Category Archives: Self-hatred And Shame

Why The Child May See ‘Bad’ Parents As ‘Good.’

 

Why do children often idealize abusive parents?

When we are children, our own home environment is the only one we know; we have nothing to compare it with. Therefore, we may think such an environment is ‘normal’, even when, in reality, this is very far from the case indeed. In other words, we may believe that what we experience at home is just a part of life – one that everybody has to somehow tolerate and survive.

DEPENDENCY:

The child is utterly dependent upon the parent. Because of this, it is psychologically least uncomfortable for him/her to view the parent as essentially benign and as having his/her ( ie. the child’s) best interests at heart. To believe otherwise would be overwhelmingly psychologically distressing.

LOW SELF-ESTEEM:

Also, abusive parents are likely to have low self-esteem, low confidence and a poorly developed sense of self. Because of this, they are also likely to be highly intolerant of any criticism. Indeed, if the child is critical of them, the parent may become hostile, angry, aggressive or otherwise punish the child.

It follows, therefore, that if the child is able to convince him/herself that the parent is, in fact, ‘good’, s/he is far less likely to criticise the parent and more likely to avoid punishment. In this way, idealizing the parent has, in evolutionary terms, ‘survival value’

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SELF-BLAME:

Sadly, children who are abused by their parents almost invariably (and irrationally) blame themselves. For example, if the parent frequently displays hatred towards the child, the child may convince him/herself that it is his/her own fault and that any parent would act in this way towards him/her.

The child may then be unconsciously driven to ‘prove’ this to him/herself by behaving towards all adults in aggressive, hostile and rude ways with the (again unconscious) goal of alienating them (thus ‘proving’ his/her theory that s/he is intrinsically unlovable/an inspirer of the hatred of others all (not ‘just’ his/her parents).

Similarly, if the child is rejected by his/her parents, s/he may behave in ways that encourage others to reject him/her so that s/he can tell him/herself : ‘it’s not my parent who is at fault, it’s me.’

Such psychological devices help the child to perpetuate the myth of having parents who are not at fault.

Importantly, too, by blaming him/herself, rather than his/her patents, s/he gives him/herself the illusion s/he has control over the situation and the power to change it for the better. His/her reasoning may be as follows: ‘If I change my behaviour my parents will treat me well.’

SPLITTING:

Sometimes the child will attempt to maintain a ‘perfect’ image of the abusive parent, where this is blatantly a false image, by a psychological process known as splitting.

It involves (unconsciously) mentally splitting off the parent’s negative characteristics and behaviours by attributing their cause to something external to the parent (thus exonerating the parent from personal responsibility for them).

For example, if a mother screams hate-filled abuse at the child (as my own mother was prone to doing) the child may tell him/herself it is ‘only’ because she is overtired.

Or, if a drunken father hits his child, the child may reason that it’s ‘only’ because of the alcohol or because ‘all men are naturally physically aggressive’ ( thus attributing the father’s behaviour to his gender).

A final example of splitting, in this case attributing the cause of the behaviour to another person, is that of a child telling him/herself that the father only abandoned him/her because the mother was impossible to live with (indeed, my own father gave this as a reason for leaving the family home when I was eight. I internalised and accepted this; indeed, I only came to question its validity relatively recently. It also begs the question, of course, of why he left an eight year old with such a mother).

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Overcoming An Inferiority Complex Caused By Childhood Trauma

There are many ways that during our childhood our risk of developing an inferiority complex as adults can be increased. For example, certain types of parenting can increase this risk, such as over- controlling, over- critical, over-protective, over- demanding and/or emotionally neglectful parenting. Being brought up by such parents, or in a way which is psychologically destructive, can result in the young person developing: feelings of self-hatred, a defeatist thinking style, a generally negative attitude towards life, self-destructiveness, excessive and irrational self-blame, fear of failure, excessive sensitivity to failure and self-doubt in social situations.

Research also shows that any serious traumatic emotional distress experienced during childhood can, potentially, have similar effects.

The psychologist, Gilmor, identified six specific signs that an individual may have developed an inferiority complex. These six signs are as follows:

1- oversensitivity to criticism

2- a propensity to perceive oneself as being criticised, even when this is not the case

3- excessive reaction to flattery/’fishing for compliments’ or the opposite, namely having great difficulty accepting compliments/flattery

4- avoidance of others (due to not feeling good enough/interesting enough/ likeable enough etc to be in their company)

5- an inability to be a ‘gracious’ loser

6- a fondness for/ urges to ‘put others down’

 

Additionally, the psychologist, Nanka, suggested that that those with an inferiority complex had a tendency to believe/ claim/declare that they are ‘always right’ as well as a habit for always insisting that others agree with them.

