(B) Next to go could be the adult’s “mind” that leads the adult to think that it has its own beliefs and opinions when it really has nothing more than an accumulation of “their” beliefs and opinions—“their” being all of those persons who have programmed and conditioned that adult from childhood to the present. (C) Third to be rid of are the personality and the personas which unconsciously and subconsciously determine what adults do and say and think and feel, even as they erroneously believe that they are making conscious choices. Each will be discussed in detail, beginning today with the child within that exerts such a tremendous influence on adult behavior.
(A) First, the effects of childhood trauma in robbing adults of their independence will be addressed. Addicts in recovery can be heard to say, “I’m a teenager in an adult body.” Close, but no cigar. In truth, they are "small children, age six to twelve developmentally, in adult bodies." The planet is inhabited with billions of adults who behave like children, their development having been arrested at the point of a childhood trauma event.
As much as any other factor, childhood trauma and/or abuse and/or neglect account for much of the childish thinking and behavior of adults. Yesterday, a sixty-five-year-old woman, trapped in her role of “The Daughter,” was shown to be mentally and emotionally—and at times, physically—paralyzed by her mother’s early rejection and by her mother's continued criticism and control.
How often, you might ask, do children experience trauma? Most parents will deny having done anything that traumatized their children, and most children, even as adults, will deny that their parents ever did anything that traumatized them. It is typical among adults to try to normalize the presence of the elephant that was in their childhood home. The ego, too, must defend and make excuses for the parents' behavior.
That sixty-five-year-old woman (who is still behaving like a five-year-old that is miserable because mom has never handed out those "atta-girls" that were desired) is typical of many adults who are still acting like children and still allowing parents to dominate them and thereby rob them of freedom and independence. While some admit that they suffered mental and/or emotional abuse at the hands of a parent, many do not want to admit to also having been victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. But all forms of abuse are very common.
Since 1950, over 60,000,000 cases of physical or sexual child abuse have been confirmed in the U.S. alone, and those are the known cases. Today, research shows that 1 in 3 citizens in the States are being abused or have been abused, meaning that more than 100,000,000 people living in the United States today have been abused. The numbers are even higher across much of the planet. Egotism will drive most to remain in denial about having suffered any trauma, so most will never receive treatment; thus, the effects of unresolved childhood trauma now control most of the thoughts, behaviors, and feelings of the planet’s adult-age population and are the roots of all addictive behavior.
And the statistics above do not include those who have hidden incidents of abuse or who have suppressed their memories of abuse events that occurred during childhood. As noted, many of the persons suffering from the trauma of abuse require professional-level treatment, but most will never seek it. One of the basic pointers of the Advaita Teachings is, “The cause of all is…all.” How far back must one go, therefore, to find the cause of present tensions, beliefs, anxieties, anger or rage? All the way.
Adults, driven by a frustrated child within (which they are usually not even aware of) either (a) feel empty and bored and frustrated that their dreams never came true; or (b) are convinced they “have it all” and are reveling in accumulations which will disappear some day; or (c) spend their lives seeking what they were not given during childhood; or (d) are so “full of self” that they have no awareness of the Real Self.