In this short video Nadine Burke Harris explains how adverse childhood experiences impacts the health of the child and continues to do so over the lifetime of the person. She explains in scientific terms why this occurs and ways the impacts can be reduced. She believes that this is a public health issue and should be addressed as such with multidisciplinary teams available to help affected individuals to heal the trauma and reduce the impacts.
Most people do not fully love themselves. They may like themselves a bit, think that they are okay, but they don’t cherish the precious being that they are. They don’t look at themselves with love and reverence. They don’t honour their bodily needs and treat themselves with the respectful thought, touch and actions that they would do for others.
Many of us have been taught to dislike ourselves. Life has shown us evidence that we are not lovable, good enough or okay. This is false evidence. It was just the interpretation of events that were not actually about you, even if it seemed they were.
Parents can rarely meet all needs of a child. It is too much to ask for. That is why traditionally they say it takes a tribe to raise a child. When one is tired and needs to rest, another steps in to care for the child. That way interactions can be mostly positive, loving, nurturing and accepting.
In today’s way of being parents are often trying to do it on their own or with occasional support from family or friends. The parents are tired, coping with work, money concerns, their own stuff as well as caring for the child. Out of exhaustion and frustration it is harder for all their interactions to be loving and kind to the child. There are times when they simply have nothing left to give and may feel resentful of the child and its needs. They may wish the child didn’t exist or they could give them away. This is just exhaustion. Just a lack of support in the way that modern life operates.
The children however can sense the above. They feel that Mum or Dad is not available, distant, angry or upset. They feel the absence of love and joy when Mum is depressed and lonely, struggling to cope. While the parents actions are not really about the baby itself, it will feel like it is. It’s not that it is the baby’s personality, the being that it is, that is the issue. It is the demands of parenthood in a time when that role is undervalued and unappreciated. It could be any baby and it would get the same response. However, as a baby and a child growing up we do assume it is about us personally. We may think ‘if only I was prettier, smarter, more like Mum, Dad, brother, sister – whoever does get the attention more easily – if only I was like them then I’d be lovable. Then I’d be okay’. This is the foundation of self loathing, self rejection and self denial. We start manipulating who we are to please others, to get approval, to fit in and receive love. It is all about LOVE.
In the early stages of life we need to be nurtured and looked after by others, mainly our families and friends who care for us and our welfare. Without touch and care babies do not thrive and gain weight. It physically damages them to be left alone and not cared for. Uncontrolled crying, being left to cry, actually releases cortisol into the baby’s blood stream, a stress hormone, that eats away, dissolves parts of the baby’s brain. It actually damages the brain physically.
So don’t let babies cry. Find a way to be there for them. Ask for help and support when you need it. Go outside into nature and let the Earth’s energy support you if noone else is around. Ensure that you do have plans in place for those times when your personal reserves are empty, when your gas tank is on zero. Have someone you can call on or text that can come help.
The breakdown of community and isolation that most people live in, makes this so much harder. So many people are lonely, scared to reach out to others for fear of rejection or further loss and pain. Instead they hide at home with their pets who provide them with their main source of love and affection.
If so many people are feeling lonely, unloved or deep down feeling perhaps they aren’t lovable, don’t deserve love or will never be loved, shouldn’t we just all take the risk to love each other, to meet each others needs? Acknowledge we are all carrying wounds around this and beliefs about ourselves that we need to change, emotional pain that needs to be felt and released, so that we can realise we are perfectly okay as we are. Take a step today and reach out to another human being. Offer your friendship, your love, your time and see what happens. Not all will accept, but some might and you only need one or two to start with. Offer them your heart and say ‘I will love and accept you as you are, will you do the same for me?‘ You may not say this out loud, but energetically it is what you are wishing to portray. Get out there, join social, sporting, art or other types of groups. Do what makes your heart sing and you will start to feel more fulfilled and full of love as you honour yourself and treat yourself in more loving ways.
There is much that you can do to show yourself that you are loved, lovable and deserving of good things in life. Tell your friends how you feel and you will be surprised that they feel that way too. We all have some self doubt and insecurities. We all have issues we are working through. Sometimes sharing with others is good. Other times put that aside and just have fun. Just go out and have fun. This is how you love yourself fully, by honouring your own needs and meeting them. By doing for yourself what your parents could not do. You choose to be there for yourself, to meet your needs, to rest when needed and have fun. You follow your heart’s messages and do what it desires. You risk opening up and connecting with others who feel safe and play together, honouring each other.
