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Did childhood shape your life now?

  Since Freud, it has been generally accepted that an individual’s distress and character in adulthood can be traced back to certain events or situations in childhood. Throughout the 20th century, the importance of childhood to adult life has been seen as a self-evident fact; that is, it becomes a context in which we understand ourselves. Many people have been struggling to break free from childhood influences, and this struggle can continue for many years. Today, not only do psychological and psychiatric interviews include an inquiry into childhood conditions, but childhood and upbringing are also an important topic of conversation among friends. Newspapers, magazines and other media are also full of articles about the importance of childhood.
  The importance of childhood to adult life can be roughly understood in two ways: one is psychoanalytic and the other is existential.
  Psychoanalytic causal view
  This view holds that certain events in childhood cause an individual to develop a certain mental state in adulthood. According to this view, if a person is treated in an authoritarian manner by their parents, it may result in him being extremely dependent on others as an adult and having difficulty expressing his ideas freely. If a person is neglected as a child, it can lead to a lack of love and parenting skills in adulthood.
  Many people these days have a strong need to figure out what their upbringing was like. Some people want to know how their father or mother treated them; adopted children and children from broken families want clarification, or to understand their own background; abused people want to know if incest has occurred, if they have been beaten or other abuse. They want to know the truth about their past. Why is this so? This need can be seen as a consequence of the above-mentioned view that there is a common belief that there is a fixed childhood that has causal effects on adult life.
  Childhood experiences determine our lives and problems in adulthood, an idea that originated in Freud’s psychoanalysis and is one of the most deeply ingrained psychological concepts in Western society today. For purely methodological reasons, many experimental psychologists are negative about whether this theory holds up.
  existentialist view
  This perspective offers a different understanding of childhood roles. Everyone has more than one childhood experience. Somewhere in memory, we seem to have an endless stream of early experiences, all of which are in principle accessible. Among these experiences, we “choose” to remember a limited number, usually of certain types and tones.
  Existentialism believes that attaching one-way causality to human life is a distortion. The causes of human mental states and actions are not the same as the causes of billiards. A person’s mental states and actions are derived from his intentions, from his needs in this world. There may be thematic similarities between abuse experienced in childhood and abuse experienced in adulthood, but that does not mean that the former causes the latter. It could also be that the latter “caused” the former, as the actual abuse I suffered in the workplace suddenly made me recall specific childhood experiences from my vast memory bank.
  So what is the role of childhood from an existential perspective? The role of childhood is that adults use it to define who they are now. We’ve all had good and bad times with our parents, we’ve all had good and bad times in childhood, we’ve all had success and failure. As adults, what we “choose” to remember is what fits with our self-construction or self-definition. If I consider myself successful, optimistic, and capable, I tend to “choose” childhood memories that support and facilitate this self-construction. On the other hand, if I thought of myself as an incompetent, unfortunate victim, the memories retained in my childhood memory bank might support that notion.
  This view naturally raises the question: how is a particular self-construction formed or imposed on an individual, and how does this self-construction change or develop? Clearly, theories that can adequately explain this important phenomenon remain to be developed.
  In any case, human childhood is an interpreted childhood; therefore, it can be reinterpreted. There is no uninterpreted childhood, no fixed childhood. But if childhood is not a fixed entity, what is it that makes many people search for their roots, for the days gone by, for their origins? Why do so many people want to reveal the truth, to know how their parents treated them, to know if they were beaten, if they were often let loose, if they were properly appreciated and encouraged, and so on?
  First, this need can be seen as an individual’s way of reconciling with himself. Reconciling with yourself requires knowing and accepting the truth about your life. Second, it can be seen as individuals trying to engage with split parts of their personality.
  Adults often have many different emotions and feelings, and they can be like islands in the mind. These emotions and feelings, whether sadness, loneliness, harshness, thoughtfulness, fear, or other rich emotions stemming from human life, may be wrapped up in childhood memories that you have only limited access to, but they are also extremely powerful in their own right. attractive. You believe that you are extracting the truth from your past life, but what you really desire is to reunite the splintered islands in your psyche and let hidden emotions or feelings come back to your conscious psychic life.
  Our contrasting causal and existential views of psychoanalysis does not, of course, imply that childhood experiences have no effect on the individual. There are no doubt that childhood experiences influence what happens later in life in many ways. The way in which they have an impact constitutes a very interesting area of ​​research. As classic research in developmental psychology, such as that of Rene Spitz and John Bowlby, shows that childhood experiences can sometimes have lasting adverse effects.
  We will say, however, that it is inappropriate for the vast majority of adults in today’s society to think that they are determined by their childhood experiences.
  It’s a prevailing belief for almost everyone; we use it in unison so that we don’t have to be responsible for our current life and don’t have to take our current life’s challenges seriously. This belief prevents us from making fundamental changes that may be necessary if we really want to be happy.

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