Trauma of the Empire 

“Do you love me?” she asked; her right hand caressing his left cheek. His teary eyes met hers for a moment as she touched him. He shook his head up and down to reassure her. For he was too emotional in that moment to utter a clear response. “Liar!” She shouted; snatching her hand away from his face. “If you loved me, you wouldn’t have put me away for 21 years.” “You were sick. You said so yourself,” he responded. “Yes, I was sick.” She stated slowly, and cut a piece of cake. She served him, and snapped. “Now I’m sorry. Sorry I was too weak to kill you when I had the chance!” She pointed the knife at him as he took his last bite and pushed away his plate.

She is Leah Mary Walker, and he is her son Dwight; aka Lucious Lyon. For those of you who have been keeping up with Fox’s number one hit show Empire, you should have already recognized the Lyon’s are a traumatized family. We see the power struggle over Empire first develop in season one. Lucious sits down his sons to explain to them one would have to take over his company because he was dying, and had been diagnosed with ALS. The struggle continues when his ex wife is released from a 17 year bid. Cookie comes home wanting what’s owed to her since it was her illegal funds that’d helped start the company. We later find Lucious has been misdiagnosed, but the power of Empire is wanted by everyone in the Lyon family.

From the first season until now we have witnessed a host of underhanded deals, Lucious’s incarceration, his ex fiancée pregnant to his youngest son, his love for his ex wife beginning to rekindle, and the number one secret of all: Lucious’s mother is alive. From the retelling of his childhood, we all thought Leah Walker had killed herself after attempting to drown Lucious in a bathtub. The truth of the matter is, Lucious locked Leah away in a nursing home for 21 years. He even had a tombstone made for her in an attempt to bury the most traumatizing part of his life.

After a rehearsal at Lucious’s club Leviticus, he looks at his ex wife Cookie, his two sons Jamal and Hakeem and says, “Look. I know we’ve thrown a lot of blows at each other over the years, and because of being Lyons we’ll probably throw a whole lot more. But no matter what happens I’m still y’all father, and you’re still my first love, and y’all are still our kids.” He chuckles and finishes by calling them all punk asses.

So why must this family continue to “throw blows” at each other? It’s simple. They have yet to truly heal. Lucious has yet to heal from his traumatizing childhood. He has yet to forgive his mother, and love his own children the way he should. Cookie has yet to heal her broken heart, and the Lyon sons have yet to heal from the trauma both Cookie and Lucious have caused them. The Lyons could benefit immensely from some Sanctuary in their lives. They’ve all experienced a lot of loss. They’ve had trouble keeping each other safe. They’ve struggled to express their emotions, and right now the future of the empire looks very bleak. Though this family doesn’t lack anything financially, they aren’t rich by far. Where love is lost, there is no peace. The Sanctuary Model helps restore that.
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