Who’s responsible for what

ethnic woman choosing fruits with daughter in market
Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

The subject of complex family trauma often comes up in my therapy room. Families where the adults were not there for children when they needed them most. 

Parents who divorced, parents who had children because society demanded it, not because they wanted it, and parents who were not fit to be parents or did not want or knew how to be parents. Many have placed their children in other people’s care for a while in their young childhood, thinking they are too young to be affected, without being aware that this act can place extensive abandonment trauma on their children. Parents who died. 

Now, despite all the things I have mentioned, most parents do the best they can at a given time. Their intention is good. It may not come out how the children need to feel affection. That is another story for children who became adults to discuss with their therapists.

Another true thing is that we all learn from the experiences we encounter in our childhood. Later in life, we are responsible for sorting ourselves out and for healing. A form of taking responsibility for ourselves in adult life is putting physical distance from the places and people we have experienced as being difficult for us.

This is why many people move countries because they feel that they would be better elsewhere. Why would they want to be in a foreign place if they would have had a great life where they were born and raised in the first place?

Yet, even in another country, together with other people from another culture, the behavior would be similar to the one they had in the circle that formed them: family and close community.

If you grew up in a family lacking emotional support and defined by relational poverty, you may face the following difficulties:

– Avoid asking questions when something is unclear to you, living with the impression that only the “stupid”do not understand or do not know from the first, or that you do not understand or speak the language well enough;

– To refuse the suggestions or guidance of those around you, having the impression that you “always” have to manage independently. This can be  a huge set back i a Western country, where people are educated to work in teams;

– Make it hard for you to trust the good intentions of those around you and, unconsciously, look for their hidden motives.

– Feeling awkward when people are kind or friendly to you and avoiding emotional closeness.

– Believing that others do not care about your opinion, you remain silent or speak very little and quickly.

– To hesitate to express your emotions and needs, believing no one cares.

– To encounter difficulties in emotional self-regulation and interpersonal conflict management skills.

– To express your difficulties only after you have overcome the challenges and when you no longer feel vulnerable.

– Being reluctant to make decisions with a low or medium level of risk for fear of being overwhelmed by unpleasant emotions.

Do you recognize any of those symptoms? Let me know if you still need to have your free session or if you need to talk! We’ll book a session asap!

Knowing our life story – is an essential first step toward our psychological maturity. Understanding how the present relates to the past is an essential second step, and acting differently now. Sharing the story with someone you trust is the third decisive step. That is where therapists come into the picture! Let me know if you need to talk!

Best from your migration therapist

Gabriela Sirbu - signaturbilde

PS. A great book I can recommend for identifying various issues is “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk. 

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