In session, I often hear clients beat themselves up for not doing things differently as a child and even in adulthood. They will often say, “I should have known better”. My question to them is, “How’? “How would they know better”? Many clients were never taught how to manage and deal with life. There is often childhood trauma, which includes various forms of abuse; physical, sexual, psychological and neglect. A parent or caregiver is who teaches you to practice self-love, how to engage in a healthy relationship, boundaries, etc., When you don’t get the foundation, you in turn, navigate life on your own. This also means you will likely mirror the behavior or relationships you observed in childhood.
For example, if you observed your parents' marriage as unhealthy, you might find yourself in a marriage where you are passive and ignore conflict. You also might find yourself being the aggressor or being controlling in your marriage because of what you witnessed.
As you realize this connection, you can start making the necessary changes. Remember, you can only do better, when you know better. So, forgive yourself for what you did not know and celebrate your journey of creating change.
-Shareela Allen, LCSW