I hesitated to start a "Tackles the BIG Questions" thread on this topic ... because it will be more of a "toss out there" than a "tackle". However, Tobiah requested me to do so ... and several related topics came up ... about dealing with our pasts and old wounds ...
There were Scotty's and Tobiah' comments on their Christian upbringings ....
... and, of course, the powerful recent discussion on facing abuse in one's childhood ...I am having a hard time letting go of my negative attachments and anger for lots of things that don't need to be discussed here. My wife and I left our church, which was not part of mainstream Christianity (LDS) according to most and my wife has begun attending a Bible study group with a local Non-Denom Christian church. I go with her to the study group out of support and in wanting to keep harmony in my home and marriage, though I find it increasingly difficult to stomach. It just doesn't sit with me well...but I know the issue is mine, not theirs, so I suppose this is most definitely part of my practice.
So, what are good and wise Buddhist perspectives in facing psychological pain and baggage from the past, including bad childhoods?
Well, I am really going to toss this out to the wisdom of the Sangha, and I do not think there is a single "one size fits all" formula for this. However, there is some basic Buddhist insight and wisdom that does fit most cases of the human condition, I think ....
First, as we can, we try to drop old baggage. The mind keeps the past alive, and we can quiet the past, still the past, even forget the past ... by quieting the mind. An important aspect of our Shikantaza practice is the dropping of such thoughts and emotions, allowing the emotions to balance and calm. We drop too the gap between "what is and was" and what we think "should be".
Of course, that is not always so easy, especially for serious trauma.
So, for other baggage we cannot drop, we try (as we can) to observe each event objectively, avoiding too much dwelling, avoiding to stir up the powerful emotions ... as if we were merely observing an ugly pimple or scar on our cheek. It is just there.
That, again, is not always so easy.
If we still feel pain, we try to drop that too ... or, at least, drop resistance to the wound, thereby robbing it of fuel (having a wound, and picking at the wound ... are very different. We do not wallow in the wound, obsess on the wound, let our mind run wild ... at least to the degree we have control, not always the case for PTSS and the like). We recognize our pain, as if it were the pain of a broken leg ... and we also try to let it be.
If we can, we forgive and drop anger. It is not always easy, and maybe not possible. It is natural to feel anger when certain people did certain acts to us and those we love ... But, ideally (emphasis on "ideally", because it is hard to do in many cases), we should see the harmdoer as himself/herself a victim of greed anger & ignorance. Ideally, our Buddhist way is to drop anger and resentment for the past. We try to learn from the past
If we cannot drop the anger, at least, we try not to take action based upon it, try not to pour extra fuel upon it. We try to drop what we can.
In this way, as we can, we drop the wounds of the past. I think.
Ps - I just want to make particular mention of the tendency in the west these days to WALLOW in our stories, with "he said she said", all ready to turn it into a drama on Oprah. This is definitely one thing we should avoid. We avoid to let the mind run wild with our story, and try to keep it cool and simple ... seeing it as "just what is", not some grand drama. This is true even for what is going on in our lives right now, not just in the past.
Pps - On the particular question of feelings toward the Christianity raised by Scotty, if you can, put the church down. That does not mean that you cannot make reasonable criticisms of anything that should be rationally criticized (and praise what deserves to be praised too). That does not mean you have to again join the church or Christian faith if you do not wish, and it does not call you. But put the pain and emotions down.
As I said ... this is more a "toss out there" than a "tackle"