There is a big difference between circumstantial hardships in daily life and the constant struggles that keep us from achieving true happiness in life.
Life can have its challenges in relationships, finances, and health, however, when there is a constant inner turmoil and lack of joy or fulfillment, chances are that there is something more profound that is causing you the distress.
Majority of your core beliefs are formed before the age of 7.
Even if you think you had the most fantastic childhood, there may have been some beliefs that were either instilled in you or that you formed as a child. Say, for instance, if you were always pushed to do better or get better grades, you may have the belief that “I am not enough.” If you were not allowed to speak up for yourself, then you may live your life thinking, “I don’t matter.” These beliefs follow you through life at a subconscious level, and you may not even know they exist.
These beliefs may actually be wreaking havoc on your life as they actually end up running the show as the “great Oz behind the curtain.” It is very common for people to not have any recollection of negative experiences from childhood, however, there may be damage caused by what a parent did NOT do that may be affecting you.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions below, that is a good indicator there are deep beliefs and childhood wounds that are keeping you from happiness and success in your life:
- Do you have low self-esteem, and do you often experience shame?
- Are you hard on yourself for your mistakes and failures?
- Do you often experience the feeling of not belonging?
- Do you feel like there is something different about you?
- Do you have a hard time with romantic relationships or friendships?
- Do you tend to isolate?
- Are you overly proud of your independence?
- Do you have an addiction to food, porn, shopping, eating, drugs or alcohol?
- Do you have a hard time identifying what you are feeling?
- Do you have an unpredictable temper or anger issue?
If you answer yes to any of these, there is a high chance that you experienced some sort of neglect or trauma as a child that you may not be aware of.
Many of you can probably think back to your childhood and remember that it was great, and your parents always provided everything for you and did not physically harm you. You are part of a lucky percentage; however, it is likely that you may have experienced the absence of some crucial emotional needs.
Children have basic needs such as shelter, food, water, and clothing that have to be met to survive. Most people don’t realize that there are some very essential emotional needs we need to be met to become emotionally healthy adults. Unfortunately, many children go without these needs being met and can only remember what their parents did for them, not what they did not do.
Emotional Requirements for A Healthy Child Require:
A Parent that is Emotionally Present for A Child.
When a parent is emotionally “checked out,” on drugs or alcohol, depressed, a workaholic, or even consumed with their own existence, a child can feel neglected and invisible. This is very impactful for a child and can make them feel like they do not matter.
A Child Must Feel Validated.
When a child is hurt, and a parent tells them to “shake it off,” the message a child gets is that their feelings are wrong. They are hurt and need an adult to validate the pain. This causes a child to question what they are feeling.
A Child Must be Heard.
When children are raised to “be seen and not heard,” this can cause a child to feel like they don’t have a right to exist. It can create deep feelings of low self-worth and can be very damaging.
A Child Must Feel Loved.
Some children never hear the words “I love you” although parents buy them gifts and spoil them. Other children may hear the words from their parents but never actually “feel” love from them. Both of these can create lasting damage that can prevent a child from ever being in a healthy loving adult relationship.
A Child Must Be Accepted.
When a parent is continuously comparing a child to another sibling or forcing them to participate in sports or activities they don’t have an interest in, it can make them feel like there is something wrong with them for who they are. Each child has their own identity, and when a parent forces a child to be an athlete or dancer because the parent is trying to live out their own dreams, this can cause a lot of damage to a child’s self-worth and make them feel like they are not accepted for who they are.
A Child Must Feel Secure.
When children grow up in unstable households or with parents that are unpredictable and erratic, this can rock their foundation. Even if there is not physical abuse, fear can escalate and create anxiety and trauma in any child that does not understand what is going on. This can lead to PTSD later in life or anxiety and depression.
Childhood is supposed to be an emotional training opportunity.
When parents do not respond correctly to your emotions, you miss out on the chance to learn how to manage or identify your feelings in a healthy way. Emotions are one of the most crucial elements to healthy relationships and can cause disruptions in any adult relationships if not learned to identify or manage them correctly. This can set one up for struggles their whole life including issues in parenting their own children.
If you can relate to any of the above, doing additional research on childhood neglect may bring you more clarity and determine if you need to seek help to work through the effects of your childhood wounds.
If left untreated, these issues may last a lifetime and will keep you from true happiness.