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Lies You Were Told as a Child

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Lies You Were Told as a Child

This audio is to assist those who have been emotionally abused as a child. It discusses the lies you were told as a child by the abuser which can continue to affect your adult life. Learn how to refute these lies.

If you have experienced these lies as a child, listening to this audio repeatedly can help you begin to change the impact of these lies in your life. The more you recognize that what you were told was a lie and learn to counter these lies, the more you can create a more fulfilling life.

Also, using Excel At Life's Self Esteem Blackboard app can help you to challenge the inaccurate beliefs that you have about yourself because of the lies that were told you as a child.

Transcript: Lies You Were Told as a Child

The following is for adults who have suffered trauma as a child particularly abuse by the responsible adults in their lives. Abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual. However, what this audio addresses is the emotional abuse which is present whenever physical and sexual abuse occurs as well as occurring by itself.

Although the act of abuse is horrible, the worst part often is the long-term consequences suffered by those who have been abused. Those long-term consequences occur because of what you were taught to believe about yourself. The abuse taught you lies about yourself and because of those lies you continue to suffer in adulthood.

First, it is important to recognize that the past can no longer hurt you. This may be difficult for trauma survivors to understand because everything within them indicates that the past still DOES hurt. However, what continues to hurt is not the past itself from what you learned about yourself because of the past experiences. Those who have been abused have learned that they are worthless or unlovable. But that is not the past that hurts you now, that is the present—the current belief that you are unlovable, undeserving, or worthless. Again, this is a present belief that hurts—not the past. The past taught you these things, but the past no longer exists and no longer hurts you. Your hurt is in the present. It may have been fueled by past experiences, but the hurt is NOW.

There is one exception to what I just said and that is if the people who hurt you in the past are still hurting you in your present life. But again, that is not about the past, that is about the present hurt that you are experiencing.

The fortunate thing about your hurt being now and not in the past, is that you can do something about the present. You can change the present beliefs that continue to hurt you. You can recognize that these beliefs that you learned from the past are wrong. They were taught to you by sick or disturbed people who did not treat you properly as you deserved to be treated. Instead, you were hurt and abused and taught to believe things about yourself that are not true.

The following is to refute some of those lies you were taught about yourself. If you find that the information in this audio fits your situation, it is important to listen to this audio repeatedly until you believe the new information about yourself. Just as you were told the lies over in over until you were brain-washed into believing these terrible lies about yourself, you can tell yourself the truth over and over until the truth becomes stronger than the lies. As you begin to believe the truth about yourself, you will also find yourself making changes to improve your life.

It can also be helpful to write down any of the following lies that you learned and remind yourself that they are lies whenever you find yourself acting or feeling based on that lie. Remind yourself that it is a lie that you no longer wish to believe.

A common lie told by emotional abusers is: "You will never amount to anything." We can know this is a lie because no one can determine what a child will be able to do as an adult. Some of the most incorrigible children have been very successful as adults and some of the most obedient children have not accomplished much. Someone who makes such a statement is deliberately cruel and hurtful or horribly ignorant because there is never any beneficial reason to make such a statement to a child. Such a statement is not motivating, but is only hurtful.

A child who hears this frequently will develop uncertainty and doubt instead of confidence. Unfortunately, this lie can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If it is told enough to a child, the child comes to believe it which can prevent the child from trying to achieve because he or she believes that failure will always occur. As a result, it may be reinforced in the adult life and the liar and the lie becomes validated. "Yeah, my parents said I would never amount to anything. I guess they knew what they were talking about."

However, the lie is not true! The only reason the outcome of failure occurred is because of the belief in the lie. If you were taught that no matter what you did you would succeed, you would have a different belief about yourself. And likely, a different outcome.

To change the belief in this lie, you must begin to look at yourself objectively. Examine the evidence of who you are and what you are capable of. Choose different beliefs that can motivate you. For instance, you can choose to believe that as long as you keep trying there is no failure. Why is such a belief true? Because no one can be fully judged until their life is ended. So as long as you continue to try, continue to grow, continue to learn, you haven't failed. It is not fair to judge yourself today because your life isn't complete. And because you can't really judge yourself once you are gone, it really doesn't make sense to judge yourself at all.

Therefore, instead of judging yourself, focus on doing. Do what you can do today to make your life better. Learn to believe in yourself. And just keep trying!

