Many of you have underlying concerns that need to be addressed. There are many emotions and fears that began in childhood and they have not released their grip upon you yet. Do we really have to go that far back and attempt to resolve them? Yes.
Most concerns originated from your relationship with your parents or a parent figure. As a child you felt very much at the mercy of everyone else around you. If your parent was not observant, you may have suffered at the hands of siblings and other family members. perhaps even a neighbor, school teacher or a religious leader.
Not all abuse was physical or sexual. By far the most frequent abuse was neglect. No one was there for you. Whether you were happy, sad, ill, needing help with your homework or on vacation, you spent too much time unsupervised. You played outdoors much of the day or disappeared to a neighbor’s home or hangout until bedtime and no one checked to see how you were or what you were going through.
You realized, through repeated conditioning, that you kept quiet about any troubling or dangerous experiences. Your older sibling stated that if you told mom or dad then you wouldn’t get to go on your daily adventures anymore. The neighbor said that if you told on them, they would get into trouble or worse your family wouldn’t care or wouldn’t believe you. Or you would be taken away from your family.
The bully was able to hurt you and not get told on. You were hurt or robbed and you kept quiet, for some reason. This pattern continued until you were older and the level of danger or abuse grew. Older children found more dangerous and serious problems. There began drug and alcohol use and abuse, teenage sex, driving impaired or intoxicated, gang violence… You may have stayed in school or maybe you didn’t.
Why did you get left to your own devices? Parents or grandparents had their own issues. A full day at work and they may not have wanted to provide supervision or help with homework. They believed that if problems occurred they were out of sight, out of mind. You didn’t tell them and they didn’t want to hear.
Or, parents and grandparents had their own issues with drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, unemployment… Your problems may have mirrored their lives and that may have seemed “normal.”
Why do we still stay quiet about what we went through? Parents or guardians never want to be confronted. They respond by feeling defensive and some may even blame you for your own abuse. “You wanted to drink,” “You were having unprotected sex, what did you think would happen?” “I don’t believe that your uncle would ever treat you that way.”
How many times has a person brought up concerns with their parent and were met with understanding, sympathy and an apology? Rarely. If you had the courage to mention your unpredictable childhood you likely walked away feeling worse. Many adults are unprepared to accept responsibility for their own behavior and mistakes.
How do you heal when you don’t hear any words of comfort or acknowledgment?
1. Counseling. If you step out of your comfort zone and seek counseling make sure you find someone who’s belief system allows for your total honesty. If you are not comfortable with the counselor that you found, find another one. You are the most important person in the professional realtionship. Make sure you get the help you need.
2. Support groups. This is a good way to speak out about your concerns and be accepted by other people. You’ll also find that all of you are in different stages of healing so you are able to make progress and help others as well. Some groups are faith based and others are not. Find one that fits. There are vast numbers of groups that deal will many different life experineces. You will be surprised how diverse this tool of support groups is.
3. Seek medical treatment. Ask your doctor for help. There are many types of medication that address a variety of issues. You may need an antidepressant, anti-anxiety medication, a mood stabilizer, something for OCD… Do not buy into the stigma of seeking treatment. A good medication regimen and other supportive services will help you to uncover a lot of concerns and deal with them. Even medication alone will help to lift the fog of emotional problems.
4. Journal. Write about whatever comes to mind. Keep your journal private so that you may write even the most secretive things and not be afraid of someone finding out. Journaling is a good way of processing daily problems and long past concerns. Write about whatever seems to be on your mind. If done properly and consistently you will uncover and cope with things that may surprise you. Sometimes organizing your words and putting them on paper can be liberating all on its own.
5. Find a book. This is good for people who would rather make some progress on their own. If you really don’t want to see your doctor or join a group or discuss issues with family, a book may be an ideal start.
Relax and allow yourself to open up some doors that may have been long ago bolted. Allow yourself to be angry, sad, frustrated, lonely… Then allow yourself to heal. Anxiety is common when you allow yourself to feel emotions again. You may want to have some counseling in place before you begin.
Take good care of yourself. Do not expect any recognition or apology from any family members. Remember that they have had their own stressors to deal with. No one wants to be confronted. Only approach a parent, grandparent, or gaurdian at the direction of a counselor or therapist. Doing this on your own may increase any emotional damage that you are trying to resolve.
Find forgiveness. The adults and/or siblings in your life are human and imperfect. We all make mistakes and we all want forgiveness as well.
If you have a history of physical abuse, sexual abuse, drugs or alcohol in the home, or even a mentally ill family member, you may not find forgiveness so easily. That is OK too. What we want is for you to heal emotionally and begin the transformation into a productive, proactive leader. Secrets have a way of damaging your soul. Let us begin the journey back to the doorway of God. You are valued and perfect and God wants nothing more than to watch you heal. Your self-esteem may not have to suffer. You are doing the best you can with the life you have been given.
Find strength with God, your spirit guides, your angels and your departed loved ones. It is good to find your way back home.