Break Free From Childhood Trauma

Break Free From Childhood Trauma


In this article, let’s see how much we can blame our parents for everything bad that ever happened in our lives. Just kidding, let’s explore how we can finally break free from childhood trauma.

In the last 2 articles, I explored the mentality of people who never heal from trauma, the changes that must be made, and a very simple step-by-step to begin healing. Now, I want to explore a few important patterns that might come from our childhoods and how to finally become a mature adult.

The Mother and Father Complex

After all these years of researching trauma and analyzing people from over 20 countries, I found that about 80% of our problems stem from an unresolved mother and father complex and an unwillingness to mature and grow up.

Let’s begin by discussing a very simple framework that synthesizes humanistic psychology, transactional analysis, and Jungian Psychology. I know, a weird and possibly pretentious blend, but I promise that it’ll make sense.

Simply put, when our ego complex is formed it comes with a deeply rooted desire to feel loved and accepted, it’s a mixture of biological, survival, and emotional needs. Through trial and error, we begin adopting the beliefs and behaviors that give us the most praise and repress the ones that are shunned.

From an early age, we receive a script that must be followed, if we fulfill it we’re praised, if we don’t, we feel like a fuck up. This script contains rules and guidelines about how a man or lady should behave, what kind of work is acceptable, what faith you should adopt, how one should dress, who you’re allowed to date, and even how one should clean their house. In summary, a manual detailing how you should live your life.

Over time, the presence of the mother or father isn’t required anymore, this script is internalized and becomes our modus operandi. In Jungian Psychology, we call it the mother and father complex. The problem is that this script comes with certain fears, limitations, toxic relationship patterns, and in many cases a lack of permission to achieve financial success.

Not only that, but in most cases, this script has nothing to do with our personalities, so we live a life suppressing our authentic selves in hopes of feeling loved and accepted, which inevitably leads to depression, anxiety, toxic relationships, and a generalized sense of feeling lost.

Before this script, there are two routes we can adopt. The first group will spend their lives trying to fulfill this ideal image, while the other will spend their lives trying to antagonize their parents and do the exact opposite.

These positions aren’t static, so you can switch poles from time to time, either way, it’s not a conscious decision and both are living their lives in reaction to their parents. It’s a childish position that sabotages all your attempts to become truly independent and create your sense of purpose.


Regardless of the position you might identify yourself with, certain patterns are common for everyone under the influence of a mother and father complex. The most pungent one is having a sense of self-worth that’s completely external and being disconnected from their authentic selves.

Because we learned that there are a lot of conditions to receive “love”, we unconsciously start playing a character and adopt the values and traits we believe will give us the most praise or will help us cope and avoid altercations.

In this process, we inevitably repress talents, our true desires, and certain personality traits. If we take this to an extreme level, we might feel like there’s something inherently wrong with us or even that we’re broken.

This tends to happen because as we’ve discussed, we need to rely on our caregivers for not only emotional needs but also for our survival, for that reason, instead of thinking that they might be wrong, we direct all of this anger and frustration toward ourselves in hopes to maintain this bond intact.

Consequently, we never develop a strong ego and the capacity to make our own judgments, and we’re constantly subject to the opinions of others. We allow their limitations and fears to define us and despite our best attempts, we never feel good enough, we hate being in our own bodies, and it’s almost impossible to find one good trait in ourselves.

That’s the origin of many violent and destructive fantasies, all of this internalized anger turns into poison, self-hatred and the desire for revenge when it should be directed to help us break free from our parents. Anger is just like any other emotion, it shouldn’t be demonized because it always turns against us, instead, we should find healthy ways to express it, such as placing healthy boundaries and transforming it into a drive to pursue our autonomy and accomplish our goals.

In the end, the problem is that we’re constantly judging ourselves through the lenses of our parents, other people, and cultural standards instead of crafting our own values. Resisting this task evokes a feeling of being lost, not knowing who we are, and an irrational fear of living life.

The Call To Adventure

Before this scenario, I’d like to bring an interesting perspective from Carl Jung, he says that the first challenge life proposes to everyone is to emancipate from their parents, kill the dragon of desire for eternal childhood, and embark on the adventure to discover who we truly are.

“Life calls us forth to independence, and anyone who does not heed this call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis. And once this has broken out, it becomes an increasingly valid reason for running away from life and remaining forever in the morally poisonous atmosphere of infancy” (C. G. Jung – V5 – §461).

The ones that rise up to this archetypal challenge finally uncover their individuality, and their talents, and carve their own path. However, if you choose to remain childish, you start living regressively, constantly looking back trying to recreate the illusions of childhood.

The popular term for this condition today is the man-child or the woman-child, in Jungian Psychology, we call it the Puer and Puella Aeternus. People who refuse to grow up and avoid taking any responsibility for their lives, as they’re constantly looking for the easy way out and never want to put any real effort into anything.

However, I must say that until you emotionally and psychologically emancipate yourself from your parents, you’ll never be your own person and you’ll be forever doomed to repeat their stories and live under their shadow. If you want to truly own your life, you must make your own decisions, go your own way, and face the consequences of your actions.

I know that many people had a tough childhood, you probably wouldn’t be here if you didn’t, and I fully empathize with you. I had to deal with CPTSD and severe derealization, however, I can promise you that until you keep looking for someone to blame, asking yourself what’s fair, and indulging in “what ifs”, I’m sorry but you’ll never heal and will continue to feel powerless.

You can’t feel any sense of agency until you take the responsibility upon you to craft your own values and create your unique sense of meaning. It’s impossible to feel good enough and have direction when you’re living life with a map that wasn’t designed by you. It’s impossible to not feel anxious and depressed when you allow your talents to rot and don’t actively push yourself to accomplish your dreams and fulfill your potential.