Other research shows they may try to mask their feelings of inferiority behind a façade of arrogance, crave and seek high social status, be very materialistic (wanting to impress others by owning expensive cars, jewellery etc), crave and seek power/control/dominance over others, constantly seek approval and behave in a self-righteous manner.

The Compounding Effect Of Depression:

If an individual has developed an inferiority complex as a result of a difficult and traumatic childhood, such a person is also at an elevated risk of developing a depressive illness. Unfortunately, this can intensify feelings of inferiority as it is known that depressed people tend to develop a distorted and unrealistically low opinion of themselves; in a depressed person’s mind his/her shortcomings become exaggerated whilst his/her skills and abilities are minimised, dismissed or ignored.

Due to the above a vicious circle can easily develop: the depression leads to feelings of low self-worth, self-hatred etc which in turn serves to accentuate the depression…and so on…and so on…

 

Possible Subconscious Reasons For Self -Criticism:

The idea has also been put forward that there can be subconscious reasons or ulterior momotives why we criticise ourselves in ways often associated with having an inferiority complex. These include:

1  – to gain sympathy

2 – to appear humble/modest

3 – because we think self-deprecation is somehow charming or endearing

4 – as an expression of guilt

5 – to avoid responsibility (eg. by saying: ‘I’d really love to help, but I’m useless at that kind of thing’)

6 – to discourage others from criticising us (‘getting in there first’)

7 – to encourage others to admit their faults too

8 – avoid disappointment (eg. ‘I’ll never pass that exam’)

9 – to motivate ourselves to do better (think John McEnroe berating himself on the tennis court). Indeed, being highly self-critical and/or having feelings of inferiority drives some people on to achieving great success – such people are driven by an overwhelming need to prove themselves to others.

 

Possible Remedies For An Inferiority Complex:

1) Stop being a perfectionist and accept weaknesses as part of our humanity

2) Work hard to improve particular areas of weakness

3) Become very good at one particular thing to compensate for weaknesses or feel less bad about having them

4) Understand the source of our feelings of inferiority (eg.  grew up being ridiculed by parents) and seek appropriate therapy (eg. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)/utilize self-help

Resources:

Stop Feeling Inferior downloadable hypnosis MP3 pack. Click here for further details.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Childhood Trauma : A Destroyer of Self-Esteem

 

hypnosis_for_self_esteem

We have seen in previous articles that I’ve posted on this site how suffering childhood trauma can destroy our self-esteem due to the fact we are undermined at a stage in our life when our view of ourselves is in a stage of incipient development and highly sensitive to how others, especially our family, make us feel about ourselves – they create the mold in which our self- view is shaped and set.

If our self-esteem has been devastatingly, negatively impacted, we can develop a view of ourselves as being somehow toxic which persists well into adulthood or, indeed, over an entire lifespan if we do not take proactive steps to correct this potentially life-ruining problem.

As adults whose self-esteem has been essentially anihalated, we may feel:

– utterly worthless

– irredeemably, even fatally, flawed

– a ‘bad’ person to our very core of being (click here to read my article entitled: ‘How The Child’s View Of Himself Is Perpetuated’).

– contemptible

– permanently, irreparably  psychologically and morally damaged

– a difficult to express sense of somehow contaminating the lives of others merely by the act of being physically present, preventing us from forming relationships (no one could possibly want us, we muse despairingly), let alone getting married and having children ( or, if we, by some freak chance, somehow found someone insane enough to marry us, we may believe they’d be better off without us).

The Basis Of Self-Esteem:

In order to develop self-esteem we need to respect ourselves by understanding all human beings are worthy of respect and cultivate self-acceptance, including our faults and limitations. Indeed, self-esteem is not about having an inflated and grandiose view of ourselves, but, rather, about being able to live with an honest and accurate self-appraisal. Awareness of our failings, and a self – compassionate acceptance of them, provides us with a helpful sense of our own humanity and helps us develop compassion for, and empathy towards, others.

