“This be the verse” by Philip Larkin is the poem that most people think of when they talk about childhood issues. Whilst most parents do not set out to harm or hurt children because of different perceptions and memories of events of our childhood we can at best be left feeling misunderstood.
At worst childhood can be a landscape fraught with danger, fear, abuse and misunderstanding. As an adult these unresolved childhood issues can haunt us and lead to problems as an adult.
Childhood Issues and Your Defence
Children are tenacious and often find a way of surviving even the most horrific or frightening of experiences. Childhood defence mechanisms will have been an important way of you dealing with the ordeals of being a child.
There are times however when as an adult we are using the same defence mechanisms and what worked and kept us safe as a child may not be so effective as we become adults. Therapy can be an effective way of you dealing with the issues of childhood as the adult you have become and can lead to a way of being that offers you new choices and paths as the issues of childhood are understood and resolved.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, And add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn, By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern, And half at one another’s throats. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, And don’t have any kids yourself. Philip Larkin
Sometimes it is not until we become parents ourselves that some of our memories surface and then as the poem suggests we become fearful that we are passing on some of our problems to our own children. Again talking through these issues with someone who is trained and experienced and indeed engaging in the therapeutic relationship can lead to you feeling more confident and competent as a parent. Therapy can ensure that the passing on from generation to generation the misery of childhood issues does not occur.