How do I move on from a rocky childhood?
In an ideal world we would choose parents who are caring, empathic and loving, and who allow us to grow up as secure and happy individuals and give us values that prepare us to navigate through this world with confidence. As we grow up, we realise that life is not a bed of roses, and if we flip the coin, we can quickly see that, even for the most well educated, caring and secure individuals, parenting is not the easiest job in the world.
As adults, and especially when we get into relationships or become parents ourselves, we often develop more awareness of our own triggers and behaviours – many of which we may not be so proud of. We might see ourselves reflected in our children, and to our own dismay, realise that we are behaving just like our parents did when we were young. This can spark memories of how our parents’ behaviours used to make us feel.
We might show behaviours in adulthood we aren’t particularly proud of, such as disorganisation, mannerisms, or a sloppy lifestyle, or we might have similar anger outbursts or communication issues. It is then easy to deflect that blame of our behaviours onto our parents who imprinted that blueprint in the first place.
5 THINGS THAT CAN HELP YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN LIFE
While you may have experienced much that can be considered trauma in its many forms as a child, and it is important to acknowledge and have compassion for yourself in having had to live through those experiences, it can be easy to get stuck in blaming your parents for your misfortune for a very long time, and this doesn’t allow you to fully learn from these experiences and move on to live your fullest life.
- STOP BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR MISTAKES
So, you might not remember your childhood as all joyful and sparkly; you might even have been faced with trauma, neglect, addictions, divorce, or sibling rivalry. Or you might have had one parent with unfavourable behaviours which you notice have impacted you as an adult. The number one thing that will help you move on with your life is to take responsibility for your life from here on in, instead of remaining as a victim of your childhood experiences.
- EMPATHY AND COMPASSION GO A LONG WAY
Once you’ve been able to be compassionate with yourself, it’s time, if you can, to offer some compassion to your parents. Just like yourself, they were only given the manual of life handed down from their own parents, who in their turn had it handed to them from their parents and so on. Add in traumatic events, poverty, addictions, and trauma into the mix and we can often realise parenting has never been an easy task. Your parents may well have done the best they could with what they knew and in the circumstances in which they were living. With these kinds of understandings you may be able to look on your parents with a softer lens, and discover more of their frailties and humanness.
- ALLOW YOURSELF TO SEE A LESS JUDGMENTAL SIDE
The world we live in is so full of resentments and judgements. We often jump to the conclusion that what is done to us was of malicious intent, and repeated behaviours are signs of laziness or selfishness. We often are quick to judge the reason behind someone’s actions, but we don’t always consider that there might be other factors that can explain why a person acts in certain ways.
- ARE THERE UNDERLYING NEUROLOGICAL DIFFERENCES, PAST TRAUMA, OR ADDICTIONS?
Today, we are becoming increasingly aware of the neurological differences amongst our fellow earth beings. An increasing number of children and adults are being diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD, Autism and Bipolar disorder, and we are becoming more informed of addictions and emotional abuse in families, and it is becoming more accepting to speak about past traumas and abuse.
If we could perhaps see our experience of our parents through some of these lenses, maybe the disorganisation, anger outbursts and emotional dysregulation may be explained as a condition such as ADHD or bipolar disorder? Could the black and white thinking, abruptness, difficulty understanding other’s point of view, awkward social abilities and poor communication in fact be something like autism spectrum disorder?
It can help us understand our parents if we also educate ourselves on neurological conditions and disorders, to empathize and explain the dysfunctional behaviours.
- LET IT BEGIN WITH YOU
Our healing journey to a happy life starts here and now with you. Once we realise that we can’t change our past, we can make a choice to educate ourselves, to heal, and to learn how to do things better.
We can give our children a different childhood than the one we had. Our best life for ourselves, and our children is in our hands and does not need to be limited by our past.
HOW CAN I FIND HELP IN HEALING FROM A DIFFICULT CHILDHOOD?
Our Hart Centre relationship psychologists and counsellors have been specifically trained to help you with the unique problems that come in various family dynamics. We have psychologists in each city, as well as Skype counselling options for those who can’t make it into one of our offices.