How Experiences have an effect on a Person’s Mental State

Recently, I’ve been watching an interesting series “criminal minds”. The series is about a team of trained professionals in the Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU) of FBI who make it their mission to stop serial killers and psychopaths in the US.

It’s been educating, I must say. I’ve learned of different mental disorders that I didn’t think existed. I came to realize partly how these serial killers and psychopaths think and why they do what they. One thing that made these psychopaths and serial killers what they were was mostly as a result of their childhood experiences.

“We see how early childhood experiences are so important to lifelong outcomes, how early environment literally becomes embedded in the brain and changes its architecture”

-Andrew S. Garner

You see, most of them had it rough when they were young, so they turned out to be what they were. There was a case in which two guys would go into a family and kill the whole family, including the children. That’s sick right? I mean, why children? With the kids, they’d mostly make the death swift with less pain by giving them a lethal injection that makes them sleep to death.

“Childhood trauma is not necessarily a prophecy of doom, because some children are resilient or because later experiences help to restore mental health”

-Richard Bentall

Why did these guys behave this way? Well, they were orphans and were adopted by a wicked woman who would really maltreat them in ways no child should go through. Because of this, when they finally grew up and escaped that home, they started killing parents who in one way or the other abused their children. They kill the children to save them from the agony of what they went through, that’s why they make their death swift. That seems noble in a way but then again, they killed people and that is plain wrong.

“While early childhood experiences may impel, they do not compel. In the end, evil is a matter of choice”

-Andrew Vachss

There was another case in which a girl was raped but no one believed her. They felt she was lying, considering the fact that she was in a club and wanted to have fun. Years later, she started killing men. How? She’d seduce them and make them believe they are in control and want to sleep with her, then she’d slit their necks.

So many instances to give, some were molested in childhood, some had abusive parents, some were traumatized, and tortured. There were those whose parents made them feel undeserving, always making them feel unloved. All these led them to being psychotic and they started killing, raping or causing destruction in one way or the other.

These people may have been psychotic from the beginning (who knows?) but something brought it out because there are other people that went through same but they came out better, they were not killers. Perhaps that’s their own way of handling what they went through, I really don’t know.

Anyway, I began to think about how our experiences tend to shape us into stronger or weaker versions of ourselves, how they could make us bad or struggle to do good. People are mostly influenced by what they have been through in life. Would you say your personality is the way it is because that’s just you? Could it be because of certain things you’ve been through in life so you tend to act the way you have learned to?

“What makes you who you are?”

Parents have a greater role to play in a child’s life. How they take care of their responsibility in raising a child will affect a child in one way or the other. I can’t emphasize it enough how parents need to watch how they make their children feel.

Some parents so much torment their kids with the kind of words they use and the great expectations they have of them. These set of parents don’t have to physically abuse or torture their kids but they do so mentally and that I think is even stronger because it has to do with the mind.

“Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods”

-Pam Leo

I know you want the best for your child; you don’t have to make them feel like they are not up to what you expect of them. You make them feel low about themselves and you compare them with others and even use abusive words on them. They go into the world and struggle with self-esteem and have feelings of unworthiness which cuts across everything they do in life.

These people now have to learn to love who they are; they have to make conscious effort to see themselves worthy of something, they have to learn how to be better regardless, which sometimes is really not easy.

“Symptoms like anxiety, depression, aggression, alcohol or drug use, are responses to physical and emotional pain that has its roots in traumatic experiences from childhood and later in life”

-Jed Diamond

Society is another one that helps shape a child into becoming who they are. I remember when I was in junior secondary school, I wanted to play sports because I liked it but somehow, I never got to doing it. Why? I was fat and when I’d run, people would laugh, when I jumped, people would laugh at me and it was hard.

Being a child, I really didn’t know how to ignore them, and so I just stopped playing sports. I wouldn’t volunteer to do anything for inter-house sports, even though I wanted to, I would not play volleyball or do anything sports related because I didn’t want people to make fun of me.

Right now, I am not as fat but sometimes I still feel that way when I want to play a sport. I get the feeling people would make fun of me. I know they might not but it’s kind of hard to get that out of my head. With time, it’s getting better.

That right there is an example of society playing a role in how I view sports. Now imagine if I went to school in an environment that didn’t make fun of me, that encouraged me, I don’t think it would have turned out this way.

So what’s the point in all I’ve written?

  • People shouldn’t be in a hurry to judge others. Their attitude might just be as a result of what they have been through in life
  • Your experience in life should not also be an excuse to be an ill-mannered or difficult person too.
  • Parents should never abuse their roles in their children’s life. God gave you a role to play, do it well. Do it with love and proper guidance. There are parenting books out there that teach you how to do better for your kids. There’s also the Holy Spirit who is readily available to guide you in raising mentally sound children. Kids have society to deal with, their home is supposed to be their safe haven, don’t make that toxic for them.
  • Society can shape you consciously or unconsciously. Most times, the society factor can’t be helped but we that make up the society can help. Don’t make an environment unhealthy for someone. Just imagine how you’d feel if it were you. Also, let’s try to be better people, let’s be nicer, kinder, caring, helpful and supportive. It’s important.
  • No matter what you have been through, you can choose who you want to become. The earlier example I gave about the two guys that would go into a home and kill the family, what if these guys set up a youth center for children like that or a helpful organization that would help these kids and intervene for them? I think that would have been better. As for the lady that was raped, now imagine if she became an advocate for rape victims. Regardless of how things are, you can choose to come out sane. It is not easy, but it is possible. Thank God for the Holy Spirit that can help us with that, thank God for God’s healing power.
  • Finally, it’s important that you surround yourself with positive people, people who make you feel loved, people that support you, and people that make you see your worth. It helps you look and think about yourself better.

“You are worthy, regardless of what you have come to believe”


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One Comment

  1. Alexpearls said:

    Wow… This is so true though, experiences have a way of defining who we become. If we use it to our own advantage then better but if not it could be very disastrous

    September 21, 2018
    Reply

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