Has emotional abuse in your childhood impacted your life?
This is a subject that deserves more awareness, and I’m glad that the universal energies are supporting us right now to bring light to the different forms of abuse and their effects. To me it’s a delicate and multi-layered topic. There are different levels from which we can explore this, and I feel that this article will be only scratching the surface, but there is energy in between the lines that will convey information that goes beyond words.
- Do you experience anxiety with regards to your parents, your boss or other authority figures?
- Are you a perfectionist?
- Do you find it hard to believe in yourself?
- Do you have big dreams, but feel like you’re not good enough or you don’t deserve them?
- Do you take on a lot of responsibility for the well-being of others and by doing so neglect yourself?
- Is it hard for you to say “no”?
- Do you feel the need to please others and create harmony?
- Do you dread confrontation and arguments?
- Do you find it hard to even know your boundaries?
- Does it regularly happen to you that you feel like your opinion doesn’t count and you’re not respected or ignored?
- Do you find yourself reacting and defending yourself more than you are actively taking charge of your life and circumstances?
- Do you feel the need to be prepared for every little unforeseeable possibility that could occur, so that you can save the day?
The list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea and if you only ticked 1 box, it’s worth to read on and go a little deeper.
Emotional abuse is not something is talked about a lot, because there has been no to little awareness.
It’s not as tangible as domestic violence or sexual abuse, but it can be as traumatizing. Being constantly put down, yelled at or criticized by your parent(s) or another authority figure you trusted and loved, has a long-term effect on your well-being and your self-esteem.
If your parents were overwhelmed or struggling with themselves and their own lives, but taking it out on you, you might have grown up feeling that the world is an unstable, scary and insecure place.
Whatever you did, you needed to be prepared for the worst. However hard you tried to read your parents’ minds and please them, you were never “good enough”.
As a child you are dependent on your parents’ love, so you do your best to behave and act in a way that will bring you reassurance. With emotionally unstable or abusive parents this can be an impossible task.
What pleases them one day can be reason for an argument the other day. This creates a lot of stress and anxiety that the child can’t possibly deal with – and this stays in our body.
As grown-ups we might understand what happened and we might even understand that our parents didn’t actively want to hurt us, but that they just didn’t know any better.
The thing is: the traumatic experience is still stored in our cells and our system, that’s why we keep creating situations that are reaffirming these experiences.
We can attract abusive partners, friends or work place environments. We can find ourselves in situations again and again that recreate the stress and uncertainty we felt when we grew up.
This constant feeling of stress can result in burn-out or depression – unless we decide to face the demons of the past and actively shift these experiences.
Having done lots of transformational soul work around emotional abuse for myself, I’m a big fan of looking at the bigger picture.
We are in the middle of a big planetary shift and each and everyone of us is guided and supported to take back his or her power and stepping out of the victim/perpetrator game.
A lot of the abusive patterns that are coming to the surface now have been passed down from generation to generation.
And it allowed for different kinds of experiences for all of the humans involved. Now we can step out of these patterns and end this game, if we want to.
But: in order to heal, it’s also vital to be aware of your inner child. She or he really doesn’t care about the bigger picture.
S/he made this experience in a human body. S/he felt helpless and alone as s/he was traumatized by continual criticism, bullying, yelling, irrational and ever-changing parental rules and experienced her/his childhood as very unstable and scary.
So now s/he needs a safe space where s/he’s taken seriously and reassured. S/he needs to know that what has happened was not okay – even if her parents did the best they could at the time.
S/he needs to know that the worst is far behind her/him now and that she deserves to thrive and be happy.
I know from my own experience that even if you are aware of the impact of traumatic experiences in your childhood, there usually are lots of self-protection mechanisms at work that want to keep you from going back there.
We have ways to rationalize things of the past and push them away. As children we created illusions (of a happy family or normalcy) that made it easier to cope with things.
It can be shocking to realize that things weren’t the way you wanted to believe.
There can also be a lot of guilt and shame or the feeling of being illoyal to your parents when you actually express how YOU experienced your childhood or teenage years.
Even if your parents had the best intentions but ended up hurting you, your feeling of pain, shock or loss of trust was real for YOU and has therefore impacted your life.
Already when I’m writing this I can feel how this awareness can open our energy field for a big shift.
When I work with clients there are several things that take place more or less simultaneously and allow for graceful transformation without having to revisit situations that were painful or traumatic:
- accepting the experiences of your childhood as part of your soul plan,
- acknowledging the pain of your inner child,
- recognizing and releasing the illusions that kept you stuck in pain and
- stepping into your authentic power that allows you to finally create new experiences of joy and fulfillment.
Most of the time it’s not necessary to go back to the stories and details of what actually happened. All it takes is the willingness of the person to shift her/his reality and let go of the old identities while stepping into the new.