Open commentary by the Selfometer Editor in Chief

I believe there is a definitive link between our childhood experiences and who we become as teenagers then adults. What we achieve, what we feel about ourselves, how we behave, how we communicate and relate to others, our general outlook on life and even our physical health and mental well-being all reflect our childhood! I came to these conclusions for many different reasons.

First it began with starting a family. My main goal in this endeavour was to protect my children from any of the negative experiences of my own growing up and to make them the most happiest and confident of people, educated in social, emotional and intellectual skills and, to try and do this to the very best of my ability. I wanted them to have all those things, which were so desperately lacking in my own childhood. Most of all it was essential that I did this, not just for my own sake, but also for my children's sake to encourage success, happiness and 'well being' throughout their lives. I believe that they have already achieved many, if not all of these things even though it might have been tough going, on account of my own past and ongoing learning experiences with parent/child and family relationships and, my deeply regrettable but unavoidable bouts of depression.

My view that childhood experiences are linked to adult experiences, were reinforced by a well-known writer who was being interviewed on TV. However I was also deeply affected when she spoke of her childhood experiences where there were fights and long periods of silence between her parents. But for me the most revealing and other shocking aspect of her experiences was when she mentioned that the fights included 'flying and broken crockery.'

These images immediately registered, deep within me, a connection to my own childhood experiences, as well as my ongoing emotional and behavioural life especially with my present family. My deceased father had frequently and violently used all sorts of objects against my mother, my siblings and I and later my stepmother. My own behaviour was similar in some ways, although I never did nor would I ever use objects against anyone, and only infrequently did I break things. It was a way of venting my sometimes utter, frustrations and anger, but more often than not I just wanted to physically hurt myself and I occasionally did.

I also read numerous stories in books, the press and elsewhere, of individuals who had associated their childhood experiences with their adult life. These stories also reinforced and improved my views and learning, about family relationships and how these do affect children's learning and developmental experiences right into adulthood.

However, I had never really linked any of the stories I had read of other people's childhood experiences with my own behaviour as a parent, that is, until I heard the story of the 'broken crockery.' I promised that I would never break another object and sincerely meant it but, unfortunately I did, and the reasons I believe, have a lot of to do with my emotional, social and other learning experiences combined with, what I also came to believe were the effects of similar negative childhood experiences of many of the adults I encountered in my life.

Of course, I read and continue to read many books by experts on the psychological, social, emotional and biological development of children and have greatly improved on both my behaviour as a parent and continue to learn about family relationships.

I had even toyed with the idea of writing a short book for parents to help them perhaps improve on, how they might deal with their children's behaviour. This was several years ago and many things have happened since, including as I said before an enormous and extremely rewarding improvement in my family relationships. This I achieved primarily from the learning I had acquired from reading exhaustively, but also my own dogged but positive determination to achieve my goals.

All of the above reasons came together and somehow led me to think that perhaps I should first write my biography, although I had some doubts. However the idea of doing this was reinforced and gave me much inspiration, when my then young daughter gave me a beautiful and memorable birthday card. I was profoundly touched and inspired when she said in the card that my story was, 'yet to be told.' This inspiration led to an unfolding and yet unfinished biography, which includes some of my family life. This was several years ago and many things have happened since but I will come to this later, but only briefly.

This idea of writing also somehow led to a personally unusual multiplicity of thoughts and questions about philosophy, psychology, sociology, education, religion, astronomy, physics, biology, evolution and how these relate to the predicaments we face in our world today. But, dare I say, even how these subjects and our human predicaments related to my family and my own 'self.' It may all sound arrogant and grandiose, but I had little to do with it. I explained to myself, that it was, and naturally became, an organic process, which many writers have experienced throughout history and many do today. Again the reasons, as I read innumerable times, are to do with childhood experiences, which are sadly often more negative than positive, and often very traumatic. The cycle is re-cycled and the more we ask questions and look for answers to problems, the more we find and/or create others.

Some may say, and I do agree, that human enquiries/problems make life interesting, but not at the expense of so much self-destruction. Many examples include the destruction of the planet, poverty, famine, disease and malnutrition, slavery, man made disasters, hatred and conflict, prostitution, divorce, crime, drug abuse and a multitude of personal behavioural, emotional, mental and socio-phobic disorders.

A few days ago I was given a Chinese 'fortune' cookie, which read 'life is a challenge, deal with it.' This advice seems to reflect the way I have always been, but ironically, it also reflects the very real, sometimes unforgivable and complicated difficulties I have experienced and observed, both in my own life and life 'out there.' Throughout my life, I have always personally felt utterly burdened with these difficulties and observations, which has now turned into an ongoing writing exercise. I wish to share some of these with those who might be interested, on my web site.

Back to what has happened since I discovered the links between childhood and adulthood. At the time I was living in the south of England and moved to the north for many reasons. It began with some professional but very nasty neighbours, who made life a misery for my family and I, and which led to me having a severe bout of depression. I have also since developed acute rheumatoid arthritis and still suffer from occasional bouts of depression, which have plagued me all my life. I also wish to share my thoughts about depression, which according to the United Nations is the world's second most devastating and widespread illness.

With the wonderful and incomparable devotion and support of my family, in particular my other half, I have been able to set up this web site. I did this to share my thoughts and ideas about our world and the stressful life we live today, and hope that I can help as many people as possible, and in as many ways. I also believe that my readers/audience should also be able to tell their own stories and publish them on my web site, if they so wish. Perhaps as an optional guideline, entitled 'My Biography, From Childhood to Adulthood' and Copyright would of course be your prerogative.

Writing our ideas and experiences and sharing these with others are powerful and effective ways to change attitudes and even behaviour and, can also help to spread a little more understanding and co-operation for those of us who are interested and hopefully, to a wider world. Writing our personal historical stories is also a very therapeutic way to overcome some of our deep questions, regarding who we are, our hopes and aspirations. It also helps us to create our own ideas, and as we are organic creatures more ideas will emerge during the process and even take it's own direction. However, to give our self-supporting organic processes an extra impetus, we need to make an effort in this regard. I found that a dictionary and thesaurus gave me an essential boost to all of my reading, learning and writing.

Writing in itself is also a learning process and from this, the world becomes our oyster. Hopefully without any interference, writing helps us to think, to feel, to avoid living in the dark, to be inspired and even be enlightened. Writing can help us to understand ourselves, our place in the world and give each of us, added meaning to our human identity. The lack of these factors in the lives of so many young people is the primary reason why, they turn to anti-social, violence and other self-destructive behaviour. Reading, of course, is the other parallel side of the story without which I could not and would not have been able to write or write about so many things. As someone once said, all writers live on the shoulders (or is it heads?) of all other writers. Each of us, in our own special way, as my gorgeous and savvy daughter would say, our own 'story' is, 'yet to be told.'