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Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood?

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by kyle88, Jul 30, 2010.

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  1. kyle88

    kyle88 Well-Known Member

    The following is just a bit of my story if you want to read, if not, just please post if your childhood experiences( physical/emotional/sexually abused, etc.) have caused your problems now... whatever they may be.

    For me at least, I believe the majority of my problems do stem from childhood (0 to 10 years old). And from what I've read around this forum, it seems like your childhood is basically what makes you the person you are...

    Let me be the first to say I hate blaming other people for my problems, I'm not one to point the finger at someone else when I know I can control myself... but it seems like no matter how hard I try and always end up going back in the same cycle...

    Let me give you just ONE example for me... I was always beat when I was a kid... and the beating kind of became a routine, not because I did anything wrong, but I knew when my mom would beat me because of her mood... and I'm not talking a small spanking or anything, I'm talking BEAT THE HELL OUT OF... keep in mind I'm about 4 years old....

    Now when I was a little kid and trying to learn the alphabet and times table, my mother would always be next to me, and anytime i got something wrong, she would hit my on the shoulders with shoes... (One time it was so bad, my shoulders were literally pitch black... I still have nightmares to this day because of that one beating to this day because its like engraved in my mind).

    Now as the years went by, I was eventually in grade 1 and then grade 2... every day at 3 o'clock my mother would tell me to do my hw, and she would be right there... now everytime before i had to do my hw... I started to PUKE... every single day... I knew what the problem was... but my parents didn't know what was wrong with me and same with the doctors... i would puke every day at 3 o'clock because i was scared, in fear of being beat... it was a lot of stress as a 4/5 year old to take...

    How this has effected me today? eventually my mom obviously stopped hitting me as i got older... but ever since then I just can't DO HOMEWORK OR STUDY... every day it's this constant struggle for me just to open a book, and i just can't do it... and it's like i still have that same fear from when i was a kid, except now i KNOW im not going to get beat or anything, and i don't puke... but I still can't bring myself to open a book... i procrastinate the same way i did when i was 4/5... and do anything to avoid studying because i know i would get beat... and this problem has been with me ever since i was a kid, and i have NEVER TOLD ANYONE... my mother know what she did, i bring it up every now and then and she just kinda ignores it... I had actually never thought about why i procrastinated so much and thought I was just purely lazy, but i started to notice something was wrong because all this time even when I would try to study, I felt sick/stressed... and only till a year or two ago did I really connect the dots...

    This has caused me to do very poorly in school even though I am actually a pretty bright guy... but this constant process of procrastination is getting to me... and even when i study i can't focus... (I don't have ADHD, believe me i've tried all the medications...)... I know for a fact this is because of my childhood... I can focus on things that i have a natural interest for, sports, economics, finance.... but when it comes to "studying", im a different person.

    I just don't know how to let go and move on...physically i want to... but it's like mentally I can't...? I don't know if that makes sense...

    Obviously this poor relationship with my mother, has caused me to have other fucked up problems with myself... I became submissive in nature... to anyone especially woman, in ever way imagineable... and it's really caused me to dig myself in a hole and sent my mind into this fucked up state... There are so many other issues that stem from my stupid fucking mother...

    Anyways sorry about the rambling, and I really appreciate it if you took the time to read it... any advice on my situation would be nice too...but I'd be interested to know if your childhood seems to be the stem for most of your problems that you have today?

    I have also read a lot of research that supports this... (Sigmond Freud, etc.)

    *Another example from this forum, was when I was reading a thread in the Rape and Abuse forum, about how some people seem much more sexually active/stimulated (more than usual), and they believe it stems from being sexually abused as a child... (I've actually seen this one on other websites too...)
  2. Edgar Roni Figaro

    Edgar Roni Figaro Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    I am really sorry for how your mother treated you. She sounds like a complete monster. I would suggest that if you do not have medical insurance you find a state run program(you can do this buy calling your local hospitals and asking how to get in contact with a social worker).

    For someone who went through what you did your brain has essentially been hard wired to perceive certain things as extremely stressful and painful to you. One of these things is clearly studying and doing homework since your mother severely abused you. I believe cognitive therapy would be something that could greatly help you. Just like your mother taught you to fear doing homework and studying by what she did to you a cognitive therapist will be able to help you unlearn the connections in your brain that lead you to feel this way.

