Growing up in a childhood where the words, I love you are seldom heard affects our self-esteem and instills an aversion in children to be able to say these unfamiliar words to others. This pattern usually sets the tone for a feeling of discomfort as they grow older when it comes to having the ability to say those words to someone else.
When children are unfamiliar with hearing these words, it becomes unnatural for them to speak them out loud to others. Many may begin to feel that announcing their feelings isn’t acceptable, because if it was, why weren’t they more familiar with this endearment?
Just as a bandage is made to cover up a wound in order for it to heal, so are thoughts blocked off by children who aren’t comfortable sharing their feelings. Happy or sad, they take refuge in their own little worlds, harboring their hurts internally; only that type of bandage doesn’t heal a wound.
Children left to their own demises after encountering hurtful situations in life , who haven’t been extended that comfort zone by a parent, can be vulnerable to the options they choose for consoling themselves. Many grow up feeling needy, which can lead them into more hurtful situations as they age by falling into the wrong types of relationships when they’re longing to be loved.
Without loving support, people tend to gravitate to people who prey on their neediness. These children may wind up being subservient as adults with their aim to please, or in abusive relationships as they may feel the punishers are justified, because of their low sense of self-worth which had never been nurtured.
When a child has experienced their first broken heart, and finds his/herself uncomfortable talking to his or her parents because of the unfamiliarity of these emotions in their growing up environment, they aren’t apt to share their sadness with their parents because they aren’t familiar with loving support, or perhaps they’re afraid of their situation being dismissed as trivial puppy love.
When these children withdraw into themselves, and lock themselves in their rooms sobbing in their pillows, feeling as though their heart has been broken into a million pieces and there’s nobody to listen to them or comfort them, these are the beginnings of a child’s crushed soul, and so begins the cycle of questioning their self-worth.
The sense of loss and being given no compassion are the makings for how one begins to form ideas about what it would take to be loved. Repercussions can be anything from being afraid to get involved in a future relationship, to becoming someone who they aren’t, in efforts to portray themselves as someone else to gain attention of future suitors. These people can easily grow up to become broken souls.
Broken souls go through life feeling inadequate, and unworthy because nobody told them they were not. They have only to judge from what they’ve experienced, what they know. From there, the road can lead to anywhere there becomes acceptance and attention. They can’t save themselves until they learn from encouraging people. If they’re lucky enough to encounter encouraging people, helping hands in their journeys through life, who can encourage them and make them feel worthy of being loved, they can gain the opportunity to re-examine their broken selves, and their broken souls may gain a chance to flourish.
For the lucky few, they find the hand that reaches out to help mend their broken selves. For many others, they may spend the rest of their lives searching for their self-worth.
Children need encouragement, attention, love and support from their parents in order to grow up to be comfortable in their skin and to gain the capacity to form healthy relationships as they grow. Children need all this to feel that they are worthwhile human beings, and to become good parents themselves by keeping the goodness flowing through future generations.
We are all products of our environments. Our first teachers are our parents. If our parents weren’t taught how to become good parents, shown affection, or told they’re loved, it’s unlikely they will be passing on any of these important elements when raising a child.
Back when I was growing up, I was one of those emotionally neglected children. but I was one of those lucky few who got through it by myself, painful as it was. I moved away at a young age, and found the hands that reached out to me, which helped me build my self-esteem.
I remember my best friend I met just after leaving home, always encouraging me, hugging me, and telling me she loved me. I have to admit, it felt so strange at first hearing those words. I felt shy and embarrassed at first because it felt weird telling someone I loved them. But Zan was the hand that reached out and pulled me out of my negative image of myself, and I have her to be grateful for so much in life as I began to learn what the word love encompassed from that point on.
In this era that we live in now, there is so much help available for everyone. Nobody should have to go through life feeling unloved or unloveable. There are tons of books available for self-help now, about issues that weren’t even recognized when I was a child. There are support groups for every cause, and there are also many people eager to share and support us with conditions which plague us. And most importantly, there are all these same resources equally available to parents, so they too can learn how to become loving and supportive parents.
