Why is it that the strongest women often come from a troubled childhood?
It seems ironic that abuse can mold your character, but studies prove that trauma causes changes in the brain that are often irreversible.
Have you or someone you know suffered from an abusive situation in your childhood? You’ve probably heard that emotional abuse is much worse than physical because wounds will heal, but words leave terrible scars.
Though the pain may not be visible to others, it’s a constant reminder of the events you’ve suffered. Abuse affects your brain development, and you cannot process your emotions or stress and the next person. When you’re under chronic stress, your body releases a chemical called cortisol.
Today, we’re looking at some amazing women who overcame adversity and tough early lives. These strong characteristics also apply to men who face similar challenges.
A Troubled Childhood and Mental Health
An overproduction of the stress hormone can affect your learning and memory. The hippocampus is the main area of the brain that controls these vital aspects of your life. It’s no wonder that people who have been through abuse suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Studies show that it has more devastating effects on the brain when such abuse happens earlier in life. While it’s evident that abuse comes in many forms, there is always an emotional element to all of it. Some people form a mental block and cannot remember, while the events haunt others.
Your body has built-in defense mechanisms to help you cope with the damage. Thankfully, your brain is resilient, and you can recover whatever life has thrown your way. Both women and men worldwide know that you can rebuild and restore a healthy mind and use your experiences to make a difference.
Why You Get Better, Not Bitter?
Psychology shows that when a person has gone through horrific events as a child, they learn survival skills. Sure, these children are defenseless and inferior to their abusers. However, it wasn’t their fault, and they didn’t get what they deserved.
Children often adapt to their environment so that they can survive. They rationalize the abuse and think thoughts like, “Maybe if I am good and don’t make any noise in the house today, dad won’t hurt my mom or me.” Kids who go through abusive situations often grow up quicker than others.
These children often raise their brothers and sisters and take on household responsibilities long before their time. Since they deal with adult issues so early in life, they are uniquely prepared to face things that come at them in adulthood. It’s not easy, but it makes you grow up quicker, and you come out on the other side stronger than you could have ever imagined.
Many people feel weak or damaged because they grew up in a situation where they were made to feel less than other girls their age. With each blow of abuse, they learned that they had the strength inside that they never thought possible. Thankfully, that strength is an edge for you, and it gives you a unique ability to reach your goals and your dreams.
Because of the abuse you experienced in childhood, it gave you a story and a voice. You must use your voice to help others going through similar situations. Then all your suffering won’t be in vain.
Oprah Winfrey Proves Strength Comes from A Troubled Childhood
Consider one of the world’s most influential and richest women, Oprah Winfrey. People from all over the globe have marveled at her success and influence. Yet, few knew the horrific things that young Winfrey had to overcome to get where she is today.
Growing up in a poor area of Kosciusko, Mississippi, her life was already challenged as her parents separated soon after her birth. She was one of three children of a single mother.
Her mother handed her off to several people to care for her, which means a young Oprah was shuttled all over the place with nowhere to put down roots. Winfrey didn’t have good coping skills, and she turned to drugs to help her get through the day.
She details chronic sexual abuse as well as physical violence she endured from relatives. She also recalls being so lonely that the animals were the only ones she saw as friends. Her life changed when she went to live with her father at 12 years of age.
Her father was strict and guided her into college. She graduated and got a job at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. She later went on to host one of the most popular syndicated television shows of all time. Today, she is worth an estimated $3 billion.
While money is nice to have, look at all the people she has helped along the way. She had a troubled childhood, but she let it define her and mold her into an upstanding citizen. She’s kind and shows love to others, but she is never a person you could push around.
What Winfrey has inside of her is the same power you have inside of you. Emotional abuse doesn’t have to define you, and you can rise above your troubled childhood. Oprah is just one of several women that have risen to fame amidst significant struggles.
Why Maya Angelou Was an Inspiration to All?
Angelou suffered horrific abuse that led her down some dark paths. The one person she trusted in life was the one who hurt her at only eight years of age. He was arrested and released from jail after serving only one day.
To get revenge, Angelou’s uncles murdered him. The young girl had such guilt because he lost his life that she became mute for five years. She overcame this difficult time and used her story to help others.
The writings, speeches, and poetry of her childhood and early adult experiences allowed her to win 50 honorary degrees and many awards. Irrespective of the misfortunes she’d faced in life, Angelou stayed impressively positive and productive.
Never Let A Troubled Childhood Define You!
Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey rose above their abuse and made something of themselves because of a drive deep inside them. Do you think they didn’t spend many nights crying themselves to sleep because of the emotional pain from their troubled childhoods? They suffered, but they didn’t lay down and die.
If you’ve been through some events in life that have made your life challenging, you don’t have to suffer, either. You have two choices: you can either be a victim or a victor, and the option is all yours. You can wallow and sorrow in your self-pity, or you can rise above the pain and use your voice to help others.
There are people across the globe going through the same things you went through, and they need to see and hear your story to give them hope. Here are ways you can use your voice to help others.
1. Write a Book
The best way to tell your story is to write a book. Being a self-published author means you can write with little to no financial investment, and you can market your book on digital marketplaces. Let your voice be heard, and let your story touch someone else.
2. Get Involved in a Support Group
Support groups have many functions. When people check themselves into a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center, they are often staffed with people who’ve been through the same thing. It’s comforting to find that you’re not alone. Use your story to help others and receive strength and support from other ladies.
3. Write a Song
Do you have a musical gift? Music is a very healing art form. You can turn the things that happened to you into a song about overcoming. Some of the greatest songs are those that tug at the heartstrings and make you stop and think.
When an artist can relate to their audience, it helps them to heal. Bonnie Raitt wrote the famous song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” after reading a newspaper article about unrequited love. The emotion is so raw in this song that you can feel it. Use music to heal your inside by letting out the pain.
You can tell your story through art. Painting is very therapeutic and healing. Did you know that Marlene Dumas grew up in an area where women and children were inferior and scared for their lives?
Her depiction of those times comes out in her artwork as unsettling images of women and children, which has made her famous. You, too, can use a canvas to release the pain, and it might also make you some money.
Kelly Clarkson wrote a song that stated, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Indeed, the things in your life mold you to be a better person. You can become a woman who looks at adversity as an opportunity from the boardroom to your home life.
The examples of strong women in this article only further prove that your past shapes your future. You make the ultimate decision, but psychology finds that most women who have suffered from a troubled childhood use their turmoil to help others. All you need to do is find your voice.