Many people survive trauma from their childhood. But it can haunt you as an adult where it remains unresolved. Many things can cause trauma as a child — domestic violence, child abuse, neglect or mistreatment. Many recover from it and go on to live successful, fulfilling lives. For others, childhood trauma can have a detrimental effect for many years as an adult.
Causes of Childhood Trauma
There are many types of childhood trauma, and in some cases you might not recognise it as trauma at all.
Apart from mental and physical abuse, trauma can include:
- A serious illness.
- Sexual abuse.
- The loss of a parent.
- A natural disaster that affects your life such as a bushfire.
- Being part of a large family where your needs were not met.
- A parent that is not emotionally available, has an anxiety disorder or detaches from their kids.
- Experiencing bullying.
- A learning disability that knocked your confidence.
- Domestic violence in the home.
- A long-term illness that meant you had to stay in hospital for long periods of time.
- A parent with a mental health or physical disorder.
- Witnessing a traumatic event.
- Maybe you had to take care of your younger siblings or do the housework and your parents treated you differently to the others.
No matter what caused trauma as a child, your emotional needs were not met.
As an adult, these traumatic events are difficult to process and understand. So just imagine a child trying to cope with them and trying to understand how they fit in. Children do not have the life experience we do as adults so they cannot filter the information to resolve what they experience. Often a child will blame themselves for what happens as they do not know any better.
Long-term Effects of Childhood Trauma as an Adult
As a child you are innocent. It should be a time of joy and wonder at discovering the world. A time where you should feel safe, protected and loved. When you have stability as a child you grow up to form good, safe relationships. This is the ideal but not all children have this lived experience. And it can affect the rest of their lives.
There are many effects of childhood trauma, but how it affects you depends on your personality and the trauma you experienced. Research shows that experiencing trauma as a child you are likely to have low self-esteem that can cause depression and anxiety, among other conditions, as an adult.
If you come from a home that was not nurturing or did not protect you, you may have your own way of coping to help you function every day. Unresolved trauma can also manifest as addictions, mental health conditions or physical disorders.
Childhood Trauma and Relationships
When you experience trauma as a child, it can erode your sense of self and stability. And this can erode your self-worth which can continue into adulthood. If this occurs, you can experience:
- A sense of shame and guilt.
- Depression, anxiety or anger.
- Difficulty controlling your emotions.
- Trouble relating to other people as you feel disconnected.’
For example, a child who experiences sexual, emotional or physical abuse at the hands of someone they are close to, it can affect relationships as an adult. It may also cause them to see the people who care for them differently. Once you fracture a child’s sense of security and identity, it takes a long time to rebuild so they can trust once again.
Your personal relationships may suffer or you may avoid forming them at all. Unresolved childhood trauma can leave you feeling you do not deserve love or healthy relationships. You may also feel you do not deserve to achieve your goals, which can steal your ambition and drive to succeed as an adult. This can leave you feeling alone and unlovable.
But it does not need to stay this way. Counselling or therapy can give you the techniques you need to heal from childhood trauma as an adult.
Overcoming Childhood Trauma
Do not lose hope. You can overcome childhood trauma. No matter what you experienced in the past, you can recover, heal and grow. Regardless of how tough you childhood was, you can have good relationships and feel good about yourself and live a happy, successful life.
Here are some things to help you heal.
Recognise the Trauma
Recognise you lived through the trauma. People who went through childhood trauma can minimise what happened or pretend it did not occur at all. You may feel guilty and blame yourself for what happened. Acknowledge what you went through and that you are not to blame for it.
Take Care of Yourself
It is important to take care of yourself when working to overcome trauma from your childhood as an adult. Engage in self-care. People who have gone through trauma as a child can feel they do not deserve to be healthy or to make good choices in life. They are likely to eat badly and let go of their health.
