How Our Childhoods Affect Our Adult Lives

No one intends for this to happen, of course,
but somewhere in our childhood, our trajectory towards emotional maturity will almost certainly
be impeded. Even if we are sensitively cared for and lovingly handled, we can be counted
upon not to pass through our young years without sustaining some kind of deep psychological
injury – what we can term a Primal Wound. Childhood opens us up to emotional damage
in part because, unlike all other living things, homo sapiens has an inordinately long and
structurally claustrophobic pupillage. A foal is standing up thirty minutes after it is
born. A human will, by the age of eighteen, have spent around 25,000 hours in the company
of its parents. A female grouper mother will unsentimentally dump up to 100 million eggs
a year in the sandy banks off the north Atlantic seaboard and never see a single one of her
off-spring again. Even the blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, is sexually
mature and independent by the age of five. But for our part, we dither and linger; it
can be a year till we take our first steps and two before we can speak in a whole sentence.
It is close to two decades before we are categorised as adults. And in the meantime, we are at
the mercy of that highly peculiar and distorting institution we call home, and its even more
distinctive overseers, our parents. Across the long summers and winters of childhood,
we are intimately shaped by the ways of the big people around us: we come to know their
favourite expressions, their habits, how they respond when they are late, the way they address
us when they’re cross. We know the atmosphere of home on a bright July morning and in the
afternoon downpours of mid-April. We memorise the textures of the carpets and the smells
of the clothes’ cupboards. In middle-age, we can still recall the taste of a particular
biscuit we liked after school and know intimately the tiny sounds a parent makes as they concentrate
on an article in the newspaper. During our elongated gestation, we are at first, in a
physical sense, completely at the mercy of our caregivers. We are so frail, we could
be tripped up by a twig; the family cat is like a tiger. We need help crossing the road,
putting on our coat, writing our name. But our vulnerability is as much emotional. We
can’t begin to understand our strange circumstances: who we are, where our feelings come from,
why we’re sad or furious, how our parents fit into the wider scheme, and why they behave
as they do. We necessarily take what the big people around us say as an inviolable truth;
we can’t help but exaggerate our parents’ role on the planet. We are condemned to be
enmeshed in their attitudes, ambitions, fears and inclinations. Our upbringing is fundamentally
always particular and peculiar. Being children, we can brush very little of it off. We are
without a skin. If a parent shouts at us, the foundations of the earth tremble. We can’t
tell that some of the harsh words weren’t perhaps entirely meant, or had their origins
in a tricky day at work or are the reverberations of the adult’s own childhood; it simply
feels as if an all-powerful, all knowing giant has decided, for certain good (if as yet unknown)
reasons that we are to be annihilated. Nor can we understand, when a parent goes away
for the weekend or relocates to another country, that they didn’t leave us because we did
something wrong or because we are unworthy of their love but because even adults aren’t
always in control of their own destinies. If parents are in the kitchen raising their
voices, it can seem as though these two people must hate one another inordinately. The altercation
the children overhear (there was a slammed door and several swear words) can feel catastrophic,
as though everything safe is about to disintegrate. There is no evidence anywhere within the child’s
grasp that arguments are a normal part of relationships; and that a couple may be entirely
committed to a life-long union and at the same time forcefully express a wish that the
other might go to hell. Children are equally helpless before the distinctive theories of
the parents. They can’t understand that an insistence they not mix with another family
from school, or that they follow particular dress codes or worry as much as they do about
dirt or being late represent a very partial understanding of priorities. Children don’t
have a job. They can’t go elsewhere. They have no extended social network. Even at its
best, childhood is an open prison. As a result of the peculiarities of these early years,
we get distorted. Things within us start to grow in odd directions. We find we can’t
easily trust, or need to keep cleaning the room, or get unusually scared around people
who raise their voices. No one needs to do anything particularly shocking, illegal, sinister
or wicked to us for very serious distortions to unfold. The causes of our Primal Wound
are rarely outwardly dramatic but its effect is rarely anything short of momentous and
long-lasting. Such is the fragility of childhood, nothing outwardly appalling need have happened
to us for us to wind up inwardly profoundly scrambled. We know the point well enough from
tragedy. In the tragic tales of the Ancient Greeks, it is not enormous errors and slips
that unleash drama: it is the tiniest, most innocent errors. From seemingly minor starting
points, terrible consequences unfurl. Our emotional lives are similarly tragic in structure.
Everyone around us may have been trying to do their best to us as children and yet we
have ended up now, as adults, nursing certain major hurts which continue to make us so much
less than we might be. Lastly, and most poignantly, it’s a feature of the imbalances that stem
from childhood wounds that they don’t cleanly reveal their origins, either to our own minds
or, consequently, to the world at large. We aren’t really sure why we run away so much,
or so often get angry, or have a proud, haughty air, or underachieve or cling excessively
to people we love. We simply assume this is the way we are – and are assessed accordingly.
Because the sources of our ailments escape us, they don’t feature in the explanations
for why people are as they are and we miss out on a vital source of sympathy. Our problems
begin with a wound which, if it were known and adequately explained, would naturally
elicit tender understanding. But because the consequences it breeds tend to be so much
less appealing, and explanations are lacking, we are left open to disdain, sarcasm and our
own self-hatred. Our wound may have begun with a feeling of invisibility, but now it
looks as if we’re just show-offs. Maybe it began with being let down, but now we simply
come across as crazily controlling. Perhaps it started with a bullying, competitive father,
now it seems as if we are simply spineless. We make our lives tougher than they should
be because we insist on thinking of people, ourselves and others, as evil and mean rather
than, as is almost invariably the case, primarily the victims of what we have all in some ways
gone through: an extremely tricky early history. We hope you enjoyed this film. If you want to learn more about self knowledge follow the link on your screen now.

