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overcoming a dysfunctional childhood

(15 Posts)
doji Sat 01-Oct-16 01:18:47

For those of you that had crappy childhoods, how did you become emotionally healthy?

I'm in my mid 30s and it's only in the last few years that I've realised quite how hideous my childhood was, and how much it still affects me.

Some recent events have shone light on some of the nastier things I experienced and I'm feeling really quite off balance at the moment. I guess councelling would be a good idea but I don't really know how to go about finding the right counsellor (Or what type would help). I'm not even sure I want to start unraveling it all, as the more I think about it and try to process stuff, the more unstable I feel.

My life is pretty damn good right now (great relationship, financially very comfortable, work as much/little as i want so lots of time to indulge in my hobbies etc - basically nice easy stress free life), yet I feel such rage towards my parents and some other adults that wronged me, it's nearly overwhelming, even though superficially at least it hasn't set me back in life.

Anyone come out the other side of this feeling better? If so where did you start? I feel like I should be over this by now, and should be past the point where I can feel angry about my childhood.

fafadebelem Sat 01-Oct-16 05:36:24

I have just started seeing a therapist. I had a terrible childhood but managed to put it all out of my mind until recently. My son has ADD, so do all I can to care for him, to give him the all the love he needs. Yet, I realised that I didn't have that love and support growing up. It's hard to accept that my parents did not feel the need to give us a good, stable childhood.

Two weeks ago I went to see a play therapist for my son. During the intake interview, she asked about my family history. On hearing the evidence of MH problems and hints of dysfunctionality, she told me that she would recommend that I start therapy too. It was clear to her that with so much going on in my family, I couldn't have come through unscattered. She is right.

Had my first session last week, and I left with a mixed feeling of relief and shame. I was ashamed of my dysfunction childhood. I guess I didn't want anyone to know how messed up it was. Well, during the session, I couldn't stop talking. It was literally as if the can was open and the pain inside me couldn't be contained any longer. As shameful and messy as it was, I had to share, I couldn't hide it any longer. Like you, I wanted it to be in the past, to show that I got over and that my life as it is now is all that matter. But it isn't over, it is just not acknowledged. It is still there though.

I like my therapist; she is a no-nonsense, straight-talking woman. I tried to see another therapist in the past but we didn't gel. I felt she was too nice and I could forsee her feeling sorry for me. I can't stand that.

So I am relieved that I started addressing my issues. I know it will get hard, but I want to do this. I don't want to rewrite my past, I want to put it to rest. It wasn't my fault, I did not deserve the way I was treated, so it not up to me to continue to feel bad about it. It was them, not me, who did wrong.

Sorry for the long post, as I said it is all coming out. I wouldn't say it feels good to talk or write about it, but I feel as if it has to come out.

doji Sat 01-Oct-16 07:02:21

I guess knowing that it is 'normal' to not be over it as an otherwise functioning adult is relieving, fafa, although I'm sorry that there are others out there that feel like this too.

How did you find your therapist? I've looked up one's local to me, but there seem to be so many specialities I have no idea where to start.

Aquamarine70 Sat 01-Oct-16 14:24:56

I've seen numerous counsellors & psychotherapists about my childhood issues. Some i just didnt gel with or they were just no use at all. No one has actually done any work with me. I think it's hard to find a good one.

Myusernameismyusername Sat 01-Oct-16 14:28:17

I went to my GP. Also I found a local place that offered sessions based on your income, it was like a well woman centre.

I'm much more balanced as I get older now I have my kids to focus on

whitehandledkitchenknife Sat 01-Oct-16 14:42:19

Doji -don't put pressure on yourself to be over it. It is part of who you are and how you see the world. Well done on achieving in spite of your upbringing, rather than because of it. People who haven't been through this can never understand. Well done on recognising what your little one needs and how impoverished your childhood was. Definitely recommend counselling. Look for someone you gel with and who gels with you. Sometimes the counsellor has review built in so that you can both check it's going ok. Maybe look for a psychodynamic approach when finding someone. It's a good all round approach and friendly. Also check they have BACP qualification. Good luck and well done again.

whitehandledkitchenknife Sat 01-Oct-16 14:45:12

Apologies- I got you and fafa mixed together. Well done fafa too!

Stilltryingtobeme Sat 01-Oct-16 16:38:24

I'm in much the same boat. Have a part time job, two beautiful children, lovely husband. Money is tight but not awful. Generally life is good. However my childhood abuse surfaced recently and it's like everything is such an effort. I'm half furious and raging, the other half terrified. It's abysmal. I'm seeing a therapist and it is helping but it's hard going. Even she admits it's a dose of therapy rather than a solution. The question I constantly ask is why? Why didn't my mum love me? It's bloody hard

fafadebelem Sat 01-Oct-16 17:35:35

Abysmal is the right word. I cannot understand why my parents did not feel the love and urge to nurture that I feel about my children.

