Irrational Belief #5: This is a horrible event that has ruined our lives
So your child experiences something adverse or traumatic, or your family suffers a setback (or perhaps many), and your brain starts conjuring up a million reasons why this sequence of events has ruined your life. It’s a common reaction - one form of catastrophic thinking that we talked about earlier. Let’s chop these catastrophic ideas down to a more realistic size, by putting the situation in perspective.
First, let me ask you a question: Are evil acts or bad experiences more powerful than good ones? Does 5 minutes or 10 minutes or even an hours worth of suffering magically cancel out a thousand hours of good? Thinking like this is a psychological trick that our minds engage in, and it’s completely baseless. What an insult it is to all the good times, to all the love you give your child, to the wonderful experiences they’ve had, to assume that this one bad event should somehow cancel all that out. It’s utter insanity to assign such importance and power to this particular event or set of experiences while throwing away the significance of everything else in their life. Five minutes of loving affection should be valued just as equivalently as 5 minutes of pain or stress. Likewise, in no way should half-an-hour of trauma erase even a day of good, let alone snatch all potential “goodness” out of ones life.
Imagine the welfare of your child as being measured on a balancing scale. To one side is the bad things they’ll endure; lack of love, traumatic experiences, conflict, stress, and adversity. On the other side are all the love, support, affection, and enjoyable experiences they’ll have. Positive and negative experiences have equal weight in relation to their intensity. The bad side of the scale will be deposited into from time to time. That’s life, and in fact, a certain amount of this is even necessary for a child’s healthy development. But this is counteracted by the deposits on the other side of the scale; the love, support, and affection a child receives. At the end of the day, so long as the good side of the scale still significantly outweighs the bad, your child is in decent shape.
Children who are permanently affected from childhood adversity have many factors that aggravate or contribute to their outcomes: