How do you stop strange addictions
If we asked what the cause of drug addiction is, many people would likely answer, "Drugs of course!" This deep conviction is the reason for a worldwide and decades-long war on drugs, which in many countries continues to this day.
However, the real cause of addiction is not the drug itself - it is rather a painful experience that creates an imbalance in life. And this painful experience can mostly be traced back to childhood experiences. Most often this is true of emotional and physical abuse, but there are also less obvious triggers.
"Not all addictions originate from abuse or trauma, but I believe they can all be traced back to painful experiences," said Gabor Maté, a Canadian doctor who has worked on addiction and the fight against addiction for decades.
Pain at the center of addiction
Maté believes that pain is at the center of any addiction - whether it's drug addiction, internet addiction, gambling addiction, shopping addiction, anorexia, or addiction to work.
“The wound may not seem very deep and the pain not unbearable - maybe the injury is completely hidden - but it is there,” said Maté.
And whoever feels pain will try to escape from this pain.
Addiction is cancer of the soul
“Those who are emotionally stressed look for relief and find it in alcohol, drugs or medication, among other things,” writes psychotherapist Ralf Schneider in “Die Suchtfibel”.
However, this does not mean that everyone who had a painful experience in childhood will develop an addiction later on. Everyone treats injuries a little differently.
However, there are experiences in childhood that cause pain and thereby promote dependency. Parents can avoid them at an early age by making them aware that certain parenting methods can cause harm.
6 childhood experiences that cause pain:
1. The lack of satisfaction of basic needs
Security, protection and love are just as important basic needs of babies and toddlers as hunger and thirst. If they are not satisfied, the child gets into an emergency situation: After all, it is dependent on the parents and it only has its voice and possibly no language to communicate.
For example, if parents let their children scream - for example, because they believe that this is how babies learn to fall asleep on their own (which is not the case - the babies have not learned from experience, they have simply given up), they can unknowingly do significant harm to dish out.
More on the topic: This happens to babies who are made to cry
Shouting has no educational value whatsoever
Babies and toddlers are not mentally developed enough to draw logical conclusions from their parents' behavior. They don't cry to annoy or manipulate their parents, but because they have some problem, some need.
Many children only feel safe enough around their parents to be able to fall asleep. Because it is precisely there, near their parents, that children are most safely cared for and, from an evolutionary point of view, they are best protected.
Screaming harms the body and soul
So when the child cries, he calls out to his parents. However, if the parents do not react to it, stress develops. The hormone cortisol is increasingly released. According to experts, this can affect the central nervous system as well as brain development. And in addition to these physical effects, of course, the mental effects are not lacking.
When children feel that they can scream as much as they want and still not be heard, pain and insecurity arise, and in particularly bad cases even trauma.
Attachment problems, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression can all be possible consequences. But also addictions and addictions.
Severe failures in the satisfaction of basic needs, which cause permanent stress and helplessness, can affect the willingness to use drugs, according to Schneider. In the “Addiction Primer” he writes: “Obviously, early stress creates a change in the brain.”
2. The experience that love is conditional
Almost all parents would say with full conviction that they love their child unconditionally. However, there are comparatively few who really and ultimately succeed in this.
"There are very few children in the world who were lucky enough to be loved for their own sake," said the well-known German brain researcher Gerald Hüther of HuffPost.
From his point of view, this is exactly the basic requirement for a happy childhood:
“A child has to feel that it is right the way it is. That it is loved for its own sake and unconditionally. This is the most important experience every child needs, ”Hüther told HuffPost.
Affection in exchange for obedience
Children are happiest when they don't feel like they have to work hard to be loved by their parents.
However, many children feel that their parents would love them more if their school grades were better. Or if they were always polite and helpful, never contradicting or breaking out into anger.
Unfortunately, it is still a common educational method to reward children with affection who behave as their parents (or teachers, educators) would like. And most adults don't even mean it badly - they just don't realize that this behavior is extremely hurtful.
A child who feels that they are not loved unconditionally has a very big problem. Because children are dependent on the affection of their parents - nature intended it that way.
The delicate bond of love
Because of this, they are already born with a secure bond of trust and solidarity with their parents. Because they love and need their parents, children are willing to do whatever it takes to be loved too, so that they can continue to count on their parents' protection and care.
But this particular connection, this natural bond of trust between parent and child, is delicate.
“If a child is made the object of parental expectations, wishes, goals, ideas or measures, then this bond with the parents breaks,” said Hüther. "And that comes with a lot of pain."
The imperfect child's pain
This pain is even measurable. Scientific tests have shown that this is the same pain that the body signals when it comes to physical pain. The same areas in the brain that are affected when we experience physical pain are activated.
This pain, which arises when we have the feeling as a child that we are not perfect, is processed differently by everyone.
Some people will strive their entire life to try to be loved and accepted. Others may find help with pain relievers.
3. Overprotective behavior on the part of parents that leads to uncertainty
“If you ask addicts in retrospect what the emotional causes of their substance use was, you get innumerable plausible answers. Overrepresented seem to be those who do not dare to take risks, who drink up courage ’or lower their inhibitions through drug use, thus reducing fear”, writes Schneider in the “Addiction Primer”.
