How is Talking About Childhood Crap Any Different Than Self-Pity?

Everyone knows that bad things like being poor, abused, neglected, or raised by alcoholics and drug addicts can really screw up kids. And when those kids grow up (that’s you and me), we tend to have some, er.. “baggage.”

None of us wants to be that boring lady who dwells on her crappy past all the time.

the-blamerPeople who never take responsibility for the things they can change and just talk about it all the time — I’ve noticed they tend to get stuck in their problems.



On the other hand, if you never pay attention to what did happen and how it might be giving you problems now, you also get stuck in those problems.


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Feh, problems. We’ll talk about those.  But this is a blog is mainly about solutions — things that actually work for people like us — people who got dealt some tough cards and are just trying to get past all the problems and feelings and shitty relationships and have something like a happy life.

I am well aware that there are a boatload of “things-you’re-supposed-to-do” like therapists, classes, books, medications and support groups. But I ask you: have those things given you real solutions? Some people tell me they’ve found some help. But my experience was that most of these things just made me weird in new ways — chiefly,  sad and resentful. They also tend to cost a lot of money.


I noticed when I used to do therapy that the therapist could easily get me mad at the people who had hurt me, and for a second this felt like things were going somewhere! When you’re depressed, anger is like a burst of energy!

But soon the anger becomes a problem in itself.


So it turns out, for those of us who were traumatized as kids, just talking about negative events in the past can actually harmful in two ways: 1) it can re-traumatize us and make learning and communication difficult/impossible and 2) the old therapy idea that talking (leads to) self-knowledge (equals) healing is just not true — not for us, anyway.

The effects of a crappy childhood (turns out) can be a lot more neurological (brain) than psychological (mind). Any real solution has to make brain healing a top priority. So yes, Understanding the ways we may have been affected neurologically, physically, psychologically, culturally) by a crap childhood is a launching point for change. But identifying as a victim and expecting a lot of thinking and talking about this to heal us is, in fact, self-pity.


By |2018-03-12T13:35:26+00:00October 21st, 2016|2 Comments

About the Author:

I'm the author of the Crappy Childhood Fairy blog, which offers advice based on my own experience and reading. I live with my husband and kids, and run a small business in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  1. Ruth-Anne West November 28, 2016 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    You might be the funniest recovery artist ever. Today I’m happy I found your blog.

    • Anna Runkle November 29, 2016 at 12:20 am - Reply

      This is a touching compliment. Thank you Ruth-Ann!

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