One of my favourite sayings is "It's never too late to have a happy childhood". This is particularly true for survivors of sexual abuse. When you are a survivor and you struggle to function in daily life, you missed out on the vital ingredients to a happy childhood: emotional support, care, respect, appreciation, and age appropriate challenges, which all together can be described as the ingredients that make up love.

Love is the most important building block for the building of the self and for having a happy childhood. Indeed, when love is missing, human infants go into distress because they can not self-regulate their physiology. Through mother's love and care they learn to regulate breathing, body temperature, heartbeat, digestive system, hormonal system, and growth. Having a happy childhood then involves providing emotional support, care, respect, and appreciation to yourself. It is so important for recovery, because supportive and caring experiences will create neural processing networks that integrate affective states, sensations, behaviours, and consciousness into functional cortical circuit.

Recovery from a neuro-physiological perspective has to lead to the building of new neural structures that enable positive affect regulation and biological homeostasis. The pathway to recovery is in experiencing stimulation, complexity, new knowledge, and the learning of new skills through stage-appropriate, optimal challenges.

Providing emotional support and care for oneself is shown in a caring stance of self-evaluation and perceiving all the different aspects of the self with empathy. It involves respect of the different needs that may arise at any given time and learn to negotiate different needs or looking laterally at meeting these needs. Appreciation, on the other hand, involves accepting understanding the different ego-states as important for a successful, satisfying life.

Most of all, having a happy childhood means that you take time to cater for the child-ego states. Allow the 'free child' within to have room to live and be expressed. That can happen most fully when you deal with yourself and your needs and wishes with the stance a caring, nurturing parent would have.

Author's Bio: 

Gudrun Frerichs, PhD is the director and founder of Psychological Resolutions Ltd. Visit her website for information about counselling, coaching, psychotherapy, and training courses for professional and personal development. You will find relationship solutions through advanced communication skills. Instead of learning "communication by numbers" you will be taken on a step by step journey to emotional intelligence (self-awreness, self-management, understanding others, and managing others).

Are you struggling with communication in your relationships and would you like to learn about proven and effective steps to a successful navigating your relationship? You are now able to put your hands on my book “STAYING IN LOVE” that will give you the tools to achieve just that. It is a practical, hands-on book that gives you step by step techniques to improve your relationships. The 10 steps are jam-packed with information and exercises that help you get your struggling relationships back on track. For a sneak pre-view go to