Our families helped shape our attitudes about emotions, our abilities to identify emotions, our ways of interpreting events, and our ways of expressing emotions. If you are having difficulties in any of these processes and are trying to change them, you may find it helpful to consider what you learned about them from your family. Many people do not recall being taught “family rules” concerning emotions, but such teachings occurred, whether directly or subtly. A subtle example might be where a parent distanced him/herself from you or left the room whenever you got angry, thus indicating that expressions of anger were unacceptable. In other families a parent may yell, “Don’t raise your voice at me,” suggesting a rule against the child’s expressing anger, but subtly conveying the rule that expressions of parental anger are permissible. Identifying your family’s rules can help you change the ways you experience and express your emotions. Some common examples of problematic family rules include:
- Always treat other people’s feelings as more important than your own.
- Never do anything that might cause dissension or negative feelings for someone else.
- Don’t express anger.
- Use anger to get attention.
- Ignore your feelings, or better still, don’t feel.
- Don’t trust others with your feelings; keep them to yourself.
- Never trust your feelings; trust only your logic.
- Be happy all the time.
As a child growing up you may not have been able to experience or express your emotions in ways different than those prescribed by your family. As an adult you have more options, including replacing those rules which are not helpful. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
All parents damage their children.
It cannot be helped.
Youth, like pristine glass,
absorbs the prints of its handlers.
Some parents smudge, others crack,
a few shatter childhoods
completely into jagged
little pieces, beyond repair.
Marriage does not cause Codependency; it is just a place where it is practiced a lot. The roots of Codependency are always in childhood. Controlling, critical, abandoning, abusive and shaming parents and caretakers inflict the wounds in the tender psyches of children that result later in life as the low self-esteem, powerlessness, voicelessness, other centeredness, low entitlement, passiveness and depression that we correctly call Codependency. Many times this damage can seem subtle during the childhood itself. If it is all that you have ever known then what do you have to compare it to? In a healthy family children and teenagers are encouraged to have a voice. They are encouraged to speak up and make their cases. That is a skill that they will need in relationships, in school and on the job down the road. In a healthy family a child gets the focus and the attention and the care that they need. The focus isn’t on dad’s alcoholism or mom’s depression. The parents have the ability to really be there for the kids consistently. Parents can give praise directly to the children and they are lavish with it. Home is a safe and a predictable place. The child does not have to grow up too quickly. They can just focus on being a kid. They don’t become the emotional caretakers of their parents. Women are especially trained in our society to be Codependent, although there are also millions of Codependent men in our society as well. Women are taught to be sweet, supportive, nurturing, gentle, not too assertive and not too opinionated. The message a Codependent gets growing up is that they aren’t quite good enough. They don’t quite rate dad’s attention or his time. They don’t quite measure up to mom’s expectations. They need to try harder. They need to eliminate the self and anything positive that the self could have done for them. They need to live for others. From an article by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
I have always considered marriage
as the most interesting event of one’s life,
the foundation of happiness or misery.
Loving and respectful parents are also approachable and nonjudgmental. Their children know that they can go to them with anything as there will be a logical discussion of the matter, instead of out-and-out condemnation. They also not threatened by the fact that their children will no longer need them as much when they become older and more independent. In fact, they view this as an evolution in their respective parent-child relationship. They do not try to psychologically infantilize their burgeoning young adult child. They realize that their parental role must progress to that of friend and/or confidante when needed. It is natural that children will love and respect such parents. No, not because it was a parental directive but because it was shown by parental example and treatment. Children with respectful, loving parents truly care for and love their parents. They enjoy and want their parents in their lives. Besides that, as they become older, their parents are more their friends than parents. These are the children who sacrifice and willingly do things for their parents. They are not loathe to include their parents in their adult lives or even care for the latter when they are unable to care for themselves. Parents who treat their children respectfully and with loving kindness in their formative years are amply rewarded with children who gladly reciprocate, especially when the former reaching their advanced years. Many parents who treat their children in less than respectful ways are oftentimes quite puzzled when the latter reciprocate in kind. They unknowingly have sown the seeds for such disrespectful treatment. Many of these parents often wonder why their children detest, even hate them. Some of these parents as they reach their advanced years, wonder why they are alone as their children have disowned them as a result of the quasi-abusive treatment the latter received as children. Parents who love and respect their children tend to have children who love and respect them in return. These children learned the value of loving kindness towards their parents from how kindly they were treated. They actually want to be around their parents, their love and respect increasing and evolving in their lives. These are the children who will be with their parents throughout, even in the latter’s old ages when the fruits of parental loving kindness will be ultimately demonstrated. Yes, one does sow what he/she reaps. The way parents treat their children for either good or ill will be justly compensated in kind. From an article by G. M. Williams http://gmwilliams.hubpages.com/hub/Children-React-to-Their-Parents-The-Very-Way-THEY-are-Treated
You don’t really understand human nature unless
you know why a child on a merry-go-round
will wave at his parents every time around -
and why his parents will always wave back.
