We all have them whether we realize them or not. Choices, that is. And unfortunately most people do not recognize or know they have choices in their lives. And yes-even children have choices though the choices are more limited than those an adult has. However, I have seen and known many “adults” who are more child like (and not in a good way) than most children. At least children have the “excuse” of just plain and simply not knowing any better but an “adult” who acts like a child in a negative way is messed up. Plain and simple. As we grow up, we are supposed to learn that we do have more choices. Isn’t that the appeal of growing up when we were kids? We would have more choices and be able to “do” more things. Things like drive a car, vote, smoke, pay bills, go to work, and many other “adult” things. The hard truth is growing up can really suck and if someone has been abused as a child whether sexually, physically, or emotionally, or all of them, the abuse can cause a person to become stuck at that age and even though he/she may be chronologically of adult age, he/she, because of the abuse is stuck at that age in which the abuse took place. And if the abuse was over many years, the affects of the abuse can show itself through different “child like states” as the abused child grows up. This can mean that the “adult” can show different child like states at different times depending on the triggers. And because of being stuck in life, he/she feels they have no choices. Which, unfortunately at the time the abuse was happening, the child’s limited choices were taken from them and this feeling of being powerless and choiceless gets carried into adulthood.
The good news is, if an “adult” wants to get his/her power back and the feeling of having choices again, it is totally doable. It takes time and usually some hard work, but a person can learn and accept that he/she is an adult and does have choices. And this is what being an adult is actually all about. Learning you have choices and the freedom to make those choices based on what will work for you rather than making choices that work for other people. Which is what was taught to the child at a young age. The implied rule to the child, especially one who was abused, was “you have no choice in this matter and you need to just accept that fact. You are just a kid and you have no power. You must obey me no matter what you feel or think.” These are harsh and confusing words to a child who has limited capacity to reason and be logical (part of being a child since the brain takes a long time to develop those capacities) and has only feelings to guide them through the younger years. And this is where pain comes in. The pain of not having your feelings validated. To have someone tell you it is okay to have your feelings and that they are appropriate for the current situation. The pain of knowing you are not safe and protected by those that are supposed to keep you safe. This pain that is experienced in childhood is what can keep an adult from growing up and realizing that he/she does have choices now that they didn’t have in childhood. This pain is what can drive a person to addictions, criminal activities, and having failed relationships. Life is pain. There is no other way to say it. Life is full of pain every day. Some big pain and some little pain but there is pain (I know this sounds morbid and depressing but it is the truth). It is from accepting this fact that life is painful, that one can start to heal the old wounds, and start regaining his/her power of choices. It is the paradox that accepting pain in life can actually set you free. The saying “Truth will set you free” applies here. And yes, the truth can be quite painful, but by recognizing and accepting the truth, one can become freer in life. This, however, does not mean that there will not be pain anymore. It just means that the pain that is experienced on a daily basis will be less painful and one will be able to adapt and move through the pain easier. This means they have regained their power of choice, which now means he/she can choose how to deal with the pain rather than just enduring the pain. And that power of choice is what can set a person free to “grow up” and deal with pain better. Being an adult is not easy, that is for sure, however, if one learns how to overcome the past by accepting the pain of the past and therefore regain the power of choices for themselves, life can becomes a little bit easier and then being a “kid again” is just something fun to do.
Namaste, my friend