How To Get Over Your Crappy Childhood

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by Melody Fletcher on June 27, 2013

 

“I don’t value myself because I wasn’t loved as a child.”

 “I can’t find love because my father abandoned us when I was little.”

“I have deep seeded issues from my childhood…”

In my coaching practice, I hear these kinds of statements a lot. Usually, the client is trying to explain why they have such limiting beliefs. There’s nothing wrong with this in principle, and these statements are usually technically true. Perhaps you really weren’t loved enough as a child. Perhaps someone did totally traumatize you, and cause you to feel unsafe. Maybe you were even abused. I’m certain that much of your parents’ and teachers’ behavior caused you to come to all kinds of painful conclusions about yourself and the world. But, while the explanations may be “true”, using them as justifications for continuing to hold on to the beliefs they helped create, doesn’t serve you one bit. It’s time for you to get over your crappy childhood already. And in today’s post, I’m going to tell you just how to do that. Strap yourselves in, people, this one’s probably going to get a bit bumpy.

Let go of the drama

This is going to be a bit hard for some of you to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway: Your childhood was not as traumatic as you think it was. I’m not saying you didn’t experience pain, possibly a great deal of it. I’m not saying that bad things didn’t happen. And I’m certainly not saying that you deserved it or that you weren’t right to feel awful about it.

What I’m saying is that the things that happened to you in your childhood don’t have to continue to have power over you NOW. People often look at the issues of their early years as though they are insurmountable obstacles. They talk about having been scarred for life, traumatized, damaged and even broken. They see themselves as beyond repair, as if such a thing was even possible (it isn’t, just for the record). I’d like to step up on my soapbox here and give you all a good talking to. Ready? Doesn’t matter if you aren’t, here it comes anyway:

You’re not f%#&ing broken

You can’t be broken. You can’t be damaged. You can only choose to see yourselves that way. You are God (yes, THE GOD, the big G, the freaking Almighty) embodied in the physical. Ok, so bad crap happened to you. You had asshole parents. You were abused by someone. You attracted horrible partners. You had a painful divorce. But you know what? So what? That’s right, I said it. So freaking what? Are you going to use these incidents as an excuse to hold on to pain for the rest of your life? Are you going to keep diminishing your light because someone once failed to recognize it, or couldn’t handle its brilliance, or even tried to squash it? Are you going to keep using their memory to keep traumatizing yourself? Really?

You are not in pain NOW because someone once hurt you. Are they hurting you now? If so, get out! And if not, then they are not the reason you are hurting. You are in pain because you made a decision about yourself that may have explained what was happening to you from your very limited perspective. You may have decided that you were unworthy or bad or deserving of pain. But guess what? You don’t have to keep holding on to that decision NOW. You get to make a new one, a better feeling one, one that serves you more NOW.

Decisions are not forever

If a decision is painful, it’s a bad decision, I don’t care how justified it was at the time you made it. Let me give you an example:

I once had a woman say to me “I can’t trust men because my father hurt me.” She desperately wanted to have a relationship, but kept attracting cheaters. She knew she had these trust issues (thanks to years of therapy), but couldn’t seem to release them. She’d made the decision that she couldn’t trust men, and even worse, had made the decision that this decision was final. It just was. It was fact. It was set in freaking stone. She even knew, intellectually, that there were men out there who were totally trustworthy, and that she was simply not attracting them.

What she didn’t see was that she was making the decision NOW, over and over again, not to trust men. She used her father’s behavior as justification for choosing that point of view again and again. I had to declare Bullshit. Her crappy father may have justified her decision not to trust men when she was a child. Back then, she had a very limited understanding of human behavior, and would’ve certainly internalized (blamed herself for) his actions. But, and here’s the big epiphany, his behavior THEN didn’t need to justify her decisions NOW. She could actually NOW make the choice to trust men, despite all the past reasons not to. In each moment, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, we get to choose a new path, make a new decision, from our new, much bigger than ever before perspective. Not doing so is a bit like saying that you can’t eat gourmet food because you decided you didn’t like it when you were 8.

If you have low self-esteem NOW because of something that happened decades ago, then you are choosing to use a decision you made as a child, from the limited perspective of a child, to severely limit yourself NOW.