Love is not hard. It is our natural state, the most natural thing for us to do. We have just been conditioned to be wary of it due to life experiences. It could be school events where you were bullied or teased. It could be workplace incidents that led you to feel incompetent or not good enough. These issues can occur at any time of our life, but the seed of them is planted during our time in the womb and as a baby.
A foetus knows whether it is wanted or not wanted while growing in the Mother’s womb. The foetus receives the Mother’s blood supply and all the molecules of emotion it contains, through the umbilical cord. It carries this from the start, this knowing, and it forms the start of its identity. Preconception, pregnancy and birth truly are significant and important events which shape the personality of the child and its feeling of being loved or not, safe or not, wanted or not. These are times when tenderness and care are needed. When loving touch is needed. Ensure that these are times of love and joy, and your baby will flourish and grow with less doubts about self and his/her self worth.
The important thing to realise is everyone goes through this. We are all carrying degrees of ‘Am I okay?’ questioning. Realise you are. You are enough. You are perfectly enough exactly as you are. Find the courage to show yourself to the world and stand strong in who you are. You don’t need to play games for approval or modify yourself to fit in. Let it go and be yourself. Let it go and be happy with what you have and who you are. As you do so your inner world will flourish and your outer world will alter to match it. You are okay. You are lovable, and you do deserve the best in life. Do the healing necessary so you believe in yourself and live life freely as the beautiful human being that you are. Blessed BE. Amen.
By Jodi-Anne (8 Dec 2015).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
Fear takes hold of us when we are put into a state of phsyical danger. It is a natural mechanism designed to help us. It is the fight or flight or freeze response associated with the amygdala in the brain.
When a wild animal or cave man is attacking you, it is a good response. Blood flows away from your organs, digestion, immune system and brain and goes to your muscles, so that you have the best chance of winning the fight or out running your attacker. In this response you are helped to survive.
However, for many people their body’s are locked in fight or flight mode all the time. This is not helpful or healthy. It makes the body stressed and unable to do all that it needs to do with ease and grace.
We need to help calm and soothe our bodies back to a state of peace and relaxation. We need to let go of the tension that accumulates so readily in modern life. Rushing around all the time, trying to meet deadlines, putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure to achieve, to succeed in our jobs, our homes, our families, to have the best of everything.
Modern society measures success based on wealth and posessions. This is not an accurate description of success, for it ignores the lack of joy, close relationships, poor health, fatigue and exhaustion that comes from always being on the go.
A truer measure of success is peace and happiness. Is a person happy with their life, are they operating from their passion, fulfiling their creativity and purpose in life, are they loved, loving and kind with many close friends and healthy relationships with family, work colleagues and those they meet on the street. Do they have time to spend with their kids, who know that they are loved, important, valued and heard. Or are they waving goodbye to the kids in front of the TV as they go off to work.
Which version of life do you relate to most? If the first then it is not surprising that your body may be locked in a fearful state. There is no deep relaxation when someone is constantly on the go, rushing around. The body doesn’t get a chance to relax and recharge. Sleep may be broken and less of it than is needed for good health.
During sleep the body realigns with its natural state. With the mind switched off it can finally connect with Source and let all the residue of the day be cleared out. Some of it appears as dreams. Some of it just releases. But deep sleep is needed for this restorative process to occur.
If a person is locked in to chronic fear, they may struggle to sleep soundly, which then exacerbates the situation, as the body does not get the time to heal itself that it needs. Sleep really is very important. It is worth going to bed an hour earlier so you can sleep more. It is certainly more important than watching TV.
Most of people’s fears today are not about life and death situations. It is usually about stressful situations faced due to pushing themselves too hard in modern living – traffic, job pressures, rushing around, not having time to do everything that is needed. These are the superficial fears, the feeling like the ‘wheels will fall off’ if you actually stopped to rest. These are easily rectified by actually choosing to do less. By realising that you are living at a pace that the human body has not been designed for. So, choose to do less. Cut out unnecessary tasks and do only that which bring you joy and are truly required for you to live a happy and healthy life.
The deeper seated fears are those that come from childhood conditioning – ‘Am I good enough?’, ‘Am I lovable?’, ‘Am I acceptable as a human being?’. These are core fears, doubts about your being, your essence, that have resulted from not receiving enough of your parent’s attention, love and kindness when you were little.
With modern lifestyles this is only getting worse, as more and more families have 2 working parents and the children spend more time in front of the TV and in childcare than they do talking or having fun with Mum and Dad.
Children’s developing brains do not have the capacity to understand that Mum and Dad are working so hard because they think they need to have the big, fancy house and cars and holiday homes, etc. The children simply see that Mum and Dad do not want to spend time with them and they assume it is because of a lack inside themselves.‘If I was more lovable, a better person, if I was more ….. then Mum and Dad would spend more time with me. They don’t value doing so, don’t make time for it, so I must not be valuable or lovable’.
