Childhood is not only the stage of life characterized by innocence; It is also one in which we are more delicate, more sensitive to psychological damage. This is not an unimportant detail, considering that there are many experiences or living conditions can be harmful to weak people.
The consequences of a complicated childhood can continue to be noticed when we have grown and entered adulthood. However, that does not mean that we should resign ourselves to it. As much as discomfort and anguish are unbearable at times, in most cases, it is possible to significantly improve the way in which we live with that past. To contribute to this, below we will see some guidelines for overcoming a difficult childhood, as well as a reflection on how we should face this task.
The emotional pain that comes from the past
Some people talk about this feeling as if it were a kind of emotional hacking: the pain comes through the vulnerabilities of the past, although we believe that if we did not go through all that suffering today, we would be quite complete and capable of all without devoting much effort to this.
In other words, the traumatic events and the anguish experienced during our first years of life not only robbed us of childhood but also of adulthood. The trauma spot continually spreads as we try to flee into the future.
However, we do not have to be slaves of our past, even though this happened during childhood, the moment when we become aware of what the world is like. There is always a possible change, as we will see. You must bear in mind that each case is unique, and therefore, if you suffer for your past, it is best to seek the personalized treatment that psychologists can give you in your consultation. However, in the short term, you can use these tools that we offer below.
1. Learn about the effects of psychological trauma
This is important since in most cases there is an excessively deterministic and skewed conception of trauma towards pessimism. It is true that traumas can contribute to adults having several problems of emotional management and regulation of care, but that does not mean that people who have had a difficult childhood systematically develop PTSD, or that this type of experience has to leave us necessarily marked
In fact, even in cases of severe violence and abuse in childhood, many people mature until they reach the stage of adulthood without significant mental problems and without an intelligence lower than expected.
What does this mean? That in many cases, people with a complicated past face states of discomfort generated by pessimistic life expectations and based on a problem that is not there. That is why when it comes to overcoming a difficult childhood it is necessary to be clear that all or a good part of that feeling of discomfort may arise from a fiction.
2. Change social circles
As far as possible, we must try to get away from people who in the past made us feel bad and who in the present have no intention of helping us. In this way, situations that remind us of traumatic events will appear less frequently.
3. Lead an active social life
Breaking the isolation is a good way to break with rumination, that is, the propensity to give in to the recurring thoughts that end up becoming obsessions.
The good thing about having an active social life is that it contributes to living in the present and getting away from those memories that come back again and again. Building life is an excellent solution to prevent the mind from filling that gap with elements belonging to the past.
On the other hand, after spending a season in the company of friends and loved ones, it is not necessary to self-impose this strategy. And the memories that generate discomfort, no matter how intense they may be in the beginning, can lose momentum at great speed if we get used to not invoking them frequently for several months in a row.
4. Take care
Many times, the passage through violent situations makes us automatically fix our idea of the self to all the discomfort and vulnerability suffered in the past. This can cause us act as if we did not care at all, that is, we treat ourselves in the same way that life treated us. If those complicated situations appeared during childhood, also, there are chances that we have not known another version of ourselves that is not the victim role.
To break this vicious circle, it is necessary to force ourselves to take our well-being seriously. This involves eating well, exercising, taking good personal hygiene and sleeping well, among other things. In other words, we must devote efforts to demonstrate to ourselves the potential that exists in oneself, even if at first it does not feel like it.
5. Reinterprets the past
There is no single interpretation of our lives: no matter how hard we try, we never reach an objective perception of things. In fact, our memory works in such a way that memories change constantly. The simple act of remembering something finding ourselves in an intense emotional state can make the events we evoked more congruent with those emotions.
Knowing this fact can help us a lot to not blindly believe that we keep those painful memories of childhood because this experience was real and caused us discomfort. At best, we keep that memory because we have learned to associate it with negative moods, even distorting its content.
So, feel free to reinterpret the past without fear of being modifying it unconsciously: the latter is inevitable, but we can avoid that it harms us emotionally.
6. Seek professional help
There are cases in which, no matter how much effort is put into it, little progress is made in overcoming the traumas and problems experienced in childhood. This is not due to lack of willpower, but to something much simpler: in the same way that these mental alterations emerge from the influence of our environment, to get out of that kind of emotional quagmires, someone needs to help us from outside and that someone must be a mental health professional.