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How to Move Past Being Raised by Struggling Parents

How to Make Peace with a Difficult Childhood

Childhood struggles can affect us well into adulthood, especially if we don't take steps to heal. Whether it's due to a divorce, money problems, alcohol dependence or physical abuse or neglect, difficult childhoods can make it hard for people to build healthy relationships and function in the world. If you were raised by toxic or struggling parents, here's how you can move forward.

Acknowledge your past. Whether they had toxic parents or especially difficult childhoods, it's common for adults to block out past trauma. Unfortunately, when we suppress emotional pain, it often manifests in ways we don't expect. When they are in denial about their past, people often find it difficult to manage relationships. They may also have trouble being the kinds of parents they want to be. In many instances, they may also struggle with alcohol dependence. It's important to acknowledge your difficult childhood so you can begin to heal.

Choose healing over bitterness. Perhaps you harbor resentment toward your parents for things that happened during your childhood. While this is very common and often justified, it will only intensify your suffering. When we hold on to bitterness and anger, we tend to experience anxiety and stress. This toxic existence prevents us from living a full, satisfying life. While you don't have to forgive your parents or forget the past, you should strive to accept your circumstances and use your energy to move forward in a positive way.

Prioritize healing. Once you acknowledge and accept the past, you need to focus on finding peace. Some people are able to heal through mindfulness, intentional awareness or by surrounding themselves with positive support. Others rely on professional counseling to help them confront their issues and develop healthy strategies for healing past wounds. Whatever the case, it's important to make healing a priority. If you are putting work and other responsibilities first, it's time to give your well-being the attention it deserves.

Learn to let go. To move forward, you have to let go of the past. This doesn't mean pretending that your childhood struggles never happened or that you should let your parents off the hook. It simply means adopting healthy ways of thinking that will allow you to let go of thoughts that no longer serve you. In some instances, letting go may also mean giving yourself permission to end or limit your relationship with a toxic parent. In other instances, it may mean forgiving and accepting that they are no longer the same people they were in the past.

Understand the significance. If you think you should toughen up and get over your childhood issues, think again. A mountain of research has shown that difficult childhoods can severely impact our emotional and psychological development and cause far-reaching consequences throughout our entire lives. If you grew up feeling unloved, unseen, criticized or marginalized, you may carry these feelings with you even today. It's important to recognize the significance of your experience and reach out for help so you can heal and live the life you deserve.

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