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Positive Affirmations:

To develop self-esteem, we need, constantly, to reinforce positive affirmations relating to ourselves until we internalise and believe them. During our childhood, it is very likely the opposite occurred (ie we internalised and came to believe negative messages we received about ourselves, perhaps because we were constantly treated as if we were ‘bad’people).

One way to internalise new and helpful affirmations is to use self-hypnosis.

Examples of positive affirmations include:

– I am worthy of respect, both from myself and from others

– I have the ability and autonomy to make meaningful changes to my life

– I have as much worth and value as any other human on the planet

– I am worthy of love from others (this can be a particularly hard one, so indoctrinated may we have been, as a child, with the opposite message)

 – there are things I’m good at doing and many things I can learn to be good at doing

– problems I have faced, and survived, are a testament to my strength of character and can be used to make me a stronger, better, more enlightened person

– I am not helpless and can exercise power to grow and develop even further as an individual

– the respect I am worthy of as a human being is unconditional

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How low self-esteem can create a vicious circle.

Other Ways To Improve Our Self-Esteem:

– develop realistic expectations of ourselves and strive to live up to them

– stop setting ourselves impossible targets, setting ourselves up for failure

– focus on our strengths/developing new strengths

– reduce excessive self-criticism (cognitive behavioural therapy is especially helpful for this – click here to read my article on this topic).

– stay true to ourselves, without constantly striving to fit in with others’ demands (explicit or implicit) about who we should be.

– take up a new hobby/take adult education classes/take up charity work (helping others is an extremely effective way to raise self-esteem).

– if feasible, give ourselves small and frequent rewards

Resource:

Self- hypnosis audio download to raise self-esteem : Click HERE.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

How Our Childhoods Can Make Us Feel Worthless And Inadequate.

inadequacy_and_worthlessnees

Everyone is born with the potential to develop a high sense of self-worth and value as a person. Clearly, however, we do not all manage to attain such a positive view of ourselves. Why should this be?

Mainly, we derive our sense of self-worth from how we are treated and responded to by others as we grow up; in particular, of course, by our parents/primary caregivers. In other words, the beliefs we form about our own particular value as an individual, which underlie our self-image, are, in the main, learned during our childhood from our environmental experiences, as opposed to being innate (inborn).

Three main ways in which we can be made, as children, to feel inadequate and worthless are through:

1) SHAME

2) CRITICISM

3) OBSERVATION AND MODELLING

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Let’s look at each of these in turn:

Shame – As children we can be made to feel shame when we are criticised directly as a person, rather than corrected constructively for specific aspects of our behaviour. For instance, comments such as:

you are a bad person

you are a complete and utter moron

you are not wanted in this family; we’d all be better off without you

– you are ugly – no wonder you’ve never had a boy/girlfriend; just looking at you turns my stomach

can be extremely destructive to the child’s delicate and fragile, incipient self-concept.

Indeed, there is a very significant difference, taking the first example, between being told one is a bad person and being told on this particular occasion one has behaved badly. The former is far more likely to lead to the idea of being bad becoming absorbed, as if by osmosis, into the child’s core self-belief system, especially if s/he is told this repeatedly and frequently.

The second, third and fourth examples are self-evidently egregious verbal attacks, but, as we are all aware, some parents do talk to their children in this way – and worse.

My own mother, for example, regularly threatened to throw me out of the house (she carried out this threat when I was thirteen, as I’ve written about elsewhere on this site). She would also berate and torment me about not having a girlfriend, sniggering that I must be gay, greatly encouraged by my older brother. Not pleasant.

If we do come to see ourselves as bad, intrinsically and deeply morally flawed individuals, this can, tragically, become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can, in a sense,  become who we have been told we are, and, to put it colloquially, start to ‘live up to our reputation’.

It can become a case of : ‘Well, if that’s what you think of me, that’s what I’ll give you…’

Unfortunately, this inevitably leads to everybody losing.

Criticism – This is especially harmful if it is delivered in a contemptuous and sneering way, is continuous, inexorable and relentless and involves verbal abuse. The cumulative effect of this kind of insidious style of criticism is, in essence, to teach the child, at a subconscious level, that s/he is inadequate and ‘not up to the mark.’

Some children who have experienced this kind of upbringing become adults who are desperate to prove themselves (and, again, on a subconscious level, to prove themselves to their parents).