Letting go of the pain

I get it, I really do. When I tell you to simply make a different decision, there’s a part of your brain that screams “No! I can’t let him off the hook! He has to pay for what he did! This pain is real, and I’m right and he’s wrong and letting it go means that he didn’t do anything wrong and that I was wrong to be in pain all those years!” I’d like to address all of that if I may.

You’re not letting anyone off the hook, other than yourself. You’re not punishing them. How does keeping yourself from having wonderful relationships hurt your father? How does being insecure and unworthy punish your third grade teacher? How does it “teach anyone a lesson”? It doesn’t. It’s just hurting you. You keep victimizing yourself over and over again, in an attempt to keep the memory alive. Well, let me help you out:

You were right.

You were right. You were right. You were right. They were wrong. They shouldn’t have hurt you. They should’ve been kinder and nicer and more responsible and less evil and not assholes and not douchebags. They should’ve loved you and cared for you and protected you. They should’ve stayed. They should’ve listened. They should’ve accepted you and validated you. They should’ve hugged you more. They should’ve stood up for you. They should’ve comforted you. They should’ve made you feel safe. They should’ve been there for you.

You were right. They were wrong. You were totally justified in your pain. You were right to rebel against their wrongness. You were right to think they were wrong. You were right. And no one can say you weren’t.

But that was then and this is now. And now, you’re wrong. You’re wrong when you think that you can’t let this pain go. You’re wrong when you think that what happened to you THEN needs to define you, how you think about yourself or anyone else. You’re wrong when you give the people who hurt you the power to have damaged you forever. You’re wrong to think you can’t heal. You’re wrong to think you don’t have the ability to be happy. You’re wrong to think you don’t deserve to be happy. You’re wrong to perpetuate the pain of the past in the present. That was then. This is now. And NOW, you get to make a new decision.

Do NOW what you couldn’t do THEN

You don’t have to be the same person that you were then. You don’t have to be that powerless child. You don’t have to just sit there and take it. Here’s how you make a new decision:

If someone hurt you in the past (it doesn’t even have to be your childhood, this can be anything that caused you to make a decision which you’re still hanging on to now), bring up a memory from that time. See them screaming at you, hurting you, abandoning you, etc. Now, freeze the scene, like a movie. Step into the scene as your adult self. The perpetrator can see you and hear you, but they can’t move. You and your child self are totally safe.

Now, unleash the hounds. Let it fly. Tell them off. Rip into them with everything you’ve got. Tell them everything you couldn’t tell them then. Tell them how wrong they are. Tell them they can’t hurt you anymore. If it makes you feel better, strike back. Heck, use your imaginary super strength and fling them out the window. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your right to be treated like a human, with respect and love. Beat them to a bloody pulp, if you have to (in your mind; don’t go all postal on someone and then blame it on me. You clean up your own mess, young lady). But render them powerless. No one may have stood up for you then, but you can stand up for yourself now.

Don’t let them off the hook

Surprisingly, when I take my clients through this exercise, they often hold back, using their adult perspective to excuse the perpetrator’s behavior. “My father wasn’t a bad man. He left because he was under a lot of pressure.” Ok, that may be true, but you know what? The kid version of YOU didn’t care about that. She didn’t have access to that point of view. And before you can make a new decision, you have to be willing to let go of the old one. So, tell your dad he was a bastard for leaving, and only once you let all that crap out, can you begin to see it from his point of view. So, don’t take it easy on the adults in your memory. If they hurt you, you get to express that. And this time, they’ll have to listen. Be prepared for a fair amount of anger to come out when you do this, and be sure to express it constructively.

Make a new decision

Once you’ve really embraced the fact that you were right, dammit, you can take the first step towards making a new decision. We so often hold on to old pain because we want to be heard, we want to be validated. No one listened to us then (or at least that was our experience), and we’re unwilling to let go until someone freaking does. You can give yourself that validation. And once you have, begin to make a new decision.

This is much, MUCH simpler than you may think. Notice, that I said “simple” and not “easy”. If you’ve been making the same decision over and over again for years, making a new one can be gut wrenching at first. But it’ll get easier quite quickly, so hang in there for just a little bit.

