How Our Childhood Never Really Leaves Us… Until It Does

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There is an old saying that goes “One day in your life, you will look in the mirror and see your parent looking back at you”. Many of us carry features of our parents personality and behaviour in the way we look at the world, which is of course, natural. They did produce us and we are their flesh and blood. Much as we like or dislike the notion, our parent’s influence is with us for the duration but not just theirs.

I have been offering online therapy for over 10 years. During that time, I have built up a speciality in many areas of psychology (especially Codependency) and helped many clients move forward. Contact me for a free consultation. I engage fully with my clients to ensure the best possible chance of recovery. I firmly believe that awareness is important but action is the decisive element of recovery. I accompany my clients along that road not only by offering sessions focusing on their issues but as a resource between sessions too.

When children grow up in any kind of dysfunction, they are affected by their environment. We can all imagine the consequences of abuse and neglect on a child’s development but children being as sensitive as they are, even perception of rejection, abandonment or fear can have a lasting effect. Parents need to be especially aware of everything they do and say around developing children. When children are subjected to less than effective parenting styles, they will automatically adopt protection measures to help them cope. These could be tantrums, avoidance, regressive behaviour and others. When the connection with caregivers is difficult or broken, children will take it on themselves with guilt and shame attached (the basis for codependency and other issues).

As the child develops into an adult, these protection measures continue to be adopted and turn into parts of their personality in terms of thinking parts. These ‘parts” appear whenever triggered to avoid the adult facing the same trauma as the child. They will promote rigid thinking, avoidance and addition, lack of risk and self-loathing. The result is indecision and a feeling of being stuck. This can instigate high levels of frustration and anxiety.

I always believe that you can group the thoughts mentioned above in three categories:

Child thoughts: Seeking attention, connection, help. Manifests itself in rage, anger, avoidance, addiction and codependency. It sends the message that “I am helpless” and cannot cope. It is the real link to our behaviour as a child around caregivers and upon analysis, is almost identical. This is often associated with the “escape” thinking part.

Parent thoughts: Remnants of contact with our parents. Many people label themselves “stupid”, “useless”, “not worthy” , “incompetent”, “trouble”, difficult” amongst other names and again, this is usually because they were told this directly or indirectly by parents. They have generally adopted this label to describe themselves. These thoughts are the basis for the inner critic, guilt and shame to dominate.

Adult thoughts: The compassionate, realistic, guiding voice that we all have but sometimes fail to listen to in our quest for connection. It is fine to listen to the emotional side of our mind but the logical also has input worth listening to.

It is important to listen to all of our voices but clarity comes when we take leadership of our “child within” and truly see the world through adult eyes. Then, we might be able to look in the mirror without fear.

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Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a therapist, coach, and speaker, has over 20 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. His specialty lies in treating codependency, a condition that is often characterized by a compulsive dependence on a partner, friend, or family member for emotional or psychological sustenance. Dr. Jenner's approach to treating codependency involves using Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a treatment method that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. He identifies the underlying causes of codependent behavior by exploring his patients' internal "parts," or their different emotional states, to develop strategies to break free from it. Dr. Jenner has authored numerous works on the topic and offers online therapy services to assist individuals in developing healthy relationships and achieving emotional independence.

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