Finding my voice in a traumatic childhood

How would you describe your childhood?

My father was a violent man who drank excessively. He then left us when I was just 13. My mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised. My brother left home and turned to alcohol and drugs to numb his pain.

How did you cope with all of this?

I’ve spent most of my life pretending my childhood didn’t affect me. Between my dad’s dramas, mum’s mental health and my brother’s addictions, it didn’t occur to me that I had needs.  I invested my energy in sport and school work. To mask my shame, I became a super achiever at school and university. I graduated from university and became a successful executive in a multinational company.

What was the turning point for you?

I had repressed my childhood traumas for too long.  One day, my work colleague was rewarded for work I did. My reaction was swift and over the top. I resigned in anger and frustration. I cried often, felt anxious, confused, and worthless. My doctor recommended anti-depressants, but I refused and asked for an alternative. I was referred to Holyoake.

How would you describe your journey at Holyoake?

The ‘Childhood in Perspective’ program helped me realise that unresolved issues from childhood can have a major impact on life as an adult. Thanks to the gentle encouragement of my Counsellor, I went back into the past to resolve these issues. I cried tears of a young girl who is frightened; tears of a teenager who feels abandoned; tears of a young woman who is confused by relationships.

Now I feel I know myself better, I feel more real, I feel more alive. It has been a healing experience, and I can move on now. I would recommend this program to all adults who are battling with traumatic childhood memories.

Read more about our programs or email clientservices@holyoake.org.au for more information.

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