Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die. The old ways are often learned in childhood – ways to cope, ways to treat people, ways of looking at ourselves and the world. These old ways are only as good as our teachers.
When someone grows up and experiences attachment trauma, such as abuse, neglect or not being seen and validated for who they are, then these ways of being in the world are often dysfunctional. They made sense at the time, given the situation, but times have changed.
Another skill that is developed in a good enough home growing up is the ability to be flexible in one’s thinking and problem solving. When folks grow up in more toxic environments, their learning can become rigid, there is only one way to see themselves – negatively. There is only one way to cope with upset – self-harm or self-medicating.
This is why therapy is so vital when there has been childhood trauma, because there are so many insidious ways that trauma affects them. It takes a lot for anyone to try to change for the better and there is no shame in needing support in this journey.
EMDR therapy in particular can help a person to change how they see themselves, because it changes how we store the memories of what has happened and it because it helps people put the events in context and to see the larger picture.
It takes a lot to change, but it is well worth it and there are some wonderful therapists out there who are ready to help you make those changes.