Counseling gives you the tools you need to cope with the events that have happened in your life, and to manage your life in a healthy way.
By the sounds of it, my husband grew up in an unhealthy household similar to yours. His parents didn't have the psychology degrees, they came by it naturally. He was always told "he was never good enough, didn't do anything right, not worth anything, everything bad was his fault, no wonder his birth parents gave him up", etc. And when that didn't keep him down, they just resorted to throwing him into walls.
Fortunately, when he was in his late 20s, he saw happy people and decided he wanted him some of that. He took a serious look at his life and figured out what he had to do to change.
He says the thing that helped the most was going to college to become an addictions counselor. At the time, he had a problem with alcohol, and realized that he could effectively kill two birds with one stone.
For him, he had to completely submerge himself in healing. His program had residency, and he pretty much lived and breathed counseling for two and a half years. He really took it seriously, and it pretty much saved his life. Until that point, he was still blaming everyone for what happened to him because his parents really had done a number on him.
Now, he's the most amazing person I know. He genuinely cares about the people in his life and does everything he can to give them the lives they deserve. He realizes that he had a difficult past and that it helped shape who he is, but he no longer allows it to control him.
He still has his moments, of course, where he slips into some old tendencies and feels very low self-esteem, blames himself for things that happen that no one could have prevented. But he can usually pull himself out of it, now that he has the tools he learned in counseling.
“As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.” —bisexualbaker