Monday, August 12, 2013

Pain from the Past

For the Mondays in August we'll be looking at being adult children.

Sometimes I take issue with the phrase dysfunctional family. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of families who fit that definition, however, a lot of families didn't suffer 'dysfunction' as much as they suffered from 'imperfection'. None of us had a Cosby Show, or Leave It To Beaver childhood. A surreal televised version of life cannot ever be the definition of 'functional'. We were all raised by real people in real life. Mistakes were made but that alone doesn't create dysfunction.

Having said that, whether we grew up with abuse, abandonment, neglect, bullying, feelings of ostracism or feeling left out or just different, all of us made it through childhood and adolescence with some pain. Mine came from the loss of a parent and being teased about being 'dark and ugly' in middle and high school.

As adults, we have an obligation to deal with the issues we were powerless to deal with as children. This could be done in a variety of ways. It might involve confrontation, therapy, forgiveness or even terminating a relationship. Only you know the best way to handle your situation. Whatever you decide, know that it will take courage, dedication and time.

It's called pain for a reason. You felt pain when it was happening. You feel pain when you remember it. It stands to reason that you will feel pain again as you deal with it. This is where the courage comes in. You will face pain but you have got to realize that there is a sun shining for you once you make it through the storm. The only way to get through it is to go through it.

Also know that you don't have to go through it alone. Hopefully, you have friends and family that will support you on this journey. If you don't, you don't have to go any further than your computer to find support groups. Whatever happened, you are not alone. You might want just an Internet group or you can find a support group to join in your town that will help. You could visit a therapist. Whatever you need to do, there is safety in numbers, so get your group in place.

Once you begin to face your past, you have to be prepared to stick to it. If confrontation doesn't work, try something else. When those pangs of hurt, disappointment and fear come up, you have to be prepared to move through them.

All of this takes time. It isn't overnight and it is never fully addressed in one conversation or major event. When you cut yourself, you need time to heal. With time you will heal but you must be patient with yourself and those around you.

It can get better.

No comments: