Trauma survivors often hear, “Forget about it. Move on. It was in the past.” But this is not necessarily accurate. Until they resolve past traumatic experiences, trauma survivors are unable to move on. When trauma survivors find themselves unable to move past the past they might consider seeking the help of a licensed therapist. It is not unusual for those with past traumatic experiences to struggle with emotional difficulties, mental disorders, or physical health concerns and diagnoses.
Many of those who have survived trauma as children struggle as adults with depression, PTSD and other anxiety disorders, relationship difficulties, angry outbursts, alcohol and drug abuse, etc. Trauma survivors can experience physiological changes, too. Sometimes these individuals develop the onset of an illness. Other times their condition worsens for no apparent reason. These conditions are sometimes psychosomatic. This is a condition in which a person feels as if they are told, “It’s all in your head,” “You’re making it up,” or “You’re crazy.”
- finding yourself in the same types of stressful, traumatic, or abusive relationships.
- startling easily.
- struggling to trust others.
- making friends easily, but fearing they won’t like you.
- becoming a chameleon.
- exerting or avoiding control.
- a dependency on others.
- fear of trying new things on your own.
Continue reading “Signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults”
The therapist and client(s) can cover a wide variety of issues that include:
- Divorce or separation;
- Death of a loved one;
- Sexual abuse;
- Emotional abuse;
- Physical abuse;
- Family or child relocation;
- Substance abuse or addiction in the family;
- Mental illness, like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (TherapyTribe, 2018).
Continue reading “What is Child Therapy?”
Although adults often say things like, “He was so young when that happened. He won’t even remember it as an adult,” childhood trauma can have a lifelong effect. And while kids are resilient, they’re not made of stone.
That’s not to say your child will be emotionally scarred for life if he endures a horrific experience. With appropriate interventions, adults can help kids recover from traumatic experiences more effectively.1
But it’s important to recognize when your child may need professional help with dealing with a trauma. Early intervention could prevent your child from experiencing ongoing effects of the trauma as an adult.1
Continue reading “The Effects of Childhood Trauma”
PTSD — or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a real diagnosis usually used for cases where people had a traumatic event happen in adulthood (like taking part in a violent battle, or having a car accident). The symptoms include flashbacks, anxiety, depression, insomnia, social withdrawal and explosive emotions, among other things.
Another, second of PTSD is Complex PTSD (or C-PTSD) which is caused by chronic exposure to emotional or physical trauma, such as living through a war, being in an abusive relationship, or growing up in traumatic conditions, which is what this blog is about. The diagnosis is not 100% clear, so for now let’s call this kind “Childhood PTSD.”
There is a LOT of research going on right now in this area. The biggest and most impactful is probably The ACE Study, which has become an accepted (if imperfect) way to measure the scope of a person’s early trauma. So when assessing how seriously your own experiences affected you, you may want to start by taking the ACE Survey. Continue reading “Do You Have Childhood PTSD?”
Obvious vs hidden forms of childhood trauma
Experiences are traumatic because they are unexpected, unwanted, and you are powerless to stop them.
Obvious trauma that tends to affect all involved including children includes:
But there are other less obvious experiences in childhood can be just as traumatic for a child and have just as serious consequences for the long-term.
These can environmental things like:
- living in poverty
- abruptly changing schools
- a sick sibling
- going through an operation
- living with parents who are always fighting
- living in a violent or dangerous community
- watching a parent being hurt
Or they might be emotional traumas such as:
- a humiliating experience at school
- being bullied
- being constantly put down and shamed by a parent figure
- not getting proper attention from a caregiver
- having to take care of a parent
- being neglected
- being abandoned by someone you love
Continue reading “Obvious vs hidden forms of childhood trauma”
What is an ACE?
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are any events that had a lasting negative impact on a child. There are countless potential examples. Some of the most common are:
- Domestic violence
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Traumatic grief
- Community violence
- Natural disasters
- Medical trauma
- Refugee trauma
- Much more
While most parents do their best to protect their children from all of the above, they do not have control over all circumstances. Thus, even those who grew up in loving, functional families, may have suffered from significant ACEs.
ACEs can include events which may not seem so significant to adults but which significantly impact a child’s state of mind. Mockery from a sibling or parent, being told to stop crying, strong criticism, and more can all shape a child’s coping mechanisms. When treating childhood trauma later in life, many therapists advise clients to begin with these types of ACEs before moving onto the more bluntly traumatic events. This way, the individual can start reshaping their defense mechanisms before exposure to the most traumatic events in their lives. Continue reading “What is an ACE?”
Your trauma starts interfering with your everyday functioning; that’s when you need to confront these issues. You may notice that you’re lashing out at people in interpersonal relationships and you don’t know why. As you dig deeper, you discover that the wounds from childhood are still affecting you, and you’re rehashing your trauma as an adult.
Your childhood trauma wounds won’t heal unless you address them. You may feel shame or guilt because of what happened to you. These are natural feelings to have, but they won’t help you get past the events. For you to start healing from the wounds of childhood, you need to face your past. You don’t have to do this alone. One of the best ways to start addressing your trauma from childhood is by going to therapy. When you work with a therapist, whether that’s online or in your local area, you have a person who cares about what you’ve experienced. They want you to heal. Continue reading “What Happens When You Don’t Heal from Childhood Trauma?”
Trauma generates emotions, and unless we process these emotions at the time the trauma occurs, they become stuck in our mind and body. Instead of healing from the wounding event, the trauma stays in our body as energy in our unconscious, affecting our life until we uncover it and process it out. The healthy flow and processing of distressing emotions, such as anger, sadness, shame, and fear, is essential to healing from childhood trauma as an adult. Continue reading “The healthiest response to childhood emotional wounds is also the rarest…”
Trauma experienced in childhood has a special ability to wound, especially when it includes emotional, physical or sexual abuse or neglect. The fallout echoes through the years and causes negative consequences, such as higher risks of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, obesity, behavioral problems, and health problems such as heart disease. One study that followed hundreds of adolescents over time found that 80 percent of individuals who had been abused as children met the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. Continue reading “Reasons It’s So Hard to Overcome a Tough Childhood”