Childhood Memories A lifetime journey: Sitting in the school gym watching my son's basketball game, the whistle blows loud over the crowds cheers. The conversation lowers as everyone is listening close to hear the referees call "Foul #23 whites ball" he screams to the crowd.
Over the angry crowd you hear a female voice "You idiot stop fouling and shoot the damn ball" turning to see who was speaking, the boy's mother was standing on the bleachers, with an angry look on her face, hands on her hips, glaring down at the floor. Where her son stood trying to ignore she had just called his name in front of a crowded gym. His body posture said he wanted to melt in the huddle as the coach ran the next play to the team.
Over the years I cannot count how many stories I have heard from patients about the pain they hold on too from things that happen to them in their childhood or a statement that was said to them they have never forgotten. The results of addiction, abuse, multiple unsuccessful relationships, self abuse, acting out behavior, low self esteem – show up in someone's life from a single event or multiple events.
Martha has spent a life time cutting her arms, legs and banging her head into to concrete walls inflicting pain to her self – from abuse that she suffered as a small child. She cannot or chooses not to release it from her life.
Brenda threw acid in her own eyes after being convicted in her early years of teaching. For inapproiate behavior with a student. Her reason for taking her own eyes away was to prevent herself from seeing young children and so she could not sin against them again. She went from a highly intelligent teacher to a babbling psychiatric patient.
Cindy sexually abused as a young child had no self confidence and referred to herself as a bad person because her mother told her over and over in her life she was bad. She has lived her life believing she was bad, and crippled her subconscious belief system.
Parents and guardians have control of the support and encouragement a child receives. For some people what is spoken into their life sticks like glue. If you stop for one second you can quickly recall one statement or an event from a very early childhood memory that you still remember clearly and how it made you feel. What upset you or hurt your feelings, like the basketball player. As he moves on in his life there can be a time along the way that something will remind him of the embarrassment of that moment and be able to relive the same emotion-smells and hear that statement over and over in his head "You idiot". The trigger sits and waits ringing in his subconscious waiting for the right moment to rise up.
How about the brother or sister that seeks any opportunity to recall a childhood memory to hash over and over seeking enjoyment just watching the other sibling squirm or cause irritation. As they make comments referring to the other person as 'mean'. After years of hearing negative comments over and over the person begins to question themselves 'Am I mean? Am I a bad person because they said so? Was I really a bad kid?
Parents are the primary source of information for their children. Research shows that 90% of children’s thoughts, ideas and beliefs about themselves and the world come from what their parents model, either by their actions, words or attitude. Negative and positive.
We grow up absorbing what our parents think and feel like little sponges only to reach adulthood armed with whatever we gleaned from our parents, for better or worse. We, as children, take this information as fact. We accept it as “normal” because in all actuality that is all we know.
From a child’s perspective, inappropriate actions or misguided words displayed by their parents are seen as truth. The impact of these displays for the most part remains hidden until the day arrives in adulthood when they find themselves unhappy, unfulfilled or worse. And then the real struggle begins trying to undo what feels normal and replace it with something that feels foreign even though we know intellectually is healthy. This is no easy task.
It is common knowledge that most abusers were abused as children. It is also widely accepted that children of alcoholics are much more likely to have a substance abuse problem as they grow up. These are extreme examples; however the same principle applies to children who suffer from a host of negative issues.
· Children who are rarely or never praised grow up to suffer from low self-esteem.
· Children who are constantly criticized grow up with a poor self-image.
· Children who are reminded of their limitations lack self-confidence.
Parent’s hold the most powerful role in their child’s life and have a responsibility to examine their thoughts, ideas and beliefs to be sure what they are passing on to their children will serve them in a positive and beneficial way.
Angela Brooks has worked in a state-funded psychiatric hospital in Kentucky for 21 years as a nurse, assisting sometimes-dangerous patients who come in shackled and cuffed. At AngelaBrook.com, she offers stories of life on the inside of a psychiatric ward, and the site, as well as her company, offers support for nurses in the mental health field and helps them bring passion into their role at work.
On her BlogTalkRadio show, Mental Happiness with Angela Brooks, she shares some of her experiences “learning to love those others have forsaken” and gives tips on how to bring peace to your own life.
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* Please note: I am not here to CURE, DIAGNOSE, Treat or suggest replacements for what a doctor prescribes. The names used in this post are not the real names of the people being mentioned – I am sharing my nursing adventures with you.
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