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How Do I Recover from a Terrible Childhood?

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From a woman in the U.S.: I feel like I’ve lost apart of myself. I feel spaced out, hard to focus, off balance, extremely anxious, irritable, detached, and depressed. I have constant head pressure, blurred vision, stiff neck, pain in back and shoulders,  numbness in my extremities,  pressure in my nose, racing thoughts, intrusive thoughts. Horrible brain fog, I feel like I’ve lost track of time or like life is passing me by and I’m not apart of it.

I had a rough life. Childhood was full of pain and anger as my mom was a drug addict and was never around. My dad was around but neglected my siblings and myself due to being and alcoholic and chasing women. He beat my mom in front of us, made us lie about his affairs. My mom was always gone and when we go with her she would leave us in random places so she could chase her hi. My childhood was ruined and I never experienced true love and nurture.

Had sex at an early age, 12. Just chased the wrong things. Abused marijuana from 10 til 21, abused opioids from 25 til 27, and alcohol from 27 til 29, well 21 til 29 with exceptions in between pregnancies. I moved to another state at the age of 16 and had to leave everything I knew behind me to go live with my mom who left to be with a man. I got put out in the new state met who soon became my first son father and had my first child at 18. From 18 til 28 I was basically in 2 failed marriages. One abusive and traumatizing relationship, and now I’m alone.

I have three kids and I’m just really now sober as I quit drinking in Oct 2019. Idk what to do or how to feel. An it seems as if I’m in a bad mental distress and it interrupting my daily life. Every thing feels forced. I dont feel good and I’m not in a stable mind state. It’s like a mental prison. I feel off balance.  I just want to be able to relax and feel normal. Help please!

How Do I Recover from a Terrible Childhood?

Answered by on -


Please see a medical doctor. I’m very concerned about your list of physical symptoms. They may be at least partly due to a medical problem that hasn’t been diagnosed or treated.

You also need the support and help of a recovery program. You are really still newly sober. You’ve been managing an extraordinarily difficult upbringing with substance abuse since you were very young. You’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places and have ended up at age 30 with few skills for coping with life and 3 kids who need you to be a better mother for them than you had.

Twelve-step groups may not be enough support for you, although going to one regularly could give you some support. You probably also need some intensive therapy to deal with the traumas of your childhood and to teach you some new ways to manage the stresses of life. Look into whether there is a community mental health clinic where you can access services. Do also consider joining one (or more) of the forums here at Psych Central for advice and support. You need support for your recovery. You also probably need help with parenting skills since you had such a poor role model.

I’m very glad you wrote to us here. It’s an important step in your recovery. But it’s not enough. I hope you can find the strength to reach for the ongoing help you need and deserve.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

How Do I Recover from a Terrible Childhood?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). How Do I Recover from a Terrible Childhood?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Mar 2020 (Originally: 18 Mar 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Mar 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.