Tag Archives: Psychology

Breaking Free from Childhood Hurts

It doesn’t matter that we are adults now. We still perceive the world through the lenses that we have developed in our childhood. We behave according to the belief systems that we have formed in our childhood.

Our unprocessed psychological scars from our childhood affect the way we perceive the world and the way we function in the world. When unprocessed, those scars reduce our enjoyment of life, prevent us from giving 100% in our lives and reaching our full potential.

Processing Childhood Hurts

Nathaniel Branden, the author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, has a book called Breaking Free on this topic. The subtitle of the book is How to Cut the Bonds of Childhood that Are Keeping You from Reaching Your Full Adult Potential.

Unfortunately, the book is out of print and isn’t available on Kindle. That’s a pity because it’s a must-read for everybody who is interested in making the most of their lives, but you can borrow it from Open Library or buy a second-hand copy from Amazon.

Discovering Childhood Hurts

Branden was a psychotherapist. In Breaking Free, he shares 22 questions to investigate childhood hurts.

The book is easy to read but hard to process. It’s easy to read because it’s based on the dialogues that the questions incited in Branden’s group therapy sessions. I could easily relate to those dialogues. And that’s what makes the book hard to process.

Some of the questions and dialogues also touched my own childhood hurts. Those are the memories I had suppressed, but I had to live with their consequences, even in my adult life.

If you’re experiencing the same persistent problems over and over, engage in self-sabotaging behavior that you can’t explain, or running in circles, the chances are that you have unprocessed, emotional scars from your childhood.

Being confronted with those hurts stirs up some intense emotions. Feeling the intense emotions, staying with them, and letting them go is a part of the healing process.

Example Questions

Here are three example questions out of the 22 shared and discussed in the book.

  1. Did your parents encourage in you a fear of the world, a fear of other people? Or were you encouraged to face the world with an attitude of relaxed, confident benevolence? Or neither?
  2. Were you encouraged to be open in the expression of your emotions and desires? Or were your parents’ behavior and manner of treating you such as to make you fear emotional self-assertiveness and openness, or to regard it as inappropriate?
  3. Did your parents encourage you in the direction of having a healthy, affirmative attitude toward sex and toward your own body? Or a negative attitude? Or neither?

I suggest that you read each chapter and then reflect on the question and your childhood. You might want to ask for help from a professional if you are overwhelmed by this process.

The book is based on the discussions about the parent-child relationships, but once you’ve processed this book, you can go ahead and ask similar questions about other dominant figures in your childhood. Typical examples are nannies, babysitters, teachers, friends, other relatives, and so on.


Most of us carry psychological scars from our pasts. If unprocessed, those scars obscure our perception of the world, make us behave irrationally, lower our self-esteem, and keep us from reaching our full potential.

The first step to healing our psychological scars is to discover them and feel the pain that they cause. In his book Breaking Free, Nathaniel Branden shares 22 questions to discover our early childhood hurts so that we can heal them.

Breaking Free is a must read for everybody who’s committed to personal development and to realizing their full potential in life.

Self-Awareness and Developing a Congruent Personality

Blogging every day for eight months gave me some serious insights on myself. It was an effective self-awareness exercise.

I mentioned multiple times before that we all have various subpersonalities in our psyche. I like to call these subpersonalities programs, because that’s easier to understand for a software developer like me.

Same Person, Different Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior

Different programs are triggered in us at different times in different conditions. As a result, we not only behave differently, we also think and feel differently.

Those programs write even different blog posts. That’s what I realized while thinking about an idea to write about today.

I initially picked a different idea to write about today. While I was outlining my post, I realized that today’s idea wasn’t 100% congruent with another idea I wrote about a few days ago. I was puzzled. What was going on here?

When I reflected on this issue, I realized that both ideas came from different subpersonalities. Then, I thought about which subpersonalities were operating in my psyche. How were they affecting my life? Which blog posts did they write?

Discovering Your Subpersonalities

I was inspired by the book Big Mind, Big Heart by Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel. After an introduction, Merzel spent the rest of the book talking with his subpersonalities.

I don’t plan to write a book, but writing a post about my most dominant subpersonalities could be interesting for you and for me. For me, this is a self-awareness exercise. And for you, it would give you an idea and inspiration to do it yourself.

Of course, you and I can go much deeper than this blog post, and I plan to do that because it’s interesting to get to know my subpersonalities better.


The first subpersonality is ambition. He sets high goals and works hard for them. He is focused. His best friends and teammates are the anger and the monk.

He’s ready to make sacrifices for future success. As a matter of fact, anything that doesn’t serve his long-term goals is just a waste of time and energy.

He writes blog posts such as Bridging the Gap between Your Expectations and Your Reality.


The monk is an interesting figure by Western Standards, but he’s a familiar figure to the people who have an affinity to spirituality.

He likes to live a simple lifestyle. He enjoys the silence. His main aims in life are equanimity and mental clarity and the bliss they bring with themselves.

You can understand why ambition likes the monk, but sometimes, they contradict each other when the monk simply wants to be and do nothing while ambition wants to power through challenges.

He writes blog posts such as Equanimity: A Key Factor in High Performance and Success.


Let’s face it, we all have this subpersonality in one form or other. Some of us are aware of it. Some of us just suppress it.

If you have genuinely transcended your anger after years of spiritual work, my hat goes off to you, but I haven’t met many people who reached that level yet.

Anger writes blog posts such as The Dark Side of Motivation.


I’d be lying if I didn’t mention pleasure as one of the dominant subpersonalities. Again, we all have this subpersonality as well. For me, this personality also includes the enjoyment of food and coffee, as well as relaxation, a beautiful view, a walk in the park, working out, or having a conversation.

I don’t remember a blog post written by pleasure.


When people hear the word ego, they immediately think about what I call ambition and its variations. I take the textbook definition of ego in psychology.

Ego is the subpersonality that tries to balance all of the other subpersonalities while trying to keep me alive. From that perspective, he has the hardest job. Therefore, he doesn’t write any blog posts. He has already enough to do.


We all have different subpersonalities in our psyche that act out under different circumstances at different times. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s human nature.

The challenge here is to balance all of those subpersonalities in a congruent overall personality. The first step to do that is to get to know those subpersonalities.

I made a little introduction to my most dominant subpersonalities in this post. I have to go much deeper in my exploration of my subpersonalities to increase my self-awareness and congruency.

How about you? Are you inspired to do the same exercise on your subpersonalities?