I had a few opportunities to start therapy before, but I always pushed back. But somehow this time it clicked. I guess I was ready and me and the therapist gelled. My advice is to start the process of considering seeing a counsellor and see how far you can go. It's a process, there is no wrong or right way. It's hard too so be gentle with yourself. But remember that what you achieved shows that you are strong and brave. Nobody can take that away from you.

fafadebelem Sat 01-Oct-16 17:53:31

I am overseas now, and here there are tons of counsellors to choose from, it's all very customer-oriented. I second what whitehandled says: look around, explore, go forward or not. Take you time until you find the counsellor that you are comfortable with.

doji Sat 01-Oct-16 21:01:15

Thanks all, it's sad to hear others have felt like this too, but makes me feel less alone too. Took the first step today and emailed a local Bacp consellor to get the ball rolling. It's all fairly deeply buried, so I suspect I'll feel worse when I start getting into it, but hopefully it'll help in the medium term.

Stilltrying, and everyone else who feels like this, I hope you find peace soon.

salsiverdi Sat 01-Oct-16 21:21:03

It has taken me around 12 years, but feel I'm getting somewhere now. My parents were alcoholics in my teens and what started out as a loving, caring childhood, became unrecognisable in my teenage years.
I dealt with the repercussions in my early twenties and was completely 'lost' tried counselling but wasn't ready. Read a few books, Toxic Parents was helpful but found that when I had my own child, I was really ready and found a fantastic counsellor through charity, Mind. I've been back to them twice now when things crop up and it's really helped.
I now see a life coach every month who keeps me on track and helps me recognise patterns relating to my childhood etc. It's been a long journey and I'm still working through it, but I think acknowledging the dysfunction and wanting to learn from and deal with it is a big starting point.

hutchblue Sat 01-Oct-16 21:34:16

Depending on where you are with your journey, I would suggest mindset coaching instead of counselling. It's changed my life. I've been to counselling a for a period of time once in my 20s and again shortly after DC2 was born.

I found it very hard going both times. A lot of looking back, a lot of pain. But not sure it ever really resolved anything for me. It helped me understand patterns and behaviour etc but it didn't really move me to a place of peace.

Last year I found a mindset coach and went into a group with 60 other women. It probably sounds weird but the power of the group really lifted us all up. Most of them were American. I was the only one from the UK. It was online with calls every week for 12 weeks.

I used to be very negative and very confused and I very much felt like the victim and used to blame my parents etc and not understand what had happened to me and why.

I've learnt to forgive, to no longer judge, to even appreciate some of the shit I've been through because of what it's made me today.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't reached the ultimate status of being 'unfuckable with'. But I'm getting there. I feel quite zen much of the time these days. Not always, I lose my temper, I have all the normal feelings and life throws me a curve ball now and again. But I think I'm the happiest now I've ever been.

I have huge support from my coaching friends around the world and their daily motivation and positivity keeps me uplifted.

If anyone wants to PM I will pass on recommendations.

startingtolooklikemother Sat 01-Oct-16 21:49:20

I've been seeing a therapist on and off for a couple of years. She uses a variety of treatments and one of them that has worked wonders is EMDR. It's basically unblocking trapped emotions and then processing them. I've not explained it very well at all but it's excellent at dealing with these old trapped emotions. Good luck X

thissismyusername Sat 01-Oct-16 23:03:52

I can relate to your feeling you should be over childhood difficulties by the time you reach your 30's. I seem to remember feeling like this some of the time as by that age one really feels properly grown up, I had become a mother and had my own home.

Im 50 now and I felt a great deal of anger and toward my mother throughout my teens and twenties as a result of my childhood experiences. As i got older and struggled with depression, anxiety around personal relationships, and self confidence, periods of counselling over the years helped me to recognise the underlying history of neglect and trauma that had led to my own disordered lifestyle, which had in turn created problems such as abusive relationships and reckless behaviour, basically stemming from a strong lack of self worth.

I've been on AD's for many years and I hate that and want to stop them. More recently I have been trying for psychotherapy through my GP but I sometimes just don't have the energy to keep fighting.

Im not sure what i am trying to say here except that as I have passed through different life stages my relationship with myself and with my dm has changed several times, sometimes stronger and sometimes nc for several years in my sons middle childhood, and is never going to be fully resolved. In my twenties I was confused and trying to deal with the difficulties I had got myself into in terms of life choices, in my thirties I had more counselling and felt more hurt and identified more of the damage that had got me there in the first place. In my forties I moved away emotionally and shut down, from her and most other people as well.
As she ages she seems to have come to terms with herself and sees me as a strong person, and perhaps my emotional distance from her is partly her creation, (and her subconscious wish?) and my way of preparing myself for the stage when she is no longer here and perhaps that is when I will be able to get properly to the bottom of it all. But the anger has passed for now.

Sorry if this is a bit rambling but your post touched a nerve for me, hope some of it makes sense for you.

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