Growing up with any type of neglect or abuse can warp our reality and affect our future in catastrophic ways. We’re left with some really unhealthy rules or patterns of how to live our lives, which actually cause us more problems than they solve. To escape this unending torture, we have to learn some new critical rules for living.
Rule #1: Quit trying so hard to be perfect! You don’t have anything to prove. You are lovable just for who you are.
Rule #2: Quit punishing yourself for your “sins.” You are not bad. The abuse you suffered had nothing to do with you.
Rule #3: Relax and let people be there. Be vulnerable and trust again. You may not have been able to trust in the past, but those situations took away from you what we all need: Trust.
Rule #4: Quit trying to figure out all the answers! Trying to figure out others and their motives is not helpful. You will never figure it out. It has to do with their problems.
Rule #5: Quit trying to fight by pretending you know everything, or have know everything.
Rule #6: Quit working at it so hard! You don’t need to do it perfectly to prove your worth.
Rule #7: Remember that things happened in your life that shouldn’t have happened. It has nothing to do with you and it is not your fault. It is the fault of “the others.” The truth of it all is that any abuse you suffered was due to adults who did not do their job (or role) correctly. It’s as simple as that.
Rule #8: You grew up too fast and took on too many responsibilities. As a result you have not learned how to have fun or to just relax comfortably. You did not get the affection that all children deserve and parents are obligated to provide. Unfortunately “the others” have chosen poorly because of their selfish nature.
Rule #9: You deserve to be loved appropriately – you are lovable! Anything else you tell yourself is a LIE. The “adults” in your life did not teach you this, but lack of being taught does not mean that you don’t deserve to be loved.
Rule #10: No matter what, everything has changed and you are different and better. You are no longer that vulnerable child. You are an adult who can now think and analyze things better. No matter what happens down the road, you have better adult resources to handle them.
Rule #11: You have to give yourself permission to enjoy your life, family, partner, children, friends, and so forth… now.
Rule #12: You do not need pain and suffering anymore in your life!
Rule #13: Even though you cannot forget what happened, you do not need to let it run your life anymore in the present.
Rule #14: You can feel feelings without having to have the pain and drama of emotions. You don’t always have to put yourself down and look at the negative point of view in order to feel safe.
Rule #15: The past happened. This will not change. However, you can let go of the past, the anger, and decide that you can enjoy the moment, the present, and the future. Grieve the past, but don’t hang on to it – you are too important regardless of what you heard or were taught.
Rule #16: Learn how to challenge the negative statements that you tell yourself. They are the result of “faulty parenting”. In reality, these statements are simply just not true.
Rule #17: Enjoy living in the moment, in the “now”. Give yourself permission to feel good.
Rule #18: There does not have to be a reason for what happened to you.
Rule #19: You do not have to keep whatever happened secret. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that the other adults who “failed you” will acknowledge anything. You just have to refuse to let it be hidden away and ruin (and run) your life. Others don’t have to admit to anything for you to be ok again, as long as you openly acknowledge what happened to yourself and to another human being.
Rule #20: Let go of your embarrassment. You are not flawed. Regain your control, trust, and “freedom-of-choice” again in your life! Focus on the positives and the future. You deserve to be happy, but only you can change this – no one else can do it for you.