About six weeks ago, I began councilling for adults who are affected by a certain type of childhood abuse. I’ve avoided discussing it in detail my entire life, but it got to the point that it needed to be processed and dealt with with someone impartial. Although I’m 46 years old and i no longer harbour any resentment, it still affects me.
It can be challenging enough to live with the memories. But in discussing it, I have now bust open a can of worms. It has affected me on pretty much every level. Especially the way I cope in relationships. It’s hard to sink in that in some ways, I haven’t emotionally moved on from it.
It was easy to see and understandable that I suffered poor mental health as a result. The labels of borderline personality disorder to psychosis seemed a natural progression for someone who had no real stability growing up and abused alcohol the way I did. We were dragged from town to town in the wake of my dad’s ever deteriorating mental state before I finally left home age 15. His addiction problems only grew over time, and his threats of suicide became normal to us. He became dangerously unhinged.
I grew up up without any healthy mental coping strategies. I didn’t know how to deal with stress. My ADHD was simply my way of managing the pressures I felt. It seemed normal that I would seek out ways to quieten my mind. Alcohol became my escape, and I latched on to its mind altering effects from my early teens. And abused it into chronic alcoholism. Self harming was just another way to deal with my over emotional state. I was damaged goods, with no solid understanding of how to get by in life.
All this personal experience has been the driving force to becoming a better father, and it has become useful in that sense. Because I understand and know what a child can suffer from the absence of that love, my daughters deserve a loving dad who is stable and present. As much as I have changed and grown in sobriety for the better over the last decade, it seems I still have work to do to iron out some of the creases. And to finally discuss what needs to be talked about. To put it to bed once and for all.
So if you are a man grappling with a past that is affecting your present. Never feel ashamed to reach out and begin the unravelling process. It will be painful but also enlightening. Change and growth can be made from what is uncovered and let go of. The strongest thing a man can do is face his own demons.
Below is a link to the free meditation exercise I practice that led me to become free from the anger and also allowed me to strengthen from stress.