I have to confess: I copied this entire section from a 700 Club blurb about a new book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger because I found it immensely practical. With due apologies to Pat Robertson and his staff, here are 10 tips to survive your rotten childhood:
To come to a good life, the struggle is against forces internal – they are yourself. Dr. Laura offers ten qualities that make it possible to liberate yourself from victimhood, and change your life from victim to victor.
1) A look in the mirror means facing the truth and deciding not to be a victim any longer.
2) Enduring the pain means stop waiting for the pain of your past to go away – it never will. Eventually the pain will have so many wonderful interruptions that it will become more readily tolerated and a less powerful force in your life.
3) Acceptance doesn’t mean you embrace your bad experiences or that you like it or agree with it. It is now your turn to decide what you’re going to do with it – or in spite of it.
4) Letting go means not allowing your bad thoughts, memories, and feelings from your bad childhood to squeeze out any joy you could enjoy in a good life.
5) Replacing bad habits like negativity or always being suspicious of the motives of others. You cannot treat the world as though it was an instant replay of your childhood.
6) Reaching out means “filling up” the empty spots in your life with healthy, kind, encouraging, and supportive people. Although risky and sometimes scary, it is important and necessary.
7) Spirituality means opening outward. Living for something or someone outside of yourself is the primary means by which you find purpose and value in your life.
8) Perspective means getting the focus off yourself. Get involved in volunteer work, charitable causes, etc.
9) Hobbies are a good distraction to move your mind away from somber issues into a positive area for growth and change.
10) A positive Attitude always makes your circumstances look better.
I think this would be a good book to read - there have to be practical suggestions on how to do some of those things when you don't have the tools to figure it out for yourself. I'm not saying I had a "bad" childhood - I know there were things my parents just didn't know how to do, and that for the most part, they did the best they could. I also know that at their worst, they are lazy and self-centered people (as I am wont to be), and that there certainly were decisions they could have made differently.
Where I tend to get bogged down is in the area of figuring out how to work past those issues - for example, how does one plan meals around a budget? How does one maintain relationships with people who don't always behave well themselves? How does one recognize "healthy, kind, encouraging, and supportive people?" How does one remove dog urp from a light tan carpet? (OK, I figured that last one out...) How does one stop saying "how does one" without banging one's head against the desk?? :) It's one thing to know what is right; it's a totally different thing to recognize that you don't have a clue how to do it, but that if you don't, you're going to regret it for the rest of your life.
OK, here's the thing: I'm still thinking about that stupid boy..... He's seeing someone - "a great gal", according to his mother. Why she sent me a Christmas card is beyond me...... But she did. I answered (because I was brought up right), but it certainly took the lid off of something I thought I'd packed away pretty well and forgotten about: my crush since I was 13 years old.... (Sigh!)
Rule #1: We will no longer try to cure this illness (for illness it is) with M & M peanut candies. Rule #2: In obeying Rule #1, we will not substitute other forms of "comfort food" for the aforementioned M & M peanut candies. Although they are tasty, they go straight to my behind and stay. Rule #3: Instead of treating the symptoms with food, we will focus on what is going well right now and on keeping it (whatever it might be) going well. Rule #4: We will give thanks for every single person God has brought into our lives because they mean that we have a future.
Maybe I will think of more rules tomorrow. I hope they won't all be phrased in the royal "we....."