This is a question I get asked constantly by clients first entering counselling. “I survived” a client once said to me with a big shrug “why does it matter, let’s move on”. The reason therapists are so interested in childhood is because it is where we develop our values and sense of self, in a way as we unravel it we begin to see why we are the way we are.
Very few people have a perfect childhood, but if we get the unconditional love and attention we need from our primary care giver we mostly muddle through, knowing we are safe and loved. Sadly many of my clients did not get this safe childhood we all need so much to develop a good sense of self, they were told they would be loved if they behaved or pushed down their feelings.
So by examining our childhood with the eyes of an adult we can begin to feel love and compassion for that child who though this was normal. We begin to forgive ourselves for behaviours we learnt to survive our childhood angst and sadness. We may have survived childhood, but now as adults we want to thrive and that means examining our past with honesty and compassion.