Children are highly resilient. Actually, they bounce back from any situation. That is why you can see them crying one minute and the next one they’re busy outside playing with their friends. Still, some experiences are so severe that they leave them feeling helpless and with emotional scars.
Childhood traumatic events are anything that disrupts their security and safety. They’re things with long-lasting effects if left unresolved as they get into adulthood. These include sexual, verbal, and physical abuse, bullying, domestic violence, neglect, separation from a parent, intrusive medical procedures, serious illness, and an unstable environment.
Many adults are living with emotional and psychological consequences resulting from a traumatic childhood. Most of these have ruined their happiness, personal relationships, and to some extent, professional life.
Are you one of them, and are you wondering where you can start or learn how to heal? If so, you’re not alone because some people with childhood trauma leak into their lives even as adults. Therefore, don’t withdraw into a shell. The article will review the subject – how can I find myself after a childhood trauma?
Let’s get started.
Can I Fully Recover from Childhood Trauma?
Yes. You can recover from any childhood trauma; however, it’s hard. Healing from childhood trauma is indeed a life-long process. It’s a journey that starts by healing the mind, body, physical and emotional symptoms.
Traumatic events alter your life and soul forever. They can cause you to develop serious psychological and emotional disorders for many years to come. To some extent, the experiences can change who you’re, damage your ability to foster care, or even nurture healthy relationships several years after the event.
The childhood stage is a critical developmental stage. Experiencing trauma at this stage can hold you back causing you to build walls that make it harder for you to heal. Because of that, healing childhood injuries and harms is one of the hardest projects to engage in. However, it’s important to engage in it as early as possible because this creates the life you want.
So if you’re still asking, can I fully recover from childhood trauma? The answer is yes. Here is how you can bravely face your traumatic childhood experiences one step at a time until you achieve full recovery.
How Do I Get Over a Traumatic Childhood Experience?
Children respond differently after a traumatic event. There are some who return to their normal state of functioning after a relatively shorter period. Others take a lot of time and intervention, but they eventually heal. Still, there are some who don’t heal and, as a result, develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). The latter group re-experiences the trauma over and over again, although in their mind. In fact, such individuals avoid situations that remind them of the event.
Here is what you can do if you’re one of those struggling with the emotional and psychological consequences of a traumatic event that happened when growing up. These simple steps can help you to reclaim your life.
Recognize and acknowledge the trauma: Don’t minimize or dismiss the event. Spending your years pretending that it didn’t happen will not happen. At times it may cause you to succumb to self-blame or guilt. However, acknowledging that it happened and you were not responsible for it will help you start healing.
Regain control of your life: Now that you have accepted that the traumatic event happened, start to reclaim control of your life. You can do that by rejecting the notion that you’re helpless and not acting like a perpetual victim. In fact, you should avoid making decisions out of your past pain because this is giving the past control of your present life. Dropping all the defenses you used to respond to the traumatic event will extinguish any battle between your past and present.
Avoid isolating yourself: Trauma survivors tend to isolate themselves, which makes things worse. Connecting with people is a step towards recovery. Therefore maintain your relationship with your family members and friends. You can go a step further and talk to a counselor, trusted friend, ad family member. Join a support group for childhood trauma survivors when speaking to someone close to you becomes hard.
Maintain your health: Eat a well-balanced diet, engage in physical exercises regularly and have plenty of rest. Avoid seeking temporary relief from alcohol and drugs because they will worsen your trauma symptoms.
Cultivate positive habits: The traumatic experience might cause you to cultivate negative habits such as mistrust, disrespect, rudeness, negativity, revenge, and much more. They may force you to turn to alcohol and drugs when you feel down and want to relieve your pain. Instead of taking that route, culture good habits such as kindness, patience, generosity, forgiving, etc. In fact, joining a support group can help you nurture these qualities.
Appreciate your progress: The journey towards complete healing after a traumatic event requires a lot of time, hard work, patience, among others. Therefore appreciate the little victories that you’re making. This little progress will lead to success as you achieve a complete win from the battle of your childhood trauma
What Happens If Childhood Trauma is Not Resolved?
As mentioned above a childhood trauma can have a severe and long-lasting effect. It can lead to a sense of helplessness and fear when you leave it unresolved. This will go with you into adulthood and set a stage for additional trauma.
For instance, what can happen to you when you get involved in an accident and fail to seek treatment? The same happens when you suffer emotional trauma, which has a similar painful wound to a physical body. Emotional injuries need care and attention to help them heal as well.
In fact, unresolved wounds can lead to unconducive behaviors that hinder happy intimacy. As your emotional wounds continue to fester, you may start to treat yourself negatively. This behavior may spill into your relationships with others.
