This post of recovering from a broken home concludes our four part series. But before I sign off, I wanted to let everyone who is/ know someone who is a product of a broken home, that healing takes time. Due to what we have been through, we sometimes end up being toxic and also narcissistic. We might be aware of it, or we might not. This is something I have been experiencing too. I have accepted that sometimes I am the problem, the instigator, the villain and the aggressor. Although It has taken a long time , I have learnt and (still am) learning to try and find the root of why I act the way I do at times. To recognise my triggers, access and find ways to face them and not label them as part of an Identity.
Overcoming the pain and uncertainty of a broken home-life takes time, and it takes getting comfortable with the uncomfortable parts of who our caretakers were and who we are today. If you want to heal from your history of broken family debacles, you can forge a way forward. Knowledge is the only way to arm ourselves and access the healing ahead.
Below are some ways on recovering from a broken home:
This is something that is encouraged. As an African, it took me time to open up to therapy. Growing up in a culture that equates strength/maturity as keeping things to yourself, it’s hard to feel comfortable enough to even entertain the idea of therapy. However, this is one of the most crucial steps to take when it comes to healing. As therapy is something that can/is quite pricey and not accessible for everyone, an alternative will be talking to someone you trust. This can be a family member, friend or pastor. If you do not have anyone yet, you can journal.
I have found journaling to be very helpful. Putting my thoughts, feelings and tears on paper is very therapeutic. It gives me time to reflect, and after a while, I can always go back and see my growth. I also write my prayers, they help me get through a lot. Journalling helps me reflect and dig deep into where my issues root from, and to be honest, it is not easy but always worth it.
This might sound ridiculous, but it is very important step. If growing up you were always taking care of everyone, now is the best time to start taking care of yourself. Time to put your own need first and to be gentle with yourself. Self care is not always about pampering, skin care and luxury. It is also being kind to yourself, telling yourself all the things you have wanted to hear and be true to yourself. This is not as easy as it sounds, because with self care comes self awareness. You begin see who you truly are, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Reparenting is the act of giving yourself what you didn’t receive as a child.
Re-parenting will show you where you have been lacking and how you were not nurtured. You will have to face the truth of how it is not entirely your parents fault, as they also have some healing to do as well. It is so easy to blame and even hate your parents for being damaged.
It reminds me of a quote by James Baldwin which says, “ I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” At times we do not want to face ourselves because the hate at times fuels our toxic trains and they become our comfort zone. Reparenting yourself is getting to know and learn how you want to be treated and what yo deserve.
You need to take be patient with yourself. This is one of my weaknesses. I can get very impatient and short with myself, which leads me to forget that what I do not give or expect from myself, I will not get from anyone else. I am huge on words of affirmation. At times I leave notes around the apartment to remind myself of all the great things that I am.
Compassion is empathy in action
When discovering and going through this, you will come to realise that healing is not a straight line. Healing is not overnight either. There will be days when you will be fine, happy and feel you ate over it. Then there are days when something minute might trigger you and you end up feeling as if you never dealt with it. It will get better with time.
Usually when I have moments where I feel like I am depressed or sad, I allow myself to feel my feelings. I take time to try find what triggered me and where it came from. I read an article that said it takes about 17 seconds to deal with a negative emotion when you “feel” it rather than ignore it. By feeling, it means you have to face the feeling, regardless of how terrifying or uncomfortable it can be. I have tried it, and I will say I am still trying to master it.
Find Positive Relationships
Positive relationships are good and will be something different from what you might have been used to. They come in the form of friends, family and at times strangers. Positive relationships come with reassurance, honesty, faith and love. When you come from a broken home, you might be prone to trauma bonds. This is usually when people bond over trauma, their relationship is stronger when things are not going well in their lives e.g Issa and Molly (Insecure: HBO).
Positive relationships might scare you because you might not be familiar, but they are necessary. You might want to push people away and at times it might seem as if people are too much in your space. It takes time to build positive bonds but it is very much possible. You will heal, you will have all the best things in life, your past will not define your future. And always remember you are not alone.
I hope this series has helped someone as much as it has helped me.