So develop healthy habits. Establish a daily routine of eating and sleeping well, and get regular exercise. Pamper yourself. Avoid alcohol and drugs. While these may provide relief, it is only temporary and will eventually heighten your negative feelings about the past.
Focus on the Future
Remember, the past does not rule your future. As an adult you make the rules for your life, where as a child you had to live by someone else’s rules. You have the freedom to reach for the stars. Now you are an adult take charge of your life.
Enjoy your Hobbies
When you have hobbies and interests you enjoy, they help take your mind off the negative events of the past. They also help you feel good about yourself and give you goals to achieve. Hobbies give you something to look forward to. It is important to remember that you do not have to allow the past to define your future.
Take Back Control
When feelings of childhood helplessness spill into adulthood you can continue to feel like a victim. When you feel this way, you are allowing the past to control your present. Take back control. Get help to let go of the past and your old defences to heal your childhood pain.
Avoid Rationalising the Past
Many adults who experienced trauma during childhood try to rationalise what happened. There is no rationalisation for what happened to you so avoid trying to make sense of it. It will drive you crazy. Instead focus on healing and living your best life.
Learn to Accept and Let Go
You can accept your past as having happened without agreeing with it. Through acceptance you decide whether to hold on to the hurt and let it control your life or whether to let it all go. And, when you let it go, you stop letting the past steal your love and happiness in the present.
Use the Past as a Valuable Lesson
Use past trauma as a lesson learned and as something you will not expose your children to. You do not have to raise them the same way you were. It helps you to promise yourself you will never allow your children to go through what you did.
Avoid Isolating Yourself
For people who survive childhood trauma it is natural to withdraw from the world. But this will only make everything worse over the long term. While it may be difficult, make the effort to make new friends and maintain relationships. Seek support. Talk to someone you trust or a therapist or join a group for childhood trauma survivors. Friends make life so much more fun.
Remember that letting go of the hurt experienced as a child can be difficult. It will not happen overnight. Have patience with yourself. It will take time and hard work to let go of the negative feelings. Celebrate small victories in your healing to help you keep moving forward. With love and commitment you can overcome the past.
Brain Wellness Spa
Overcoming childhood trauma that affects you as an adult can be incredibly difficult. It can turn your life upside down. You may have trouble sustaining relationships, develop depression, an anxiety disorder or other mental health conditions. Childhood trauma can affect you in many ways and is incredibly complex to overcome. It is difficult to manage the effects if you do not seek help.
Anxiety can be out of control if you are isolating yourself from the world. But if you do not prioritise your treatment, it will continue to escalate. Until you do something to help you change the way you see the world, it will continue to negatively impact your life.
The Brain Wellness Spa is pioneering a new technique, a natural treatment that may help build your self-esteem and confidence. It may also assist you in coping with the symptoms and triggers of anxiety. It only requires for you to relax. Highly trained facilitators help you learn to recognise the triggers and how to manage them. This may help you take back control of your life. And you may notice an improvement after the first session. With some simple changes to your life, and with practice, you can learn to cope better.
If childhood trauma is affecting your life negatively, it is time to turn it around. Time to do something positive. Seek help. Take back control. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start taking good care of your mental health. And get back to enjoying life.
If childhood trauma causes you to struggle with life as an adult, reach out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us. We can talk to you about how to get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my special introductory offer for just $49 (private health rebates apply) so you learn to control the effects of trauma. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges and to help you deal with childhood trauma that affects your life as an adult. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects so you start to take control and enjoy life again.
Let me Help Alleviate the Effects of Childhood Trauma
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people for more than a decade. My aim is to help manage the memories that haunt you so you may start to feel better. This can give you a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years.
Book a free 25-minute telehealth consultation with Brain Wellness Spa founder, Terri Bowman. Or discover a seamless way that may help you manage your emotional and mental health by becoming a member. It will give you access to more than 75 audio programs that may help you to live an inspired life.
What are you waiting for? Try us now. You have nothing to lose.