They may, therefore, become workaholics, obsessively trying to progress in their careers in order to obtain power, wealth and admiration. However, because they are unaware of their unconscious motivation, they are trying to satiate the wrong need and so the task is impossible and their lives are spent on a futile treadmill that leads nowhere.

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Observation and Modelling – Children learn much of their behavioural traits by observing the behaviour of their parents/primary caregivers and modelling (largely subconsciously) their own behaviour on it. If, then, the parents/primary caregivers have low self-esteem and low confidence it is likely that these characteristics will be mirrored by how the child behaves and views him/herself.

Resources.

childhood_emotional_abuse

Above eBook now available on Amazon for immediate downloadclick HERE.

Hypnosis pack for low self-esteem : click HERE

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Rebelliousness: Its Link to Childhood Trauma

 

rebellious child

Rebellious behavior in teenage years is, of course, normal. However, for those who grow up in a household in which they are abused ( physically, sexually or emotionally) their level of rebelliousness may be particularly severe.

Types of rebellious behavior are varied, but may include:

– vandalism
– aggressive behavior (both verbal and physical, including getting into fights. Especially likely to occur if parents are aggressive/violent).
– shop-lifting and other forms of petty theft
– stealing cars and joyriding
– bullying of others (especially if humiliated or beaten at home)
– starting to smoke and drink at an unusually young age
– starting fires (eg in litterbins)
– drug use
– truanting from school or dropping out of school altogether
– neglect of schoolwork/academic underachievement
– teenage pregnancy

Rebellious children displaying the kinds of symptoms listed above will often gravitate socially towards similar children who are themselves likely to have problems at home (the so-called ‘getting in with the wrong crowd’). In this way, these children may form gangs which not infrequently come into conflict with the law.

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Such children often also have low sdlf-esteem (which they may attempt to mask with bravado), behave in self-sabotaging ways and suffer from both anxiety and depression.

It is likely that their parents have emotionally distanced themselves from the psychological harm they are inflicting upon their children but are instead focused on exercising power and control over them, rather than nurturing them and fulfilling their emotional and psychological individual needs.

Because of this dysfunctional parenting, the child is also likely to develop low expectations of life, thus becoming devoid of ambition, feeling helpless and that there is no hope which, in turn, can cause a complete lack of motivation to try to improve his/her situation. The child’s attitude may well become: ‘there’s no point in trying to improve life as whatever I do will make no difference.’ Psychologists refer to this as learned helplessness (click here to read my article on this).

When these children become adults, they often develop difficulties both forming and maintaining relationships (click here to read my article on this), and, in some cases, find that they, too, have difficulties parenting their own children. This, however, will by no means inevitably be the case.

Resources:

Living With Rebellious Teenagers (download): CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Hadephobia – The Irrational Fear of Hell

hadephobia, irrational fear of hell, stigiophobia, stygiophobia

HADEPHOBIA, also known as stygiophobia, is the intense, chronic, irrational fear of ‘hell’ and that one may be ‘sent there.’ It is serious enough to disrupt day to day functioning and significantly reduce quality of life.

Typically, the person suffering from this will have a pervasive dread of ‘suffering eternal torture in hell’, and may have intrusive internal, mental visualizations of being condemned to such a fate.

Often, too, the person may fear ‘ beings’ who, according to some legends, ‘inhabit hell’ such as ‘demons’ and ‘Satan’.

As we know, the irrational belief stems largely from religious fundamentalist belief systems which the person suffering from the phobia may have been INDOCTRINATED with as a child. Scientists who see religion as harmful, such as Professor Richard Dawkins, regard such indoctrination as a clear cut case of child abuse. (In order to read more about this issue, click here to read my article entitled ‘How Religion can be Used as a Weapon’).

It is also very commonly found that a person suffering from hadephobia has experienced some severe trauma in life. The phobia can be so severe that the individual often feels ‘paralyzed’ by anxiety in a way that makes normal day to day functioning impossible. At times s/he may experience terror leading to fully blown panic attacks involving hyperventilation, sweating, dizziness, racing heart beat, trembling and even fainting.

One dysfunctional coping strategy that the person may employ in a desperate attempt to allay his/her terrible fears is to become extremely pious and obsessively to try to avoid doing ( or even thinking) anything that could possibly be construed as a ‘sin’. Clearly an impossible task for anybody.

TREATMENTS :

The highly distressing nature of this phobia is obvious and the first port of call is normally one’s GP (in UK) or primary doctor.

