Abuse Isn’t Always Physical. Did You Grow Up In An Abusive Family? Some of my clients say they had a great childhood. No abuse. Loving parents. No out of the ordinary problems. It’s the out of the ordinary problems that I hone in on. There’s more than one kind of abuse and it’s not always physical. Emotional abuse, or neglect is just as bad and can cause long-term problems in being able to move forward as a functioning adult. It especially affects relationships. Like being able to be in a healthy one. The lack of boundaries, neglect, chaos, denial, and rigid parenting is what abusive families share. Not to mention the horrific abuse of sexual. That’s a category all it’s own. But it does show a lack of boundaries and regard for other. If you are experiencing physical abuse contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for resources to guide you to safety.
Parenting is a tough job. I know. I raised two daughters who are now adults. I learned parenting from my parents who learned parenting from theirs. Growing up in past generations from the 20th Century didn’t concentrate on fostering a sense of want as much as the importance of getting needs met. Needs, like the basic essentials to living. Food, shelter, clothing, and if you were fortunate, an education. Each with their own set of anxieties about surviving a better next generation. Of course we want better for our children. But how can we give them better when we are still stuck in unresolved childhood trauma that affects their ability to be better?
As a Marriage Counselor and family therapist, I hear couples say they want better for their children. They don’t want history to repeat from their shortcomings as parents. Yet, they do little to identify and acknowledge their personal issues. I, know, the phrase “personal issues” can get overused, but it’s true. We all have personal issues that affect our ability to either act appropriately or act out. The best gift you can leave your children as a legacy is your own recovery so you don’t repeat the dysfunctions of your upbringing. Grieving your lost childhood, becoming your own parent, growing up again, and integrating the healing aspects of spiritual, physical, and emotional recovery is what that legacy looks like.
I understand identifying the experiences of emotional abuse are often still too painful to admit. A sure sign you need to look at your personal issues is if your children are doing a lot of acting act. Acting out behavior is what individuals do when they feel feelings they don’t like or are uncomfortable about. Rather than talk about what they feel, they act them out in unhealthy ways. Example, young boy doesn’t get to go to the movies with his friends because he didn’t finish his homework. He kicks the wall and puts a hole in it because he’s angry rather than say “That sucks. I’m angry or I’m disappointed.” If you can’t identify and exercise appropriate behavior, learn to. Your children become what you role model. Appropriate behavior is where you do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Sounds self explanatory enough, but some people don’t/can’t understand the concept. Some are clueless.
Once you have become aware of some of the traits of an abusive family, you discover and nurture your authentic self. In counseling you will acquire tools, know how to implement them and put systems in place to becoming the parent your children need.
For more information contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com