As stated in Part One of “How to Get Healthy,” this will be a process that will take some time. That doesn’t mean you’ll spend every waking moment absorbed in the pain of your past; that would be counterproductive and put you in need of some kind of numbing medication, which would bring on its own problems. Instead, consider this a process of healing and maturity, wherein you have the courage to list the people who have caused you the greatest harm in your childhood and the self-defeating behaviors that you have learned and adopted in response to those injuries.
As you consider the injuries that you have incurred, resist the urge to place the blame at the feet of a spouse or some other adult with whom you have a relationship. Remember, you learned behaviors in childhood as a result of the pain inflicted upon you; these behaviors are self-defeating, and they have in many ways contributed to the demise of your adult relationships. An example of self-defeating behavior might look like this: you grew up in a home where a parent or caretaker abused drugs and/or alcohol. Consequently, they constantly disappointed you with
their disinterest and lack of ability to care for you. Thus, you learned to become totally self-sufficient and unable to trust your needs to anyone.
Or perhaps you grew up in a two-parent home and felt totally safe in the environment it provided until one day your parents said they had something they needed to tell you. You listened to their words: “It’s not your fault,” and “We both love you,” and, “The only thing that will change is that one of us is moving out.” Except that’s not the only thing that changed; your world came crashing down, leaving you suspicious of love and commitment.
As a result, with every failed relationship, you nurse your belief that people cannot be trusted and that you have once again found and revealed their plot to hurt you. In reality, the other person (who is flawed, like all of us) had no other option but to leave because you drove them away.