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Bad Childhood

Blog: When Suffering Becomes Your Identity

By Dr. Laura on July 8, 2024
Blog: When Suffering Becomes Your Identity

Living comes with a certain amount of suffering. Unfortunately, too many hang on to their identity as a victim long after their suffering at the hands of someone else has come to an end. Why? One reason is that being seen as wounded gets sympathy, compassion and attention, and that can be hard for a person to give up. When my listener Annie called me, she was in therapy to deal with her bad childhood and beginning to understand that her deep longing for family would never be fulfilled by the destructive one she was born into.


Now, we get two chances in life to have the parent-child relationship we want.


The first is with the family we were born into, and the second is to create our own family and be the good parent we wish we had. Although Annie had a loving and supportive husband by her side, she said she had a deep fear over the idea of having children of her own and screwing them up. What was really going on, I told her, was that she wasn’t ready to give up being the hurt child in order to become a mother to her own children.


No, Annie was not handicapped by her childhood experiences. If that was the case, she wouldn’t have picked such a loving and nice man to marry. But she was hanging on to her past identity, and that was preventing her from switching to the new identity of β€œmother.”


The irony is that, by holding on to the past, she was depriving herself of exactly the type of love she wanted.


When you are a perpetual victim, the past is in control of your present. It’s like letting the caboose lead the train. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We each have the power to change things for the better. Happy people acknowledge the sad things that have happened, but don’t let them cast a shadow over their whole life. 


Don’t let suffering become your identity.



πŸ“– I wrote about overcoming childhood pain in my book, β€œBad Childhood, Good Life.” If you’re stuck on the pain of your past, it can help. 

🎧 You can also listen to a variety of calls about overcoming your bad childhood on my website here.


How have you worked on overcoming your bad childhood? What difficult truths did you have to accept in order to heal? Share your stories with me here!



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