Does it seem that no matter what situation you encounter that your negative childhood memories continually show up? It can feel exhausting to find yourself on the hamster wheel yet again with seemingly no escape. Nobody is perfect which means that no parenting is perfect. We all did not receive something we needed in childhood. Now that we are adults, or near adulthood, we can get what we need for ourselves. But how do we go about this?
1. How are you triggered?
Recognizing that we are triggered by certain events is a great start. By recognizing that we are upset about something happening in the present that is triggered by our past, will help keep events and feelings from controlling and overtaking our lives. We have the emotional intelligence and distance to say, "I'm having a disproportionate reaction to this event. What could be causing this? Maybe I need to take a breath and engage when I feel ready." In this way we will not be carried away by our emotions. We will also begin to recognize that our hurt and angry feelings are not just popping up at random.
2. Identify negative messages received.
Were you an invisible child in your family? Were you told you were lazy and would never amount to anything? Did you need to do chores to receive love? Did you feel unwanted, inadequate, or not good enough as a result? You may have received messages that somehow you were not enough or not worthy of love. This can bring about anxiety and feelings of sadness long term. It can feel hurtful and painful.
3. Examine negative feelings and negative thoughts.
Have you carried the negative childhood messages you received into adulthood? Do you still hold on to them today? Are they interfering with your life? Evaluate these messages against your life today. Are they accurate? What wonderful attributes define you? What have you accomplished? We all have wonderful qualities. Challenge yourself to find yours. Allow yourself to heal and begin letting go of negative childhood messages.
4. Identify lost parts of childhood.
Were you not able to play soccer as a child because you were continually grounded for no reason? Were you repeatedly verbally abused? Grieving what we did not receive in our childhood can have tremendous impacts to healing. Recognizing the losses we feel can lead us to a healthy life. Feel the loss. Allow yourself to grieve.
5. Give yourself what you still need today.
If you were raised in a turbulent or violent household, create a peaceful home in which you can live. If you were not able to join activities after school as a child, join a group today. Learn how to crochet, play the piano, or play baseball. Were you verbally abused? Speak kindly to yourself today. Give yourself what you need that you did not receive as a child. As an adult you are now able to provide yourself with what you need today. Your life is yours. What do you want it to be?