Surviving a rough childhood without losing faith in life and a sense of self-worth is incredibly challenging.
But somehow, some people manage to beat the odds and rise from their trauma. So, what is their secret? What do they do differently than the ones who spend their entire adult lives still struggling to overcome their emotionally damaging childhood?
Through the years, scientists and psychologists have tried to analyze the correlation between suffering a childhood trauma and adopting toxic behavioral patterns as an adult.
As per Psychology Today, experts working on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) have distinguished ten different factors that present a severe risk for children. They include divorce, an alcoholic or drug-abusing parent, sexual molestation, violence at home, and mental illness in a family member.
The specialists discovered that the presence of one or more risk factors significantly reduces your chance of leading a happy life as an adult. But as psychiatrist Edward Hallowell writes, “odds are just odds.”
How can you thrive after suffering a rough childhood?
Following a mentally and physically abusive childhood, many people reflect the toxic behavior their parents have treated them with. Some fall into severe depression, some become addicted to substances such as alcohol and drugs, some lose the ability to sustain a healthy relationship. They give in to the role of the victim and play it till the very last day of their lives.
On the other hand, others manage to find the strength to distance themselves from that notion. People raised by reckless or abusive parents turn into praiseworthy individuals who ambitiously follow their dreams despite the hardships they have experienced. They follow an admirable career path, build strong families, and raise their own kids to be kind and empathetic human beings. And they achieve all of this in spite of living with the memory of a traumatic childhood.
Dr. Hallowell, who admits he had suffered a rough childhood himself, believes there is only one word that helped him, and others who share a similar life path, defy the odds. According to the author of the book Because I Come from a Crazy Family: The Making of a Psychiatrist, this word is love. He explains:
“It’s a proven fact that love is the biggest difference-maker life has to offer us, searchers and sufferers. Thankfully, it’s free and infinite in supply.
It’s sad, though, how hard it can be to find sometimes, and how terribly afraid of love some people can be.”
Love is the answer.
This may sound awfully annoying to some, as the phrase has turned into one of the most used clichés all over the globe. However, if you give it a chance and read between the lines, you might see how powerful these words actually are.
There is love when you reach out to friends to help you overcome anxiety and depression. There is love when your partner offers you a shoulder to cry on whenever you feel down. There is love when you take time to reconnect with yourself and regain your sense of self-worth. There is love when you finally find your purpose. There is love when you raise your own children with compassion, patience, and empathy – the way you wish your parents had raised you. There is love when you find the strength to forgive the ones who hurt you the most.
All these little things that help you rise from the ashes of your childhood trauma prove that love truly is the answer.
Are you a victim of a rough childhood? What helped you overcome your trauma? Let us know in the comment section!