searched for meaning to the senselessness of His existence.

Instead of just 40 days in the desert,  Jesus would have experienced years of struggle and pain. Nevertheless,  He would have survived His time in the whale’s belly. On emerging He would be transformed from the person He became because of his trauma to who He was meant to be.


Jesus Would Understand Human Psychology

Yes, Jesus would have become who He was meant to be but it would have definitely made him much wiser about human psychology.

He definitely wouldn’t have extolled people to forgive and turn the other cheek to serial abusers. (Come on not 7 times, 70 x7 times is enough rope to give a personality-disordered person to hang you many times.)

Most importantly, he’d have commanded parents to love their children and attend to their needs first. He would have made being mean to children one of the biggest sins. Yes, he did mention that anyone who causes these innocent little ones to sin should have a big stone tied to his neck and drowned. But there He was not really referring to parents rather to some unknown strangers. He did not know that most child abuse happens at home.

Most definitely, He would have had very clear directives about child sexual abusers. Particularly, the ones in sheep’s clothing – those evil pedophile priests.

Lack of Understanding

I truly believe Jesus did not really understand how parental abuse, neglect mess a human being.

Because He really had it easy, He never knew what it was to struggle when your family does not love you and would rather have you dead.  He had a family who cared for him so He never for a moment thought families could be different from His.

And that’s what is majorly wrong with Jesus’ teachings, it does not take into account the impact of dysfunctional parental behavior on child development.

Yes, if Jesus had grown up in an abusive family, He’d have told people to first love and care for their children before telling them to go love their neighbor. He’d have realized that all the sickness and depravity in this world stems from lack of love – lack of real, authentic parental love.

How a child’s brain develops through early experiences

Survivors – The New Messiahs

Thankfully, as more and more survivors heal we become the change-creators, they are the messiahs of the new world. Where raising kids with love and kindness is the new religion. Being good, caring parents is the only daily observance one needs practice.

We are responsible for our children’s existence and we are responsible not just for their physical growth but also for their spiritual development. A child’s view of God is shaped by how his parents treat him. Abusive parents translates into an evil God.

It is up to us survivors to re-frame and change the current paradigm. We can help create a loving and caring world by ending the cycle of abuse and being loving parents.

Further Reading:

Nature, Nurture and the Power of Love by Bruce Lipton

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie

In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness by Peter Levine

The Emotionally Absent Mother: How to Recognize and Heal the Invisible Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jasmin Lee Cori 

Transforming Fate Into Destiny: A New Dialogue with Your Soul by  Robert Ohotto

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