Our younger years, even infancy is said to have a huge influence on our emotional and mental health as we grow older.
Any perceived trauma when we were children, even if we have supressed it will still have an effect. Because we all react differently to the same situation what may have made an impression on me, may not make an impression on anyone else.
My childhood was mostly a very happy one.
I spent a lot of time with my Granny and Gramps. They lived on and managed a sheep and beef farm. My Granny also ran a Bed and Breakfast from the farmhouse. I spent days and weeks with them, out on the farm with my Gramps, looking after the sheep, or going into town on the bus with my Granny and going for high tea and then on to the theatre. I loved this time of my life. I was always outside, and if I wasn’t with my Gramps, I was picking flowers, looking for tadpoles or finding leaves to press into a book. I remember my Gramps and I bringing baby lambs into the kitchen if the ewe rejected them and putting them in a blanketed box in from of the aga. I bottle fed them and my Granny would tell us off, albeit with a laugh.
The minute the weekend came around or school holidays began I would bug mum to take me to my grandparent’s house. This went on for years until I was in my teenage years, 13 or 14, I think. I knew these people loved me unconditionally and I loved them. They would have done anything for me, and I knew it. As they god a bit older they came to live with us, my parents building a granny flat for them right next to our house. I only have good memories of them.
I did well at primary school. I had friends, although I do remember there was a kind of rivalry between the girls. Simple things like who had the most money for tuck shop or who had bigger boobs! I even remember my best friend and I getting into a competition to see who could drink the most water at lunch time?! I lost, and she threw up. There was never any bullying that I can remember and looking back it seems like a much simpler time.
I do also remember being very upset at leaving the house for a while and getting on the school bus. I didn’t want to leave my mum. I’m not quite sure what that was about but I remember vividly being carried and put on the bus. I also remember being told something about by dad by someone on the school bus that really broke my heart for a while (I’m not getting into that right now). I was about 9 or 10. I think this revelation was something that did traumatise me in a way.
When I hear about children that are abused or neglected in some way, I accept readily that this trauma will have an impact on the individual as they grow into adulthood. What though about people like me, who grew up in a loving and caring environment and had maybe one single trauma. Do I readily accept that that this one event has had an impact on my life? For a long time, I would have said no, but as I have learnt about the subconscious, I can acknowledge that one event compounded by other losses of boys and men in my family has made me look at my romantic relationships differently. All men leave! So, I tend to either leave first or sabotage. I now just avoid relationships. This is something I am currently working on as it now ties into my unhealthy eating habits and being overweight.
I do worry about my children and the thought that something they may have already experienced has traumatised them long term. My daughter has already had struggles and it concerns me that she will take this trauma into adulthood. I know there are things she hasn’t dealt with. My son is so different and doesn’t always share how he is feeling. He appears happy and balanced, so I hope everything we have gone through as a family hasn’t negatively affected him in that he struggles later in life.
What was your childhood like? Have you carried any trauma into adulthood?