I analyze many people in their 30s and 40s who say they feel like they’re “pretending to be adults”, they’re still waiting to take charge of their lives and still wishing that things were different without making any changes. But now, they’re married, have kids, and financial problems, and expect ME to solve everything, haha.

It’s crazy, but if this childish mentality isn’t cut off in the bud, it chases people for their whole lives. I even analyzed people in their 50s and 60s still tied to their mothers and fathers, full of regret, and still waiting for permission to live their own lives.

However, YOU’RE the one who has to give yourself permission. Stop expecting your parents to change and decide for you. You have to realize that now you’re a capable adult and if you don’t actively engage in this process, you’ll operate with goals and a belief system that have nothing to do with your personality and authentic desires. You’ll be trying to please others and fulfill their expectations instead of following your soul, that’s what most people choose to do and that’s also why they lead meaningless lives.

Plus, when people abdicate their capacity to make their own decisions, they start looking for gurus and masters, and in extreme cases, even join cults. They’re constantly looking for someone to tell them what to do instead of taking charge of their lives. After all, not taking any responsibility is a comfortable position, but we all know how this usually ends.

Just a quick note here, when I say that people have to emotionally separate from their parents some people tend to assume this is a bad thing, but this is not about cutting ties with your family and shutting them off. This is about becoming your own person, it’s about developing your own personality, beliefs, and values. It’s about becoming independent and letting go of the need for their approval. It’s about individuation, which means carving your own path.

In some cases, this will require keeping a certain distance from the family while for others this might not be necessary, you have to discern what’s your scenario and not use your family as an excuse. What’s interesting, is that many people can recreate their relationship with their parents once they start acting like adults and can relate with them at the same level. When childish expectations fade, a mature relationship can be developed.

Breaking The Script

Let’s explore a few practical steps to finally growing up. I have a full chapter on my book PISTIS called Conquer The Puer and Puella Aeternus that gives a lot of advice. Now, I’ll explore a few things that aren’t in the book.

The first thing you have to realize is that we can’t solve things intellectually, practical changes must be made. Now, if you’re stuck in the mindset that you can’t ever heal or that you’re too far gone, please watch my video “Why some people never heal from trauma”.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression, you have to learn how to self-regulate first with proper habits and bring structure to your life. I have a whole video on it called “How to truly heal from trauma”.

Plus, I have an accessible course called Obliterate Procrastination that can help you with these practical changes.

Now, people identified with the Puer and Puella Aeternus tend to be a passive spectator watching their lives being wasted and constantly choosing fantasies over the objective reality. They never fully commit to anything and consequently, can’t find any meaning.

In the back of their minds, they’re constantly trying to find a way to blame their parents or society for their lack of effort. However, you must realize that your parents have this much influence over you because it connects with something within, if you can address your fears and work on your autonomy, you won’t feel overwhelmed anymore.

It’s important to realize that the limitations they placed upon you aren’t personal, there’s nothing wrong with you, this is about their own issues and has nothing to do with your capacities and abilities.

That’s why the first thing that has to be made is questioning the script you were given and how you’re contributing to keeping it alive. It’s important to separate the values that foster your talents and your unique personality from the ones that suppress them.

Here, I can give you a simple example, I’m a very intuitive and creative person, I’m naturally introverted and my mind isn’t very linear, plus I’m absolutely terrible at math. However, for the longest time, I tried to fit parameters that go completely against my natural abilities, I tried to be extroverted and logical all the time, and this made me feel like there was something wrong with me, because I Just couldn’t.

Plus, there are all these ideals about how a man should be that tend to kill spontaneity and any display of emotion. Consequently, I was ashamed of having any feelings and this put a lot of obstacles to developing my creativity and expressing myself. When you couple that with the fear of living life, the result can only be massive amounts of anxiety and depression.

I felt incapable and deeply afraid to pursue what I truly wanted, and I’ll admit that many times I gave in to a victim mentality. But that’s what separates someone who becomes a capable adult from the ones who remain in the poisonous atmosphere of infancy.

You simply have to give yourself permission to try and start creating your own parameters. The only way to stop relying on external validation is to commit to exploring your potential and learning how to do things because they’re meaningful to you.

You have to start holding yourself accountable and fully commit to developing your talents, and then put yourself in service of other people.

In practice, this is actually quite simple because you don’t need to fully understand this intellectually and you shouldn’t, you just need to put yourself in movement. If there’s a career or hobby you want to pursue, simply start doing it.

You learn about yourself when you’re engaged with things, not when you’re in your head. You have to do more and stop creating crazy scenarios in your mind. Just start and adjust in the process. The parts of you that were repressed will start to come to the surface because you’re finally allowing them to breathe, and you’ll start feeling happier and more at peace.

It’s important to realize that we integrate the shadow by doing and giving energy to the emotions and our capacities to flourish. We uncover hidden talents, new perspectives, and our authentic desires when we engage in activities and hobbies that foster them, and when we relate with people we can connect with.

The individuation journey isn’t abstract, it happens when you do things in real life, when you move towards your goals and live your relationships, not when you’re filling shadow work prompts.

What perpetuates trauma is holding perspectives that fuel a victim identity, however, when you start experimenting yourself differently you break free from all of these limitations and you finally become the creator of your audacious life.

I’ll explore more about this process in future articles, but I want to end this one with a last quote from Jung, “Where your fear is, there’s your task”. Make this your mantra, every day, take one step in the direction of your fears. Take your call to adventure.

Read NextConquer The Puer and Puella Aeternus Series

Rafael Krüger – Live an Audacious Life

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