Life will happen and for some people, this means experiencing certain hardships and difficulties that can leave a lasting impression. Traffic accidents, the death of a loved one and grief to different extents can cause great pain and confusion. For many, the longest lasting effect is simply trying to understand what happened.
Adults face this in many ways the same as children, although kids have a handicap. Being young and impressionable, children have a self-centered view of the world and are not rational in the way an adult is.
For this reason, many 8-year-olds believe that their parents’ divorce was due to their failure to complete a task or finish homework.
A child will then go into themselves and make a conscious list of things they must do to prevent these things –abandonments, pains, fear and loss — from happening again in the future. Following are some of the defense mechanisms applied.
“I take care of me.”
The world is a dangerous place full of dangerous people. I will take care of me because no one else can be trusted but me. If I open up to others they will hurt me so I keep relationships shallow. I don’t relate to others but manage myself by being amicable.
“I’m compliant and passive.”
The world is an unsafe environment over which I have little control. Lacking confidence and experience I find to best to go along with others. They seem to know more than I do and this can help me steer clear of greater danger.
‘I need to stay alert.”
The world is full of tricksters and surprises. I must stay on guard at all times so that things don’t harm me. This makes me assume the worst often, but that’s better than the alternative. If my friend is late, they may have died in an accident. If my girlfriend hasn’t called she doesn’t want me. People may think that I am over anxious and stressing constantly, this is because I am.
“I need to be in control and I’m angry.”
In this dangerous world it is essential for me to stay on my guard at all times. Nothing will happen without my say and I will control all possible outcomes. If people want to give me a hard time or pull me in their direction, they will have a hard time. If I disagree with what you are saying, you will know about it.
All of these mental patterns serve to protect the child from the traumas of their youth and allow them to reach maturity intact. However, once there they soon find that these outdated stances can conflict with their lives. They may have many relationships but never really be intimate with any of them. Others are soon irritated by their passive nature and this keeps them from cultivating their lives.
They are anxious about the future, negative about the present and despondent about the past and the cycle continues. While they may control their domain, the wage a relentless war with an uncaring world. Nevertheless, the goals are fairly simple and breaking these cycles is not impossible.
Begin with a full understanding of your situation how it is affecting your world.
How is the current outlook on the world affecting your life’s direction and those around you. By being honest with yourself you will begin to form a more realistic view of your present and future. You will be able to separate the past from your present.
Get personal closure.
Expressing the situation in words will allow you to make sense of the past occurrence. Taking the time to write down what you really wanted to say but couldn’t. Take the time to tell the people involved what is on your mind in a letter.
Then take the time to write a letter from them to yourself that expresses what you would want to hear the most from them. This could be that they understand their fault or yours, they loved you or that they meant you no ill-intentions. Make these letters as real to you as possible by citing instances. But, above all clean out the heart allow yourself time to speak.
Step outside your comfort zones and patterns.
Then time to move beyond your comfort zones and be a grown up. Identify your comfort zones and make a committed effort to stay away from them or to at least regularly venture out. This may mean speaking up rather than being passive, engaging yourself fully into a relationship rather than being closed and isolated. It could also mean taking brave approach to the future as well as letting go of angers and the desire to control.
Get support and help.
Finally, understand that all of this can take considerable time and effort. You can find a great deal of support from professional therapists and counselors such as ClarityClinic. It may be their suggestion to take medication to aid in breaking the negative cycles that have you surrounded.