For example, let’s go back to the woman who couldn’t trust men. She visualized telling off her father for leaving, and began to take on the belief that maybe it wasn’t her fault. Maybe it was his. He was the douche in all this and she hadn’t deserved to be left. After sitting with this for a couple of weeks, she was able to start imagining herself trusting a man. She visualized herself in a relationship with a good guy who had no desire or inclination to cheat on her. The great thing about visualizations is that you can project yourself into the head of the other person and check their thoughts. It took a bit of work on her part, but after a few weeks, she was able to see herself through this man’s eyes and view herself as beautiful, special, loved, adored, and not even remotely not good enough. She felt this man’s feelings, and decided that he really did love her, he really was a good guy and she could totally trust her. The mere thought of not being trusted by her, hurt him.

These thoughts weren’t comfortable at first. Far from it. But this client chose to make a new decision over and over again, until this new thought became her belief. Soon after, she began attracting totally different men into her life. At the time of this writing, she’s dating a wonderful guy and hasn’t had her trust issues triggered once. In fact, for the first time in her life, she’s feeling completely comfortable and safe in a relationship.

You get to choose what you believe

Your beliefs are not chiseled into your bone structure. They are merely habits of thought. And habits can be changed. Do not give them more power than they deserve. Even if a belief has been in your family for generations, it’s still just a habit, possibly a really ingrained habit, but still just a freaking habit. You are not broken. You have a habit of thought that isn’t serving you. You are not damaged. You’re just unknowingly choosing to think a thought that hurts you a great deal. You are not traumatized or scarred for life. You have a bullshit belief, that’s all. Stop making it a bigger deal than it is. Yes, you are justified in your pain. Yes, you were right and they were wrong. But how long must you continue to suffer for their wrongness? It’s time to heal. It’s time to let go. It’s time to get over it and allow yourself to be happy already. You deserve it.

You’re here NOW. You survived. You became strong. So stand up, you kick ass Amazonian Goddess, you, and claim your BIRTHRIGHT to be happy. Don’t let anyone, not even yourself, take that away from you. All that matters is NOW. All your power is in the NOW. That was then. And THEN doesn’t matter. NOW does. What do you choose to believe about yourself NOW? Whom do you choose to give your power to NOW? How do you choose to feel NOW? You’re always choosing. Even when you’re not aware of it. So choose consciously. Choose wisely. Choose compassionately. Choose lovingly. Choose yourself. Choose NOW.

 






{ 26 comments }

Tabi(tha) June 27, 2013 at 21:05

Melody, I love this post and it was just exactly what I needed to read today. Over the last couple of days I’ve had a couple of limiting beliefs from my past come up and show how they’re still affecting me today. I know I need to build my network to build my business and haven’t seen just how much crap I have around this. So today I’m choosing a different belief :)
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Melody Fletcher June 27, 2013 at 21:57

Yay! Way to go Tabi! We all have our crap from our past. One of the reasons I wrote this post is because I found myself basically giving this speech over and over again. So, you’re in good company. :)

Huge hugs,

Melody
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Will June 27, 2013 at 21:23

Like

Melody Fletcher June 27, 2013 at 21:58

Thanks! :)
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Debra June 27, 2013 at 22:34

Great post Melodie,
I love the detail and clarity with which you write.
However, I am a little bit affected by your use of the phrase “Your childhood was not as traumatic as you think it was.” It has taken me to age 53 to start to uncover some horrendous abuse from when I was a baby through to god knows what age.
It is awesomely good in that it is showing me why I feel and behave the way I do now and have done all my life. I can forgive myself finally! And I am gradually feeling it now, allowing it and accepting it, instead of repressing it, and so letting it go. All good.
And I agree with everything else you say. I believe I chose to experience the abuse for my ultimate joy/unfoldment in this lifetime.
But it’s just that phrase that sounds a little too harsh for my liking at the moment and hope it doesn’t affect anyone else badly. Like you say, it is simple but not necessarily easy.

Ca June 27, 2013 at 23:33

This was amazing, thank you so much!
Oh my god, aren’t you good at what you do! Best LOA teacher EVEEER!

Aylin June 28, 2013 at 00:05

Again the post came just at the perfect time.I am now aware that I have been putting myself away from my dream relationship,house,job etc. just because of those old decisions ! It is a just a decision away.I now easily see that.Thanks to you in the first place :) :) But I guess I have to do that exercises first and release my anger and resistance.You’re the best Melody.

Love & hugs

Aylin :)

Wendi June 28, 2013 at 01:28

Awesome as always Melody!

I love your posts. They always strike home when I need them to! I’ve been working on clearing some negative beliefs and surprised myself this morning when I ran smack into one of those beliefs. I further surprised myself by actually asking for something that I needed from a guy that I’ve been dating.
We’ve been spending a good deal of time together and I’ve dropped off doing some things for my self (meditating and journaling everyday) because he wanted to do stuff. Couple of really bad days and I had to stop and figure out what the heck was going on. When I finally figured out that I was not speaking up for myself, I quietly asked him not to schedule things until after 10am. You know what! He was apologetic and said he would definitely give me my time in the mornings…it was very nice to be validated and cared for.
Thanks again Mel for all you do.

Nathalie June 28, 2013 at 02:36

Freaking THANK YOU!!! Melody, I swear half the mental health issues that we have today are because people are being taught by society and their therapists to marinate in their past misery, rehashing it over and over and over again. And they’re being told over and over and over again that they were victimized. Which drives me freaking crazy (in large part because I’ve been through that system)… when bad things happen to people, about the last thing we should be doing to them is grinding it in, grinding them down, and forcing them to believe that they are victims. Far better to teach them their own power and show them how to *use* it to make their lives better from here on in.

The strangest, but at the same time nicest, compliment I ever received came from a friend I had way back in university. I had just told her the abridged version of my life story, and she just shook her head, looked at me in wonder and said: “The miracle of the thing is that you are still such a nice person. Because if I’d been through everything you have, I wouldn’t be.” I thought at the time that it was a weird thing to say, because even with all the crap I’ve been through, I don’t consider myself as having had a bad childhood or a rough life. Yes, there have been (a lot) of things that were very, very difficult. And yes, I had patches where I kind of fell apart and didn’t deal with it very well. But looking back, whenever those desperate patches happened, it was because I felt like a victim or like I was trapped. Those were the times that I *forgot my own power*.

There are no awards for best martyr. Wallowing in the unhappy events of your past doesn’t benefit you at all; it doesn’t make things better and sure as heck doesn’t punish the ones who hurt you. Living in pain years after the events have passed just adds to the power of the perpetrators, while sucking your own life-energy away. The best thing you can do for yourself is to let it go. Live the life of your freaking dreams. Be happy. And never spare another thought to what happened then, unless it helps someone else get over their own “then” (without dragging you back down into yours).

And on that note, I’ll get down off my soapbox now. ;-)
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DawnStar June 28, 2013 at 09:26

Love you melody ;]

XXXXXXX

Eve June 28, 2013 at 12:06

Thank you Melody, thank you. What this post made me realise more than anything else is how far I have come. I think even a few weeks ago I would said YES, BUT… Today I am able to see the truth in what you are saying. I am still struggling through most of this stuff, but I can see the truth in being in the NOW and making decisions about how to look at things and feel about things based on RIGHT NOW.

Thank you so much!

Kat June 28, 2013 at 18:19

This is indeed a very good post and I believe in it. What I would like to know is how to get over something you’re not sure of. I was finally making progress with liking myself and being braver when I was hit by a truck while crossing the street as a pedestrian. This caused me to have panic attacks again and many ugly feelings came up. I am uncertain what feelings are mine and which ones are withdrawal symptoms from Xanax, for one thing, then secondly I get this overwhelming feeling of desertion or of being unwanted and wonder if there isn’t something from my babyhood I am not recalling but acting on. I did have a repressed memory come to me once before that was pretty dark and wonder if there something else in there as well. Thank you.

Anonymous June 28, 2013 at 19:29

Hi Melody,

I’ve got very mixed feelings about this post. The process you describe is helpful and it works. I’ve used it many times. I found the blaming tone at the beginning of the post to be spectacularly unhelpful.

People don’t justify negative beliefs unless they think those beliefs are their most positive option. As you said, the process is simple, but not necessarily easy. It’s also not something that happens once. I have to go through it many times to dig out the many incorrect beliefs I adopted to try to survive a horrendous childhood.

Get over your crappy childhood already? Duh. If I had known how to do it, I’d have done it years ago.

