Category Archives: Self-hatred And Shame

The Vital Importance Of Having Our Traumatic Experiences Validated.

validation of childhood experiences

Research has established, beyond doubt, that, all else being equal, the greater our experience of childhood trauma, the worse both our physical and mental health are likely to be during our adulthood, and the more likely we are to die prematurely.

Research has also shown that having our perception of our childhood trauma, and its adverse effect on us, validated is an essential part of our recovery.

Surrounding my own childhood experiences there has always been a conspiracy of silence by family members. My feelings about my early experiences have been met variously with evasion, denial, contempt, disdain, cold dismissiveness, minimisation, stone-walling, passive -aggression and straight- forward lies.

When our experiences are NOT validated, or, worse still, shamelessly refuted, recovery becomes almost impossible : insult is added to injury, with the likely outcome that our condition will actually become worse .

When our experiences and their effects remain NON-VALIDATED, our very sense of reality is undermined which puts us in danger of developing psychosis (a condition in which we become pathologically detached from reality).

child trauma

When we are told things such as ‘stop harping on about the past’ or, ‘you sound like a broken record, let it go’, it is this very contemptuous dismissal of our feelings that perpetuates our condition. The tacit implication is that we are self-absorbed, self-pitying, egotistical and should stop blaming our problems on our childhooods as this is wrong and selfish. But let’s examine the logic (or lack, thereof) of this rebuffal to our fundamental beliefs about our early traumatic experiences:

Can we take seriously the suggestion that a child who was frequently beaten to a pulp by a drunken father (as a hypothetical example), or the person whose brain development was impaired by emotional abuse (as another hypothetical example), and develops psychological problems in adulthood as a result, is somehow being weak and self-indulgent, and is wrong and unentitled to suggest his/her childhood may be linked to his/her adult difficulties?!

Of course, we can’t. In fact, it takes an awful amount of inner, mental strength to face up to and acknowledge the harm done to oneself by one’s childhood, and doing so is absolutely key to one’s recovery. 

Recent research has shown that if a person’s feelings about their traumatic experiences in childhood are just sympathetically listened to and validated, and their pain and suffering as a result of their trauma is acknowledged and authenticated, their condition improves, even in the absence of any additional, active therapy.

This is powerful evidence that having our feelings about our childhoods validated is absolutely essential in order for us to recover from our adverse experiences.

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

Why We Must Stop Blaming Ourselves For Our Mistreatment.

 

self blame

Self-Blame

It is an established fact that most children who are mistreated by their parents or primary care givers believe they are to blame for their abuse. I know I did. Indeed, I concluded I must be a terrible person or why else would I be treated so badly?  This, too, I have since learned, is an extremely common inference mistreated children make.

Because we tend to blame ourselves for the bad treatment we received (such as psychological abuse, physical beatings etc), we develop a deep sense of deep and abiding shame.

As a consequence, we tell nobody about our terrible predicament; in my own case, I absolutely dreaded others finding out and developed an obsessive and profound (and irrational) anxiety that somehow they would; I imagined other school children taunting me with comments such as:

‘What sort of  freak are you that your own parents hate you and don’t want you!!??’

The Need To Stop Blaming Ourselves

It is very important that we stop blaming ourselves for what happened to us as carrying around a sense of guilt is exceptionally psychologically debilitating and prevents us from gaining any pleasure from life as we believe we simply do not deserve any happiness. Also, our sense of being ‘a bad person’ tends to be self-perpetuating.

However, despite the obvious benefits of freeing ourselves from crushing, yet irrational, guilt, the process of doing so can entail its own painful elements : for example, by stopping blaming ourselves, we may need to face up to the reality that, in fact, it was someone who should have cared for us and protected us who was the wrong – doer. At last seeing the truth about this person (or persons) can be extremely upsetting and an enormous shock.

childhood trauma self blame

Who Was To Blame?

According to the psychologist, Padesky, we should try to identify all those involved in our mistreatment which can help us to deflect the blame from ourselves. For example, the list that we come up with may look something like this:

– family members who turned a blind eye to what was happening

– our school for not picking up on signs we may have been at risk

– social services for not intervening

– the abuser/s themselves

– doctors who missed signs we were at risk

etc…etc…

Reminding Ourselves Of Our Former Vulnerability:

Another technique we can use to help remind ourselves we were not to blame is to find, and look at, photographs of ourselves at the age we were at the time we suffered our mistreatment in order to help us to empathize with just how vulnerable we were at the time.