Another lie often told by perfectionistic, critical parents is: "If you can't do it right, don't do it at all." This lie doesn't even make sense when examined closely. For instance, how can you possibly learn to do anything if you believe this lie?! All this lie does is create fear of trying for fear of making a mistake.

Instead, tell yourself "It is always better to try than not doing it at all. I can't learn to do it right if I don't try." Be willing to make mistakes! Mistakes provide us with important lessons. The most successful people in this world have also made the most mistakes because they are willing to take risks, try, and even fail. But ultimately the outcome is success because they keep trying.

A very destructive lie told by controlling abusers is: "No one will ever love you like I do." This lie is particularly destructive because it makes the child confuse love with the mistreatment he or she has received at the hands of an adult caretaker. The purpose of this lie is to make the child believe that the abuser is benevolent and does everything out of love for the child—even the abuse!

Adults who have come to believe this lie may also find themselves in relationships in which this lie is repeated. A spouse might tell them the same thing: "No one will ever love you like I do." This statement is almost always within an abusive relationship. People in normal relationships do not say this because they recognize that it is a lie. It is possible to be loved by many people.

Another destructive aspect of this belief is that it makes the victim believe that he or she is unlovable by any normal person. They come to believe that to be loved, they have to put up with abuse. They have learned that love and abuse go hand in hand.

However, this is a lie! Someone who loves you does not abuse you. You do not need to tolerate abuse to be loved. There are good people in this world who can love without abusing. Do not believe that the only way you can be loved is by someone who will hurt you. Because, unfortunately, this belief can also lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in which you may find yourself repeatedly in abusive relationships which then reinforce the belief.

Instead, believe that you deserve to be loved by someone who will treat you well. Also, although it may be difficult, learn to recognize that it is better to not be loved than to be loved by someone who hurts you. By doing so you will be loving yourself which is much more important.

Another common lie told by abusive parents or caretakers is: "You should respect me--I'm your parent." The reason this is a lie is because respect is earned, not received by demand. Typically, parents who say this are not deserving of respect. They expect to be respected due to their status as a parent. However, respect is a feeling based upon admiring someone due to their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respecting a parent means that you admire their parental qualities and behavior. Respect is based upon how a child is treated by that parent as he or she is growing up. If the parent treats the child with respect it is likely that the child will do the same.

However, abusive parents are not respectful of the child. They neither admire nor appreciate the child's qualities and achievements. Yet, they demand that respect be given. Because respect is an emotion, it can not be demanded of someone. Emotions are natural reactions to a person or situation. They can not be created on a whim due to a demand. A child can not normally be forced to feel something that isn't accurate. And if they are forced to feel a certain way, it is a form of brain-washing and isn't accurate. The parent badgers and berates the child until the child has a misconception of what respect truly means. The child thinks he or she feels respect when what the child really feels is fear.

To combat this lie recognize that it is okay to feel what you feel. If you don't respect your parent, it is because of how you were treated. It is not because you are ungrateful or selfish. It is because your parent didn't earn your respect. It is up to adults to create a safe and respectful environment.

Often abusers try to reframe reality. For instance, a common lie told by an emotional abuser is: "You were never abused--I never hit you." They try to make the child believe that no abuse occurred because there wasn't any physical violence. However, the reality is that emotional abuse can frequently be the worst kind of abuse because it affects the child at a core level: it affects the child's self-concept.

Therefore, it is important to recognize that even if you weren't hit, you could have still been abused. It is important to evaluate it based upon the intention and the effect it had on you. If you are uncertain, obtain another opinion. Find out if the way you were treated was normal and acceptable. If it was not, recognize that you were not at fault for how you feel. However, you do have to take responsibility now for the direction of your life in adulthood.

Abusers will often hurt a child and then ridicule the child about the emotional response with the lie: "You are weak if you cry" or "You are too sensitive." This allows the abuser to feel that he or she did nothing wrong and that the child's hurt response is exaggerated. The abuser is telling the child that his or her feelings or wrong. As a result, the child grows into an adult not trusting the normal emotional response. And instead, believes that something is wrong with crying or feeling hurt.

This is a lie because our emotions provide information about the world. When we cry it means we have been hurt. It is important to recognize that if you are hurt, you are doing nothing wrong if you feel hurt and if you cry. That is a natural expression of an emotion. The abuser told you lies to protect him or herself. You have a right to feel what you feel. It is a natural response to a behavior. In addition, believing this lie prevents you from grieving the wrongs that have been done to you. Grief is a healing process necessary to recovering from abuse.