100 thoughts on “How Our Childhoods Affect Our Adult Lives

  1. Has your childhood affected your adult life? Let us know in the comments or we have a discussion going on right now our app available free here:

  2. It would be interesting to touch the subject in different parenting from different cultures. It is kinda interesting how some might categorise for example spanking as abusive and wounding but my dad spanked me when i was a kid and i turned out fine, so did my other friends.

  3. There should be videos like this shown everywhere to raise the awareness..such a major problem in our society…

  4. These characters in these videos are rather creepy.. Why not use characters that actually look human?

  5. I usually love these videos, but I think this one was overly negative and unbalanced. It gives the view that we are all distorted beings and doesn't give a sense that parents are often doing their best and as Winnicott (I think) said parents should strive to be "good enough", as opposed perfect, which is impossible. With good enough parents we recieve enough love, attention and security to thrive, to be autonomous, and to offer something unique and can function through life without the need for exhaustive therapy. Many will need this form of intervention, but many people are good enough, love their parents foibles and all and get on with living valuable lives.

  6. dad was a bully. mom was a victim. sibling was a sick baby. that was my childhood.

  7. As I watched this I kept being distracted by thoughts: why are the parents so unlike other characters. including other adults, in this video? Seriously… Why?

  8. 4:01 when my mom broke up with her fiance, I was 10 and supposed to be sleeping. My mom was yelling, telling him to leave her house, I heard her yell and curse and be angry for the first time, she even threw a lamp because he wouldn't leave…..the entire time I was laughing in my bed. 😂

  9. I felt like I grew up too quick like I went to parks n shit, but people around me were older and doing older things. Not particularly "good" things selling drug etc. I always felt I was by myself because of this. After I moved to Texas around 9 I felt as I didn't fit in to this "Innocent" suburbs like society. I've also feel like my parents were there but not emotionally I use to hate going to school and got anxiety attacks. I guess after so much of these they kinda just stopped caring and told me to suck it up. I feel now this overwhelming stigma that I'm on my own and even when people ask to do or buy me things I instantly say no. Even with gifts and things like that. Idk what's wrong with me ?

  10. Woooow… According to this film home must be murky and frightened place. Brrrrr…

  11. …Especially, if you heard it, your ENTIRE childhood. I could only find escape via movies and art.

  12. Parents?! My son spends 9 hours a day, 5 days a week in his crèche.. do I have any influence on his development?

  13. What if we didn't grow up without parents? My mum has schizophrenia, she's had it since before I was born. I was always looking after her as a child and my dad worked long hours and night shifts. What happens when both parents are absent, yet the child falls under the radar because, yes they still technically have parents but they're almost not there.

  14. Childhood does affect you in the most damaging ways .We are raised by superficial Arrogant mentally abusive Caregivers who cannot properly communicate or even be responsible for a pet.So its Open season on a little person lööking for help and guidance How to be in this World…..I still surivived.Thank God….

  15. Childhood is not impacting life that much but memories are hilarious the funniest thing we are all delutional

  16. So true. From day one, we are like "leafs on a wave" of family, neighborhood, culture–floating on top of forces we have absolutely no control over.

  17. I don’t think I’m going to have kids. My childhood was messed up enough. I don’t want to put anyone else through that…

  18. I cannot count with my fingers how many times I was slapped. Dad, Mom, stepmom.

  19. My parents had the worst argument 2 days before my 12th birthday. I know by that time I should be a pre-teen (or even a teen) then, still it traumatised me so much when my mum pushed me away as I tried to hug her. The look in her eyes were full of rage and it almost seemed like she hated me, like she blamed everything on me and wanted me to leave forever. It struck me so hard, but she probably doesn't even remember anymore. All she sees are my flaws and traits that could help her look like a great mother to the people outside.
    I realised I have been subconsciously afraid of her ever since.