This sets the scene for a fearful life with low self esteem. The child grows looking outside themselves for validation, constantly looking for evidence that their fears are real. ‘See the way that person looked at me, it confirms my fear that the world is a cruel place or danagerous place. See how that person pushed past me, etc’. These people may not have even noticed the first person and their actions aren’t deliberate or targeted, but because of the fearful thinking the person takes it to heart and draws false conclusions about the world and their safety in it.
In time with enough fearful thinking, it becomes habituated and the body goes about reacting as if it is always in danger. The day is lived on high alert, which is not healthy for the person concerned. As it takes hold the body gets overloaded and the result can be panic attacks and high anxiety levels. The body is so full of adrenalin and other fear related chemicals, that it becomes toxic and normal thinking abilities cease. The blood is flowing away from the conscious mind, locked into the primitive or hind brain in fight or flight mode. This is traumatising and exhausting.
Underneath all of this fear is faulty thinking, false assumptions about self and your ability to cope with life. Negative self messages may have been programmed into your subconscious mind when you were little, leaving you feeling weak and helpless.
From 0-7 the developing brain of a child simply absorbs what it hears, like a tape recording. What a child hears is what they believe about themselves and their abilities. It becomes the self-talk they say to themselves later on. It becomes the programming in their subconsicous mind. If a child is told it is weak, clumsy, useless, unwanted, a burden, not good enough, etc, then these become the core beliefs that the person will live with throughout their life, unless they learn how to change them.
If a child is told it is hopeless or can’t achieve, then they will struggle to be successful throughout their life. There will be this internal self sabotage due to their programming, which won’t let them be successful. Those negative self beliefs will kick in and stop them achieving their goals. Worse, it will create high levels of stress and anxiety whenever they try to achieve anything, as the tape recording in their subconscious mind will be constantly playing – telling them they are going to fail or are in danger of making a fool of themself if they try, etc.
Some people are aware of this negative self talk, for others it occurs quietly below the surface and they don’t even hear it. But it is occurring regularly throughout the day, adding to the fear and anxiety.
Over coming the fear and anxiety requires turning up the volume of the self talk so you are aware of it, then choosing to change it. Every time you hear a negative self belief, stop it, and say a more positive statement to yourself. Instead of ‘You always do that, you always stuff up’, say ‘In the past i’ve struggled, that’s true, but now i’m choosing to be kinder to myself. I can do this. I just have to practice and build my skills’. Become your own best friend and encourager of yourself.
The subconscious beliefs can be reprogrammed, changed to be positive, supportive beliefs that help you achieve your goals. There are many ways to do this including Psych-K, Lifeline Technique, Hypnosis [and] use of affirmations for long enough and often enough that the statement becomes habitual thought.
While affirmations take a long time to become habituated, the other techniques are much quicker. With Psych-K it only takes a few minutes to replace negative beliefs with more positive ones. However, lots of belief balances are needed as most people have a lifetime of negative self beliefs to reprogram. As you do, the tension in your body can release as the fearful programming is let go of. If you know you are safe, loved, wanted and cared for there is less reason for being on high alert. The body can start to relax as the danger has passed.
This deep level of core belief change is needed for this deep relaxation to occur. That is why just thinking more positively is not enough. Our conscious mind represents only 5% of our brain’s processing capacity. 90-95% of it occurs in the subconscious mind, which makes your body function without you having to think about it. The subconscious mind makes our hearts beat, our lungs breathe, our digestion work, etc. It does all of this without our having to think about it and it is so powerful it over rides our conscious thoughts. We cannot make ourselves stop breathing or not be hungry, our body forces us to breathe and to know that we need to eat. So, just using positive thinking is not enough to over come these deeper bodily reactions and programming. Changing core self beliefs is needed to help the body relax and let go of fear.
Diet and exercise also assist the body to be healthier, as does extra sleep, vitamins and minerals. There are many things that can be done to help the body let go of fear – massage can help a body in heightened fight or flight mode to relax a little and slow down.
For those that have been abused or suffered trauma, body work is very important as the person needs to learn that it can be safe to be touched. This is crucial for their body to relax and soften and allow them to feel safe again. It will take time for this relaxation to occur. Someone who has been traumatised and hasn’t released the underlying emotion may automatically flinch when touched. They automatically pull away for fear of further abuse or trauma. This is very sad, and this patterning will continue unless action is taken to heal it.
The nervous system of someone locked in fight or flight mode is constantly activated. Processes like Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) can help the body to calm by activating the body’s natural release mechanism. The body will shake out the tension and stress, if allowed to, so that it can return to a state of ease and grace.