After discussion, the person may then be referred to an appropriate mental health professional in order to try to identify any possible underlying, psychological causes and/or to determine what course of therapeutic intervention may be most suitable. Possibilities include :

– cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

– exposure therapy

– hypnotherapy

– desensitisation therapy

– antianxiety medication where severe distress is being experienced

Resource :

Overcome fear of death’ hypnosis download – CLICK HERE.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

False Core Beliefs : Their Childhood Roots

effects_of_ptsd_parents_on_children

By the time we are adults, most of us have developed very entrenched, deeply rooted, fundamental beliefs about ourselves. Psychologists refer to these as our CORE BELIEFS. Once established, they can prove very difficult to change without the aid of therapeutic interventions (such as cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT).

A traumatic childhood, especially one that involved us being rejected and unloved by our parents, will very frequently have a very adverse effect on these CORE BELIEFS. However, precisely how our self-concept is warped and distorted by our problematic childhood experiences will depend upon the unique aspects of those experiences (as well as other factors such as our genetic inheritance, our temperament and the support we received (or failed to receive) from others to help us to cope with our childhood difficulties.

 

Examples of the kind of false core beliefs our traumatic childhood experiences could have led us to form are as follows :

 

OTHERS WILL ABANDON ME – this belief may develop if one/both parents abandoned us during our childhoods, for example

I AM NOT WORTH OTHERS CARING ABOUT – this belief may develop if our parent/s focused far more on their own needs than our own, for example

I MUST BE SELF-SACRIFICING – this belief may develop if our parent/s ‘parentified‘ us, for example

I MUST SUBJUGATE MYSELF TO OTHERS – this belief may develop if our own views and needs were dismissed as unimportant by our parent/s, for example

I AM A SOCIAL PARIAH, UNFIT TO ASSOCIATE WITH OTHERS – this belief may develop if we grew up feeling our childhood experiences set us apart from our contemporaries or if we were in some way ‘forced to grow up’ too early, so that we developed difficulties relating to those of our own age during childhood (perhaps we were so anxious and pre-occupied we couldn’t behave in a care-free way join in the ‘fun’).

I AM INTRINSICALLY UNLOVABLE – this belief may have developed if we were unloved, or PERCEIVED OURSELVES TO BE UNLOVED, by our parent/s, for example

I AM VULNERABLE AND IN CONSTANT DANGER – such a belief can develop if we spent a lot of our childhood feeling anxious, under stress, apprehensive or in fear, for example

I MUST ALWAYS KEEP TO THE HIGHEST OF STANDARDS – such a belief may develop if our parents only CONDITIONAL LOVED/ACCEPTED us

I AM SPECIALLY ENTITLED – this belief may develop if we feel (probably on an unconscious level) that society in general should compensate us for our childhood suffering or because we are so overwhelmed by our emotional pain that we can’t help but to focus almost exclusively upon our own needs (rather as we would, say, if we were on fire).

 

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HOW DO THESE FALSE CORE BELIEFS AFFECT US?

Unfortunately, such deeply instilled core beliefs are liable to become self-fulfilling prophecies. As already stated, they are resilient to change and this state of affairs is seriously aggravated by the fact that, once such beliefs have become deeply ingrained, our view of the world is so coloured that we misinterpret, or ‘over-interpret’, what is going on around us, specifically :

We selectively attend to, and absorb, information which supports, or, seems to us to support, our negative view of ourselves, while, at the same time, ignoring or discounting anything that contradicts our negative self-view. In so doing, we are likely, often, to grossly overestimate the significance of information that seems to confirm our negative self-view, or simply completely to misinterpret information (eg by thinking/believing : ‘he just yawned because I’m boring’, whereas, in fact, he yawned because he had not slept for twenty-four hours).

 

RESOURCES :

To read my article on how cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help to address our false core beliefs, click here.

OTHER RESOURCES :

Learn to accept love – click here

Overcome perfectionism – click here

Build solid self-esteem – click here

Overcome fear and anxiety – click here

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Childhood Trauma Leading to Intense Self-Criticism

childhood_trauma_questionnaire

If we suffered significant childhood trauma it is likely we were not instilled with an adequate sense of self-acceptance or self-assurance when we were young. Perhaps we were made to feel inadequate and inherently flawed as individuals.

