When Sam was a child, his father would drink and then come home and smash the house. From his bed, he could hear his mother crying. His mother would crawl into Sam’s bed at night and cry. Sam was confused. He didn’t know how to help his mother, and he felt scared that his dad would hurt them. His parents told him to not discuss family secrets outside of the home. Because of this, he never told anyone how he felt. As an adult, he found it difficult to get close to others. He felt like it was easier to be alone. Despite his desire to stay alone, he often felt lonely and empty. He began to drink to cope, and his career began to suffer. He started to worry that he was turning into his father.
Children look to their parents to see if the environment around them is safe. When domestic violence, conflict or neglect, children find safety outside of the home if they can. Some children can realise that abuse, conflict or neglect does not make them unworthy or unsafe. Other children who might not be able to find safety outside of the home might begin to build neural pathways in their brain that say the world is a dangerous place.
There are ways that you can begin to heal from these childhood experiences; here are just a few.
1. Build supportive relationships
Supportive relationships can be uncomfortable in the beginning if trust has been hard to form due to past abusive relationships. Learning to trust others who are safe and supportive can heal some of the past hurt attachment.
If you grew up in a home with verbal abuse, you might be verbally abusing yourself mentally. This isn’t helpful, nor is it healthy. Learn how to be patient with your mistakes and shortcomings like you would grant someone you love and care about.
3. Take care of yourself
Take care of yourself like you wished that your parent would have taken care of you. Practice hygiene, physical exercise, a healthy diet, and include relaxation time.
4. Understand your value
Abuse can leave people feeling worthless. You are not broken; you have value.
5. Find healthy ways to cope
If you feel empty or overwhelmed, you might be using addictions such as substances, video games or sex to cope. Ask yourself what emotions the addiction is masking and find another way. If you need to relax, can you do yoga, listen to music or meditate? Coping without dependencies will be difficult initially, but tolerating the distress will get easier over time.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone, please contact me to set up an online session via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.