According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 43% of children are living in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold. In families with addiction, children become adults who fear losing control, who fear their own feelings, who overdevelop their sense of responsibility, who fear guilt, who are unable to relax, who self-criticize and engage in denial, and more, according to CRC Health. Furthermore, the Childhood Domestic Violence Association states that 1.5 million children witness domestic violence each year in the U.S., and are much more likely to experience psychological problems in the future as a result. While there’s no doubt that our childhood environment affects us and shape us into who we are today, the questions remains: Are we a product of our environment?
This question is debatable, as it has some truth and myth to it, but can be entirely subjective. It goes without saying that as babies, we have a clean slate – we can be molded through our experiences and what we are taught to believe, value, and how to act. However, as our brain develops, we do gain some autonomy to decide things for ourselves and to compare the way we feel against the way we have been treated and have been told to act. If you’re in recovery and wondering if you are destined to be “lonely”, “miserable”, “angry”, “mean”, “abusive”, “abused”, etc., you ultimately get to decide what steps you want to take towards changing these things.
If we were all truly products of our environment and nothing more or less, there wouldn’t be any success stories – such as someone who grew up in an abusive home but changed their beliefs to always stand up for themselves or to only date people who treated them well. However, there are thousands of success stories, and people have fought their way through trial and tribulation and have turned out very successful.
Difficult circumstances, such as poverty, can be overcome. Take, for instance, TV show Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec. His father was in the army and at one point, escaped jail and rushed his family to Canada with only $20 and a suitcase to call their own. His father was a factory worker and would walk 2 miles a day to work because they didn’t have the money for bus fare. Robert stated on an interview with Inc.,
“When I was growing up, I was really embarrassed of him. Now, I realize the sacrifice that he went through, in order to give me this opportunity. I had this incredible sense of desperation that if I didn’t do something with my life, all the sacrifice wasn’t worth it.”
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. If are ready to seek treatment for substance abuse, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.