One of the challenges with early abuse and neglect is that by the time someone is an adult, they can have no recollection of what took place at this stage of their life. This is not to say that once they get to this stage of their life, they will have chosen to block it out.
No, what it comes down to is that from an early age, their brain will have automatically blocked out what took place in order to protect them. This is then something that would have taken place throughout their early years.
By the time they are an adult, they will be like a robot that has had its memory wiped; their past can be a complete mystery. Or, they can have a very lopsided view of this stage of their life.
As a result of this, this stage of their life can be seen as being more or less perfect and a time when they were very happy. Either way, they won’t be able to connect to what this stage of their life was actually like.
The Fall Out
But, although this stage of their life can be a mystery or seen as something that it wasn’t, this doesn’t mean that what took place won’t be causing them problems. However, as they are unable to connect to what happened, they won’t know why their life is the way that it is.
Consequently, what they are experiencing can be put down to them simply being born this way and/or due to their genetics, for instance. At the same time, they might not be fully aware of their challenges and thus living in this way will just be what is normal.
Suffering in Silence
How they experience life is then not going to stand out and this will stop them from being able to do anything about it. This can mean that they will live a life that is anything but fulfilling but they will just do their best to tolerate it.
It won’t occur to them that there is another way for them to experience life and how they experience life is not the only way. It could then be said that they will be stuck in an invisible prison.
If they were able to step back and reflect on their life, a number of things may soon stand out. They may find that they have a strong fear of being criticised and this causes them to hold themselves back and hide their true self, so their needs and feelings.
This is then going to stop them from making progress in their career and it could prevent them from building connections with others. They may often be shy or quiet and rarely allow themselves to freely express who they are.
Then again, this could be something that is so debilitating that they don’t even have a job and seldom spend time around others. This, of course, will deprive them of so much, but it will be a way for them to stop themselves from being put down by others.
The fact that they live on the edge of society will show how strong this fear is. This will be what feels comfortable and a big part of them won’t be interested in living in any other way.
A Deep Painful Time
What this may show is that their early years were a time when they were often humiliated by one or both of their caregivers. For example, they may have often been put down and treated like they were nothing.
This may have also taken place when there were other people around, which would have probably made this experience even worse. Furthermore, this caregiver may have come across as though they enjoyed putting them down and may have often laughed at their expense.
So, instead of being loved, accepted and supported, one or both of their caregivers would have done their best to undermine them. This would have been a time when they experienced a lot of shame and felt totally worthless.
To handle this brutal stage of their life, a stage that may have included other forms of mistreatment, they probably would have lost touch with their true self and done their best to avoid others. They would have come to associate revealing who they are and freely expressing themselves with being humiliated.
A Natural Outcome
Taking into account how painful this would have been and how defenceless they were, it’s to be expected that they would have ended up hiding themselves. Along with this, they would have automatically repressed the pain that they were in.
Nonetheless, while this would have protected them, it will now be holding them back and preventing them from living a deeply fulfilling life. What they will need to keep in mind is that there is nothing inherently wrong with them; how they were treated was likely due to the fact that one or both of their caregivers was deeply wounded.
To change their life, there will be the beliefs that they need to question and the pain that they will need to work through. This pain will be worked through in stages; it won’t be able to work through in one go.
The main thing is that they keep going, no matter what. The person or people who brought them up were unable to provide them with what they needed but now that they are an adult, they can do what they need to do to provide themselves with what they need.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.