When a person’s nervous system calms it is easier for them to relate to and connect with others, as their body is open and more receptive. It no longer fears or assumes danger from interacting with others.
TRE and other trauma release processes that focus on healing the autonomic nervous system are an important aspect of healing from fear, so you can have greater peace and relaxation.
Underneath the fear and anxiety is buried emotions from the initial events that led to the conditioning. It may be sadness or anger or shame and embarassment. Whatever it is, these emotions need to be felt and released so the body can go back to its natural state of peace and relaxation.
Know it is possible to overcome exagerated fear responses. It is possible to heal these automatic reactions. It just takes time and effort to calm and soothe your body, to reprogram your subconscious beliefs and use more self supportive thinking and self talk patterns. Time in nature can also soothe us as can body work, diet and exercise. There is much that can be done. Enjoy. Blessed BE. Amen.
By Jodi-Anne (18 November 2015).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
Here is a great article explaining how our ancestor’s negative experiences affect their DNA expression, which can be inherited by future generations. For instance, if Grandma was raised in an abusive, alcoholic home or suffered some other trauma, some of that trauma and reactions to it can be passed onto future generations, predisposing them to becoming anxious or depressed.
This is a great article posted on ‘Side Effects Public Media’ website explaining the impact of childhood trauma on a child’s developing brain.
A child disobeys when they feel unheard, unvalued, their view not considered important enough to be listened to. A child disobeys when they don’t understand why they are being asked to do a certain thing. They rebel when what they are asked to do ‘feels wrong’ and takes them away from their joy, their heart’s guidance.
Some times it is appropriate for a child to disobey, to learn assertiveness, to set boundaries. Some times disobeying is the healthiest action they can take to honour themselves and their needs. It is not always wrong or destructive to disobey.
If it is a small child, a toddler, the best way to respond is to calmly explain why you need them to do what you are asking them to do. “Mummy needs you to be quiet now, because she is tired and needs some rest. You know what it is like to be tired and sad, don’t you? How about having a cuddle with Mummy and a nap?” A child will empathise with this information. They will understand why it is beneficial to you for them to be quiet and what’s more you have created a win-win situation. To the child they now have the opportunity to choose connection and receiving love / affection / nurturing, which feels good to them – and as a bonus they will get to feel proud of themselves for helping Mummy – win, win, win!
Try to create such beneficial solutions so the child gets to choose something that meets your needs and theirs. By creating a win-win there is less need for struggle or resistance.
If it is an older child, 6 or 7, then you can explain things in a little more detail. You can ask them how they are feeling and what they need right now. There is a reason for their behaviour. If you can understand the thoughts behind it, you can then discuss alternative ways of seeing situations and choices of how to react. Teaching and role modelling emotional intelligence is important.
“Remember last week when Mummy stubbed her toe on the fridge, she hopped and screamed until it stopped hurting. Mummy was tempted to throw something in anger or to hit the fridge, but she didn’t did she? What did Mummy do? That’s right, Mummy stood still and breathed deeply until the pain stopped. That breathing allowed all the anger to flow out of her and back into Mother Earth. Next time when you get angry let’s try breathing through it and seeing the anger flow out of us back to Mother Earth?
Shall we practice now? When were you last angry? What was it about? Imagine that now, can you see it? How does it feel? What do you want to do? Okay, let’s practice visualising / seeing the anger as energy inside us, see it flowing our our body, down into the Earth. Great! How did you go?”
Doing these types of activities fosters closeness between you and your child, as well as helping them build skills in controlling and releasing their emotions. Remember you are their role model, they learn from what you do. If they see you raging about traffic blocks or income limits or whatever else, then that is how they learn to respond to life’s challenges too. So, be the best role model you can be. And if you slip up and you do something less than ideal explain to them what happened, so you both learn from it and so they are not scared of you and your reactions.
“I am sorry Mummy yelled at you, but this is the third time this week that you have tracked mud inside on your shoes. Mummy doesn’t enjoy cleaning the floors over and over again. I just got upset at the thought of having to do it again, and I felt like you hadn’t listened to me. When you don’t listen Mummy feels hurt like you don’t care about what Mummy says. I know you probably just forgot and you didn’t do it deliberately. And I know you certainly didn’t do it to hurt Mummy’s feelings, but that is how I felt.