William D. Tammeus
Though almost three-quarters of Americans believe spanking a child is good for them, I’ve never been able to understand how we figured that hitting a child could teach a child not to hit others. Catherine Taylor at Tulane University and her colleagues reviewed data from a 20-city study that took place between 1998 and 2005. Data from almost 2500 children shows that 3-year-olds who are spanked twice a month are one and half times more likely to be aggressive at age five than children who are not spanked. What’s particularly interesting is that Taylor and her group were able to rule out the confounding effect of factors like the mother’s own history of maltreatment, intimate partner violence in the home, or the mother’s substance use, depression and stress. They even ruled out whether the parents considered aborting the child before birth. Though any one of these factors might create a home environment that makes a child more likely to be aggressive, none of these factors explained the difference between the children who were spanked and those who were not. On most issues I follow the lead of the parents with whom I work. I can be convinced of many things, from bedtimes to mealtimes. But tell me that spanking a child teaches them discipline and I have to shake my head. “Do your child a favor,” I say. “Teach them discipline through words and actions that are neither violent nor degrading.” Your child is much more likely to succeed… From an article by Michael Ungar, Ph.D. in Nurturing Resilience http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nurturing-resilience/201009/spanking-makes-kids-more-aggressive-the-research-is-clear
Spanking and verbal criticism
have become, to many parents,
more important tools
of child rearing than approval.
Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned, “Emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body”(1990). Children who are constantly ignored, shamed, terrorized or humiliated suffer at least as much, if not more, than if they are physically assaulted. Danya Glaser (2002) finds that emotional abuse can be “more strongly predictive of subsequent impairments in the children’s development than the severity of physical abuse.” An infant who is severely deprived of basic emotional nurturance, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Babies with less severe emotional deprivation can grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop and who have low self-esteem. Although the visible signs of emotional abuse in children can be difficult to detect, the hidden scars of this type of abuse manifest in numerous behavioral ways, including insecurity, poor self-esteem, destructive behavior, angry acts (such as fire setting and animal cruelty), withdrawal, poor development of basic skills, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, difficulty forming relationships and unstable job histories. Emotionally abused children often grow up thinking that they are deficient in some way. A continuing tragedy of emotional abuse is that, when these children become parents, they may continue the cycle with their own children. Some children may experience emotional abuse only, without ever experiencing another form of abuse. However, emotional abuse typically is associated with and results from other types of abuse and neglect, which makes it a significant risk factor in all child abuse and neglect cases. Emotional abuse that exists independently of other forms of abuse is the most difficult form of child abuse to identify and stop.
There is no greater evil
than those who willingly
hurt an innocent child.
As a parent, the most important message you can send your children about lying is that you always — always — want them to come clean with you. No matter how big a whopper they have told, remind them that you would always rather hear the truth, no matter how bad it is, than be deceived. Tell them there is really nothing more sacred in your relationship than your trust of each other. Of course, all this presupposes that we have discovered an untruth — some people are so expert at deception that it often takes a long time to find out that we have been lied to. How, then, can we best detect whether we are being misled? There is no foolproof way, but there are often clues you can see in behavior that should make you suspicious. Usually someone makes eye contact at least half the time they are talking to you. If you notice them avoiding eye contact or looking down during a specific part of a conversation, they may well be lying. A variation in pitch of voice or rate of speech can be a sign of lying. So can lots of umms and ahhs. Turning your body away, covering your face or mouth, a lot of fidgeting of hands or legs can indicate deception. Making statements that just don’t hold together should make you suspicious. If you lie all the time, even about unimportant things, you are likely to have a problem that will eventually – if it hasn’t already — cause you real relationship, financial or legal troubles. Figuring out what is driving you to lie in the first place will help heal this self-destructive behavior. This may mean going into treatment with a therapist to discover why you feel the need to deceive. Dr. Gail Saltz on The “Today Show” http://www.today.com/id/4072816/#.Um2mo3co6Uk
Every lie is two lies;
the lie we tell others
and the lie we tell
ourselves to justify it.
To continue to open yourself up emotionally to an abusive or addicted person without seeing true change is foolish. You should not continue to set yourself up for hurt and disappointment. If you have been in an abusive relationship, you should wait until it is safe and until real patterns of change have been demonstrated before you go back. In that horribly rough, shaky, nerve-rattling stage of stepping out in the truth, many adult survivors will have strong physical reactions to what they are remembering or seeing in a new light. They will, in many cases, demonstrate the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have been locked in a false reality for so long…. they are bound to feel the physical pain, via headaches, stomach pains, panic attacks, etc. in looking at the truth of what is. (And all that is one of the many, many reasons we highly recommend therapy for all adult survivors of emotional child abuse.) Unable to endure the headaches and that terrible feeling of guilt, of being orphaned, many adult survivors hurry back. A professional therapist, however, may tell them to hold on. Wait. Give it time. You don’t hurry back to the abusers to stop having headaches or feeling bad. In one case, we heard a therapist offer the following advice: “You’ve been living under a dictator for so long… You are bound to be lost right now. To feel that you’ve somehow betrayed your parents and family. But you are free now. And freedom takes some getting used to.” Mourn your loss… Getting rid of the magical thinking—”I wish my parents had been loving!” or “Maybe my parents will love me this time!”—is a tremendous step towards becoming healthy once more. So, let yourself mourn what you didn’t have and mourn what you did have. You have the right to be sad. It’s all right. Let yourself be sad… Look to the present. Remind yourself of the gift that you’ve given yourself in facing the truth of your emotionally abusive childhood. You can no longer be held emotional hostage. You are free to be who God intended you to be, free to be your most authentic self. Instead of wanting to turn back to the past, focus on what you have today… and try and create a new life for yourself with friends who are emotionally healthy, loving, and kind… and be that to others, too. From an on-line article by Veronica Maria Jarski http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/tag/adult-survivors-of-emotional-child-abuse-2/
Don’t judge yourself
by what others did to you.