Reasons We Were Not To Blame:

Finally, given that we may have spent years experiencing self-blame and self-hatred it can be very useful to make a list of all the reasons we can think of why we were not to blame and to occasionally re-read this list in order to help ourselves in our continuing recovery process.

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

Shame Caused By Childhood Trauma And How We Try To Repress It.

trauma and shame

 

We have seen in other articles published on this site that if we have experienced significant childhood trauma we may, as adults, develop profound feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, self-hatred, rock-bottom self-esteem, feelings of being ‘innately bad’ and irrational self-blame for what we experienced. This pernicious brew of feelings about the self can devastate every area of our lives and cause us to live with a deep, abiding sense of shame.

Because feelings of such shame are so psychologically painful to live with, some individuals may develop certain psychological defense mechanisms (the cause of which is generally unconscious) in order to banish them from conscious awareness into the dark recesses of the unconscious where they simmer and fester.

According to the psychoanalyst, Joseph Burgo, PhD., the three main types of defense mechanisms we may unconsciously be driven to employ in a desperate attempt to avoid feeling this shame are as follows:

narcissism

– blame

– contempt

Let’s look at each of these defense mechanisms in turn.

NARCISSISM:

Narcissists have a relentless and desperate need to prove to both themselves and others that they are superior. They crave admiration from others and aspire to make themselves the object of great envy.

They feel that they must perpetually be the centre of attention and may be driven to achieve, or attempt to achieve, high social status (including ‘social climbing’), earning a high salary, and seeking positions of power.

Or they may always try to appear cleverer, wittier or more interesting than those around them (although these attempts, especially if perceived as desperate, generally serve only to annoy, irritate and alienate others, as opposed to enthralling them).

narcissistic defense

They tend, too, to treat others as if they are beneath them. However, their view of themselves as superior beings is often strongly out of kilter with reality – in other words, they may suffer something approaching delusions of grandeur. Indeed, they may provoke comments from others such as the following (overused) one: Who does she think she is? The Queen of Sheeba?’ Or others may regard them as a prima donna.

To reiterate, this constant need to view themselves as superior is a desperate attempt to avoid coming face-to-face with who they (deep down) believe they really are, as fully experiencing such a deep sense of worthlessness and shame is psychologically intolerable to them.

BLAME:

Because acceptance of failure would cause the individual who feels worthless and inadequate in the core of his/her being, and who needs to keep these feelings repressed, s/he cannot tolerate criticism and will shift the blame onto others when things go wrong. Such individuals may also be perfectionists.

CONTEMPT:

Another defense mechanism an individual may utilize in an attempt to keep feelings of shame buried in the unconscious is to ‘look down’ on others and to see them as inferior beings to be mocked or pitied. Such individuals may relish the humiliation of others and delight in their failures. The more s/he can view others as beneath him/her, the more effectively s/he can keep his/her own profound feelings of inferiority and shame at bay.

The Role Of Therapy:

Psychoanalysis can help the individual realize that his/her core feelings of inadequacy and shame, hitherto largely unconscious, were caused by his/her childhood trauma that the trauma was not his/her fault and by absolutely no means means s/he is inferior, worthless, or, in any way whatsoever, needs to feel ashamed. Under the supervision of a skilled therapist, this can cause the individual’s dysfunctional defense mechanisms to start to melt away so that s/he may start to live an altogether more authentic life.

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

‘Acting Out’ And Childhood Trauma

Young people who express their psychological turmoil by directing their negative feelings OUTWARD onto the environment (eg vandalism) or other people (eg violence) are performing what psychologists term externalising behaviours. This is also known as, more colloquially, ‘ACTING OUT.’

These behaviours are in contrast to internalising behaviours such as anxiety and depression by which young people may turn their negative feelings inwards into themselves. However, it is important to point out that the two types (externalized behaviour and internalized behaviour) very often co-exist within the same person; for example, a teenager who is very depressed may also be sometimes aggressive and violent (indeed, it is certainly worth noting here that both clinical depression and violence are linked to low levels in the brain of the neurotransmitter serotonin).

