Emotional survival as a child

Emotional survival as a child

There s been a lot of talking about emotional survival as a child. Emotional survival means various coping mechanisms that a child develops to deal with difficult or traumatic situations in their environment. Experiences can include various forms of abuse, neglect, trauma, loss, and instability in the child’s environment and here I will put a remark that not only war or death or similar events can be a trauma for a child.

These coping mechanisms children developed may include numbing or disconnecting from emotions, creating a fantasy world, and developing self-reliance and independence, but also it can mean many other things. These survival strategies may be adaptive in the short term but can have long-term consequences on the child’s emotional and psychological development. Here’s an example: Let’s say a child is growing up in a household where their parents are constantly fighting and arguing. The child may learn to suppress their own emotions to avoid escalating the situation and to avoid bothering parents with “childish issues”. They may become skilled at reading the moods of their parents so they predict any unpleasant behaviour in the future, and they may become skilled in adapting their behavior accordingly in order to avoid conflict with them or to gain approval that children need very much.

In this way, the child is emotionally surviving by learning to adapt to the environment of parents, even if it means denying their own needs or emotions. It becomes their habit and learned pattern which, over time, can lead to patterns of behavior where someone continues to prioritize the needs of others over their own, they lack boundaries and do whatever it takes to avoid conflicts and get’s people around themselves. Or, they struggle to identify and express their own emotions, and they have difficulties listening to others expressing their emotions and similar.

Getting over emotional survival

Getting over emotional survival and the impact, as you can imagine, can be a complex and challenging process. In the process, it’s important to work on emotional and psychological wounds, and develop new coping skills, and for this, it’s beneficial to search for professional support, a therapist, a counselor or similar who can also help in overcoming negative beliefs and setting boundaries. Self-care is also needed and that means engaging in activities that promote relaxation and well-being which is spending time in nature, journaling, meditation, or similar routines, depending on your own preferences. Being gentle and kind with ourselves. Healing from emotional survival is a process that takes time and effort, it is possible but results will never come overnight.


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