17 Oct 2023

Breaking Free from the Cycle: Healing Emotional Trauma from Parents

By Fiona Hewkin, Counsellor at The Eaves

Coming to terms with the emotional trauma caused by our parents can be really hard. The wounds left behind from a difficult childhood can impact every aspect of our lives, including relationships and self-esteem. Breaking free from this painful cycle requires courage, self-reflection and a commitment to our own healing.

In this blog we will explore effective strategies to heal emotional trauma from parents and find the path towards personal growth, freedom and peace. If we address the root causes of this trauma, we can develop healthy coping mechanisms and learn to change patterns of behaviour that may have been holding us back.

Understanding emotional trauma and its impact

Emotional trauma is a deeply distressing experience that can result from various forms of neglect, abuse or dysfunctional family dynamics. It can leave lasting scars and influence how we view ourselves and the world around us. The impact of emotional trauma can show in low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties and even physical health issues.

Recognizing the signs of emotional trauma from parents

Recognising the signs of emotional trauma can be tricky as they often show up in subtle and complex ways. It is important that we pay attention to our emotional patterns and patterns in our behaviour if we want to identify underlying trauma. Some common signs of emotional trauma from parents might include:

1. Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships

2. Chronic feelings of fear, shame, or guilt

3. Low self-worth and self-esteem issues

4. Intense emotional reactions to triggers or stressors

5. Avoidance of certain situations or emotions

6. Persistent negative self-talk and self-blame

7. Difficulty regulating emotions

If we become aware of these patterns, we can start to heal.

The generational cycle of emotional trauma

Emotional trauma is often passed down through the generations. Patterns of neglect, abuse or dysfunction can be passed down generation to generation. If our parents weren’t parented well, it’s no surprise that they didn’t know how to be good parents to us. How often have you heard “oh my Dad used to beat me and it never did me any harm”?

We can break the chain of dysfunction. We can be better parents if we have kids. We can show up for our inner child and be the parent they needed.

Breaking free from the cycle: Steps to healing

1. Acknowledge and validate your emotions: Recognize that your feelings are valid and deserving of attention. Allow yourself to express and process your emotions in a healthy way. This can be really hard if we were constantly told we were too emotional or we were being silly.

2. Seek therapy or counselling: Professional help can provide a safe space for exploring your emotions and developing effective coping strategies. A trained therapist can guide you through the healing process and empower you to break free from the cycle of emotional trauma.

3. Practice self-care: Engage in activities that promote your well-being and nurture your mind, body, and soul. This may include exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature. Prioritize self-care as an essential part of your healing journey.

4. Challenge negative beliefs: Identify and challenge the negative beliefs that have been ingrained by your past experiences. Replace them with positive affirmations and cultivate self-compassion. Speak kindly to yourself!

5. Build healthy relationships: Surround yourself with supportive and understanding individuals who can foster your healing journey. Seek out healthy relationships that promote growth, respect, and love.

6. Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself from toxic or harmful relationships. Learn to prioritize your well-being and say no to situations that do not serve your healing process.

Seeking professional help for emotional trauma

Healing from emotional trauma can be a complex process and this is were getting help from a professional therapist can be really useful. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness! A good counsellor can provide a safe space to explore your feelings and to develop healthy strategies for moving forward.

Remember healing takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself.

The Eaves Counselling and Psychology

Fiona Hewkin, Counsellor and Psychotherapist at The Eaves, is based at our Haslemere practice. To find out more about Fiona, or to enquire about her latest availability, please visit her profile here

The Eaves Counselling and Psychology Ltd is a select professional body of Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Psychologists, providing high quality psychological care Monday to Saturday between 9am and 9pm from our practices in Guildford, Godalming, Farnham, Haslemere and online.

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