My mother abandoned me when I was eighteen months old. I grew up in the home of my paternal grandmother, where I was abused physically and emotionally…. My mother… came back when I was twelve, and I got to know her, but she was always tyrannical toward me. Two years ago she told me that she had wanted to abort me from the start, but that she was never able to. This knowledge has destroyed me….

I have a beautiful family, an excellent wife, and three children. I try to put this behind me, but I feel like I am no good and can’t be happy. I have everything I need to be happy, but my past won’t leave me in peace. Help me, please! I am forty-five years old, and I have never known happiness.

Dear Friend,

As you have found, life is not fair. Some people are blessed to grow up in loving, nurturing homes, and some people grow up neglected and abused as you did, or they grow up in an even worse situation where there is torture or human slavery.

A child who grows up deprived of love and affection is scarred for life. These scars can be deeper and more painful than the scars of physical abuse alone. And yet these emotional wounds are generally invisible to the eye, causing some people to not understand that they exist.

We congratulate you for your beautiful family. You have obviously found a wife who understands your past and who emotionally supports you in the present. What a wonderful gift! However, in spite of your current blessings, the past reared its ugly head in the form of hurtful information from your mother. This information now threatens to harm your present, as it already harmed your past.

I want to offer you three ways that you can help yourself now. The first is to pour out your heart and your feelings to God in prayer. Tell him how desperate and disillusioned you feel. He is the Father who has been there all the time for you. He is the Father who loved you enough, before you were ever born, to provide a way for you to become His child for eternity. If you accept His Son Jesus Christ as your Savior, and ask Him to forgive you of your sins, you will feel welcomed into a family much better than what you could have dreamed. God, your Heavenly Father, will wrap His strong arms around you and let you feel that you are truly loved.

Secondly, I suggest that you tell your medical doctor about your difficulty in getting past this negative information in your thoughts. It could be that all the trauma in your life has caused subtle chemical changes in the message centers of your brain, and that you would benefit from medication that would stabilize these chemicals.

Lastly, I challenge you to fight back! How can you fight back when you are a grown man and you can’t return to childhood? You have three people living right in your home who are still children. You therefore have the opportunity to love and cherish them as was never done to you. You can hug them, spend time with them, and care about their classes and activities. When you have those desperate and negative thoughts, you can choose to get up and go make their lives different. Pledge to make your home and their environment different in every way than your childhood home and experience. Every time the dark feelings come back, get up and do something positive for your children. Refuse to sit around and think negatively. Instead, use that energy for something good. As this becomes a habit, you will gradually defeat the past and look forward to a bright future.

I wish you well,