Tag Archives: Childhood Wounds

The Painful Paradox of Parenthood – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation. –Unknown

It’s not natural to guide, protect, teach, and give to children for eighteen years IMG_2109and then sit back and let them go out into the world on their own. It’s unnatural. Letting go of a kid is so adverse to being a parent. It’s like attaching your child to a helium balloon that holds the parenting of 18 plus years–love, academics, guidance, morality lessons, wisdom, and values. You stand back with awe and apprehension, wondering if the balloon will ascend. Does it have enough of everything it needs inside to take flight? And then suddenly, your child rises up and floats away to his or her own future and life, on hope and a prayer.

And you’re never the same parent again. 

IMG_1714The task of every mom and dad is to raise a child to be an independent, moral, and responsible addition to the world by the age of eighteen. Blah, Blah, Blah. Of course, that makes sense. But it’s not biologically innate for a mother or a father. Even though the parent’s are proud, it’s painful to experience the changes that come with an empty nest. The dark bedroom that had once seen many transitions of paint and many different styles of wallpaper from zoo animals to concert posters and blaring music, is now vacant. The chair at the dinner table is empty. The everyday banter about everything and nothing is absent.

But, this is the child’s milestone, not the parent’s.

When a child grows up, a child is no longer a child. He or she is someone who can contribute to mankind and knows how to lift the spirits of other people. Someone who is a good person and a good friend to those pals along that path. Someone who is caring, responsible, and genuine with the world in the horizon. Someone with a separate life to live.

And, just like most other important experiences in life, it’s a paradox.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Can self-worth and self-respect co-exist with hatred?

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In Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, UK educator A. S. Neill wrote All hate is self-hate. Neill felt that teenagers turned to self-hate and internal hostility when they were denied an outlet for their expression in the adult systems of emotional regulation.

Soon after the Columbine High School shootings, I watched a program that focused on possible explanations that could account for 13 murders by two teenage boys on April 20, 1999. There was discussion about what could have prevented Eric and Dylan from shooting 12 students and one teacher. Gun-control, banishing bullying, and teaching tolerance were all valuable conclusions.

IMG_2044However, I see those explanations as useless without imprinting kids with the significance of self-worth. You see, only a person who hates himself can hate another person. Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-worth and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. The horror of additional shooting events since 1999 that involve schools, children and young adults have stunned our minds with shock of disbelief. How does this keep happening?

It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not intended to hate. Everybody is born with an inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others. When this inborn flame of self-love becomes diminished during childhood, it has a devastating impact on the person as an adolescent and as an adult.

If we don’t see ourselves as a uniquely special, God-created individuals with many talents, abilities, and gifts, then a lack of self-worth can easily exist in theIMG_1747 mind along with a constant state of uncertainty and fear. In uncertainty there’s no rest, no peace—we must stay alert for possible prejudice, rejection and disapproval from others. We want to believe that we have something to offer the world, but we focus on a few people that say we’re pond scum—and we believe it! This incorrect feeling of being flawed adds fuel to the resentment and loathing we feel towards those who persistently criticize and bully us. We don’t fit in. We’re kept outside the circle of popularity. We’re judged and condemned. This opens the door to a budding mental illness where moral standards of right and wrong can become blurred.

A zero self-worth is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we as a society stop the hate, end the prejudice, and embrace all human beings of all ages with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, maybe violence will end. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-worth are not extinguished.

Think about it. In caring, Dr. Sandy

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

A Star is born and guess who it is?