Such feelings can extend well into our adult lives, or, without therapy, last the whole of our lives.

As a result, we may have been led to over-focus, and exaggerate in our own minds, any weaknesses we have and any mistakes we make, perhaps, even, to the point of obsession.

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Now, as adults, as a result of such a childhood, it is possible we have developed a highly self-deprecating personality – this can mean, for example, we find it very hard to accept compliments. Furthermore, we may :

– downplay our achievements and accomplishments

– feel embarrassed if someone refers to our achievements and accomplishments

– become obsessed by mistakes we make

– believe that if someone praises us they do not really mean it but are just trying to be kind

– feel that compliments given to us are not really warranted and that we don’t really deserve them

– even if we do very well at something, we may very well tend to focus on why we did not achieve perfection ; this leads us onto the next section :

PERFECTIONISM :

If unreasonable demands were made of us as children, we may find that, as adults, we need to get everything ‘perfectly right’; this is likely to be a largely unconscious attempt to finally gain parental approval and acceptance.

However, this leads us to setting standards for ourselves which are unrealistic and impossible for us to meet. For example, we might be obsessed with ensuring that nothing we do ever goes wrong, that we can always fully meet the needs of others who are dependent upon us and that, if we fail in such areas, we must be ‘deeply flawed’ individuals.

However, because it is impossible to go through life without ever making mistakes, taking wrong decisions or making the wrong choices, we frequently become filled with intense feelings of self-reproach.

Setting ourselves impossibly unrealistic targets means we become far too demanding of ourselves and, therefore, we find ourselves constantly criticizing ourselves and being disappointed in ourselves for failing always to meet our self-imposed, highly exacting demands.

SHAME AND GUILT :

The feelings, beliefs and behaviours described above are likely to have arisen because we were made to feel shame and guilt when we failed to be perfect as children – it is likely that our parent/parents/primary carer made us feel that we were ‘never quite good enough’ and that we were a constant source of disappointment.

As adults, then, we have displaced our parent’s/parents’ unreasonable expectations of us onto our current relationships with others. Insight into this problem is the first step to freeing us from our perpetual, unreasonable self-demands.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one therapy that studies show can be very effective for treatment of intense and obsessive self-criticism (click here to read my article on CBT).

In terms of self-help, hypnotherapy, too, can be highly effective. For the relevant hypnosis downloadable audio I recommend HypnosisDownloads.com – see ‘RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS’ in MAIN MENU or click below :

TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC SELF-HYPNOSIS AUDIO (immediate download – $14.95 but cheaper if bought as part of package – money back guarantee).

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Overcoming A Poor Self-Image Caused By Childhood Trauma

childhood_trauma_questionnaire

‘My one regret in life is that I wasn’t born as somebody else.’ – Woody Allen.

Those of us who suffered childhood trauma caused by our parents/primary carer are very likely to have received extremely negative messages about ourselves from these people – these messages may have been stated directly or implied and intimated.

Indeed, many of us were made to feel unwanted, worthless and utterly unlovable during the crucial stage of our development when we were forming our self-image.

In other words, we INTERNALIZED these messages which, in turn, may have led to us living all our adult life believing these messages to be true and also as being an accurate reflection of the essence of who we are.

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REPETITION COMPULSION :

Furthermore, if we had a bad relationship with our parents/primary carer when we were young, we may have found that we have, since, experienced a pattern of forming similarly poor relationships with others during our adult lives; for example, perhaps we have been unconsciously drawn to form relationships with others who are likely to abuse us – this can be due to what is referred to by psychologists as a REPETITION COMPULSION (an unconscious attempt to master our adverse childhood relationship experiences).

Naturally, this lowers our view of ourselves even further as it just serves to REINFORCE our belief that we are ‘worthless and unlovable’.

 

A FORM OF’ BRAINWASHING’ :

In effect, we were programmed and ‘brainwashed’, when we were young, into a forming a FUNDAMENTAL (yet FALSE) BELIEF that we are ‘intrinsically bad’ people (click here to read my article entitled : HOW THE CHILD’S BELIEF IN HIS OWN ‘BADNESS’ IS PERPETUATED’).

Coming to fully realize and understand this is A VITAL STEP TOWARDS COMING TO VIEW OURSELVES IN A MUCH MORE POSITIVE, AND, INDEED, COMPASSIONATE, WAY.

