Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Overcoming Childhood Emotional Abuse

Before we go deeply into this topic I think it is important to realize a very important insight: "that the person of our youth is still within us."  What this means is that the personal experiences and feelings that we had as children are still very much alive.  As we grow older we become consumed by our careers, our adult relationships, and our hobbies.  Yet, in many instances how we relate to our exterior and interior world has a lot to do with how we were raised and how we treated by the community as children.

It is scientific fact that by our 5th year our brains have developed to 90% of the size of what they will become as adults.  This brain growth is accounted for by the development of neural pathways and connections of which occur in direct relationship to our day to day experience.  It would seem only logical to say then that our childhood years are the most important years in terms of how we come to experience ourselves.

I want to make it clear though that nothing is permanent.  Although most brain development happens in early childhood the brain is constantly wiring and re-wiring itself throughout the entirety of our lifespan.   It seems that these changes in neural circuitry occur as a result of a change in consciousness and perspective.  Our greatest source of liberation and freedom from the abuses we may have endured is in:

our ability to shed awareness upon the emotions that we have distracted ourselves from.  With insight and awareness into how the past affects us we can change the relationship we have with ourselves and others.  In doing so we evolve, not only by doing away with a self-perspective that we no longer identify with, but also by gaining a sense of empathy that we may never have had access to.

What is "emotional abuse?"  Abuse can come in the form of physical abuse, but just as damaging is emotional abuse.  The child who hears repeated judgments about "how bad they are," "how much better they can be," or hears remarks of blatant disregard such as "why are you so stupid," "you are fat and worthless," etc., is left with an emotional disposition that internalizes these remarks.  They become emotions that we may identify with...but most likely a child will defend themselves from such abuse by pushing this emotional energy into the unconscious realm.  Yet although it may be "out of awareness" these energies begin to shape the way in which these children experience themselves...and it may do so all the way into adulthood. 

Consequences of emotional abuse manifest in our adult years as feelings of anger, depression, self-hatred, low self-esteem, low confidence, social anxiety, fear of judgement, and or self blame.  These consequences manifest in ways that also affect how we relate to others.  If you can observe that there is a cyclical pattern occurring in your intimate relationships that eventually leads to them being "to difficult to maintain" then most likely it has to do with how emotional abuse as a child has affected you and or your partner.

Most of the time we are unaware of what the causes are and often we are unaware that we may even be experiencing "negative" emotions.  Reason being is because these feelings we observe within ourselves we see as "normal."  This is what we have come to know.  But the truth can always become clearer, more harmonious, and more enjoyable.  If you are ready to create something more peaceful within yourself it is time to do the work that will liberate you.
  1. Do you feel you have the right to pursue what you think your life should be?
  2. Do you feel you have a right to your own beliefs?
  3. Do you feel you have the right to be in relationship with those whom you want to be in relationship with [not those with whom you think you "should" be in relationship with]?
  4. Do you feel you have a right to experience your life without the emotional influence of the past?
  5. Do you have the right to experience self love?
Observing the emotional response to these questions within yourself honestly and humbly may help you begin the quest of overcoming childhood emotional abuse.  The answers to these questions can help keep you motivated when the "going gets tough" so that you know what you are working towards.

You are the master of your own life...and it may be the abuse that you have received in the past and working through this that helps you get to a place to emotional mastery in your life.  Removing the shekels of the troubled past takes courage and determination, but it is your destiny!  Ultimately it is all of our destiny to realize the control we have over our emotions and then to consciously make consistent choices that bring us peace and joy.

It will not serve you to dissociate from your past, but it will serve you to work deeply with it.  When you commit yourself to bravely becoming aware of your traumatic past and emotionally digest it you are on you way to emotional freedom.  You will come to witness how your emotional disposition pushes you to behave and relate in ways that do not serve your well-being.  When you become aware of these patterns, not only intellectually but as they arise, you will create a much richer and emotionally liberating life than you may ever have imagined for yourself.

Are you ready to end the cycle of abuse?  As always, the journey starts and ends with you...


  1. But how do you do this?

  2. This article is called "Overcoming Childhood Emotional Abuse" yet not once does it say what needs to be done, it only states the obvious that we're completely screwed up!

    Thanks for nothing.

  3. I agree, not once writer says what needs to be done.

    I am a victim of childhood abuse, multiple emotional abuse, and my life now as 35 yr old is screwed up tot he point I no longer have the capacity to handle minute amounts of stress. However, what I came to learn lately is this:

    The best way to start is to visit a good psychologist, not a psychiatrist and will explain why, to diagnose your condition. Believe it or not, knowing your condition and knowing that a human being knows what's going on with you and feels for you will make you feel better.

    The reason i do not recommend seeing a psychiatrist is because he/she will put you on medication which will only lessen the pain. On the other hand, a psychologist will talk with you about the problem and teach you how to stop the past from affecting you. It is a learning process just like learning how to swim or drive a car. It just needs time and effort to achieve. I hope this helps ;)

  4. You said, "Removing the shekels of the troubled past takes courage and determination" -- but the word should be "shackles" NOT "shekels." Shekels were ancient forms of currency, shackles are forms of restraints.

  5. I really enjoyed this article. I know exactly what the author is talking about. They are saying that, we need to recognize the patterns we keep repeating (or mistakes) and then learn from them. We all make mistakes, but if we continue to repeat those mistakes, we create an unhealthy pattern. People who have experienced a past of abuse tend to feel "trapped" in a cycle of unhappiness or feelings of hopelessness. The author encourages us to recognize the choices we are making which allow our circumstances to remain that way, and then change them! Maybe we should sever contact with those who are negative influences on us (are abusive) and then replace them with people who will make a positive impact on our lives. We have control over these choices and it is definitely not easy to do so! We care about these people and have formed close bonds with even the abusive people in our lives. However, that is the hard part. We have to make a decision to stay away from those things.