If you grew up in a dysfunctional family it is likely that you don’t feel very good about yourself. Low self esteem, anxiety and depression are very common in those from backgrounds that do not provide the skills and support that children need to grow into confident, emotionally successful adults.
What happens is that you come to believe that something is wrong with you. You may have acted out or underachieved as a child and been taken to a doctor and given a mental health diagnosis. You then feel worse as this acts as evidence that there is something wrong with you. All that might have been wrong is that whatever was going on in your family caused you significant distress and this distress manifested itself in your behavior. Divorce, abandonment, substance abuse and families characterized by personality disorders such as narcissism all take their toll. It is normal to feel distress under those circumstances. It is normal to respond in some way to distress. As a child you don’t yet have an emotional toolkit to deal with distress.
What is more unfortunate is that you may carry this belief that there is something wrong with you into adulthood. You may have prematurely stopped developing the emotional skills you need to cope with life and all that comes your way. You may believe you have a disorder of some type that can’t be corrected or helped.
When working with clients from dysfunctional backgrounds, one of the first things I do is to help them feel better about themselves right away. I believe this provides the hope and energy needed to learn the emotional skills they missed out on. I hope that it will help those of you reading this as well.
Here are 5 things you need to know to feel better right now:
- Most depressions, anger problems and anxiety issues can be overcome. It is a learning process. Most likely you have learned other things in the past, you can learn this. You simply missed out on important information pertaining to emotional success.
- You may feel very afraid but don’t feel alone. Everyone feels fear about decisions and life and we are all in this boat together. Reach out to someone to discuss and work through the fears as they arise. This is normal.
- Every person has something to give or share. Someone somewhere wants to have what you can share with them. Whether it is time spent, something given or something taught, there is something you can do right away to tap into the gratification that comes from doing this. Just do it.
- Happiness can be learned at any point in life. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have had difficulty. Set your focus and attention on it and don’t miss another moment!
- Befriend your brain, don’t fight it. If you have felt sadness, developed poor coping skills or defense mechanisms or have been afraid of things for most of your life it means your brain is working just right. It is not disordered, it is trying to protect you but just doesn’t have the necessary knowledge to do so in a more constructive fashion.
Please visit our resource page and get your free copy of How to Stop Wasting Your Life Being Depressed, Anxious and Unhappy: The Top 10 Strategies of Emotionally Successful People
To learn more about how dysfunctional thinking patterns arise, how they affect you and how to recover from them, see Psychskills.com and the book, Dysfunction Interrupted-How to Quickly Overcome Depression, Anxiety and Anger Starting Now.
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This post first written for Psychcentral by Dr. Sherman