If someone tells you that he relapsed again because of his childhood, do you believe him? It is important that he understand more about how he grew up and how life experiences impacted him, so that he is able to heal and have more awareness of his self. This is where therapy can be useful. Not only to gain the cognitive awareness and insight, but to process feelings and unresolved issues which may contribute to his behavior. Often times people are unaware of how their past experiences influence their behavior. When people have more awareness, they tend to have more choice in what they do. This means having the chance to engage in healthier behaviors to get needs met.
So why not believe him that his childhood led to his behavior? Because there is choice involved in his actions. If he is not responsible for what he does at any point regardless of what happened to him, he basically has a get out of jail free card. When a person has a get out of jail free card, he does not have much motivation or incentive to change. So this means that if he is engaging in offensive behaviors, he will likely not have the desire to be different. It is true however the more traumatic and stressful experiences a person has been through, the more that person is likely to struggle with a range of challenges including addiction. If he desires to become a better person, he will need to start with an understanding of his history, current life situation, and to take accountability for his actions.
Article by Elijah Bedrosian, LPC, SEP
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