Pernani

Martin Seligman: Childhood has nothing to do with our problems

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Martin Seligman is a big renowned psychologist, in his book Authentic Happiness there is a segment where he explains that there's little to no effect of childhood on our adult personality and problems. Now to be honest this goes totally against all my knowledge that I've gained from personal development material and my worldview, even though I haven't really delved deep into my childhood I still strongly feel there's truth to the idea that childhood events and traumas have immense effects on our psychology as adults, and to be honest reading through these pages did somewhat trigger me emotionally.

I wanted to know what y'all here are thinking, is Mr. Seligman tripping balls or what ?

 

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Tripping balls?....hmmm...perhaps.  The first thing I think of is "how is he interpreting the findings?"  I'm also aware of the attachment to the idea of how childhood traumas affect adult life in me (and I presume others) which may distort things.  Also, how  beliefs "catch on" and then act as filters for how we see things.

Personally I feel like it's probably true that childhood traumas affect adults.  But this article also raises doubt about that.  Perhaps I've been attaching too much importance on childhood. For me, I can see how it can act as a nice story to perpetuate a victim mentality or even simply give an explanation.

Childhood may be hard to ignore especially if we belief it's where the answers lie.  But it could actually be significant.  

This is also a stance I've not come across much.  So it kind of flies in the face of a lot of what I've been doing and researching.... 

As Ken Wilber said "We still don't know why people grow."


For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?   -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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What is his approach to growth and trauma etc?


For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?   -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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Hm it triggered me emotionally but I stayed open-minded

 

through some basic self-reflection with journaling you will find that some of your triggers date back to an event that happened in the past 

 

Edited by d0ornokey

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5 minutes ago, Matt23 said:

What is his approach to growth and trauma etc?

I haven't finished reading the book but so far the topic has only focused on happiness, and his ideas about happiness seemed pretty basic and superficial to me with heavy focus on statistics. 

Another unusual idea that expressing pent up emotions in a catharcic way is not a therapeutic ? and that expressing your anger instead of bottling it up does more harm than good ?

 

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Wow. I was talking about this to my gf. I had this habbit of checking something from past for things i am not doing correctly now. My gf also started doing it, and when she said she was doing certain way cause she was molested as a child when she was 3 years old by a 5 year old boy. Thats when i felt absurd. I asked her are you 100% sure or is it her mind making things and she was i dont know what happend then but i have some blured images of that in mind. That striked me what if her mind is making up things that she didnt even experienced from stories of novel or from someone experienced it.

But i also have to say while doing meditation retreats the old things in life comes to the surface, if you search more, more things will come. This are genuine things i experienced. But I have a feeling this will go on forever😂 and i will think like more healing is neaded i had a lot of traumas in past more healing more healing and actually stop us from going forward.

Edited by Harikrishnan

I will be waiting here, For your silence to break, For your soul to shake,              For your love to wake! Rumi

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19 minutes ago, d0ornokey said:

Hm it triggered me emotionally but I stayed open-minded

 

through some basic self-reflection with journaling you will find that some of your triggers date back to an event that happened in the past 

 

It's so obvious to me, mainly when we're talking about fears they tend to originate in our childhood from traumatic events, say for example you got bitten by a dog as a child vs getting bitten by a dog as an adult, the fear of dogs probably wouldn't stick in the second situation compared to the first one

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And am also curious whether our psyche get little comfort or pride or something when saying or doing i had a lot of traumas(a battle to fight and conquer) in past and i have healed it and am moving on (conquerd it and won the battle)


I will be waiting here, For your silence to break, For your soul to shake,              For your love to wake! Rumi

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your title says"has nothing to do with childhood trauma", that misleading. it says it affects them to certain degree. even if its barely detectable. you also got consider the state of the people they were doing the research on. they might of just picked healthy people who's childhood was healthy. 

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Trauma and limiting beliefs are either in you or not.  They will also always exist in the present moment.  So it seems almost irrelevant if they come from the past or not.  We can either believe our memories or theories, but it seems t0 end there; with beliefs.  To me what seems most relevant is if you're able to work with what's affecting you right now, which might take the form of a negative thought, or a painful memory, or a feeling, etc.  Speculating about where they originated might be an interesting exercise, and may even offer relief by creating some meaning, compassion, and even a clue as to where yo look.  But I can also see it as a potential dead end.  Where speculating about the origins of a pain eclipses efforts to deal with, work through, or heal what's occurring at that moment.  


