Updated: Oct 28, 2019
I went to a seminar about self esteem and confidence the other day and I left a bit disappointed. It is sometimes very difficult to organise seminars/workshops because you need to take account the level of people attending. People who have had psychotherapy in the past have a different understanding of psychological concepts. They tend to have a better self awareness, they know what it means to take responsibility of their own feelings and to make connections between past events and present’s behavioural reactions a way faster. For other people these concepts can be very confusing.
The speaker started by drawing a comparison between a child growing up in a healthy environment with parents who were supporting and mature and a child who grew up in an unhealthy environment. I found this comparison too general and extreme. I strongly believe that a child would be traumatised no matter how much supportive his parents are. Little children tend to exaggerate events because they look the world with totally different lenses than us the adults. I can see from my clients, even the ones who have grown up in ”healthy environments” how traumatised have they been by an event to our eyes today is absolutely insignificant. A mother who was busy and didn’t respond to the child, a teacher who tells child off in front of other children etc. These events can be deeply traumatising for a child and can shape their life even if they have grown in healthy environment. People are far too complicated and these comparisons are too general even for the sake of explaining mainstream psychological concepts. I’ve seen many times parents feeling guilty or accusing themselves about they way they are raising their children. It doesn’t need to be that way.
My point here is not to dismiss obviously what a traumatic environment can do to someone but rather to focus on all the countless positive possibilities someone has growing up in such an environment. Trauma forces emotional work (not to everyone of course), it helps a person dig deep inside them and understand and challenge the way they perceive themselves and everyone around them. Someone who hasn’t been triggered that much has less chances to go for a self discovery journey and shake themselves to the core. I believe putting our focus on self discovery, self awareness and by talking how important is to work with our shadow instead of bypassing or dismissing negative feelings is the way forward.
So, traumatised parents who have done work on themselves can make great parents! What and who is great is always open to debate.