A lot of us had it tough growing up. Sometimes it was because the family didn’t have a lot of money and we couldn’t have or do the same things that others kids did. Maybe you were bullied at school. Worst of all, perhaps you suffered abuse at the hands of your parents or caregivers.
Fortunately, having a difficult childhood isn’t a lifetime sentence to a terrible adult life. Even if you grew up suffering abuse, lived with parents who were addicted to alcohol or drugs, or suffered through a traumatic experience as a child, you can go on to become a happy and healthy adult.
Use these tips to put a difficult childhood behind you:
1. Avoid blaming yourself. Many times, survivors of abuse blame themselves for what happened. This self-blame can carry on into adulthood.
- People who have suffered abuse are often more mistrusting and sometimes even hostile to others. This can negatively impact your relationships. Ask others to be patient with you as you learn to trust them.
- If you were abused or neglected as a child, know that it wasn’t your fault. When you come to this realization, you will start to see yourself in a better light.
- You are a good person, who is deserving of a happy life. Start believing that.
2. Learn to say no. If you had a difficult childhood, it’s likely that you weren’t allowed to say “no” without serious repercussions. As an adult, it’s okay to set some boundaries and expect others to respect them.
3. Let the difficult times in your past make you stronger. If you experienced hardship, you can go one of two ways: either live in the past and dwell on the difficult times, or decide to learn from the experiences and move on in a new, positive direction.
- There’s a saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Although it can be challenging to use a difficult experience as a source of strength, it’s a healthy thing to do.
4. Use positive affirmations. Everyone has their own internal dialogue. Make yours a positive one. Focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Say encouraging things and give yourself a pep talk whenever you need to. Check out my Staying Positive Course.
5. Surround yourself with positive people. Studies have shown that abuse sufferers often end up in abusive relationships. It’s up to you to break the pattern.
- You want the important people in your life to be supportive and encouraging. Therefore, it’s best to eliminate those who are a negative influence from your life.
6. Seek the help of a therapist. Overcoming traumatic childhood experiences can be quite difficult. A professional therapist can help you navigate your way through some of the issues and challenges you might be facing.
If you had a difficult childhood, these tips can lead you down a more positive path during adulthood. However, these suggestions may only be the first step. You may need to see a mental health professional to learn some other strategies for coping with the past. Isn’t it time to put it behind you once and for all?