  20. can't you explain all this stuff in simple words, or in a simpler way, which normal human can understand too 😀

  21. I wish there were no such thing as childhood!
    I know it's utter nonsense but I wish everybody came to the world already mature.
    Childhood is just a nightmare!

  22. We have to remind ourselves that our parents should not be our gods.
    They are human beings, just like us- with flaws and imperfections.

    And be accountable for yourself especially once you’re living independently. Do not use how you or others were raised as a scapegoat for the way they behave as an adult. Be responsible for yourself and work on being your own person.

  23. Before I had my baby, I thought I knew how to raise a kid because I was going to do exactly what my parents did because I turned out "ok". Spanking, teasing and making me cry for fun is the only thing I remember. So now I’m trying to better my self for the sake of my child and my husband. They deserve the best from me and not for me to play the victim role, "I’m like this because.. blah blah blah".

    After watching all these videos, everything is based on love, compassion, empathy and understanding.. something so simple yet difficult to do!

  24. Interesting series , but strangely the parents look androgynous. Very valid points but again strangely deconstructive offering little constructive help. Funny how it doesn’t mention school – strangely outer worldly and trippy as if offering insight and focusing on the family unit as a profound maker of ones mental psyche – I guess then paving a path for authoritarian rule by kindness proxy…

  25. I hate to think that I’m blaming my parents for how messed up I am now as an adult. I come from the most loving family and everyone loved me to death. We’re comfortable financially and I had everything I wanted. But I never felt understood. My emotions were largely neglected most of the time because my parents claimed that “I’m too young to understand real problems in life and loads of other people are struggling to live”. They were too busy working to teach me why I was wrong but went straight into punishment instead. They believed it was the quickest way to teach me a lesson. I was bullied at school and then I started thinking what is wrong with me that no one seems to care about my feelings? I grew up being this love and sex addict who constantly looks for validations from toxic and emotionally abusive relationships, in order to “make things right again”. I don’t believe there’s a cure for my childhood trauma because I tried talking to my parents about it recently and they just said I should be grateful for everything they’ve given me instead of making things out of nothing

  26. Children are extremely adaptable to most situations. Only later in life the tramadic stuff rears it's head. But without all experiences we wouldn't be very empathetic or insightful. Childhood can be pretty scary though.

  27. As if I needed this video to tell me my fucked-up childhood led to my fucked-up adulthood!

  28. Attending the wrong secondary school totally screwed me up destroyed my confidence.. I still have regrets with the desire to avenge certain individuals even after 25 years my wounds haven't healed .. maybe ill see them at a old peoples home … ill be ready to kick ass then!!

  29. My mother precursored I suffered with petti mal or seizures it turns out 40 years later this was panic attacks as a child from the molestation from her and I never had epilepsy, she used it to mask the physical abuse I suffered , Mother’s are fuckers just because her mother tainted her . I feel let down by the system completely

  30. by the age of sixxx, i was a bar tender in a mafia club on ST. Clair ave west in toronto, heck we even had cops and city insiders at the club, it's like i paid my own way through college all by my self

  31. you know Philip, poor people should stop having kids, if you don't have the money to bring up a kid the right way, then don't try having a kid just to give the kid away to the government and the rich employer

  32. My mother never love me, I was never good enuff for my father, my stepbrothers beat me all the time, my grandma didnt love me as well, I lost a brother at 8 yrs old, I was bullied in school, and I was dumped at 14 yrs old, my only family was my closest friend, and since very young I adapted to be alone, humanity sucks!, Now at 38yrs old I started to love myself, I don't need no one but myself to be happy

  33. I wish I would have turned out more like my parents…why is that?

  34. Too true this one, I adopted a solution as a kid to turn off every time one raises a voice, now as an adult, its too risky to revert back. People can't believe that this is a deliberate act

  35. My primal wound as a child was being used by my parents and grandma as an errand boy to go to the store ALL the time. No one cared that I had to study or was tired.

  36. I have wonderful parents, but the video should touch upon stuff like school bullying

  37. I find myself wanting to send this to me parents but that ship has sailed. They’re blissfully ignorant but not i. 💪🏻

  38. I found out I was adopted when I was 44,I did not have loving supportive parents. But I get told that I should be lucky they brought here in Us. But it still affects my relationships with friends/ certain family members. Holidays ,birthdays etc. really suck because it's a constant reminder of what I don't have, and gets lonely. I don't think I'll ever get over till the day I'm no longer here.

  39. As a parent, this basically tells me that no matter how hard I might try to get it right, I'm going to screw up my kids somehow, if for no other reason than I am a flawed and scarred product of other humans.

