Millions of Americans suffer from clinical depression and/or anxiety. Sometimes the origin of these can be traced, but others it can seem like a mystery. In those cases, I believe that re-examining ones childhood can shed some light into the core cause of the dis-ease. One of the most common issues I hear from the addictions recovery community I am involved with is some type of childhood dysfunction or trauma. Not everyone, but a clear majority. The pain can be psychological, emotional and/or physical. It could be one single event or something that happened repetitively over years.
Not everyone reacts the same way. It is possible for two people to experience the same situation and one is completely traumatized while the other is not affected. There is no doubt however, that lives can be ruined by unresolved trauma. The effects can seem insidious but do have a constant underlying influence over the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of those who have survived it. Sleep and eating patterns are affected. Individuals can feel anxious and isolated. They can be filled with confusion and self-doubt and often experience illness more frequently. In learning to survive, many learn to simply not feel, and are emotionally numb. This generally leads to self-medicating which often progresses into any of numerous types of addiction: alcohol; drugs; food; sex; love; spending; smoking; violence; pornography; self-harm; gambling; rage; ad infinitum.
Below are some examples of the kind of false core beliefs stemming from dysfunctional childhoods. Most of them are UNCONSCIOUS and can manifest in different ways.
OTHERS WILL ABANDON ME – this belief may develop if one/both parents abandoned during childhood. As an adult they may avoid close relationships, energetically attract someone who is either emotionally unavailable or will abandon them, or have a “one wrong move” and the relationship is over mentality.
I AM NOT WORTH CARING ABOUT – this belief develops when parents are far more focused on their own needs than the child. As an adult, they minimize their feelings, are always “ok” because they feel like its inconvenient to not be. Accept minimal (or none) amounts of attention and affection as normal, maybe making excuses for the person who deprives them.
I MUST BE SELF-SACRIFICING – when children have to be parent to the parents, they grow to believe having ones own needs and wants is selfish.
I AM A SOCIAL MISFIT – Intuitively children often sense their situation is quite different from others. As adults many have difficulties relating to those of their own age, prefer to be with others much older or much younger , especilly if they were forced to “grow up” too quickly.
I AM INTRINSICALLY UNLOVABLE I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH– Children internalize that something must be wrong with them and that is why their parents are negligent or abusive. They grow to believe they are not: smart enough; pretty enough; funny enough; don’t have enough money….
I AM VULNERABLE AND IN CONSTANT DANGER – Deep anxiety resulting from spending a lot of our childhood feeling anxious, under stress, apprehensive or in fear.
I MUST ALWAYS KEEP TO THE HIGHEST OF STANDARDS – Love is conditional, if things aren’t perfect, I won’t be loved. Also a sense of control when other circumstances were quite chaotic.
I AM SPECIALLY ENTITLED – The belief (likely unconscious) that society in general should compensate for childhood suffering and the feeling of overwhelmed by emotional pain.
Unfortunately, such core beliefs are often become self-fulfilling prophecies. They are so deeply ingrained that one’s world view is tainted. Energetically, they resonate and attract others that perpetuate the cycle and dismiss positive influences as boring.
Fortunately, understanding the connection between childhood trauma and adult behavior can be life-saving and healing is possible. In my opinion and personal experience as both coach and client, a coaching modal that is grounded in revisiting the past as a means to understand the present, identifying the core beliefs that block living a fulfilled life, and facilitating a neuro-transformation through mindfulness, deep and lasting healing awaits. If you want something better and are willing to step out of your comfort zone to get it, there is a way~