    It won't all happen at once, and it might take over a year to gain control back but your mother has essentially created a phobia in your mind because of what she did to you. Now with the help of cognitive therapy you must unlearn that phobia and a cognitive therapist can help you do that.

    I am not a doctor but I would try to see the therapist at least 3 times a week for the first few months. If you don't start to see some improvement after that I would find a new cognitive therapist. I'm truly sorry for what happened to you but there is hope to recover from it.
  3. boo

    boo Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    I grew up poor. Always needing. Very unstable family. Always moving around. My foundation was shaky at best. So when something mess up, i break down like blocks of Jenga.
  4. Stray

    Stray Account Closed

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Absolutely. I blame my abusive father and the death of my mother on my grim mental health. And it's not just me, my sister has problems aswell and she obviously had the same upbringing.
  5. Mystic

    Mystic Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Yes. My father beat me until I was afraid of anything and everything. I couldn't communicate with anyone as school, I had no social skills (still don't) I was bullied and beaten at school as a result. I was weak and unable to defend myself.

    It has left me in a place outside of the normal world. I have never had friends or relationships...because I don't know how to. I am constantly being lied to, betrayed and exist only for others amusement and entertainment.

    Which is why I want to end my life - because I never had one.
  6. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    yes I believe that it relates to our childhood...my dad abused me, neglected me and treated me like a slave....he was violent, mentally abusive...and so I never felt safe anywhere, I'm always on surviving mode....I've had anxiety since I was a child....

    I think as a child you don't understand what's going on but as you get older, you start to realize that what's going on is not right...at that moment, I left and went to my mom's then foster care...

    I wonder what kind of person would I be if my dad hadn't been in the picture...but then again its too late now, what's done is done...and I got to find a way to stop the cycle...but I'm really messed up....
  7. kyle88

    kyle88 Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Do you at all find yourself being attracted to guys like your father? not nessesarily ones who abuse you, but personality wise or ones who for some reason just resemble him in some way or another?

    This actually happened to me... and also realized this a month ago, that there was a girl i liked, but i realized she had a lot in common with my mother(After she broke my heart, etc etc.), not really personality wise, but kind of some traits or things she had in common... She ended up breaking my heart (the cycle)...

    Anyways i figured out the reason i was attracted to this girl, and similar girls, was to try and get that affection I have never had or have been missing my entire life, in an attempt to fix what i never had with my mother... (Not sure if that makes sense lol, but for the record, I am not attracted to my mom or anything like that... if you were wondering what the hell im talking about lol)

    I've noticed from reading things online from women who have abusive relationships, and like majority of the time, there was some sort of "daddy" issues to begin with...
  8. kyle88

    kyle88 Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

    I went to a therapist a few years ago... but didn't like him... he would just call me in and give me prescriptions... and there was no real "talking" or "therapy"... he would just ask me questions and then give me a prescription...

    Even if I were to go to a doctor or someone, how do I bring this up without looking stupid? "my mother beat me as a child, so i can't study now that im almost 22"

    I dunno... I feel like I have to kind of do this on my own.. and im trying to see if other people are going or have gone through the same thing...
  9. Edgar Roni Figaro

    Edgar Roni Figaro Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    You said you saw a therapist. What kind of therapist was it? I am talking about a cognitive therapist. They are not the same as a regular therapists. A cognitive therapist is a person who specializes in the kind of problems you are having. There goal is to change your thought patterns not through pills but through talking things out and learning new ways to cope with the way you feel and then understanding that you can face the way you feel and change it by thinking differently.

    You were taught the problems you currently face through negative reinforcement by your abusive mother. A cognitive therapist will, with enough time, change the thought patterns in your head that lead you to negatively associate those things with your mother's abuse.

    We all have a "thought pattern" which is the way we go about processing information. Your thought pattern is currently hard wired in your brain to feel certain responses from certain outside stimuli. In you're case the thought pattern of pain, abuse, and anxiety come up when the outside stimuli of studying and doing homework are exposed to you. A cognitive therapist will work with you to change the thought pattern you associate with the things you currently cannot do because of the negative connotation you currently have with them.

