When I talk to clients about their lives, especially their childhoods, they may begin by telling me that their childhood was a happy one. That can be for numerous reasons, perhaps because they feel they aren't ready to open up to me, or they are unsure of what I am asking about. Or because they don’t want to admit they didn't have a happy childhood.
They recount the fact that they had many happy times playing with their friends and holidays if they were lucky. They say their parents provided for them and encouraged them to work hard to send them to university, But when I ask them if their parents were emotionally available they sometimes go quiet. They tell me that dad worked away and that mum had to look after the home and all the children alone, or that perhaps mum was on her own because dad had left or had died. There was no time for the love and attention that the child desperately needed. At other times there was violence in the home and the child had to find coping strategies to keep themselves safe. I’ve heard many sad stories over the years.
They don’t like to tell me about the bad times because they feel ashamed, they may have been told it was their fault, that they asked for that slap, it was their fault they were shouted at. They feel embarrassed that they came from a family where they didn’t feel loved. They feel they must be unlovable, It must be their fault. When we are children we do everything we can to feel loved and accepted by our caregiver. The alternative is to be abandoned.
But every child deserves to be loved, it is really not your fault
#156 - It's Not Your Fault - Adrian Huxley
Adrian Huxley is a counsellor and psychotherapist living in beautiful West Somerset. He is also the owner of West Somerset Counselling which he formed some eight years ago
Both Adrian and I have talked to many clients who have been taken care of as children, in as much as they have been fed and clothed,but they have missed out on their emotional needs – they haven’t been loved in the way they should have.
This has impacted their adult relationships, because they just don’t know how to do it. They close up, they find it difficult, or they act inappropriately, believing sex equals love for example.
But the bottom line is – it’s not your fault, listen in to hear the reasons why.