Addictions and Childhood Trauma
How parenting shaped who we are today?
This article was inspired by a “Youtube Video” shared by my best friend, the video was one of Dr. Gabor Mate lectures about addictions and childhood, Dr. Mate is a renowned speaker, and bestselling author, he is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development.
What Blew my mind was The Incredible synchronicity and the timing of this video, as I was fully submerged in my own internal process, and reading one of his books “ In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” which is basically a close encounter with people with severe addictions as a consequence of a traumatised childhood.
The lecture had a double impact on me; I felt it was both comforting; I had a moment of clarity; I felt the divine heard my prayers, and graced me with answers, my life experiences are finally making sense, and I felt a huge responsibility, to share this and make a difference, it may be insignificant in the ego eye, but if one person benefit from it one day, that is ENOUGH for me, hence I couldn’t fight the urge to write about it.
What is Addiction?
A person with an addiction uses a substance, or engages in a behavior, for which the rewarding effects provide an interesting incentive to repeat the activity, despite detrimental consequences. Substance Addiction may involve the use of substances such as alcohol, inhalants, opioids, cocaine, and nicotine, or behaviors such as gambling, shopping, exercising, gaming, sex, Love, Tv, Internet…etc.
The Difference between Physical and behavioural Addiction?
Addiction can occur in many forms. Often, it is assumed that physical dependence characterized by withdrawal symptoms is required in order for someone to be diagnosed with an addiction disorder, but the fact is that behavioural addiction can occur with all the negative consequences in a person’s life minus the physical issues faced by people who compulsively engage in drug and alcohol abuse.
It is the compulsive nature of the behavior that indicates a behavioral addiction, or process addiction, in an individual. The compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behavior despite the negative impact on the person’s ability to remain mentally and/or physically healthy and functional in the home and community defines behavior addictions. The person may find the behavior rewarding psychologically or get a “high” while engaged in the activity but may later feel guilt, remorse, or even overwhelmed by the consequences of that continued choice.
Why Do we get addicted?
Behavioral addictions exist in a gray area in addiction. Technically, the only medically recognized behavioral addiction is gambling disorder. Formerly classified as an impulse control disorder, gambling disorder was reclassified in 2013 as an addictive disorder in the DSM-5 (the official reference guide for diagnosing mental illnesses).I saw this reclassification as significant because it was the first formal recognition that behavioral addictions exist.
What is alarming here is while addiction to physical substances is treated and also recognized and acknowledged by society? It does not give behavioral addiction that much importance, although they share the same importance and detrimental effect on the brain neurological flow, and to get the situation even worse, the addictive behavior is welcomed and approved in our modern society and is considered NORMAL.
Dr. Gabor Mate links all kinds of addictions to Childhood Traumas, the parenting we received, and the way we were treated, and how we felt in our home environment. So we grew up as dysfunctional insecure, unloved adults, wounded, disconnected from the “SELF”, so addictions a coping mechanism to find pleasure, comfort, to release stress…in other words, to be in AVOIDANCE to look at our wounds.
Most of us have been the fruit of unconscious parenting (no blaming to our parents, they did what they could with the limited emotional maturity and consciousness they had), we have been compared to other kids: siblings, cousins, neighbors…etc as an incentive to be better which affected our confidence, self-esteem, others of us felt guilty for growing in dysfunctional homes, where anger and verbal/physical abuse was the only communication they knew off, and they blamed it on themselves“ Its ME” “It's because of ME”, and others experienced the emotional and/or physical absence of one or both parents… etc, hence the addictive tendencies of the whole society to obsessive consumption of social media, mobile phones, food, makeup …etc
The Connection to your SOUL
I can’t help but Quote Rumi on one of the closest quotes to my heart
“When the World pushes you to your knees, you are in the perfect position to PRAY”
We all have been through ups and downs in our lives, but it is always the cry of our soul that brings us back to the source, the source of who WE ARE.
Anxiety, Depression, Melangomy are ways our soul is crying for our attention, and calling us back to the path of LOVE and LIGHT, reminding us we are LOVED and BLESSED by the Divine and that all is well if we have the courage to embrace our emotions if we feel our feelings instead of avoiding them. The journey back to the soul is worth it, it is not an easy one, can be painful & lonely but avoidance also is full of shame, fear, and pain.
Be Brave and Never give up hope on yourself or your loved ones, be mindful in your communication with everyone, you don’t know what they have been through, be gentle and kind with yourself, with your fragile inner child, he/she has been already through a lot, give them love and compassion, nurture and hold space for them.
And last but not least, if you are planning on having kids, please be MINDFUL & CONSCIOUS, and make sure you are READY for such responsibility.
LOTS OF LOVE