From my experience of teaching self-esteem and recovery from codependency to teen girls for five years, more than 70 percent of American homes harbor codependent families. Thus, a codependent, dysfunctional, unhealthy family can occur as a result of members adjusting their behavior to survive in a family with an addict – someone who lacks the ability to love themselves.
Did you or someone you know grow up in a family with a parent as an addict? Understand that the addiction can involve alcohol, drugs, and physical or sexual abuse. I believe addictive behaviors result as an effort to fill a void of emptiness from the inability to love oneself.
Did you know an American Medical Association survey found 72 percent of American homes harbor someone with an addiction?
Your parents, like mine, may have come from a line of ancestors who lacked the ability to fully love themselves. As a result, these parents grow up with a critical parent voice in their heads that they formed from the way their parents acted and what they said to their children. In addition, these parents suffered wounding as children which affected their inner psyche. This is referred to as the wounded inner child.
Most of us have a wounded inner child – the psychological aspect of ourselves as a young child with all the emotions of joy and pain growing up in survival mode in our families.
I would say a majority of parents have a wounded inner child which feels unloved. These parents once attracted a partner also with a wounded inner child. They sought each other out in the hopes that their partner would fulfill their longing for love. After the honey moon phase ended they realized once each others wounded patterns got triggered that they would never realize their hope. So they had children and looked to the children to fulfill their need for love rather than healing their own emotional wounds and learning how to love themselves.
Tips for Building Self-Esteem
The above type of parents serve as role models for the inability to love oneself. For example, I took on unconsciously my addict father’s lack of love and unworthiness for himself. I also took on shame for having the same last name as my drunken father.
If the Addict parent healed their emotional pain, they would no longer need a substance or others to numb the pain. They would have a higher level of self-esteem, a healthier family and children.
As children in dysfunctional families, we adopt specific behaviors and roles to fill the void of feeling unloved in our family.
The Caretaker wants to keep everyone happy and sacrifices their own needs, wants, and happiness. They seek, unsuccessfully, to boost their self-esteem by taking care of everyone, except themselves. Once the Caretaker starts nurturing themselves, clarifies and begins to express and fulfill their needs, their self-esteem improves.
The Hero feels pressured to be successful all the time. They get positive attention outside themselves, yet feel inadequate inside because being perfect is an unrealistic goal. A Hero who focuses on realizing and building their inner strengths has better self-esteem rather than relying only on outer success.
The Clown, like the scapegoat, seeks negative attention through jokes to ease family tension. Negative attention decreases self-esteem. When the Clown learns to forgive their family, their love for themselves increases.
The Scapegoat takes on the brunt of negative attention by becoming the identified problem child in the family. To improve loving yourself heal the blame and shame you took on from the family. Develop your personal inner power.
The Lost Child who once chose to become invisible in the family builds their self-esteem by learning how to love and trust themselves.
We all have the choice to replace the critical parent voice in our heads and begin healing our wounded inner child. We do this now as adults by becoming the loving parent to our wounded inner child. For instance, Healing the Child Within by Charles Whitfield M.D. shows many techniques for healing the inner child.
What is the importance of loving yourself?
- You take charge of the critical parent voice.
- You begin healing your wounded inner child.
- You improve your self-esteem.
- Your happiness and success increase.
- Your relationships improve.
- You have a happier healthy family.
- Your children have more happiness and success as adults.
What is it going to take for you to begin loving yourself more?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret from Drama, Trauma, and Pain His book provides ways for improving emotional health, easing pain and stress, healing physical and emotional abuse, and spiritual awakening. See book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Health-Secret-Freedom-Trauma-ebook/dp/B004CLYO00
Michael as a previous Residential and Self-Esteem Coach and Mentor has over 15 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. See eBook Self Esteem- A Teen’s Guide for Girls This book is valuable for women also. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009L4JLMO
Michael offers Bowen Therapy in person in Sedona, Arizona for easing physical and emotional pain. See
Michael also conducts personalized hiking tours in Sedona for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs.