When you have a history of childhood trauma, there are things that you just have to unlearn and reframe. But to do that, you have to bring awareness to it.
In the case of Michael Anthony, author of Think Unbroken, he went through such an unimaginable childhood: growing up in a very abusive household. At age four, he got his finger cut off by his abusive mother. He grew up with an abusive stepfather that put him in and out of the hospital multiple times.
For the majority of his childhood, he was homeless and deeply in poverty. By the time he was 12 years old, he had lived with 30 different families. They were always getting bounced around, getting evicted, or getting their water and heat turned off. However, being homeless was one of the greatest things that happened to him because it gave him a different perspective on things.
Getting Stuck in the Vortex of Trauma
Michael thought money was the solution to abuse, homelessness, and poverty. So he decided to chase money – legally. He worked really hard and ended up getting a job with a Fortune 10 company at 20 years old. With no high school diploma and no college education, he started making six figures but his life got so much worse.
Heading into 26 years old, he found himself being 350 pounds, smoking two packs a day, drinking himself to sleep, and then attempting suicide for the second time. Money was supposed to solve the problem but he was done. When he woke up the next morning and went to the bathroom, he looked at himself in the mirror, and asked himself, “What are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have?” The answer was no excuses, just results.
Eventually, Michael was able to pull himself out of the vortex of childhood trauma and turned things around to become the authentic, confident person that he is today.
An Identity Crisis
When you come from a very traumatic background, the opportunity for you to discover who you are is literally stolen from you. You learn to turn yourself off because, if you don’t, that equals danger.
As you’re in the process and journey of healing, you get to a place in your life where you’re trying to figure out who you are but you’re in constant conflict with yourself. That’s totally reasonable because the truth is, you’ve never actually been allowed to be you before.
If you want to learn more about healing from childhood trauma, check out Episode 164: Pulling Yourself Out of the Vortex of Childhood Trauma with Michael Anthony.