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You were born with an instinctive, endless amount of self-acceptance, and self-love. It’s innate. Think about it. You were created with ten fingers and toes, billions of brain cells, a specific DNA, a heart that would pump gallons of blood babyfor years, and an endless supply of self-acceptance, and self-love. When you came into this world, you possessed no fear of disapproval. As a baby in the hospital you didn’t compare yourself to the other babies next to you. You didn’t stay awake in your crib worrying that you might not measure up. You didn’t lie in the arms of adults wondering “Are you mad at me?” As you started to explore your world as a toddler, you existed in glory. You freely showed goofiness and laughable antics. You weren’t concerned if your actions would make you look stupid. You weren’t hung up on avoiding mistakes and appearingbaby1 better than others. You believed you were the Cat’s Pajama’s–fantastic, important, and special! You were open, free-spirited—full of enthusiasm. You didn’t fret over your appearance. You weren’t concern with what someone was thinking about your dance moves or your conversation with toys. You believed in who you were. Your self-love wasn’t shown in self-conceit—it was a sincere and humble certainty that didn’t need to knock others to feel good about yourself. You believed you were special and significant and that others were too. Your world was one of self-love and because you loved yourself, you treated others the same way—with love, value, and acceptance.
Then it started. It was unintentional, of course, yet it shook your world of self-love and slowly, little by little, that self-love dimmed as you believed what some well-meaning adults were saying about you when they were upset, angry, or frustrated.
Children don’t know what is right or wrong, good or bad until an adult tells them. The methods that some adults use to tell kids what’s wrong and bad often, unintentionally, crush a child’s self-love. To avoid raising self-centered, baby2narcissistic kids, well-meaning adults quickly criticize kids who think of themselves first and what they like, want, or need. These kids are told that to seek what pleases them is selfish. When kids express their self-worth by stating their wants, ideas, opinions, and thoughts, they are often scolded. These kids then, sadly, grow up listening and believing what they are told, and conclude that there must be something wrong with them for wanting what they want, liking what they like, and needing what they need. The free-spirited child who once beamed from self-love fades into self-doubt and fear.
What surfaces is a child (and later, an adult) who’s set on pleasing everyone else to avoid rejection, disapproval, and possible withholding of love. Some adults indirectly destroy children’s inborn self-love and teach them to love others instead; not to love others and themselves, but others instead of themselves. Children are taught to honor teachers, ministers, coaches, but not themselves. They’re instructed to respect the neighbors, but not themselves. They’re taught IMG_0684 - Copyto love their parents, siblings, Gramma and Grampa, but not themselves. To be kind to their pets, friends, babysitters, and cousins; but not themselves. They’re told to be gentle with toys, books, pillows, and clothes, but not themselves. They’re taught to remember their mittens, homework, and library books, but not themselves. These children learn that the correct thing to do is to forfeit themselves, give up their own needs, and ignore their own opinions for the approval of other people.
I want you to plow through all the Childhood Programming you received growing up, set it aside for just a minute, and remember who you really are. You’re special and significant, and deep inside yourself you know that’s true. No matter what someone says about you, there’s an inborn part of you that wantsstar to take a stand for what you say about you. You want your own approval. You want dignity and self-respect. You want to stop needing others approval and start wanting your own. Deep inside, you know you deserve more in life. Self-love is the source of all other love.                                                                                
A Star is born and it’s you. Think about it!  -In caring, Dr. Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What are you expecting today?

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Some individuals hold others responsible for the disappointment and unwanted outcomes they experience. This furnishes them with a blaming, self-defeating state of mind. After being injured, disappointed, hurt, and violated enough times we may forfeit the anticipation of good outcomes in life. We remain snared in the unfairness of life where incorrect thinking and pessimistic feelings reign. We invent an imaginary scale by which events are weighed. Of course, the scale never measures above bad luck. No matter how many blessings exist or good IMG_0294things happen, it’s not seen, or it’s not enough, or something is flawed with it or we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“You have a style, a way of being. You hear people describe others by noting their persona: He’s a real hard charger, or she’s a cool customer. Some approach life as a combat: they’re hostile, even explosive. Others are milquetoast who expect to get trampled, and do. Your attitude of approach dictates what you get back. You may complain about the way people react to
you, but believe me, you create it, just as everyone else creates the reactions they get from the world. Honestly evaluate your style of engagement, and you will begin to understand why the world responds to you as it does.”¹

Unless we tackle the thinking that results in this self-defeating negativity, we’ll become more complaining, more resentful, and continue to experience more unfairness because that’s what we’re expecting. What are you expecting today? Dr. Sandy

¹Dr. Phil McGraw in Life Strategies

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What did the adults in your childhood tell you about yourself?

