Healing from abusive childhood experiences

Published on January 8, 2021

When Sam was a child, his father would drink and then come home and smash the house.  From his bed, he could hear his mother crying.  His mother would crawl into Sam’s bed at night and cry.  Sam was confused.  He didn’t know how to help his mother, and he felt scared that his dad was going to hurt them.  His parents told him to not discuss family secrets outside of the home.  Because of this, he never told anyone how he felt.  As an adult, he found it difficult to get close to others.  He felt like it was easier to be alone.  Despite his desire to stay alone, he often felt lonely and empty.  He began to drink to cope, and his career began to suffer. He started to worry that he was turning into his father.

Children look to their parents to see if the environment around them is safe.  When there is domestic violence, conflict or neglect, children find safety outside of the home if they can.  Some children can realise that abuse, conflict or neglect does not make them unworthy or unsafe.  Other children, who might not be able to find safety outside of the home might begin to build neural pathways in their brain that say the world is a dangerous place.

When childhood wounds are not resolved, teens or adults can feel anxious, depressed or have low self-esteem.  Sometimes these feelings can interfere with relationships, school and careers.

There are ways that you can begin to heal from these childhood experiences; here are just a few.

1. Build supportive relationships

Supportive relationships can be uncomfortable in the beginning if trust has been hard to form due to past abusive relationships. Learning to trust others who are safe and supportive can start to heal some of the past hurt attachment.

2. Self-compassion

If you grew up in a home with verbal abuse, you might be verbally abusing yourself mentally. This isn’t helpful, nor is it healthy. Learn how to be patient with your mistakes and shortcomings like you would grant someone you love and care about.

3. Take care of yourself

Take care of yourself like you wished that your parent would have taken care of you. Practice hygiene, physical exercise, healthy diet, and include relaxation time.

4. Understand your value

Abuse can leave people feeling worthless. You are not broken; you have value.

5. Find healthy ways to cope

If you are feeling empty or overwhelmed, you might be using addictions such as substances, video games or sex to cope. Ask yourself what emotions the addiction is masking and find another way.  If you need to relax, can you do yoga, listen to music or meditate?  Coping without dependencies will be difficult in the beginning, but tolerating the distress will get easier over time.

Abuse and neglect can affect your self-worth and your nervous system.  Resilience and healing are possible with help.  Don’t allow shame and negative self talk to prevent you from healing.


If this is something that you have been through and would like to set up an appointment with me please contact +852 2521 4668 or email info@doctormonicaborschel.com 

Photo by Free Photos from Pexels


Category(s):Abuse / Abuse Survivor Issues, Complex PTSD, Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD, Sexual Abuse

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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