More children deal with childhood trauma than you might think. Whether it’s physical or emotional abuse or even witnessing something traumatic, so many children are forced to experience damaging situations—many at a very young age. For some people, the effects of childhood trauma are obvious. For others, the symptoms can be subtle. You may have forgotten about or repressed your trauma for years. But, your subconscious and your emotions never fully forget. With that in mind, it’s important to understand how past trauma could affect you today.
How do the wounds of your childhood impact you as an adult? Let’s take a closer look.
Mental Health Issues
Perhaps the most common problem adults who experience childhood trauma face is a variety of mental health issues. Childhood trauma has been linked to everything from depression to anxiety and can even increase a person’s risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. It can be difficult to connect the dots if you’ve repressed your childhood trauma. Conditions like depression and anxiety are extremely common and occur for a wide variety of reasons. That’s why it’s essential to get to the root cause of any mental health condition.
By working with a professional, you can uncover the underlying cause and discover how childhood trauma changed your life’s trajectory.
According to studies, children who have a history of trauma were 4 to 12 times more likely to experience drug dependency, alcoholism, mental health conditions, and even suicide attempts.
When a child experiences trauma, they’re exposed to influences that can be carried for years. Those experiences can cause you to seek out unhealthy connections and toxic relationships. This is often because people who experience trauma develop a trauma identity. Even if you know someone is “wrong” for you in many ways, you might find yourself attracted to them because they have similar attributes to those who abused you in the past. Simply put, no matter how much you hate the trauma, there’s a familiarity and comfort to it that you can’t let go of.
Unfortunately, this can create new cycles of trauma in adulthood and is likely to fuel the symptoms of your trauma even more. Other individuals who experience childhood trauma might avoid social connections as an adult. Developing a strong fear that people cannot be trusted. You might prefer isolation, leading to a lack of social skills and fueling mental health conditions. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some alone time, but it’s a problem when you feel like you can’t be in relationships because it is unsafe or because you feel too damaged.
How to Deal With Past Trauma
So, what can you do to overcome the effects of childhood trauma? No matter how long it’s been, it’s never too late to take charge of your life and fight back against the impact trauma has had on you. The best thing you can do is to be self-compassionate. Be kind to yourself, and show patience. If someone close to you is struggling with past trauma, you would want to be there for them. Make sure you’re showing the same kindness to yourself.
Additionally, make sure you have a support system to lean on. No matter how long ago you experienced trauma, having people in your corner who are there to build you up and help you work through some of the side effects of what you’ve gone through can make a big difference in your growth.
If you find it difficult to do these things, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help. There are very effective therapeutic modalities available now that directly target trauma more effectively than traditional talk therapy. One such modality is Brainspotting. Brainspotting is one of the few techniques that effectively addresses the root cause of psychological stress and emotional trauma. It reaches parts of the brain that are not generally accessed through traditional talk therapy approaches.
If childhood wounds are negatively impacting your quality of life, don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Feel free to contact me to learn more about potential options available for you.