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Common Reactions to The Topic of Childhood Trauma

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Parental Responsibility and Nature vs Nurture  or Common Reactions to The Topic of Childhood Trauma
Yesterday I wrote an article “It’s Not The Child’s Fault”, and although the ideas in it are not new, it created some controversy, as expected. Even though the reactions mostly were positive, some people got emotionally triggered and replied negatively. The negative reactions were pretty much the same as I’ve seen them many times in relation to articles and videos on the subject of child abuse and childhood trauma: “parents did the best they could,” “it’s nature, not nurture,” “so you’re saying that ALL diseases and disorders are developed because of child abuse?”, straw-man, projection, acting out, no curiosity, etc. I’ve seen the same thing posted in relation to the material of Alice Miller, Stefan Molyneux, Daniel Mackler, Gabor Maté, Peter Gerlach, Lloyd deMause, my own, etc.

So, in this post I’ll try to address some of the most common reactions, responses and misconceptions.

Firstly,…

It's Not The Child's Fault

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Don‘t try to “make” your child perfect. Every child is already born perfect. Just create as loving, supportive, resourceful environment as you can and be a good role model for them, and they‘ll be fine. If you fulfill those requirements, your child will be better off than most people. Don‘t forget that every adult was a child once, i. e. environment and relationship with one’s caregivers matters A LOT. Actually, that’s the most important thing. So, if you feel that there‘s something wrong with your child – look in the mirror first.

Children repeat the behavior they see around them – often down to the smallest detail.

If you yell at your child, your child will learn to yell when they are dissatisfied with other people’s behavior. Also, yelling (or beating, or rejection, or neglect, or manipulation, or other forms of abuse – it doesn‘t matter how “nicely” one applies them) harms the attachment figure-child bond, cripples child‘s developing brain, and teaches them that might makes right…

Empathy And Laughing At Others’ Misery

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A lot of people lack empathy and don’t understand the connection between one’s past and one’s present. Based on the world we live in, I don’t think it’s an outrageous statement to make.

Most people lack empathy for themselves, therefore they are unconscious of their own emotions and motives – and by extension they can’t empathize with others. I often hear people say, “Oh, he’s just this weird smelly man.” Or, “He was such a good boy when he was little, and now he’s so mean, I don’t know what happened!“ Or, “She’s just a dumb, filthy whore, how pathetic.” Or, “Haha, he’s so stupid! How could he do this kind of stuff, that‘s retarded.” And so on...

Every person was a child once. However, a lot of people fail to understand that. Since they haven’t processed their own past, they see others as they are right now – and that’s it. They can’t comprehend that this person was a child once, and a lot of things happened before (s)he became a person that they are today. They didn’t just fall from …

Personal Responsibility

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Why do people tend to avoid responsibility? 

Often people are are afraid of making mistakes, feeling guilty, and taking responsibility for their actions.

It is understandable, because as children we are often punished, blamed, shamed, neglected, ridiculed, or controlled in various other ways for doing something wrong. It happens in family, in school, in church, in peer groups, and in various activities. And a child is completely dependent on his/her caregivers, so when (s)he's abused, neglected, or abandoned his/her life is in real danger and (s)he has no choice but to comply.

So, when we grow up we don't have a lot of practice of being free and responsible for ourselves. We are afraid of making mistakes, we avoid trying new things (because we're not good at them), we attack ourselves a lot, because all of this in our mind closely correlates with something unpleasant, i.e. a potential attack or rejection from others. That was exactly the case in the past, so our system is…

Emotions: Anger

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As I've mentioned in my Introduction to Emotions post, emotionis a reaction to a certain stimulus. The purpose of emotions is to inform us about our status, in comparison with our needs, goals, wants, and values. In other words, emotions help us to get in touch with our needs and take care of our well-being. Also, ALL emotions are good, useful and necessary, even if some of them feel unpleasant.

One of the most common unpleasant emotions is anger (or its counterparts: annoyance and rage).

What is anger?

Anger is a hostile emotional reaction to a violation of one's boundaries (physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual) or to a denial and prohibition to pursue and/or gratify one's needs and goals. In such situations one psychologically feels that they had been abused, wronged, offended, or denied.

Anger can be triggered by real or supposed danger, thread, violence, hurt, fraud, conflict, injustice, humiliation, betrayal, etc.

How anger feels like?

When we feel an…