It no longer has to matter if our parent’s didn’t know how to demonstrate love and affection. We don’t have to follow old norms and patterns. We may not be able to change the past, but there’s so much we can do to climb out of our sheltered souls. The world is full of opportunity and venues for us all to be able to learn how to become our best selves, how to feel worthy of ourselves, and how to help us strive to be whatever it is we wish to become better at.
D.G. Kaye ©2015
21 thoughts on “3 Simple Words — Building #Selfworth — #Broken #Children”
What you say is so true. I never heard the words “I love you” from my father, but others in my family showed love even though they didn’t express it aloud. I think their reticence was due to a stiff-upper-lip German thing. No excuse, but a likely reason.
The important thing is that we learn that there is always a reason behind people’s actions. If our parents grew up without hearing those words, it doesn’t always necessarily mean they weren’t loved, but that their parents weren’t raised hearing those words either. What I’m saying is that it’s important to let our children know they are loved now. Let’s break the old school of following only what we know. Our parent’s generation weren’t aware of the fundamentals and importance of being verbal in communicating love. It shouldn’t have to be like that anymore. 🙂
So poignant and so hopeful. There’s always help for broken souls… you are absolutely right. People who learn to accept help can be helped. Lovely.
Thanks so much Deb for reading. People should know there is always somewhere they can reach out to. 🙂
Hmmm… I Just wrote a comment and it “timed out.” I hope this one goes through. This is such an important issue. When my mom shut down after my dad’s death, I was fortunate to have a wonderful friend Regi who knew about grief and knew how to love. She’d had polio and her mentally ill mom had deserted the family. Then there was Vic some years later who let me know I was loved each day. And now, on my own, it’s a new job to love myself and not reject myself for the struggles of life and body. We have new lessons in self-esteem every day.
So true Elaine. And I know a lot about your life from reading your blog for so long and your wonderful book. We were lucky to find the helping hands that guided us. I wish the same for everyone and wanted them to know that there is always a gateway somewhere where we can find those hands. 🙂
Thank you Alex for sharing this. 🙂
That’s precious that you had such a great friend to teach you what love is. When we reach higher ground, it’s always because we were able to stand on the shoulders of someone who loved us.
So true Diana. I was lucky. 🙂
Well done, my friend. I love the image and Blackwell-Preston quote. Priceless. Mega hugs!
Thanks so much Teag.<3
Very thought provoking. I have my own issues, not brought about by my parents (I don’t think), although my father was raised in a Victorian manner where a child was seen but not heard, which meant he never expressed his feelings. My emotional life, instead, was warped by being the victim of a paedophile, which back then was just swept under the rug once he was behind bars.
I think, perhaps, this is one of the reasons I developed an interest in psychology; I understand how and why I function (or don’t) emotionally, and I’ve learned to deal with it and become a strong person, I just wish I found it easier to let other people into my life.
Gosh, that sounds terribly dramatic, but the experience shaped me, for good and bad, and I recognise that.
Thank goodness there is more support and therapy available these days for others like me, and more openness in discussion.
Deb! Thank you for sharing that intimate story. Of course the things that we endure as children aid in shaping our emotional habits. I’m sorry to hear about the paedophile incident in your life, that is horrific!
I’m thinking that we are a few of the lucky ones who survive stuff and grow thicker skin. It does make us more aware and more leery of who we choose to ‘let in’. Perhaps that is also why we write, I’m sure.
Once again, another bond for us. We are kindred spirits my friend. ❤
I’ve recently acknowledged on a conscious level that past events have shaped my specific writing interests in terms of characterisation – I’m fascinated by why it is some people survive while others go under.
Guess we are the lucky ones, strong enough to fight back, huh?
That’s exactly it my friend. And lucky enough to find some good people in our lives to pick us up when we need it. The old cliché stands: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 🙂
Wonderful article Debby, you know how I agree with all that you say.. Yes we are indeed all products of our environment while growing up… We so need to love and nurture and encourage the younger generation..
I Often ponder upon the adults of this world who seem broken and uncaring souls, and wonder upon their own childhoods.. What traumas brought them to the place of uncaring we read so much about in our media..
Great Advice my friend…Love and Hugs
Thanks Sue for reading and sharing your wisdoms. So many of us are broken, some grow strength from the wounds, so many others never recover. ❤
Yes, I supported many of them in my day job in the past.. so many heartbreaking case notes..