I Was a Child Once. How about You?
By Carolyn Shannon
Looking back over my childhood I can remember numerous things I perceived were said or done “to me”. While they seemed trivial and insignificant to the other person(s) involved, they played major roles in my life decisions and direction because of their impact on me at the time.
How many of you have had childhood happenings that impacted your life? Think about it. That time your friends or other siblings got to do something you weren’t allowed to do. When my older sister was in the hospital for a few days with anemia and yellow jaundice my whole family was able to visit her except me. I was too young. This was the first of many times throughout my life I experienced a deep sense of feeling left out, ostracized, not as important as others.
Children magnify childhood hurts. Something as insignificant to a parent as throwing out a much loved toy, being told to go to sleep instead of being comforted after a nightmare, being forced to eat something that makes them feel sick.
Children also feel responsible for their parents’ problems, hurts and stresses. While they don’t always understand the issue they are little sponges for our negative emotions, often acting out what we are suppressing. They tend to view their parent’s unavailability to them due to working extra hours as wanting to get away from them. Or they may feel guilty for the pressure their being born has put on their parents financially. Either way they subconsciously feel they are the reason for their parents’ struggle.
While this seems irrational as an adult we all have to admit that most of what we believe to be true today has its root in our childhood. Yes, some of us try our best to never let it show. We slap on a coat of veneer, paste on our happy mask and pretend that nothing bothers us. I would like to do a study to see how many seemingly nice people have at least one person possibly even themselves or something they are internally angry with which has manifested itself into arthritis, skin problems or even worse that little cancer ‘pacman’ gulping up their good cells. I came close to being one of them when I had a cervical cancer scare before I released my internal volcano of emotionally angry lava onto paper creatively. Written journaling was only partially effective because I could never be totally honest about my feelings for fear it would be discovered and read.
At six and a half in a fit of childhood anger I told my father I hated him and wished he was dead. Within weeks he was killed in a car accident. This dramatically changed the course of my life. I, in my childhood wisdom, decided that I had killed my father with my words. From that moment on I tried never to verbally lash out at anyone again.
Unfortunately, being a human being, there were many new opportunities on their way for feeling anger. So what did I do with them? What every child does when expressing their feelings is met with emotional or physical pain. I stuffed them inside where they formed an even larger volcano that became closer to erupting with each buried feeling. Whenever I could not hold them back they would burst forth uncontrollably at inappropriate times and at undeserving people, often at an innocent by stander. I couldn’t risk hurting another person I loved.
Learning to safely release this stored scorching lava and techniques to prevent taking on or building up any more not only saved my life, it saved others from being the brunt of my misplaced anger.
How many of you have suddenly lost it with an acquaintance or total stranger? We see it all the time with road rage, in our schools and on the news: People constantly transferring the stress, anger and frustrations of their lives onto other unsuspecting people.
Yes, I was a child once. How about you?
Are you interested in easy, fun creative ways of teaching your children a better way than you had? Are you ready to let go of the negativity you pick up from other or generate with your thoughts on a daily basis? Then perhaps Venting Creatively is for you.
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