But let’s return to look specifically at acting out/externalising behaviours:

acting out

Externalizing behaviours can be split into three groups. These are:

1) Aggression/Violence

2) Anti-Social Behaviour  (Non-Violent)

3) Hyperavtivity

Let’s look at each of these three categories in turn:

1) Aggression/Violence:

These may take the form of both verbal and physical behaviour (at the most extreme end of the spectrum it may even involve the use of weapons).

This type of externalizing behaviour is more likely to occur in boys.

Furthermore, whilst boys are more likely to employ the use of physical aggression, girls are more likely to make use of what is known as ‘relational’ aggression (Hadlet, 2003), such as excluding another girl, in a spiteful manner calculated to cause emotional harm, from their social group.

Feschbach, 1970, further proposed that aggression could also be divided into two other types : HOSTILE AGGRESSION and INSTRUMENTAL AGGRESSION. Let’s briefly look at what he meant by each of these:

HOSTILE AGGRESSION:

This refers to hot-bloodied, spontaneous, impulsive, reactive AGGRESSION involving loss of control of powerful and intense emotions. The aggressor tends not to benefit from this type of aggression and often, in fact, makes matters worse for him/herself (it is not coldly calculated aggression).

INSTRUMENTAL AGGRESSION:

This refers to cold-bloodied, calculated, manipulative aggession by the use of which the aggressor hopes/plans to derive personal benefit.

What Are The Causes Of Such Aggressive/Violent Externalizing Behaviours In Young People?

Causes are both genetic and environmental. They include:

-modelling (learned behaviour)

– abuse

– neglect

– being bullied at school

– hormonal influence

– an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters (eg. serotonin – see above).

Young people who display a significant level of aggression and violence are at higher risk than average of gaining criminal convictions as adults.

2) Anti-Social Behaviour (Non-Violent):

This may involve stealing/theft, vandalism, pathological lying, excessive use of drugs/alcohol. As in the case of aggressive/violent behaviour (see above) boys are more prone to this particular form of externalised behaviour than are girls.

What Are The Causes Of Such Anti-Social Externalizing Behaviours In Young People?

Again, causes can be both environmental and genetic. They include modelling/learned behaviour, ethnic conflict (Feschbach, 1998), abuse, neglect and genetic inheritance.

As in the case of aggressive and violent behaviour, young people who exhibit non-violent, anti – social behaviours are more likely to acquire criminal convictions as adults.

Research suggests that young people displaying high levels of anti-social behaviour may benefit from Empathy Training (Fascenbach, 1982) in school with the aim of encouraging their pro-social behaviour and improving their self-image (many young people who frequently behave anti-socially have low levels of self-esteem).

3) Hyperactivity:

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may:

a) be hyperactive eg. restless, impulsive

b) have a poor attention span eg. easily distractable, poor powers of concentration

c) have symptoms of both of the above

As is the case with aggression/violence and anti-social behaviour, boys are more likely to suffer from this condition than are girls.

Young people who suffer from hyperactivity, like young people who display excessive aggression and anti-social behaviour are more likely to be convicted of criminal activities as adults.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Hyperactivity?

Causes of this condition are not fully understood but research suggests genetics, brain structure and disruptions of brain functionality are involved.

A Note On Possible Future Development Of Anti-Social Personality Disorder:

Lynam et. al., 1988, carried out research which suggested that young people who demonstrate a combination of :

– hyperactivity

– conduct problems

– attention deficitsdeficits

and

– high levels of impulsivity

are at especially increased risk of developing Anti-Social Personality Disorder (this used to be called ‘psychopathy’) as adults.

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Above eBook now available for instant download from Amazon. Click here.

Other Resources:

Anger Management Hypnosis. Downloadable MP3. Click here.

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

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’

download

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).

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).

 

Childhood Trauma : A Destroyer of Self-Esteem

hypnosis_for_self_esteem

How Low Self-Esteem Makes Us Feel :

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 As ‘Bad’ 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.

hypnosis_for_self_esteem

How To Develop Self Esteem :

Positive Affirmations:

To develop self-esteem, we need, constantly, to reinforce positive affirmations relating to ourselves until we internalize and believe them. During our childhood, it is very likely the opposite occurred (i.e. we internalized 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

hypnosis_for_self_esteem

ABOVE : 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.

 

eBook :

emotional abuse book

Above eBook now available for instant download from Amazon. Click here for further details or to view similar titles.

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

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

hypnosis_for_low_self_esteem

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.

hypnosis_for_low_self_esteem

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).

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.

living_with_rebellious_teenagers

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).

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).