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How Childhood Trauma Affects You As An Adult & How to Seek Help

By Dominica

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Last Updated: February 3, 2022

If you’ve suffered childhood trauma, can it cause problems when you’re an adult? If you don’t heal the wounds associated with that trauma, can it impact your adult relationships?

Experts agree that unhealed childhood trauma can impact adult relationships. The pain associated with the trauma one can bring right into that relationship. Children are indeed resilient, but what they go through during childhood certainly affects them later in life. If trauma is involved, it is likely to show up right smack in the middle of an intimate relationship.

 

What is Childhood Trauma?

Childhood trauma is something that occurs in a child’s life that is traumatic, such as abuse, neglect, illness, etc. 

There are plenty of things that happen to children, but not all of it is considered traumatic. And, not all of it will come back to haunt them later in life.

It’s worth noting that trauma is not defined in the same for every child, as one child may experience something and find it traumatizing, while another child will not. It’s a subjective experience.

There are intentional traumas that occur, like physical or sexual abuse, and unintentional traumas like the death of a loved one, an accident, or a natural disaster. 

The first six or seven years of life are quite impressionable for a child, as it is during those years a child forms their identity. If they are experiencing traumatic events, they are not emotionally equipped to know how to cope with that trauma.

Therefore, it doesn’t get processed or healed. Their cognitive abilities and central nervous systems just aren’t fully developed at this time.

For example, let’s say Johnny was neglected as a child. His parents didn’t teach him to communicate well, so he stuffed down a lot of his thoughts and emotions. As an adult, he discovers that he cannot communicate or connect well with other adults.

Amanda, who was sexually abused as a child, fears commitment in relationships. 

Other types of childhood trauma include:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Lack of attention
  • Neglect
  • Illness or surgery
  • Bullying
  • An accident
  • Natural disasters
  • Family member substance abuse
  • Family member having a mental illness

 

How Childhood Trauma Affects Your Adult Life

If you’re carrying around childhood trauma, you’ve got some deep emotional wounds that you may not consciously feel, but desire to be healed. They sit underneath the surface, dormant, but that the built up energy wants to explode so that it can be resolved and integrated back into your psyche.

Let’s look at some signs that you have some buried childhood trauma:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and anger
  • Chronic depression
  • Mood swings
  • Chronic fatigue
  • A sense of fear and/or danger much of the time
  • Experiencing long periods of grief
  • Frightening memories or nightmares
  • Codependency or inability to form healthy relationships
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • You feel emotionally numb

You may feel the symptoms all the time or periodically, as something might trigger such feelings like an anniversary of the event, a new relationship, or a dream.

 

What You Can Do If You Feel You Have Experienced Childhood Trauma

If you feel as if you’ve experienced childhood trauma and it is affecting your life now, there are some things you can do to foster healing and growth. 

Before we get into that, I want you to know that it is not your fault at all that you’ve experienced trauma, so do not blame yourself. What happened was out of your control and it is unfortunate.

However, now that you’re conscious of the effects of the trauma, you can move forward knowing that you can get free from underneath the pain associated with it.

Related article: 5 Thoughtful Shadow Work Journal Prompts to Heal Your Wounded Inner Child

 

Reach Out For Help

If you’re dealing with negative emotions due to childhood trauma, the best thing you can do is to reach out for help in processing and getting through those emotions. 

Oftentimes children who encounter traumatic situations just don’t know what to do with their emotions, so they stuff them inside and detach from them. They simply don’t have the coping skills at such a young age to process them. 

Those emotions don’t just disappear; you carry them throughout your life and at some point, they want to be dealt with. They are asking you to cope with them so they can dissipate, and you can feel some peace.

Therefore, a professional counselor or trauma therapist is key to contending with childhood trauma.

A trained professional can help you go back and discover just what occurred, how you contended with the trauma, and how it is affecting you today. Once you can establish the relationship between the past and the present, there are techniques for processing and letting such emotions go so that you can move on with your life peaceful and happy.

It is important to note that you should be careful in contacting and blaming your family or others that were involved with your childhood trauma.

If you’re angry or sad, process these feelings with a counselor first, instead of approaching your family. This will be more effective for your inner healing than lashing out at family members.

Healing begins when you realize the root of your current emotional issues.

In order to begin your healing journey, make a commitment to reach out for help today. You may feel a bit scared to work through the trauma, but rest assured that the end result will help you feel so much lighter and happier. Reach out for help today.

 

Trauma Assistance 

If you need assistance, your best bet is to go to your home page and search for: trauma counselling near me - which will populate a list of professionals near you with whom you can contact to start your healing process. 

 

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One comment on “How Childhood Trauma Affects You As An Adult & How to Seek Help”

  1. So true. Getting an access bars session with body processes from an Access Bars Facilitator can release childhood trauma. I've had a few sessions that uncovered traumas I never thought would be the cause for a current behavior...its been quite the relief to release it.

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