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.
When you unconditionally love a child, you love and accept him no matter what. For example, if your child drew on the walls with crayon, you won’t like what he did, but you still love him. According to a WebMD article titled “10 Commandments of Good Parenting,” it’s impossible to spoil a child with love. Just keep in mind that love isn’t synonymous with material possessions, low expectations or inappropriate leniency. When a child gets into trouble, a parent has a couple of ways to handle the problem — with punishment or discipline. Parents who use punishment do so as a way to make a child stop what she’s doing or to make her “pay” for her undesired actions or behaviors, according to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s publication, “Discipline and Punishment: What is the Difference?” Punishments often have nothing to do with a child’s offense, are self-centered and place responsibility on the parent to take action. On the other hand, discipline helps a child learn to behave appropriately, uses logical consequences that relate to the offense, shows respect and helps a child learn self-control. Parents are a child’s first teachers. From his first words to social norms, a child learns by watching and listening to his parents. According to the article “How to Be a Good Parent: It’s All about You!” on the Psychology Today website, being a positive role model for your child can be more effective than disciplinary measures or behavior training. Because your child looks to you to see how he should socialize and behave, it’s important to make your actions and words worth imitating. Children thrive on routine. When your behaviors, boundaries, rules and modes of discipline are consistent, your child will trust you, feel safe and respect your authority. While it’s important to be consistent with your behaviors and values, it’s equally vital to practice flexibility as a parent. As your child grows, so will her needs and skills. Making adjustments to the way you parent will help foster independence and intellectual growth, and provide a structured, supportive environment. Allowing yourself to pursue your own sense of independence is as important as fostering your child’s autonomy. Remember that you are more than a parent; you are a person with talents, hobbies and others who care about you. As you let your child explore and develop a sense of self, occasionally take time out for your own pursuits. Otherwise, according to Firestone, you’re at risk of living your life through your child, which can lead to emotional voids and rebellion. by Flora Richards-Gustafson, Demand Media http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/qualities-make-good-bad-parent-3846.html
Your kids require you
most of all to love them
for who they are,
not to spend your
whole time trying
to correct them.
The desire to be part of a loving family; to have parents who are loving, supporting, and caring; to have siblings who love you and care for your well-being; to have family members who listen to you, who share themselves, who make your life happier by being in it (and who are happy in your being in their lives)…. All those are very human desires. Everyone wants those. Who doesn’t want to be loved well and loved for who they are? … not everyone gets that family. Yet abused children will do anything to convince themselves that, yes, they do have that family. Myriad children, for the sake of being able to survive to adulthood, have to convince themselves that their family is loving…. even if the children are being routinely cut into shreds emotionally. Abusive parents, knowing this on some level, often tell their abused children that they deserve such verbal takedowns, that the parents are only being honest or caring, that the parents need to correct their children, etc. The abusive parents often cling to an idea that they are fantastic parents and, as emotionally abused children often experience a type of brainwashing, children repeat what they hear. “We are a loving family,” a child will repeat, even if bearing emotional scars from distant, selfish parents. “My parents are great parents,” a boy will repeat even if he has been treated harshly and been abused routinely. The child’s mind needs to believe that the loving family is true… because the truth of the matter is very difficult for a child to accept. But it’s also difficult for an adult survivor to accept the fact. However, an adult has the ability to break away from the abuse. And one way to make sure they stop engaging in relationships that are abusive is to remember the truth of the relationship. Remember the facts of what really have happened. Unfortunately, many adult survivors of emotional child abuse—-longing for family, longing for parents, hating how judgmental society is regarding estranged family members—hurry back to the fold almost as quickly as they told their abusers to stop it. The adult survivor’s deeply rooted desire for what could be makes them return to the fold in the very foolish, heart-breaking hope that everything will be different now… By Veronica Maria Jarski http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/tag/adult-survivors-of-emotional-child-abuse-2/
There are many
who don’t wish to sleep
for fear of nightmares.
Sadly, there are many
who don’t wish to wake
for the same fear.
Richelle E. Goodrich
There are four common traits found in adults who have been abused as children. A person who has experienced severe sexual, physical, or emotional abuse will usually have all four. A person who experienced limited abuse will probably have only some of the traits, and those that are present will interfere with this person’s life in only a limited number of situations. The first trait is the tendency to be triggered by specific events, which has been called time tunneling… The second trait is difficulty modulating emotions. This means that it is easy for a person to become anxious or angry, and, once angered or frightened, it is difficult for this person to calm down. An adult who had to suppress many emotions as a child may also find it difficult to feel emotions at a low-level because the tendency to suppress emotions has become automatic. The third trait is a tendency to view oneself and the world negatively. The three key areas affected are the ability to trust, feel safe, and believe that it is possible to bring about desired outcomes. Two key areas in terms of one’s self image are whether or not one is normal and whether or not one is lovable. The nature of the abuse can greatly affect the form of these negative views. For instance, if a person was abused by a stranger, he or she may feel a sense of safety when close loved ones, and a sense of danger when far away from them. However, if a person was abused by someone who was supposed to protect and give love, the identification of what and who are “safe” becomes confused. The fourth trait is a reduced ability to understand events. People with this tendency find that they often go into a daze or become confused, especially when they are stressed, dealing with conflict, or emotionally upset. When a child is being abused and cannot escape physically, the child often takes the only other form of escape possible: dissociation. The more frequent and severe the abuse, the greater the tendency to remove oneself mentally from the painful experience. …people with abusive childhoods often find it difficult to distinguish unhealthy individuals from healthy ones. Their childhood experiences taught them to ignore the important indicators that to those raised in healthy families became danger signals. Instead, they “numb out” or use an old response pattern that causes them to walk into harm’s way without even knowing it. In addition, an abused child often develops a self-concept that contains beliefs about being dirty, inadequate, guilty, or responsible for what happened. As a result, a person like this often makes up a “cover story” and tries to hide who he or she really is… From article by Reneau Peurifoy http://rpeurifoy.com/Articles/TraitsinAdultswithAbusiveChildhoods.aspx
Not all scars show,
not all wounds heal.
Sometimes you can’t
always see the pain
that someone feels.