Do you remember how upset you got when Tommy kept taking your truck and hiding it? It is the same sort of thing. How did that feel to you? That’s right, you didn’t like it, you felt like Tommy was mean and selfish. Mummy felt like that too, like you didn’t care you were making a mess and that Mummy would clean it up. How about we clean it up together and we put a sign on the door at your height so that you see it before coming inside from playing in the backyard? Should we make the sign together? Yes, okay, how big should it be? What colours do we need? …………”
In this way you are teaching the child problem solving and emotional intelligence skills. You are making it clear it is the behaviour that you dislike. It is not the child itself that you are unhappy with. This distinction is very important. If you imply the child is careless, stupid, lazy, clumsy, inconsiderate, etc, then they will feel bad about them self and naturally will respond with hurt feelings – sulking, tantrum, lashing out. They will feel wounded by your words and feel bad about themselves. This is not helpful, it adds to low self esteem and feeling not good enough. Make it clear it is the behaviour you didn’t like and you can choose to behave differently. Therefore “It is not you, just your choices that I would like to see change. I love you, I honour you, I am grateful you are my son, I just need you to help me out sometimes by listening to what I say and doing what I ask.”
Of course there are times when it won’t work, no matter what you say. If a child is over tired, exhausted, hungry there is no point trying to reason with them then. Let them rest. Let them rebuild their energy reserves, then you can talk about it.
Sometimes you need to postpone your needs being met and look at what the child is going through. “Honey, why are you so upset? You came in from school and threw your bag against the wall and stormed off into your room. Are you okay? Do you want to talk about it?” This would be a more helpful response than yelling at the child for leaving his or her bag and stuff lying around. If you take the time to listen to them and their emotions, they are much more likely to listen to yours, when you need to explain something to them. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. Be honest and sincere. And most of all be loving.
If it is a teenager who is being disobedient, you need to pick your battles. Let minor things go and only challenge them on issues that you believe are serious enough to warrant discussion.
Teenage years are very challenging for all concerned. As a teen the child is experiencing volatile changes in their body, raging hormones, they are questioning who they are and their value. “Am I smart enough, pretty enough, am I going to succeed in life or not?” They are going through a deep reflective time where they soul search. They may not like who they are or what they have in life, they may doubt their ability to have a happy life and these are heart breaking questions to grapple with. There is lots of fear, anguish, grief and anxiety. This can bottle up until it explodes out in anger or tears. They are going through a lot so give them space. Let them know that you love them and you are here for them if they want to talk about it. They may not want to. They may feel too embarrassed to do so or be so confused inside that they can’t put how they feel into words. Honour them and this process.
Let them know you love them regularly. Let them know you are proud of them and believe in them. Compliment them on their abilities and when you see them doing something positive. “I’m really proud of how you handled that situation. You were very polite and considerate giving that old lady the chance to sit on your seat in the bus. That was a very nice thing to do.” “Thank you for tidying up your stuff without me asking you to do it. It makes me really happy to see that you will be able to keep a neat, healthy home when you are older” “But, Mum, I just needed to find something, I wasn’t doing it deliberately.” “I know honey, I’m just glad you did it”.
If you can compliment children often, you help them to build a sense of ‘Yes, I am okay. I am a good person. I can do things’. These are all positive core beliefs which will help build self esteem and their ability to lead a healthy, happy life.
Children are no different to us adults. Some times they are wiser as they haven’t learned to filter their thoughts or ignore their emotions. They haven’t learned to suppress their needs to please others. They can be more emotionally honest in this sense – even if it is turbulent and explosive!
We all need to build our stress management and emotional intelligence skills. If you get upset at your child, ask yourself ‘Why am I reacting? What am I assuming?’ You may find that you are feeling disrespected, not cared for or loved. That is your issue from your past, for you to resolve. Your child was not deliberately disrespecting you when they ate candy before dinner. They saw candy, went yum and ate it. They feel good eating candy and wanted to feel good. That’s as complex as it gets. They didn’t stop to think about the impact or consequences of eating it and they certainly didn’t think ‘I want to piss Mum off, I know, I am going to eat all this candy, make myself sick on sugar, and refuse to eat my dinner. That will upset her. Yeah, I’m going to do that!’
Kids just do what feels good – they play, sing, dance, laugh, roll in the mud, etc. They are not plotting against you. There is no such thing as a willful child. Look at the situation from their perspective and see what they see. Squeezing the toothpaste all over the floor is fun – it makes noises, it squelches, it comes out in patterns, it ….. If you don’t want them to do it, remove it from their reach. Remove the temptation.
And take care of yourself so that you are not exhausted and reactive. Take care of yourself so you do have the energy to listen to and play with them. Take care of yourself so you can be a healthy role model for them and so you can enjoy life. It is meant to be fun after all. Blessed BE. Amen.
Channeled by Jodi-Anne (05 Aug 2015).