support guide 08

everything happens.

for when you’ve been hurt as a child

Hello my dear,

The pain that you experienced as a child should not have happened. It was not your fault and you deserved better. 

People will often say, in an attempt to give grace to their parents, that “they did their best.” This may be true. But it doesn’t fully acknowledge the price that was paid by the child. As my podcast guest Tara Westover said: “My parents did their best. And their best was tragic. They did their best. And their best was devastating.”  I heard the power in her words. We need more room to be honest about what it costs when people fail us. 

Now, as an adult, we can take time to listen to our younger self.  You can honor and grieve your resourcefulness, your resilience, your strength. You can seek language and acknowledge all you lost, all you can’t get back. We hope that these resources will help you on your journey toward healing. 

Bless you my dear,

A Blessing for if you’ve had a painful childhood

Blessed are you who come with your sorrow,
Allowing your pain to convey all its truth.
For here in the arms of Jesus
Is where reality is a welcome guest.
Here is where grief is understood at its core, 
where the dark shadow of betrayal 
is seen from the inside. 

Here, my dear, is where the work  of healing begins.

Blessed are you who mourn
as you meet yourself once again as a little child 
who needed protection but did not receive it, 

who deserved respect but was not afforded it.

The things that should have happened but didn’t 
and the thing that happened but shouldn’t. 
The broken family systems and 
normalized cruelties 
that allowed your pain to continue 
far beyond what it should have.

For you have come now to the God 
who is alive to your past, 

your present, 
and your future, 

who has already moved heaven and earth
to restore your dignity 
and return you to yourself. 

P.S. Take a minute to remind your past self that you are loved now, tomorrow, and forever. And rest. You are safe. You are held. you are loved. 

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Kate often refers to the nesting doll theory where we have younger versions of ourselves inside of us still working to tell us and show us things. The idea of our previous-selves or iterations of ourselves inside of us is also described in a short story by Sandra Cisneros called Eleven. 

You can listen to their conversation here



Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was raised isolated from society and uneducated. She was 17 years old before she ever stepped foot in a classroom.. As Tara asks the important questions of childhood, how much of ourselves do we give to those we love and how do we separate ourselves in order to grow up? 


Demon Copperhead (a novel)

Demon Copperhead is the retelling of David Copperfield in Appalachia. A boy is born to a teenage single mother in a single-wide trailer. Demon braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.


The Deepest Well

Healing the Long-Term Affects of Childhood Adversity by Nadia Burke-Harris

Two-thirds of us have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience, or ACE, such as abuse, neglect, parental substance dependence, or mental illness. Even though these events may have occurred long ago, they have the power to follow us long into adulthood. A pioneering physician, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris shows us what we can do to break the cycle.


The Whole Language

The Power of Extravagant Tenderness by Gregory Boyle

n a community struggling to overcome systemic poverty and violence, The Whole Language shows how those at Homeboy Industries fight despair and remain generous, hopeful, and tender. 

“Our childhoods, if we take a hard look, might not be as idyllic as we would have liked or deserved. The more we learn about our past, the more it may have some frightening implications for our present and our future.”

—From Kate’s conversation with Nadine Burke-Harris on the Everything Happens Podcast


Nadine Burke-Harris:
What Your Childhood Means for Health

For when trauma you experienced as a kid is still affecting you as an adult. Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris explores how a stressful childhood has long-term effects on your body and mind.


Minka Kelly:
Clear Eyes, Full Heart

For those who had to be responsible adult even as a kid.  Minka Kelly was raised by a single mom who worked as a stripper and struggled with addiction. She had to learn how to take care of herself and the adults around her, and, eventually, to forgive her mom. 


Beth Moore:
Back to the Beginning

For when it is time to tell the truth about your adverse childhood. Beth More is a world-famous Bible teacher for almost 30 years reveals the truth about her adverse childhood and her formative family history. CW: Sexual abuse, mental illness


If you need a reminder to feel it all or you would like to pass this reminder along to someone you love, click on the image below. Then save, print, or set as your phone wallpaper.


1. When you were a child, you spoke as a child. Now, as an adult, you have more tools and resources to help you describe what your childhood was like. Consider taking the moment to describe and give language to what happened and what you remember. Take the time to research and find resources that might help you better understand. For example: What is it like living with an alcoholic parent? What categories are there for an adverse childhood? Ask questions of those trusted loved ones around you who might remember what happened and why they think it happened (but also remember everyone may have a different account or different memory). Consider looking back on your painful childhood and learning to describe it now as an adult.

2. When you were a child you learned ways to protect yourself, to survive, to cope. Those skills may no longer be necessary and might be causing more harm. Take time to consider how your past might have implications for your present and future. What things do you need to let go of? What ways of coping are still helpful to you right now?

3. Our heart breaks for what happened to you as a child. We are so sorry, so mad, so sad for what you had to endure. It was not your fault and it should not have happened. We so wish that there would have been a responsible adult who stepped in and offered you safety, compassion, love, and hope. Now that you are older, consider asking for help from someone who can offer you what you didn’t get as a child. Can you talk to a counselor or therapist who can now listen and offer you words of compassion, love, and hope? Who can you reach out to and ask for help?