Emilio June 28, 2013 at 21:26

Wow. Completely off topic but I am going to call you out on it Melody. “You are God (yes, THE GOD, the big G, the freaking Almighty) embodied in the physical.” Seriously? So a plant should think of itself as God too, no? Or, God had the intelligence of a caveman back in the day? So this god you refer to wasn’t too bright back then, yet intelligent enough to create, say, the planet Earth. I am not denying that we have God potential / God energy / God something in us as humans, as does everything else, but I sincerely hope that you are not of the mind that God is the “collective conscious” of humans and as we grow, so does God. As we grow so our understanding of God – and the power given to us, grows. To believe otherwise, you have to then believe that we are the highest form of intelligence ANYWHERE. We will just ignore the fact that not even science knows more than it knows about what’s out there in the universe. The arrogance of that way of thought never ceases to amaze me!

Jann June 28, 2013 at 22:28

I just realised that’s a real cat in the photo! Ouch! Lol!

Great post! It’s easy to get stuck and not move forward to a happier place.
Most people don’t do it on purpose they just dont have a different perspective to look at things. Thanks for your insight and ways to see things differently! :)

marie June 28, 2013 at 22:48

Melody what a post. I loved it. This is what I have been trying to tell everyone, even my mother. I walked away from a relationship twenty years ago and would you believe it, twenty years later, my mother, friends (now ex-friends due to living in the past) have asked me the same question “how is….” I laugh each time they ask me. They then ask,”why am I always smiling or laughing. I mean really.

Keep it up. All the best Marie, London

B June 30, 2013 at 02:22

Absolutely motivational and inspirational, Melody *applauds*

Tatiana June 30, 2013 at 09:41

Dear Melody! Thank You very much for all valuable stuff you offer us. It all makes so much sense. I really appreciate it!!!

Tina July 1, 2013 at 18:41

This allowed me to cry, release unwanted hurt and to forgive, thank you for this post Melody.

Gustav Reise July 2, 2013 at 23:27

The picachu-cat is amazing!!! very inspirational post, thanks for it.

Gustav Reise – Public Relations at Travel Videos.

Fred July 5, 2013 at 13:45

The article is smart and constructive, the only problem is that it addresses females only. Men go through the same type of suffering, looking for the cause, blaming others for their depression and perceived failures.

Melody Fletcher July 5, 2013 at 16:17

Hey Fred,

My audience is predominantly female, so sometimes my posts use “she” more than “he”. But the information is always applicable to both sexes. Contrary to popular belief, men’s emotions are no less complex than women’s. In fact, I’d say you guys have a harder time, since you’re encouraged to keep your emotions to yourself. I do try to balance the examples out between the feminine and the masculine. I’m sorry if you felt left out, that wasn’t the intention.

Sending you big, smooshy hugs,

Melody

Carole Remy July 11, 2013 at 02:16

Wonderful post, Melody. Thank you!

Carole
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In Gratitude July 19, 2013 at 08:49

Hi Melody! I have been following your blog for quite a while now. Thank you so much for this article. It resonated with me all the way and I’m going to use every single one of these techniques right after I post this comment.

I have manifested a lot of really good relationships and people in my life through the LOA now. But I still have some major limiting beliefs I need to let go. And I have a major fear….it goes something like “I manifested these people in my present mindset. If I change (even for the better) I will lose all these people. And I don’t want to lose these people because I love them all.” And then,I stop any self-work I’m doing for the fear that I might just make one of these people go away due to me changing my vibration. Please offer your perspective on this.

minnie October 31, 2013 at 19:15

the whole time i was reading this (and crying hard because it resonated so deeply and accurately) i imagined esther hicks’s voice saying all that with her well-known fiery passion. let me tell you, you and esther make a kick ass combo! thank you for writing this. when i got to the bold “you were right” part, i felt vindicated. thank you so much.

Lou November 22, 2013 at 05:01

Ok, I just read this post for the second time, and I must have been half asleep the first time, because I get now why I’ve been having walking-round-the-house-ranting-at-people-from-the-past episodes recently. It’s been worrying me because I don’t want to be angry; I feel like they don’t deserve my anger, but maybe this is the point – get it out, tell the barstewards off big time (I even used the “c” word on a couple of them, and I never thought that would EVER come out of my mouth! Lol), then bury it once and for all. Thank you so much for this post, Melody. I’m not going to worry if any more of these episodes hit me; I’ll just go with it then let it go.

Thanks!

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