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Fred Rogers tells us, “The roots of a child’s ability to cope and thrive, regardless of circumstance, lie in that child’s having had at least a small, safe place (an apartment? a room? a lap?) in which, in the companionship of a loving person, that child could discover that he or she was lovable and capable of loving in return.”¹ 

What did the adults in your childhood tell you about yourself?

IMG_0418We were born with an enormous amount of self-love and love for others. Our enthusiasm and joy for life was clearly apparent as we began to explore the world.  Whether those attributes were able to grow within us, and thus enable us to believe in ourselves, depended a great deal on how the adults in our lives handled our individual needs and how they dealt with our mistakes.

If we were encouraged to be great and if we were not shamed when we were not, then it is easier for us to believe in our abilities. If the adults in our childhood believed in us and trusted us, then we are more likely to believe in ourselves and possess self-confidence

It is never too late to have a happy childhood. Today, provide to yourself the love and acceptance which may have been missing in your childhood. -Dr. Sandy

¹From Mister Rogers Talks With Parents by Fred Rogers

How were you rewarded for achieving as a child?

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What are the ways in which you were rewarded as a child for achieving?

From little on, most individuals are taught to strive for perfection in their IMG_0281.JPG (2)endeavors. Teachers applaud kids that get correct all the answers. Family members cheer the child who achieves and accomplishes. Those who seem to do things perfectly are praised and favored.

Yet reality tells us that there is good, and there is great, but perfect does not exist on a continual basis. Since you may have been taught as a child to seek a standard that is almost impossible to sustain, you may have an inner conflict between what you believe you must obtain, and what you actually can obtain.

You need to determine how important a certain standard is in every situation. But determining the importance of a standard should not come from an inner critical parental voice that berates less than perfect efforts.

Are you daily battered with the idea of perfection? Today, recognize that good and great outcomes are respected and valued. –sn

Do you remain living under the thumb of an inner critical voice?

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Is there evidence today that you remain living under the thumb of an inner critical parental voice? In the book Between Tears and Laughter, author Alden Nowlan writes, “The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself he becomes wise.”

IMG_0203When we tell ourselves the same critical things our parents told us, we remain in a damaging childhood under the ever critical and condemning eye of disapproving and displeasing parents.

Not all of what we were told to believe in childhood is true. Critical remarks about mistakes are not true. Performance does not determine self-worth. Perfection does not define importance. Our significance is not dependent on another person’s opinion.

When we choose to tell ourselves today the same degrading remarks our parents verbalized, we linger in a harmful mental setting.

Today, share with me how you silence that inner critical voice. -sn

Is it tempting to blame-shift?

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In what ways have you felt unable to experience happiness as an adult because of your days as a child? “It is an act of irresponsible self-indulgence to cite our childhood histories as excuses for any of our present behaviors, attitudes, or qualities that are less than healthy,” says Robin Norwood in From Daily Meditations for Women Who Love To Much. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.

IMG_0326.JPG (2)When you blame your childhood for the shortcomings you display today, you imply that your anger problem, employment struggles, relationship difficulties, or other trouble, are not your responsibility to correct. To say that you can’t do this or that because of how you were raised isn’t the truth. It’s your responsibility to stop blaming your past for why life now is what it is. 

Whatever unfair circumstances you survived as a child are now circumstances in your adult life that you’re required to address and remedy. That’s a difficult calling, but a necessary requirement to have a shot at happiness and fulfillment. As a grown-up you’re no longer powerless.

Check for any excuses you may be using today to avoid accountability for your current struggles.–sn