For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?   -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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He brings up a lot of studies, but how does one even measure the effect of trauma? The entire sum of someone's experience is pretty adverse, to say it the least. Okay, maybe your mother died before the age 11, but there's a vast difference between someone who endured that suffering alone, and someone who had a strong support system to help them work through it.

This guy simply expresses one end of the polarity. Of course, the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

Personally I have gained HUGELY from working through my past, and I sincerely believe loving your past is the best way to develop authentic self-love. It's through our past that we get a picture of who we are. So the relationship we have with ourselves largely depends on the relationship we have with our past experiences. If there is ungrieved trauma, it will poison and fragment your self-image.

And to end it on a high note, modern trauma research does NOT support his theory.

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Seligman wants to make the point that you shouldn't cling to the past too much, so you don't get attached to a blame-game about past traumatic events.

Therefore he interprets studies in his biased direction, away from common sense IMO. The problem is that the studies are shit. How do you masure happiness, success, personality etc. Studies in both directions exist. 

Finally we have to see this on a collective and individual level. Individually it can be helpful to let go of your past, to see your past as something that isn't important in the moment/anymore. Genes determine my personality anyway, so why digging for childhood traumas?

Collectivley Seligman's implications aren't helpful at all IMO. Biological factors are more crucial than social, is how I interpret his words. How your parents raise you, well not that important. The belief in this biological determinism can cause huge damage on a collective level IMO. 

As someone who gained very much self-awareness through looking into my past, I won't take Seligman's half-assed interpretations of studies seriously. I rather follow Gabor Mate's work, because it overlaps with my expierience. Mate also provides lots of studies which backup his claims.

I think what one can take away about this topic is that it's important learn to accept their past and not to fall into the trap of blame-game. 

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Seems yet another example of mainstream Psychology not giving Trauma the prominence it deserves.

"The Body keeps the Score" By Kolk, is an insightful read into how the research into Trauma is consistently not given the standing it may deserve and the devastating impacts of trauma upon us.

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I've personally been witness of 25 people radically transforming their life and state of being for the better by going back to childhood and processing old pain. Myself included. I've been very vocal about how much I feel that has helped me. I didn't even know how healthy my self esteem could be until I did that.

Seligman can say whatever he wants, I value direct experience.


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Love the answers and different perspectives in this post, you guys never disappoint! Cheers for clearing up some of my confusion, I will definitely that book @Ulax and do some much needed digging into my childhood myself.

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Early life events are important. If you spent your childhood on personal development, you would get compounded interests over your life time.

If you start personal development late, it might be too late for you to reverse addictions and become a super elite.

Edited by CreamCat

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Feel free to critic me but this is the problem when you see through the eyes of a study instead of your own eyes 

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Some people, like Garbor Mate, think that almost every single difficulty is caused by childhood trauma. 

On the pole opposite, there's this guy. 

IMO, it's the middle ground. Our upbringing affects our lives, but it's not the end all, be all. 


“However bad life may seem, where there is life, there is hope.” ― Stephen Hawking

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@Pernani um, first off, how would you investigate this sort of thing scientifically? Which you would have to do to make these claims. You'd have to know exactly how a past trauma changed the trajectory of someone's life. Which is completely impossible and absurd. Thousands of Little changes can become domino effects into adulthood; it's completely unpredictable. 

Only in retrospect in my own life can I clearly see the chain of causation. How I was raised led me to where I'm at now, and I'd have absolutely no business being where I'm at now if certain traumas or events didn't happen, and each one at the time of occurrence felt "insignificant." 

Put simply. I have been in deep shit, financially and otherwise, which I can 100% trace back to how I was raised. It's all connected. Now of course this doesn't condone a victim mentality. I've learned to take full responsibility and ownership of my life. But please don't listen to Martin's bullshit. His is a potentially dangerous ideology.  


"The greatest illusion of all is the illusion of separation." - Guru Pathik

Sent from my iEgo

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