An effective therapy (this has been backed up by many research studies) that can help us to do this is COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT) – click here to read my article on this.

It is also possible that having been indoctrinated with the belief that we are essentially bad, and having internalized this view, coupled with pent up rage about having been ill-treated in childhood, may have led us to make some significant mistakes in life.

However, we can lower the probability that we will repeat such mistakes by thinking about how we would like to change, in line with our now more positive view of ourselves (assuming we have worked at this), and then devise strategies as to how this goal may best be achieved.

It is also to point out that if we were conditioned to think ill of ourselves as children we may have found that, as adults, we have overly focused on our bad points whilst remaining oblivious to our more positive points.

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Ways to help ourselves feel better about ourselves also include :

– cutting off contact with people who make us feel bad about ourselves

– associating more with people who make us feel good about ourselves

– taking up activities which make use of, and develop, our strengths

CONCLUSION :

Clearly, the root of the problem, if we have developed a low view of ourselves, is poor self-esteem.

As already stated, there is now a good deal of evidence to suggest that CBT can effectively ameliorate this problem.

In terms of self-help, there is self-hypnosis (see the MINDFULNESS AND HYPNOSIS section of this website, specified in the MAIN MENU above, to access my articles on these topics).

To purchase a hypnotherapy CD/MP3 to improve self-esteem (listed in the RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS section) or just to get more details about this option, click on the banner below:

OTHER RESORCES:

HELP WITH LOW SELF-ESTEEM – MIND

 

David Hosier BSc; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Childhood Trauma Leading to Self-Hatred and Intense Self-Criticism

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Following a childhood in which we had the experience of neglect, abuse, abandonment or a combination of  these, it very frequently follows that we grow up to become intensely self-critical and even consumed by feelings of self-hatred. Indeed, these are both key symptoms of clinical depression and also of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) – both of these conditions, as I have frequently discussed in other articles, are strongly associated with severe childhood trauma.

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When an individual’s childhood is traumatic, there is, for him or her, a constant sense of being in danger; lack of  emotional support, encouragement and affection from the parents leaves the child feeling perpetually anxious and fearful.

One psychologically defensive reaction to this can be for the individual to develop what is termed PERFECTIONISM – on an unconscious level this is an attempt to finally gain the parents’ approval.

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However, because perfection is generally impossible to achieve, a sense of constant failure develops which can develop into self-hatred. This is because (again, on an unconscious level) the individual believes it is this ‘constant failure’ that is the root cause of the parental rejection (although, of course, this belief is erroneous – the real problem is the inability of the parents to bond in an emotionally healthy way with their son or daughter).

CHILDHOOD ANXIETY AND FEAR LEADING TO HYPERVIGILANCE AND DREAD OF CRITICISM :

As the child growing up in a traumatic environment will perceive that environment (either consciously or unconsciously) to be unsafe -or, to put it more bluntly, dangerous – s/he, as survival technique, will tend to  become HYPERVIGILANT (constantly on the alert for any sense of imminent threat).

This tendency, as the child gets older, will tend to become DEEPLY EMBEDDED INTO THEIR PERSONALITY and they are likely to GENERALIZE THEIR CONSTANT SENSE OF DANGER ONTO THE WORLD IN GENERAL.

In other words, s/he is likely to develop a CORE BELIEF that THE WORLD IS A FUNDAMENTALLY UNSAFE AND THREATENING PLACE. This leads to a psychological process that psychologists have termed ENDANGERMENT (projecting a sense of danger onto situations which are, in reality, essentially safe).

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All of this means that the individual will have a marked tendency to constantly attempt to analyze how others are reacting to him/her and to then frequently presume that they are evaluating and judging him/her in negative ways (even if there is, in fact, little or no evidence that this is the case). In relation to this, CLICK HERE to read my article entitled  How a Child’s View of Their Own ‘Badness’ is Perpetuated.

Also, it is likely that the individual will develop PERFORMANCE ANXIETY; this entails constant self-criticism and self-castigation for ‘not doing well enough.’ The individual’s perceived parental view of him/her ( ‘ you are not good enough’) becomes INTERNALIZED and transformed into the (false) belief : ‘I am not good enough.’

RESOURCES :

MP3s :

STOP SELF HATRED TODAY (MP3) – CLICK HERE

 

EBOOKS :

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Above eBooks available for immediate download on Amazon. $4.99. CLICK HERE.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery