Childhood is not only the stage of life characterized by innocence; it is also a situation in which we are more delicate, more likely to suffer psychological harm. This is not an unimportant detail, given that many experiences or living conditions can be negative in the face of vulnerable people and without the ability to seek help outside the family.
So the marks of a complicated childhood may continue to be noticed when we have already grown up and come into adulthood. However, that does not mean that we have to resign ourselves to it. While the discomfort and angst can be unbearable at times, in most cases there is a way to dramatically improve the way we deal with this past. To help with this, below we will look at some guidelines for overcoming a difficult childhood, as well as a reflection on how we should approach this task.
Emotional pain from the past
Some people talk about this feeling as if it is some kind of emotional hack: Pain comes to us through the vulnerabilities of the past, even though we believe that if we had not been through all this suffering today. , we would be completely complete and capable people. everything without spending a lot of effort.
In other words, the traumatic events and the anguish experienced during our first years of life robbed us of not only childhood but also adulthood. The stain of trauma is constantly spreading as we try to flee into the future.
However, we don’t have to be slaves to our past, even if it took place during childhood, the time when we realize what the world is like. There is always a possible change, as we will see.
How to overcome a difficult childhood
You have to keep in mind that each case is unique, and therefore, if you are really suffering from your past, it is best to seek the personalized treatment that psychologists can give you during their consultation. However, in the short term, you can use these tools that we offer below.
1. Learn about the effects of psychological trauma
This is important because in most cases, there is an overly deterministic conception of trauma and a tendency to pessimism..
It is true that trauma can contribute to the fact that as adults we have various problems with emotional management and regulation of attention, but that does not mean that people who had a difficult childhood systematically develop PTSD. , or that this type of experience must necessarily leave a mark on us.
In fact, even in cases of severe violence and abuse during childhood, many people reach adulthood without significant mental problems and without an expected lower intelligence.
What does it mean? That in many cases, people with complicated pasts face states of discomfort generated by pessimistic life expectations and based on a problem that does not exist. That is why, when overcoming a difficult childhood, it must be clear that all or much of that feeling of discomfort can come from fiction.
2. Change social circles
As far as possible, we must try to stay away from people who in the past made us feel bad and who in the present have no intention of helping us. In this way, situations reminiscent of traumatic events will appear less frequently.
3. Lead an active social life
Breaking isolation is a good way to break ruminationIn other words, the propensity to give in to recurring thoughts that end up becoming obsessions.
The best thing about an active social life is that it helps you live in the present and move away from those memories that come back over and over again. Building life in the here and now is a good way to prevent the mind from filling this void with things from the past.
On the other hand, after having spent a season in the company of friends and relatives, it is not necessary to self-impose this strategy. And it is that uncomfortable memories, as intense as they may be at first, can lose their vigor at great speed if one gets used to not invoking them frequently for several months in a row.
4. Take care of yourself
Many times the indignant passage through situations causes us to automatically fix our idea of the Self on all the discomfort and vulnerability experienced in the past. It can make us act like we don’t care at all, that is, we treat ourselves the same way life has treated us.. If these complicated situations arose in childhood, on the other hand, chances are we have not experienced a version of ourselves other than that of the victim role.
To break this vicious cycle, we must be forced to take our own well-being seriously. This involves eating well, exercising, maintaining good personal hygiene, and sleeping well, among other things. In other words, we have to devote our efforts to proving to ourselves the potential that exists in ourselves, even if at first we don’t like it.
That way, those self-image beliefs will change until our self-esteem improves significantly, and with that, so do our expectations.
5. Reinterpret the past
There is no single interpretation of our lives: no matter how hard we try, we never reach an objective perception of things.. This is all the more true because in addition to considering the facts, we take into account the emotions associated with them.
In fact, our memory works in such a way that memories are constantly changing. Just remembering something in an intense emotional state can make the facts we bring up more in line with those emotions.
Knowing this fact can help us a lot not to blindly believe that we are holding onto these painful childhood memories because this experience was real and caused us discomfort. Perhaps we retain this memory because we have learned to associate it with negative moods, even distorting its content.
So feeling free to reinterpret the past without fear of being subconsciously changing it – the latter is inevitable, but we can prevent it from harming us emotionally.
6. Seek professional help
There are cases in which, no matter how hard and stubbornly put into it, very little progress is made in overcoming the traumas and problems experienced in childhood.
This is not due to a lack of will, but to something much simpler: in the same way that these mental disorders emerge from the influence of our environment, to get out of these kind of emotional obstacles, someone one needs to help us. And that someone has to be a mental health professional.