I Was Hit As A Child And I Turned Out FineJul 29, 2022
Me and Sarah Ghazi were having a conversation today about why so many people say things like, “I was hit as a child and I turned out fine.”
This is true. Lots of people say similar things- not just about being hit but about being raised in an emotional desert. “We turned out fine”
First of all- whenever we refer to our childhood, the purpose is never to blame our parents. We firmly believe that they did the best they could. We continue to give them their rights and pray for them.
AND we also acknowledge some of what happened and how it shaped us so we can begin to take care of it.
Back to the original point- why DO people say they turned out fine?
Probably because we’ve normalized things that aren’t fine at all.
We’ve normalized rage and anger in men. “Aadmi tou hotay he aisay hain.” (Boys will be boys).
We’ve normalized depression and anxiety in women.
We’ve normalized hitting kids and losing our temper with them to the point of abuse.
We’ve normalized seeking perfection (a function of anxiety).
We’ve normalized hard hearts and call them ‘strong’ (a function of threat to self and living in fear).
So everything just seems normal.
Everything on the outside looks great.
What’s happening on the inside as the result of being raised with violence and suppression is not showing up on our radars but that doesn’t mean it’s not there- it means our radars are broken.
The truth is; we did not turn out fine. Most of us did not, in fact, turn out fine. When I meet someone who actually did “turn out fine”- that is, someone who has sound mental health, I can tell in 2 seconds. And because I can tell, I ask them questions sometimes about how they ended up that way (people always want to share if you compliment them on their mental health;)).
Here are the only two kinds of answers I get:
1- I had a really messed up childhood but I decided to work on myself and get better. I knew that the way I was, wasn’t healthy.
2- I was raised by (at least one) warm and attentive parent. They loved me unconditionally and held space for my emotions.
That’s it. There’s no third kind. That’s because we’re talking about human brains here that are literally BORN from their environment. Yes, you can have a certain personality or traits you’re born with that would decide how you respond to the different situations you’re exposed to- still doesn’t mean you just coincidentally ended up being someone who is a people pleaser or someone who doesn’t know how to connect with people. These are survival techniques- they came from somewhere.
Point being- IF you are the kind of person who finds yourself justifying hitting kids for ANY reason or thinks some children “need that kind of discipline”- I say this with love, please take care of your mental health. Somewhere somehow you didn’t get the respect and unconditional love you deserved as a child. OR you got something no child deserves.
P.S. If you feel like you get it and other people don’t in your life, just make sure you can keep your child safe. Have a plan for when the other person starts to escalate and take the child away. And make sure to validate their experience and let them know that it is NEVER ok when an adult hits them. And that it’s not their fault.
Side note: If anyone wants to know what are some traits of mentally sound people, the words we use for them are “securely attached adults” and respectful parenting also aims to raise this kind of adult. Here are their attributes:
- They are empathetic and kind without any personal agenda
- They know how to set boundaries and respect others’ boundaries
- They have good self-esteem and confidence
- They know how to have hard conversations without being disrespectful and unkind.
- They don’t get possessive, suspicious or/and controlling with their partners/friends.
- They feel comfortable being warm, open and vulnerable.
- They’re not afraid to be real and admit their mistakes
- They’re resilient when adversity hits but aren’t afraid to show emotions
Obviously- no one is going to be all these things all the time. But this is a rough summary compiled through studies of securely attached adults. You can also take a quiz to find out what your attachment style is. That can give you a window on what things to work on for yourself 💗
Attachment style quiz: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/relationships/relationship-attachment-style-test