If your parent neglected you or you felt abandoned when growing up, you may start to feel rejected or powerless when your spouse comes home late. This may contribute to constant disagreements with your spouse.
Additional symptoms of unresolved trauma are:
- Feelings of shame, worthlessness, low self-esteem, and numb negative emotions
- Chronic depression
- Uncontrollable anger
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and dissociation
- Eating disorders and other addictions
- Unable to tolerate conflicts
- Avoidance of unpleasant emotions and places, hypervigilance
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
What Does Childhood Trauma Look Like in Adults?
You might feel that something is not right when you talk to someone of the other gender or when you visit certain places. Next, you might wonder whether something happened that makes you feel that way. Could this be signs of repressed childhood trauma?
Childhood trauma causes issues in adults when they remain unresolved. No matter how your brain tries to push that memory down to the unconscious for you to continue thriving, these issues will keep on rising from time to time, even without you realizing it.
Here are signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults.
Feeling off about certain people: You might feel a strong unexplained reaction about someone you might for the first time. The reason is that your brain tells you that the stranger is not a good person and you’re unsafe around. You may get into a protective stance or decide to leave the situation without any particular reason. However, the reason is that the person reminds you of an individual that caused your childhood trauma.
Fluctuating emotions: Individuals struggling with repressed childhood trauma have a strong emotional battle. You might get quickly offended or upset by other people’s actions or become fearful. The next hour you’re relaxed and cheerful. This indicates that something subconsciously reminded you of your past painful events.
Childish behaviors and reactions: Displaying moments of immaturity or frequent childish outbursts shows you’re coping with an adverse experience. These include speaking in a child-like voice, throwing tantrums, or being stubborn about petty things.
Attachment issues: These include fear of abandonment or rejection due to developmental disruptions resulting from the traumatic experience. You display this by getting highly emotional or upset when saying goodbye. For instance, you may feel lonely or upset when your spouse attends an evening outing with friends, or a buddy goes out of town.
Unable to cope with everyday events: Many things can stress you as an adult. They include family responsibilities, work, school work, traveling, traffic jams, etc. A person struggling with unresolved childhood trauma may lash out or hide when encountering stressful everyday events. They may start to throw tantrums as a coping mechanism.
How Do I Know I Have Healed from Trauma?
Healing from toxic childhood experiences doesn’t mean you’re good as new. In fact, that is what many people view healing as; restoring something to an undamaged state. This is comparable to repairing a painting. While you can’t return the object to the original condition it was before the damage, you can transform it. Indeed Japanese use precious metals such as gold, silver, or copper to repair a cherished ceramic object which helps it retain the old self and acquire a newly envisioned beauty.
Here are signs that you’re progressing well.
· Manage negative emotions well
Growing up in a toxic environment where you were mocked, shamed, or bullied, might cause issues managing negative emotions. But you show signs of healing from childhood trauma when you can control negative emotions well. Further, you become incredibly strong, courageous, loving, and resilient as you heal.
· Acknowledge the life-changing moment
Accepting that you went through a traumatic childhood and the impact it had on you can help you heal. That means you no longer live in denial of that experience or suppress the thoughts; instead, accept yourself. You also appreciate how the world has shifted from that point.
· Don’t blame or criticize yourself
A toxic childhood experience causes you to always ascribe mistakes to yourself. It causes you to practice habits such as self-blame and self-criticism. However, when you stop fearing confrontation and start to view mistakes and failures in a complex manner shows you’re on your way to recovery. That means you start seeing the role of others, yours, and other factors when mistakes arise.
· Less sensitive to slights and rejections
People with anxious preoccupied attachment tend to drive others away because of too much drama in their lives and relationships. However, talking yourself down when you perceive rejection or slight is a sign of healing.
· Taking care of yourself
People who have ever experienced childhood trauma tend to have fear, doubts, shame, grief, stress, and much more. Their nervous system is ever on a flight or fight mode. However, a person recovering from these bad memories tends to take care of themselves by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and thinking positively.
· Welcoming support
This involves accepting help from psychotherapists, friends, and family helps you to share the burden with someone you can trust or understand your pain. Such an attitude doesn’t come easily, so it’s a sign of dedication and courage.
Many people who have experienced traumatic childhood have recovered from such memories. As a result, many others ask, how can I find myself after childhood trauma? The article has reviewed how you can recover from various negative experiences because they will affect your future if you leave them unresolved.
Therefore don’t minimize your childhood trauma. Instead, seek help and start working on your recovery. You can share your experience with us on how you won the battle of a traumatic childhood.
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