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  • Let's imagine two kinds of childhood.

  • The first, broadly, is the good kind.

  • When you are upset, someone is on hand to soothe you.

  • When you're furious, someone handles you calmly.

  • When you need attention, someone is there for you.

  • When you can't understand, someone explains.

  • When you're messy, someone resists shaming you.

  • When you fail, you're not called a loser.

  • When there's a problem, you get through it.

  • In short, you deserve to exist.

  • Whatever the value system of the competitive world out there.

  • Inside you're of huge value, you are for as long as it takes the center of one or two kindly grown ups universe.

  • Then broadly there's the challenging old plain bad childhood.

  • When you cry, they call you spoiled.

  • When you're difficult, they say it's attention seeking.

  • When you don't succeed, they take it personally.

  • When you're messy, they're disgusted.

  • When you try to be strong, they're threatened.

  • When you're weak and unimpressive, they belittle you.

  • In short, it's a bit of a pity you're around.

  • You don't quite deserve to exist.

  • You're a burden

  • And in the end, really just a giant disappointment.

  • The first kind of childhood is just about the greatest gift anyone can receive.

  • It's at the root of the chance to form satisfying relationships, to accept one's sexuality, to have ambition without perfectionism and to approach adversity with resilience.

  • And likewise a bad sort of childhood is proper lasting trouble.

  • It keeps undermining relationships, generates endless problems around sex, saps confidence, brings anxieties, self hatred and shame.

  • We don't yet know how completely to fix bad childhoods.

  • They're a proper pain to have had, but here are one or two things to try very hard to keep in mind.

  • Do everything you can to understand the craziness inside you.

  • Be suspicious of many of your first intuitions and responses.

  • Watch out for weird stuff, you're gonna try to do to sabotage your chances of flourishing.

  • Warn people around you in a gentle and alarming way about what you've been through.

  • Invite them to feel sorry for you rather than just condemn you for being difficult.

  • Try to get all the insights you can, from books, therapy and thinking.

  • Accept that this is a legacy you're a gonna be carrying around with you all your life.

  • Feel without self pity but a little bit sorry for yourself.

Let's imagine two kinds of childhood.

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