I recently had a great question on Facebook. Someone who saw one of the videos on emotional wealth posted below wrote to ask about emotional abuse in childhood. When the questioner was very young, the father died, and the mother became blaming and controlling after that.
In answer to the question of how to move beyond it, until you are eight or nine years old, the earliest memories are stored in the amygdala of the brain because you didn’t have words to assign to the experience. The amygdala has a long-term memory for the feelings and a short-term memory for the incident. So you act on your feelings all your life, even though you don’t always know why.
Because your memories are from such an early time, all your life you have probably struggled with a sense of inadequacy. What the questioner’s mother did is called transference. She transferred her feelings of anger to the child and blamed the child. One of the things you can do is to change the voice inside your head (the self-talk) that comes from your “mother.”
When you hear your mother’s controlling and angry voice, you can see your mother as a small child and just say to her, “I’m so sorry you feel that way. I am a wonderful, capable human being. I am so sorry your worldview is so small.” In your mind you can reframe your mother as a small child who was emotionally damaged herself and was simply unable to deal with the situation in which she found herself.
Watch the videos for more tips on building and maintaining emotional resources.
Ruby Payne, Emotional Resources Video 1
Ruby Payne, Emotional Resources Video 2
Ruby Payne, Emotional Resources Video 3
Ruby Payne, Emotional Resources Video 4