    Do not feel ashamed to talk about this with one of them. They do this every single day and help hundreds of people in their lifetime with problems just like the ones you have right now.
  10. kyle88

    kyle88 Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Thanks man, I'll definitely talk to my doc the next time I see him about a cognitive therapist...

    Appreciate it man... I took a few psychology classes in college, so I do know a bit about negative and positive reinforment... but maybe having a professional guide me is better... Thanks again.
  11. Avarice

    Avarice Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Yes this is true for me - I was always rejected and bullied by people at school, even my friends, and although I didn't realise it at the time, I now realise that my mum pretty much neglected me and my brother a hell of a lot when we were younger. As a result of this I now have a lot of anxiety and dependant problems and my brother has schizophrenia.
  12. nolonger

    nolonger Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Maybe I'll know when I get older? :dunno:. But nothing really happend in my childhood up to date. I can't remember a lot these days so :dry:.
  13. Krem

    Krem Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    It began with the genes- Depression, mild autism, skin problems, asthma. This "helped" me have no friends, which furthered the depression and social retardation, which even further fueled it, and so forth. I don't think I had any real parenting issues. Slight neglect, maybe, but never anything serious. Nor was I often beaten at school- People just left me alone until they wanted to mock me (Hooray for deep-seated mistrust and paranoia). I'm almost ashamed of being here among people who really had it bad, to be honest. People whom one could say have "real issues", who make me seem petty. Ah, well.

    Genes cause problems which cause further problems which develop into real problems. Nature causes nurture which causes further nurture, if you will. (Obviously not for everyone. People aren't abused by their parents because of their own genes.)
  14. nagisa

    nagisa Staff Alumni

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    Yes, in some ways. But I think a lot was just because of my personality and not knowing how to cope as a child when I was so busy worrying about things I couldn't control. I've always been a worry wort and have always taken everything personally. I think my personality along with certain things that happened during my childhood made it more difficult. My sister is my opposite personality wise but grew up in the same environment and while she struggled in her teens years, it wasn't anything worse than other teens and she never attempted suicide or was "depressed" the way I was as a teen. So, for me, it's a combination of events from my childhood (alcoholic mother, absent father etc.) and certain personality traits I was born with that made it more difficult for me later on.
  15. ThinkingCap

    ThinkingCap Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    I completely agree that a person's childhood is the most important precipitating factor to things like depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts, etc. As children we're relying on the adults around us to present a functioning personality for us to pull and grow from. If a child is given a negative well to drink from, then they will adapt more negative traits/ dysfunctional traits. The kind of things that make us feel different from everyone else who had positive wells.

    For instance, my mother was extremely emotionally abusive, and no matter what I did, I wouldn't be right or good enough. She did the same thing to my dad. So I watched him for ways to respond to this negativity, and saw that groveling was the correct answer. I then began to say sorry after everything I did, preemptively protecting myself against any of my mom's anger. I would also ask for permission to do anything, and I mean I anything.

    Eventually this made my mother angry and she started outlawing the word 'sorry' and saying that I needed to become more assertive. She would make fun of me when I did say sorry, and constantly tease me, so I had to change. I didn't know what to do because my dad didn't present an answer, so I ended up doing the opposite, albeit very tentatively. I said sorry with my actions, trying to read her mind to see what she wanted me to do, and how to do it. Clearly, this is not healthy, but it led to a hypersensitive awareness of my surroundings and other people's emotions.

    You see, in childhood it served me well to be hypersensitive-- translate that into a normal environment and issues crop up everywhere. For instance, when my sister's boyfriend plays videogames, and loses, he cusses and gets really angry. This literally makes me want to run out of the room and gets me so scared because I automatically assume it is my fault, when in fact it is no ones fault. This kind of reaction translates to everything, making it so that every social interaction is merely a series of questions where I'm trying to be one step ahead. It's exhausting, and one of the major factors to my suicide attempt and general feeling of depression.

    Because my mother never made any sense, but expected us to understand her (she has borderline personality disorder and bipolar) and her wishes, I attempted to do the impossible. I continue to do so with every person I encounter, making it so that people really enjoy being around me, but I am killing myself to do it. It's a cycle that started in my childhood, and persists because I'm trying to learn what else I can do.