The willingness to take risks and fearlessly approach challenges is largely formed in childhood.
Children must be allowed to fall
Children have to play unsupervised, they even have to put themselves in some degree in danger to see where their own limits are.
“No child can learn how to get up if they never fall. No child can learn to walk if the stones are cleared away, ”said Gerald Hüther of HuffPost.
As difficult as it is, you're really doing a child a disservice by protecting them from danger.
4. The lack of free play that leads to a lack of imagination
A vivid imagination could be a very effective protection against the development of addictive diseases. This is the conclusion reached by Eckhard Schiffer, author of the bestseller “Why Huckleberry Finn Wasn't Addicted”.
During his years of work with addicts, Schiffer found that dreariness and boredom can be harbingers of later addictions. Many patients would use addictive substances to escape an inner emptiness.
And from his point of view, this dullness and boredom arise from a lack of imagination, which in turn is due to a lack of free play in childhood - a problem that is affecting more and more children today.
"Why Huckleberry Finn was not addicted: Incitement against addiction and self-destruction in children and adolescents" by Eckhard Schiffer.
The attack on free play
Free play is being impaired by two decisive developments: On the one hand, children have less and less time to play because many parents want their children to receive further support in sports, music or language courses in addition to school.
On the other hand, there is more and more intervention in children's play today, so that it loses its spontaneity and irregularity; It is played less for the sake of playing and more to achieve a certain result. Far too often we intervene in children's play by organizing, showing “how to do it better”, explaining that trees have green and not blue leaves.
Creativity protects the mind
However, creativity and imagination arise exactly where the child is allowed to be free. Where everything is allowed and everything is possible. A child who is allowed to play enough will not be bored. There will always be new ways to keep yourself busy and you don't even need toys for that.
The creativity gained in this way will help him find solutions to the most complex problems for a lifetime. To think outside the box, not to let others restrict your thinking. And it will save it from the desolation and emptiness that favors dependency and addiction - even if it is “only” a consumer addiction, shopping addiction or gambling addiction.
5. The achievement principle of our society to which children are subjected
What children have to achieve today is enormous. School at eight o'clock in the morning, concentration and as active participation as possible in all subjects, followed by homework and extracurricular activities - even children have a tight schedule, so sometimes they work as much as adults.
And that's all right as soon as you don't fall off the grid, fall short of expectations or just can't keep up with the fast pace.
Even in kindergarten, the youngest are taught that only those who work hard can be successful. And only those who are successful can be happy.
Children should function and perform
We teach our children that they need good grades in order to be able to keep up later. If they come home with a three, we make it clear to them that they could have a two if they tried a little harder. But what many children hear is: We would like you better if you had better grades. A five on the testimonial would disappoint us greatly.
“36 percent of all parents are ready to give their ten-year-old children medicines to improve concentration,” writes Schneider in the “Addiction Primer”. This pursuit of achievement, however, has its price: "Among the good students, the proportion of those who regularly consume medication is highest."
Schiffer writes about such career and culture-conscious families:
“Here a constant inner lack of peace is created, because the performance of one's own children is compared to that of the other. The scene is dominated by competition and market value. What's my market value? How do I outdo my competitors? "
The false self poisons the soul
This is how a false self would eventually arise. "And that is addictive or doping-prone because of the inner lack of peace."
Our performance society makes losers those who cannot keep up. Those who fail to meet expectations often try to bend over - to create that false self so as not to be excluded.
The resulting stress, the constant striving for success and happiness, which apparently can never really be achieved, is poison for the soul. For children's souls much more than for adults.
The constant feeling of not being good enough triggers a pain. Perhaps one that initially slumbers beneath the surface, as Maté put it, but one that is definitely noticeable.
It is precisely this striving for achievement that leads to the new widespread diseases such as depression and burnout - and that can trigger a need for distraction, escape and anesthesia.
6. The fear of failure that parents pass on to their children
It is not easy to raise a child today and many parents feel under great pressure. In addition, there is often the fear of failure. What if my child isn't good enough at school? What if it can't keep up in this globalized performance society?
Many parents want to protect their children and therefore intervene very strongly in their lives. They plan their free time, they intervene in their game, they expect their child to meet their expectations. They believe that they do it for love. In truth, however, there is fear behind it:
Parental security can quickly turn into a stranglehold, writes Schiffer, "if the parents, out of need, no longer have the needs and interests of their child in mind, but mainly keep their own fear in check."
Achievement as a magical remedy for fear
The cure our society invented for this fear is called performance. As long as you work hard enough, you won't go under.
“Children today are already demanding performance as a magical remedy for fear,” Schiffer writes. "And this means a considerable restriction of autonomy and one's own path."
Children who cannot determine themselves, who cannot discover and experience their environment for themselves, who are not allowed to follow their own interests at their own pace, lose their stubbornness.
Drones against boredom
However, the loss of attachment is not without consequences:
“If adults have lost or not sufficiently acquired the ability to allow their environment to speak to them in a daydreaming way and browse, puzzled and amazed to experience a lot inside, then they lose part of their stubbornness. At this moment they are dependent on means, media, "droning" in order to experience something. "
What children need a lot more than good references and straightforward résumés are freedom. Space for adventure, spaces for self-expression. And the chance to fail sometimes.
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