Belief System Formation via the Message Received in Childhood

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Messages recieved in Childhood
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I had a hard time with self love as long as I saw myself through the eyes of the people who defined me as “unworthy”.  I saw myself through their actions and through the way that they treated me. They treated me as though I was “not good enough” and not important.

For instance when I was in a crowd of family and trying to be part of the conversation but no one heard me. I would say something and sometimes I would be ignored. Sometimes I would get a cold blank look as if to say “you have nothing to contribute here”.  At least that is the message that I got.

Imagine a young child. The child is trying to get the attention of his mother. He is trying to tell his mother that there is a kite in the sky. But the mother won’t look.  She won’t acknowledge the child’s pleas for her to share the moment with him. He keeps trying; he keeps tugging her sleeve or patting her arm… “Mommy, look! There is a kite in the sky! Mommy LOOK!” The mother brushes him off. She is reading a book and doesn’t care about the kite. She shrugs him off at first, but as he becomes more persistent, she pushes him away. Eventually, she tells him to leave her alone, to go play, to let her be…. Never once acknowledging his pleas until finally he hangs his head dejectedly and gives up. 

There are messages attached to these actions. Communication is not always direct. He gets the message that books are always more important than he is. So is the phone. So is the television, so are her friends.  And over time, what message do you think that this child gets about himself?

Day after day, adults are too busy, too tired, too stressed about their own lives to listen to the child. What message does the child get from all that?

A little girl is being picked on by the teacher at school.  She is being humiliated, made fun of and criticized in front of the entire class. She tells her parents but they don’t listen. They ignore her. They tell her to respect her elders. They don’t believe that this teacher bullying is serious or harmful. Over time she begins to get sick.  If her parents finally notice her, then illness becomes the way to get the “love she desires”. Illness becomes the way that she will be heard.  Illness “works” for her so she manifests illness.

If both or one parent communicates that illness is a weakness, the child will try to hide the illness.  

But what is the message that this child gets? The actions communicated to the child are

“I am only valued if I am sick” or “I am even LESS valuable if I am sick”. 

And don’t forget that there is an original message;

~I am not worth being heard.

~The teacher is picking on me; she has a right to do whatever she wants because she is my “elder”. 

~Something is wrong with me because the teacher is picking on me and she doesn’t like me.

~No one cares about me.

~It must be me. I will try harder to be liked so that I don’t get picked on and then when I am liked, people will care. 

This is how a belief system develops. These are the beginnings of low self esteem. Children get messages from the actions of others about their worth. They are either loved, or they are not loved.  They get love mixed up with approval. They get love mixed up with whether or not they get attention or have impact.  Impact can be positive or negative.

Some children lash out. If they push their sibling down the stairs they have impact. They may even get some attention from doing it. 

All of this goes into what makes up the self esteem of the child. All other abuse or devaluing treatment is added to the grid that the child will see himself or herself though. All of this information forms the belief system that individual has about themselves.  The only way that I was able to change this belief system was to dig down inside and take a look at where it came from in the first place.

Emerging from Broken is about learning the truth about how I viewed myself so that I could see where I was stuck in a false belief system.  I looked at the events and then at the messages that I received through so many situations from my childhood. Were those messages the truth?

Whether I misunderstood them or not, the problem was that I believed them. I had to realize just what exactly I believed.

What were the messages that you got about yourself?

What did you believe about yourself over time?

Is this the truth about you?

Please share your thoughts and remember that you may use any name you wish in the comment form. No one will see your email except me.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

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96 response to "Belief System Formation via the Message Received in Childhood"

  1. By: Melinda Posted: 9th July

    I think, also, that the message I received was that I was unworthy of real focused attention and proper care.
    Maybe sometimes I was because like I said, my mother DID have her times where she was a good mom.
    It would be unfair to say otherwise. But the rest of the time…yeah, not so much.

    Much of the time I felt like compared to everybody else, I was receiving “crumbs” of her time and attention.
    Other people were more important, more worthy of being listened to and cared about. As I grew into my teen years, this became even more obvious when I would try to talk to her about problems at school and problems with boys and the way my stepfather was treating me.
    She would react with anger and indifference to me, but be ever so sympathetic when others would bring their problems to her.

    And then when things would happen to me, and she would find out, she would be even more angry.
    But she failed to see why I didn’t/don’t tell her things about myself much…because she never made herself available to talk to.
    She has never been the kind of parent you could sit down and have an honest discussion with, because it results in a nasty defensive attitude and denial. I’ve always felt that this is one of the main issues with my mother…that others matter more.

  2. By: Melinda Posted: 9th July

    In my case, there has ALWAYS been this idea that I don’t matter.
    My mother always put everyone first while I was pretty much neglected. And she would allow others to treat me this way, too…I recall a few incidents where her friends or boyfriends would tell me to go away and leave them alone.
    I was simply viewed as a bother, nothing more.

    There has always been somebody whose needs were more important than mine. Looking back now as an adult, I see how bad the neglect was. My mom had her times when she took very good care of me and did the best she could, but the rest of the time, I was ignored and neglected. She would probably be angry at this statement but it’s true.

    A lot of people are uncomfortable with my existence or with me having my own thoughts, feelings, etc. When my stepfather came into the picture he made it clear that he didn’t want to share my mom with anyone…especially me, her only child from her first marriage.
    I was horribly neglected because of this. My stepfather had this attitude that it was all about him. Nobody else matters. He is the center of her world and no one should dare to challenge that. If they do, they become the focus of his wrath.
    This only seems to apply to me and nobody else in the family, by the way.

    My mom is the type who will bend over backwards to help people who are selfish, manipulative leeches who constantly take from her and hardly ever give anything in return.
    But when it comes to me, she can hardly be bothered to spare any of her precious time or energy in caring about my feelings and my needs. It’s been this way for years. I grew up needing my mom since my father wasn’t around, but she was more caught up in her work, her friends, and relationships with men, particularly my stepfather.

    When he came into our lives, all she cared about was going out on dates with him and going on vacations to the Bahamas while I was left alone.
    I was a young girl growing into womanhood and for many girls that is a dangerous, uncertain time.
    I looked for love in all the wrong places because I couldn’t find it at home.
    Also, the neglect was physical sometimes as well as emotional. I would be bullied at school for not knowing how to dress properly and because my hair always looked terrible…it would be dry, matted and not cared for properly.
    When I asked her to show me how to take care of my hair, she snapped that she didn’t have time for that and I shouldn’t bother with it anyway.
    Yet she was (and still is) VERY critical of my appearance, including my hair.

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