Monday, May 20, 2013

My Childhood Does Not Define Me

When a child is exposed to violence, abuse and neglect, there is a high probability that this child will develop an array of emotional traumas and set backs. The challenge will be to rescue this child and convince him/her that his past does not define him/her.

This can be difficult especially when is so embedded in their minds that this is the only reality that is present and available. That same instint that reins in our subconscious to survive, is the catalyst that a person have to raise above his circumstances.

Nature Vs Nurture

The big question, nature VS nurture. Does our up bringing define the individuals personality or is this already embedded in our genetic code? Let’s see, as complex individuals, human beings posses the benefit of choice and adaptability of behavior. Never the less, instincts are the very thing that can determine the survival of a person in extreme circumstances.

It’s a proven fact that most mental ilnesses are hereditary, and for the sake of argument so is certain behaviors. Such as those directly linked to mental illness. For example, a child with one parent with bipolar disorder have more probability to develop a variation of the condition than one that has no genetic predisposition for the condition but suffered a traumatic event. Now, a child that has gone trough hell growing up is a recipe for long term trauma and will need equal or more help than the other. Can they make a choice?

I think the real question is not nurture Vs nature, but rather

How much of each ? Can I raise above my childhood?

Faith factor

It’s a fact that people with any belief system( ether religious, cultural or self imposed faith) adheres to the belief that there is a purpose for everything and that what happened to them does not define who they are. This goes to modern psychology and therapy.
It’s not your fault , but you are responsible for what you do with the pain, the anger and all the residual feelings from the past. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against self loathing and damaging self imagery.

That is how I know that any one can do it too.

It is a matter of choice, but who’s?

I decided a long time ago that what ever happens with my life, it would be my responsibility to use it as a stepping stone to reach my full potential.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a briefing for a seminar about child abuse and the possible reactions of the subject in question. I was presenting my own experiences as a survivor of child abuse and torture, and the techniques that has helped me stay focused and centered.
One of the contributors had her mouth hanging from her jaw. She interrupted the presentation and asked -“How In hell, are you still sane and standing here talking about it like any other case study?” It really caught me off guard, but I answered as honestly as I will now.

-"If I would let what happened to me all those years ago set the course of my life, the very essence of me would die. I am what I am because I survived it, and I am here to tell others that have gone through the same thing: I was there and I am OK. Most people have experienced some kind of trauma in their life, some, let that event destroy who they are. I decided not to let it become who I am. Every body is different. I have encountered people that have crashed down into a deep depression and life of self destructive behaviours. Using their past as an excuse, or maybe as a point of reference to live by.

I am the product of my experiences, but I decided that my life was going to mean something positive. Just like that Chinese Proverb: " the flower that blooms in adversity , is the most rare and beautiful of all.". Because if I don't thrive , if I don’t overcome and stay inspired, then all that I have been through, would have been in vain."

Don’t get me wrong, this has been my struggle. There are many others that can’t or won’t fight for themselves. For those are the ones that I keep standing, even if sometimes is easier to lay down. I can’t quit now. Because I walked that path I can say, yes it can be done...