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Do We Spend Our Adult Life Getting Over Our Childhood?

Posted Oct 02 2008 6:17pm

Seriously. Do we spend our entire adult life trying to get over our childhood? Is it just a phase? It seems like those critical childhood years of interacting with others contributes to so much of who we are as adults and if those years were dysfunctional, then all we can do is try to deal later on and not let it define us.

The last several years I have been trying to make sense of my life and with how I was raised. I know that my anxiety is a combination of genetics and behavior I learned from my environment. In my home, there was questioning levels of child abuse. Child Abuse itself is a controversial topic, and is hard to define where and when the line gets crossed. Some cases are very black and white, others are gray. For my older siblings there was more black and white cases I think. For me personally, there was a lot of gray which almost makes it harder because there isn't easy validation for your feelings. There are a lot of questions and doubts and confusion. Whether its classified as abuse or not, I do have memories that are hard to deal with and have resulted in an unfavorable relationship with my Dad. I guess I should say no relationship with my Dad. I grew up having to keep secrets and pretend that everything was happy go lucky when really there was a lot of anger and pain festering. I think it caused me to feel ashamed and not worthy as a person to deal with the humiliation I felt. I am not one to blame all of my problems on "bad parenting" but I think a lot of my self esteem issues have been effected and it deserves some thought and reflection.

In an article titled"Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect"states,
"In one long-term study, as many as 80 percent of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. These young adults exhibited many problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts (Silverman, Reinherz, & Giaconia, 1996). Other psychological and emotional conditions associated with abuse and neglect include panic disorder, dissociative disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder (Teicher, 2000)."

I still don't know how to deal with it all. I have made huge improvements with my personal self esteem lately, but as for dealing with my parents and keeping the facade that we have a happy normal non dysfunctional family is something I struggle with a lot.

So here's my question: Does anyone else feel that their anxiety is partially a result from their childhood? Otherwise do you feel its something you learned as an adult or is it purely genetics?

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