Most people I talk with find it difficult to accept that their troubles today come from things that happened many years ago; often from the first seven years of your life. On the face of it, this doesn’t make logical sense in that it ignores heaps of other things that have happened since then? When it comes to getting your life together, how come early experiences are more important than what’s happening right now?

It begins in early childhood because that’s when we’re too young to properly deal with things. During our first 6 or 7 years, the intellect is not developed so we can’t see things logically. In fact, it’s not until we get to adolescence that we start to really learn how to do this. Until then, we going to have heaps of scary experiences that we are traumatised by, even though there is never any real danger to us. Experiences like feeling frightened the first time a parent yelled at you, or feeling threatened because there’s no parent is there to care for you when you’re hungry or anxiety caused by hearing adults you love, arguing. This is big stuff when you are really young.

To be fair, your parents or primary carers probably didn’t realise you were being traumatised. All they knew was that when they got there, you calmed down quickly, so everything must have been ok. Yet for you, the baby, being just too young to comprehend what was really going on, felt threatened and fearful.

Over time, these are the unresolved feelings that grow to be destructive, mainly when things happen that trigger these old emotions. For instance, your partner may speak to you in a stern manner or they may be unexpectedly late home. Suddenly, the old emotions kick in and you find yourself having an ‘over-the-top’ emotional reaction. Your partner responds by deciding you’re being totally unreasonable and everything starts to degenerate from there.

If you find yourself being repeatedly challenged by the same problems over and over again, someone – you or your partner – is probably being driven by their unresolved childhood issues. Even if you don’t think it is you, and in fact, even if you are positive that it couldn’t be you, it still might be … in fact it probably is. By the time we are adults, the unresolved emotional issues have been there for so long that we consider them to be normal.

“No, I don’t need to change anything about myself because I don’t have any problems” pretty much sums up the way we feel about ourselves when we don’t want to deal with this stuff. This is what we say to people who might dare to suggest that we would benefit from having someone professional to talk to. The fact is that as adults we carry heaps of unresolved childhood issues that drive the way we act and behave. We can all benefit by looking into our childhoods because then we can find and deal with whatever it is that’s holding us back. Doing this can profoundly change our lives.