    This kind of cycle occurs, I believe, with anyone who's been abused. They've been subjugated to the impossible, or negative well, and adapted well to that specific environment. When those survival skills are then turned outwards (when the child moves out for example) they suddenly do not work the way they used to, but the child doesn't know any better and is at an age where it's 'not normal' to ask how anymore. I know I'm, at the very least, still trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

    In childhood we learns ways of surviving. When people learn how to survive in the extremes, then move into more of a middle ground, it's the equivalent of a fish being thrown out on the sidewalk. Just my two cents!

  16. Things

    Things Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    I read your whole post and I'm starting to cry. Nobody deserves that, much less a child!

    I'd say that being bullied all my life has done some damage. I sometimes wonder if I've been ruined because of it. It's nothing as extreme as what other posters have suffered through, though. I won't bore anyone with the details. :/
  17. Aquarius123

    Aquarius123 Well-Known Member

    Could the cause of our problems lie with unresolved issues from other lifetimes?

    Have you ever considered that the problems described in the heading of this thread could stem a good deal further back than merely your childhood - namely to unresolved issues from other lifetimes?

    To illustrate this with but one example, my experience has shown that overweight people usually are emotionally highly sensitive souls. They are engaged in a constant battle with the world of their feelings, to hold down their painful and unpleasant ones with food, in the hope that this will make them go away. But they only do so for a little while; then they return with ever greater strength. A vicious circle, if ever there was one! It is for good reason that from time to time unpleasant memories and their accompanying feelings surface in us. This happens because they are residues of unresolved issues, from earlier in this lifetime and also from previous lives. They do not come to haunt and torture us in some way. They are merely pleading to be acknowledged, looked at and dealt with by us because they are messages from our inner delicate and sensitive self, our soul. This part is trying to help us in this way to resolve the old memories and heal the feelings connected with them.

    This can be an extremely scary process and so it is not surprising that for as long as the earthly personality is unaware of their true purpose, it would rather not attend to them. Not knowing what is at stake, it is only natural that it tries to push them away. And there are many ways of doing so; with the help of food is but one of them. Another two and even more dangerous ones are drugs and alcohol. But because these things are not meant to work, in the long run they refuse to do so and when they do, they create even more suffering. There is no need to despair for sensitive souls, if they but ask help will come.

    For each one of us this present lifetime is a precious gift and a fresh opportunity for resolving the conflicts of all previous lives and for healing the wounds our soul received during its struggles. Everybody’s whole life is in need of healing and our human relationships are in particular need of attention, especially the most difficult one of all, the one with ourselves. And there is within each one of us a great hunger and thirst for spiritual wisdom, knowledge and understanding that is meant to lead us into soul growth. This is the very reason why we are here. As mentioned elsewhere, our soul is always trying to communicate with us through our physical body. And whenever there is some disturbance and/or discomfort there, it is a cry for help from our soul who demands our attention because something is bothering it The same applies to emotional disturbances; they are trying to find an outlet but we, in our ignorance of what goes inside our bodies, suppress our soul’s signals with food, drugs or alcohol. The outer earthly self frequently misinterprets the soul’s promptings that are trying to express that very special inner hunger and thirst, which no food or drink of this world can satisfy.


    With love and light,
  18. chjones21

    chjones21 Well-Known Member

    Re: Could the cause of our problems lie with unresolved issues from other lifetimes?

    As I remember it I had a really nice childhood. That's what I remember. A happy, loving, stable childhood with its ups and downs - falling out with my best-friend and arguing maybe just little stuff like that.

    Nonetheless, I also procrastinate, I can't DO anything, I leave everything to the last minute and when that pressure kicks in sufficiently then I will do a "scrape by" job of whatever needs to be done. That is across the board. I may have to pack to travel and if I am feeling nervous about the journey or similar --- I will sit in a chair, staring at the wall for two hours (doing absolutely nothing and somewhat incapable of moving almost like a paralysis - until I know that I only have 25 minutes left and it takes me thirty at top speed to pack .... then I will pack and when the taxi comes will make him wait five minutes as I finish up at top speed but I need that pressure to kick in before I can motivate myself to do anything at all).