Another lie abused children may be told is: "You should be ashamed of yourself." Even if a child has engaged in a terrible transgression against others, this statement should not be used because it is shaming the person rather than focusing on the behavior. It makes the child feel as if he or she is bad which is not very changeable rather than the behavior is wrong which is changeable. Many people who have been abused as children feel guilt as adults even when they have done nothing wrong. It may be due to having been shamed as a child or made to feel as if they were a bad person rather than focusing on the behavior.

Typically, the people who have truly done something wrong, such as your abuser, don't feel guilt. Frequently, the victims of abuse have been made to feel that they are bad or even that they caused the abuser to hurt them.

Certainly, if you have done something wrong, it is appropriate to feel guilt. But if you feel guilt when you haven't done anything wrong or for very minor things that others wouldn't even consider bad such as setting a limit with someone, it may be due to this lie that you have come to believe--this lie that something is wrong with you.

Whatever the particulars are, it is important to recognize that you feel bad about yourself because that is what you were taught. It is not who you truly are. The abuser was the one who was guilty of causing pain and hurt. Don't believe what the abuser told you about yourself.

Another lie that abusers teach is to not question authority: "I'm an adult, so do as I say." Although many parents do expect children to obey them, the abusive parent or caretaker does not tolerate any questioning of their behavior or authority. Most normal parents will explain to children the reasons for their expectations. But abusers want to be obeyed without any question.

This is particularly troublesome because their behavior is the very behavior that should be questioned. Authority is not right just because. Authority is to serve a purpose such as to protect us or to maintain order so that we can learn and grow. But just because someone is an adult or an authority does not give them the right to control us through abusive methods.

With this lie it is important to understand that it is okay to question. Feel free to question until you are satisfied. Don't follow others' demands without evaluating the appropriateness. Someone who has your best interests in mind will not abuse you in the name of authority or power.

Finally, some abusers give the message: "I won't love you if you misbehave." Actually, this may not be a lie because the abuser may truly mean that if the child doesn't behave in the way he or she wants, then they won't love the child. However, the lie is that they loved the child in the first place. Love doesn't come with strings attached. When a child misbehaves, it is the parent's job to teach appropriate behavior. However, that isn't done through withholding love. For a child to feel safe he or she must be sure of the love from the adults present in his or her life. Through that certainty the child can develop a normal curiosity and experiment with the world. Normal parents will help the child by setting limits in a loving way.

The other part of this statement that is a lie is that a person who threatens to withhold love really isn't capable of true love in the first place. They don't understand the selflessness of love. Instead, they are making love about control.

So, don't believe that you have to allow someone to control you to be loved. Love is not about control! In fact, the opposite is true. Love is letting someone be free to grow in the way they were meant to.

There may be more lies that you were told as a child. By recognizing some of these common ones you may also begin to recognize some of the ones that were more specific to your experience. As I said at the beginning, if this audio seems relevant to your situation, it is important to listen to it frequently until you can recognize the lies and refuse to let those lies control your life.

So, let's review what you want to tell yourself instead of these lies.

Instead of judging yourself, focus on doing. Do what you can do today to make your life better. Learn to believe in yourself. And just keep trying!

Be willing to make mistakes! Mistakes provide us with important lessons.

Believe that you deserve to be loved by someone who will treat you well.

Recognize that if you don't respect your parent, it is because of how you were treated. It is not because you are ungrateful or selfish. It is because your parent didn't earn your respect. It is up to adults to create a safe and respectful environment.

Recognize that you were not at fault for how you feel. But that you do have to take responsibility now for the direction of your life in adulthood.

Recognize that if you are hurt, you are doing nothing wrong if you feel hurt and if you cry. That is a natural expression of an emotion. You have a right to feel what you feel.

Recognize that you feel bad about yourself because that is what you were taught. It is not who you truly are. Don't believe what the abuser told you about yourself.

Understand that you don't need to blindly follow authority. Feel free to question until you are satisfied. Don't follow others' demands without evaluating the appropriateness. Someone who has your best interests in mind will not abuse you in the name of authority or power.

Finally, don't believe that you have to allow someone to control you to be loved. Love is not about control! In fact, the opposite is true. Love is letting someone be free to grow in the way they were meant to.

Remind yourself frequently of these lies so that they don't continue to control your life.



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