  40. Very depressing video. From the colors, the figures, the sense of isolation, the comments. It is very hard to think that you are mark for life, that we are puppets with little choice in the hands of our parents, the victims of our destiny with no control whatsoever. There are persons that have experienced very traumatic situation and start living in the present, it can be done.

  41. This was truly thought provoking and wonderful, as usual. But it also made me very anxious. It does seem like, no matter what I do, I won’t be able to raise my future kids in a way that spares them of that early trauma. And frankly, that’s the one thing I want most. I don’t want my potential future kids to suffer like I did/do. I want them to be as emotionally mature and healthy as possible…is that truly impossible then?
    I know I’m still young and probably won’t get kids very soon but it is something I have on my mind a lot. I don’t want to make the mistakes that have been made with me, but I know it’s not possible to not make mistakes…

  42. This is so so exaggerated.. I'm so successful and wise thanks to my family strengths as for their broken mistakes and traumas. Stop being a victim 🤨

  43. My parents didn't argue like that; I can't imagine growing up with that happening. They had reasonable discussions and occasionally nagged each other a little. (I thought that this is what marriage ought to look like.) Except for the one time my mother yelled at my father, if they argued like that, it would have to have been when we kids were not around. I couldn't imagine them yelling when we weren't around though because my father never ever yelled; he didn't hit. Yelling and hitting was disrespectful. He didn't yell that one day when she yelled at him. He looked genuinely shocked that my mother was yelling at him, and he called her name as if to snap her out of it, thinking she needed reorienting. It worked.

    We also were never told we couldn't hang out with anyone or any family. My mother felt we needed to find that out for ourselves. She would talk about this issue and how we had to use our eyes and ears and gut and pass them through our values to decide if it was wise to have someone as a friend. My mother also didn't think adults of two different families should interfere for their children in the arguments between their respective children–it was up to the parents to provide guidance and help the child figure out how work through the conflict on their own. If a parent came to the door with some story about what happened, she'd suggest they go back to their child for both sides of the story and let the kids work it out. Then she'd talk to us (well, my brother) and ask him what happened, tell him what she heard, ask him did that change his account, then ask him how he thought the matter ought to be resolved. If she wasn't satisfied with his answer, she'd talk to him about the moral implications of his decision and speak with him about other options more in keeping with the values she wanted to impart. But almost always after the age of about six or seven, not always, she would leave it to us to decide. She walked her talk when it came to most everything. Most.

    She was pretty great role model in many ways except she was also abusive, violent. It was like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She convinced us, a feat of true manipulation, to keep her abusiveness hidden from our Dad, a kind, unconditionally loving man (but not someone to spoil us). So bizarre… so crazy making… given all the other guidance that showed she trusted us to grow up to be good citizens of the world and to treat ourselves and others with respect. Hard to treat oneself with respect, hard to establish boundaries with others, when your safety with a parent wasn't respected.

  44. I have IBS due to undigested emotions because I wasn't able to show my emotions with my parents, I had to be strong and perfect all the time, also felt not enough and abandoned because one time my parents left us without a nanny at night and waking up to see they were not there was scarring

  45. Sorry,but this is complete bullshit because my childhood was mostly uneventful but filled with disappointment & poverty.
    As soon as I start talking to a guy………”I’m sorry but there’s too mich drama in your past & I just want an easy skinny blonde” they see that I’m not a simple person & run away.
    There are no good men left.
    There’s plenty of boys,though………
    I don’t want a boy.
    I don’t need a boy.
    I need a man.
    Someone mature enough to understand that every person on this earth has been scarred by the reality of this cold cruel sick world & that noone is perfect.
    My therapist told me to try online dating..
    OMG I would love to pay $400 for a three year subscription where noone messages me after I say I’m an unemployed Drama major with major social anxiety & a hearing impairment.

  46. I want to run a government employee retirement home in a basement where they can all sleep on crib mattresses and get beaten just like they did for me instead of giving them pensions

  47. I was diagnosed with severe depression and ptsd and I lived a generally good childhood and was never beat or yelled at this video hit the nail on the head

  48. You always seem to be able to read every nerve in my body and every neuro-cell in my brain. I hate being human. Really.

  49. There’s no instruction booklet for life, but we need better guides. Because if we grew up knowing we’re supposed to examine our minds/feelings/beliefs and figure out what to keep and what to toss, we’d never develop the fears/doubts/expectations/habits that keep us from being happy and reaching our potential!

  50. Wow
    You guys take on difficult subjects
    You are awesome
    Thanks for bringing up subjects that need to talk about
    Shedding light on our lives brings healing

  51. When your mom gives birth to you when she was 18 and 3 years later she finds out your on the Autistic spectrum and has to raise you(The oldest) and two other kids in the project. Welp were in for a bumpy ride.

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