    The same went for studying - I could open a book but I would look at the first page for six days and not turn it --- until I knew the assignment was due lets say the next morning, then the pressure would be sufficient and I would stay up all night, read the book, write the essay - get into class maybe forty or so minutes late and hand in the assignment whilst apologising (and lying as to the reason) for being late.

    I have always done this. I have never done it another way. If there is another way (which there is, I see other people taking the full six days and studying every day and writing and correcting proofs and improving their essay etc. etc.) but I can't do it for some reason. I can yell at myself in my head "do it, do it, do it" but it doesn't make any difference. It's like yelling at a "tic" to stop --- it doesn't seem to have any effect.

    I can't put it down to a bad childhood as far as I can see but I do have low self-esteem, I am a people-pleaser by nature, I feel guilty and that I let people down ALL the time, I don't DO anything right now because I can't handle the pressure of a job and people's expectations. I can clean --- I am a very good cleaner and I like what are normally termed "menial" jobs. That is jobs where I don't have to think, so I can think what I like as I do them. I like repetitive jobs where I can go on automatic but even so I find them difficult to sustain because I eff up one way or another.

    I have been diagnosed with ADD inattentive but I don't take Ritalin or Adderall (even though I think Adderall would be extremely effective in my case) still my life is a life half-lived in terms of material/worldly life. I spend a lot of time doing nothing. I spend a lot of time at home. I spend a lot of time on the computer. I feel guilty if other people see me lazing my days away but I like it because I like to avoid ANY sort of responsibility, responsibility makes me scared, stressed and anxious. I don't like to have to answer to others.

    The only responsibility I can handle is looking after small children although I don't expect to get married and have children of my own because I feel stuck in an immaturity. I am not quite an adult even though my age is that of an adult, my brain is still not quite there ---- it is dreamy and immature, irresponsible. However, looking after small children for some reason does not phase me and I am happy to be authoratative and responsible and in charge, in that situation --- but only that situation. Not others.

    I do look back and wonder whether there was something in my childhood that stopped my development into an adult and I can't see it but I can see that I inherited a lot of mental traits from my father (specifically the ADD). As a child, although always perceived as a dreamer or disorganised/untogether/lose her own head if it wasn't screwed on etc. etc. that was never said disparagingly or negatively just sometimes exasperatedly when I had yet again lost something, forgotten to close a door, turn off a tap, be somewhere or other --- causing untold consequences.

    So although I inherited some traits, I think the rest I just don't know --- I don't THINK it came from my childhood, I think it came from ME. But having said that, I still feel a certain dread when I see it is my mother calling, more guilt I guess, from having let her down, from not being able to say that I HAVE got it together, she CAN be proud of me.

    I feel such a disappointment to her, I really do but I think all my mother wants is that I am happy on many levels. But often I fail to accomplish that too!!! ;-)
  19. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    Re: Do you believe your problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) stem from your childhood

    I think in one way or another everyone here in these forums has a problem, otherwise we probably wouldn't be here unless we felt like being crisis counselors. You're as entitled as anyone else to feel your issues are real.
  20. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    Re: Could the cause of our problems lie with unresolved issues from other lifetimes?

    I bolded what I found most interesting. That's me, exactly. I like cleaning jobs. Cannery work was too long for me.

    We have a lot in common. I'm not diagnosed with anything except maybe social anxiety disorder. My therapist from several years ago said there were options like meds to relieve the anxiety. But I want to work through it without drugs. I suck at life too.

    I got bullyed a ton in school. I think that's one difference between us.

    Lol. I know about the procrastination. I once put off studying for a final until the last 1-2 days. I don't think I read a single page of the book before that. I had to go through 100's of pages. Got a B. But the stress was very high.

    I know that in my history class (western civ) I faked dozens of pages in my journal. On and on I always put things off in school.

    I think procrastination is pretty normal, though. Luckily, it's not a sure sign you will fail in life or get bad grades (i got good grades).

    Even though I put everything off, I had to live with the stress of knowing I hadn't done anything. Procrastinating is stressful.

    I've failed at plenty of other things. Tipped the scales in a bad direction. Procrastination was just one small part of it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2010
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