Toxic parents project their own darkness and issues onto their children.
One of the ways they do this, is to make sure the targeted child(ren) are not happy and to make sure they do not believe they should be happy. They destroy any happiness their children try to find.
Having my mother tell me this any time I tried to be happy – made me believe being happy was shameful and something I did not deserve. I only deserved to be unhappy – and even that was mocked.
Complex trauma survivors struggle to maintain any positive emotions. And this is one reason why.
Complex trauma survivors often experience happiness or positive emotions for very brief periods of time, before they spiral down into what feels like depression, but in fact is often shame.
Another reason positive emotions are short lived, are because when you are living in a harmful, toxic, unsafe home – abuse is always imminent – and we grow to know happiness is only ever very short lived, before we are enduring the next abusive onslaught.
Children’s brain are still growing and developing throughout their childhoods. The harmful and abusive experiences – affect the growing brain. Along with the brain being wired for fear, it is also wired to experience shame – as soon as any positive emotions are felt.
Having abusive parents – is horrendous and a childhood no child should ever endure.
Processing this, figuring out what causes us to feel the way we do, is all part of healing. The next part is acknowledging we do deserve happiness and joy, and to deal with the shame we experience. Telling ourselves repeatedly that we are worthy of positive emotions and maintaining them for longer periods of time. And not feeling this is wrong or undeserved.
It takes time for us to create new positive pathways in the brain – to re-wire out thoughts and beliefs – to appropriate and healthy ones.
It can take time for all this to occur. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m 5 years into therapy and processing trauma – and I am still working on this.
But, I know – it was an entire childhood of abuse that created these complex trauma issues. So, however long it takes to heal it – is absolutely okay.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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