Written by Anna Radev, COO, Childhood Domestic Violence Association
As the New Year approaches, many of us busy ourselves taking inventory of the year passed and making plans and New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year. We’re filled with renewed optimism for a fresh start and the opportunity to do better and accomplish more than we were able to in the year we’re leaving behind us.
But those who grow up living in homes with major childhood adversities like Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV), find this a struggle…and shy away from New Year’s Resolutions, which fill them with skepticism and angst. Why? Because what they picked up being raised in these homes often wired them to believe that nothing can change or be any better for them in the next year because “good things don’t happen to people like me”. So thinking forward to the next year, it is difficult to imagine themselves in a better light or get inspired by the thought of doing or being better, which they believe is a “false promise” likely unattainable for them.
WHAT ARE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AND WHY MAKE THEM?
Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? What is that really about? For many of us, it is a refocusing of sorts. Once the New Year high has passed, many of us have settled back into our usual routine and we’ve spent the bulk of the year caught up in our date-to-date obligations and pursuits, dealing with unpredictable events or unexpected hurdles that have come our way, moving through our daily routine as best we can and trying to stretch every hour to the limit. We’ve spent the better part of the holiday season focusing on reflecting on others’ struggles or anticipating others’ needs and hopes, making others happy, whether through giving to charity or planning activities and stacking up on holiday gifts that will put smiles on our loved ones’ faces.
But now, on the eve of transitioning to a new year, we can’t help but turn our attention back to ourselves for a bit and reflect on what OUR needs and hopes might be – which we were able to attain this past year and which we fell short of. We do a mental inventory of the things we feel most strongly about in our lives and we feel compelled to vow to ourselves to put the time and effort into pursuing them more ardently next year.
We also make New Year’s resolutions to call ourselves to action, to jumpstart our motivation once again, if we may have grown complacent over the past year and let some of our priorities, hopes, and ambitions slip amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This is a perfect time to reset, reground ourselves, and reaffirm our commitment to the pursuit of better versions of ourselves.
Finally, we like New Year’s resolutions because they give us the promise of “starting anew” – they allow us to wipe the slate clean and start over, start fresh. And the idea of renewal, of a fresh start, a new “me” appeals to us all – particularly those who struggle with ourselves or feel out of place in our own skin.
THIS TIME OF YEAR HITS CHILDREN OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (CDVs) HARD – IT IS OUR “HERITAGE”
All the reasons above that make this time of year magical and reinvigorating for others makes this time of year tough and somber for former children of domestic violence and of adversity in general. Why? Because the very notions of doing better, being better, feeling better, attaining bigger achievements and greater fulfillment, fulfilling dreams…are contrary to everything they learned about themselves and the world growing up in those homes.
To understand how CDV impacts a life, it is important to know that the brain is at the core of where all the impacts begin. CDV will often encode a series of negative beliefs, negatively wiring a developing brain and the formation of the cognitive belief system. Growing up with domestic violence can teach people to believe things about themselves and the world that are not true. The 10 primary false beliefs – or LIES of CDV – are listed and described below.
|These negative beliefs are not true. But since they are encoded early on, the brain, doing its job, seeks to find more evidence throughout life of what it already believes is true…true or not…while filtering out any information that doesn’t support these LIES. So, if unchallenged, the LIES can become lifelong and unquestioned – the brain’s default position. These LIES just become who they are. That can negatively impact key areas of life, holding those impacted back from their goals and innate potential.
Because they carry some or all of these LIES, most who grow up with CDV firmly believe that “because of what I experienced, I uniquely CANNOT”, which makes the very idea of New Year’s Resolutions daunting and anti-climactic. They instinctively believe, often without even consciously realizing, that the hopes and dreams they’ve secretly indulged in their mind are beyond their grasp and there’s little point in striving for them. They are convinced that a happy, successful, fulfilled life is not meant for them, so they must simply accept the reality as is and be content.
BUT WHAT IF YOU COULD PRESS THE RESET BUTTON…AND GIVE YOURSELF A FRESH START, A NEW BEGINNING?
But what if there was a way to challenge everything you’ve ever believed about yourself and the world…and have New Year’s Resolutions make sense again?
What if there was a way to realize the things you learned in that home that are holding you back are simply LIES that subconsciously dictate your choices and actions but don’t have to? And what if there was a way to actively expose the LIES you struggle with in your life and begin to negate them in ways that can completely shift your life, bringing you closer to the life you’ve always wanted but never believed you deserved or were capable of having?
What if there was a way to eliminate the imagined barriers that have kept you imprisoned for so long and realize that because of what you experienced in that home, because you were fire-tested at such a young age while most people never have to go through what you went through in their entire life, you actually UNIQUELY CAN? That you in fact inherited a unique set of “gifts” in exchange for the high price paid in that home that equip you with an uncommon strength that few have to overcome any challenge life throws your way and achieve ANYTHING you aspire to? And what if there is actual research to back this up?
And finally…what if there was a simple step-by-step process to take the guesswork out of it for you and lead you down an easy, logical path that ANYONE can follow, right to a better life and future? No magic, no gimmicks, no false promises. What if all you had to do was make a commitment to yourself, follow the steps already outlined for you, and stick to doing the work?
The good news? There is!
Because for every LIE, there’s a corresponding TRUTH.
FREE from the illusion of guilt, because a child is never responsible for the actions of an adult.
COMPASSIONATE for others and self, because they know what real hurt feels like.
GRATEFUL, because they focus on what they have and what they’ve gained, not what they’ve lost.
TRUSTING, because as they assume that another’s intent is positive, they will never be alone.
PASSIONATE, as they take control of the energy from anger and point it towards their passion.
GUIDED, because they have purpose now.
ACCOMPLISHED, because as they realize what they had to overcome as a child, few other obstacles compare.
CONFIDENT, because they know what real fear feels like, and this gives them confidence to face anything.
ATTRACTIVE, because as they realize the TRUTHS, they feel esteem for self and are more attractive to others.
LOVED, because making others feel cared for, appreciated and important makes them feel the same.
Exposing the LIES and embracing the TRUTHS is the path to healing, overcoming the impact and thriving. And we have a simple, clear path that can help you do just that.
THIS YEAR, MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO ERASE THE IMPACT OF CDV FROM YOUR LIFE & GET ON A NEW PATH TO THE LIFE YOU ALWAYS WANTED
This NYE, after making time for everything and everyone else in your life, take a moment to make a commitment to yourself. You no longer have to live with the residual impact of your childhood experience weighing heavy on you and holding your life hostage, passively accepting that this is “just how things are”.
You didn’t have a choice growing up in that home, but you do have a choice now. You can choose to make the commitment and take some simple steps daily that can give you a new lease on life and bring you closer to your hopes and goals.
On our website, there is a page fully dedicated to anyone who grew up living with domestic violence. It lays out the most important things you should know about growing up with CDV and how it may have affected you. It then walks you through a few simple steps you can take to start reclaiming your life. So make a New Year’s Resolution to rediscover yourself and take your life back, then take the first step by going to this page to get started.
Let the healing journey begin. You are not alone on this journey. We are here with you every step of the way. Happy New Year!