8 Signs Of Unresolved Childhood Trauma video
Few things mark an individual as much as having experienced childhood trauma. No stage in a person's life is as intense, nor as vulnerable, as childhood. The experiences of our childhood have a decisive weight on our personality and our way of feeling and acting. Therefore, when we suffer a trauma in our childhood, it can have an enormous weight throughout our lives.
As in adulthood, the reasons that can lead to childhood trauma are many. However, it is not necessary to resort to the most extreme cases, such as violence or sexual abuse , to speak of childhood trauma; These traumas can be caused by many other reasons, such as lack of roots or affection.
Like all traumas, these are psychological injuries that permanently damage the unconscious. It would therefore be a strong and lasting emotional damage, which comes to mark the personality of the individual. In this sense, many people are not even aware of the existence of such traumas. And this happens even despite the fact that they may be seriously affecting the quality of personal life.
For these reasons, it is of great importance to detect and treat these traumas early. In the case of children, to avoid that they end up affecting them in their adulthood; and in the case of adults, to solve an existing problem.
What is the cause of childhood trauma?
A trauma is a purely subjective element, totally variable depending on the individual in question. What may be a traumatic event for one person may be inconsequential for another. The way in which we face different situations is therefore variable depending on our circumstances and personal capacities. Similarly, some people can quickly overcome trauma, while others find it impossible.
This situation of subjectivity is even more evident in the case of children. This means that a minor can experience a certain experience as traumatic, even if adults do not perceive it that way. This is due, logically, to the fact that the child has fewer tools and abilities to deal with their emotions . An example would be a divorce ; While parents can turn the page and start a new relationship, the minor only knows that his family has been destroyed.
As we have already explained, a trauma occurs as a reaction to a threatening or stressful situation . In this context, as children are more insecure, they are exposed to more potentially traumatic situations. Therefore, we can find multiple situations that give rise to childhood trauma, such as:
- Having suffered an accident or mishap.
- Being the object of bullying .
- Being abused or mistreated .
- Living in an unstructured family.
- Lack of attachment to parents.
- Divorce or breakdown of the parents' marriage.
- Grief or loss of a loved one.
- Situations of discrimination or in which you feel different (for example, racial exclusion or poverty)
- Sudden medical illness or disease.
What are the main symptoms of childhood trauma?
One of the main consequences of childhood trauma in adulthood is emotional coldness; Those who have gone through this experience tend to become distant, cold and not very empathetic. Or, at other times, just the opposite happens. In these cases, dependency patterns tend to develop , whether on a partner, friend or relative. There are also frequent sequelae such as the lack of emotional control, the need for approval or the fear of loneliness. In short, it is about the usual consequences of disorders related to attachment, security and self-esteem .
However, it would be desirable to be able to address and fix these problems before they reach adulthood. This means that, if we detect and repair a possible trauma in time, we will avoid the appearance of the aforementioned consequences . This is why it is so important to identify the existence of a traumatic experience as soon as possible . However, this is not always easy, as the child may not express his true emotions.
For this reason, it may be important to remain alert to behaviors of the minor that may indicate possible trauma. Some of these signs are the following:
- Difficulty controlling emotions, outbursts of anger or sudden and uncontrolled crying.
- Feeling sad, blue or depressed .
- Confused, disorganized or difficult to concentrate attitude.
- State of anxiety or nervousness, difficulty staying still.
- Rejection of school or social inhibition , even from friends.
- Feeling of fear, even of apparently harmless issues or previously unafraid
- Changes or disturbances in sleep patterns .
- Changes or alterations in eating patterns .
- Excessive response to shocks or unforeseen events.
Are there different types of childhood trauma?
As we have explained, a trauma is by definition a totally subjective problem. It essentially depends on how a person has lived a certain experience. Therefore, there can be an infinite number of different types of trauma, as many as there are people. However, when we talk about childhood trauma, we do find a series of cases that are more common than others. In this context, some problems occur with some frequency, which makes them the most common traumas. Some of these are as follows:
It can occur due to multiple circumstances, since in childhood the feeling of helplessness is constant. In this sense, the child is afraid when faced with a situation that he perceives as threatening and does not feel supported. These types of circumstances can lead to excessive fear of these same situations; thus, gradually, faced with the same stimulus, a growing fear is experienced.
When children begin to mature, they begin to build a personal self-image. It is about the perception they have of themselves, and to what extent they value themselves. This is, ultimately, the basis of self-esteem.
When you are developing this self-esteem, it is essential to have the approval of the reference figures. It is this approval that will increase or decrease the child's perception of his own worth. Therefore, when the minor feels that he is being rejected by these reference figures, he is seriously damaged. If this feeling of rejection occurs repeatedly, it can lead to serious trauma.
The trauma of abandonment is somewhat similar to that of rejection. In this case, it is not so much that the child does not feel approved, but rather indifferent. If the minor has not been able to develop a healthy attachment to his parents or friends, an affective deficit is generated. This type of deficiency usually manifests itself later with diverse needs, such as insecurity or emotional dependence.
We speak of humiliation when there is a denigration or offense to a person. It is, therefore, a serious attack on the dignity of a person. Humiliation is somewhat similar to rejection, in that it involves a loss of self-esteem. However, here we speak of a more serious assumption, since not only the victim's self-esteem is attacked, but also a feeling of shame is generated .
The feeling of humiliation is one of the most difficult for a person to bear. Therefore, if it is already difficult for an adult to cope with, it is almost unbearable for a child. This means that children who have suffered humiliation in a systematic way can develop trauma. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the sequelae to lead to aggressive or despotic attitudes towards other people; With these behaviors, the affected person tries to inflict the same humiliation on other people in order to feel less insecure.
Children develop from a very young age a sense of how to relate to the external world. An important part of this behavior involves social norms, based on what is acceptable and what is not. For them, everything that involves giving each person what is due is acceptable.
When a child feels that he is not being given what he deserves, he generates the feeling of injustice. Obviously, this is a subjective element, depending on the scale of values with which you have been educated. Thus, there are tyrannical children who believe they deserve everything, and others who do not have that self-perception. Be that as it may, the feeling of injustice occurs when the child, for some reason, understands that he is not being given what is right for him. These types of circumstances can lead to traumas related to personal insecurity, where they do not believe they deserve anything. Or, on other occasions, to despotic attitudes in which the notion of acting justly is completely lost.
Here we also find betrayal traumas. Here we talk about those cases in which the minor feels that he has been treated disloyally. This, of course, is all the more serious the closer the relationship with the person who betrays you. With this type of trauma, there are usually consequences in the ability to trust other people and establish emotional ties. This often leads to social problems or even serious emotional disorders.
Mistreatment and abuse
Traumas from mistreatment or abuse are possibly the most serious and difficult to treat. Some people live in childhood situations in which they are subjected to psychological, physical or sexual abuse; this is generally one of the most traumatic experiences a child can experience. Depending on the type of abuse, how long it has lasted, or who has done it, the trauma will be more or less serious.
How can childhood trauma be treated?
To overcome a childhood trauma, the first and most important step is to deal with it. This is an essential requirement to understand what really happened and prevent it from continuing to affect our lives.
Traumas are events that have produced a strong emotional impact, so they cannot be rationally solved. This means that it is necessary to assimilate how the events of the past influence our emotions, and learn how to manage them. In this process, a psychologist is a guide who can guide us at each stage of the journey. Its first task is to make us see the very existence of the trauma, of which we are often not aware. Later, we will work on the assimilation that we have no responsibility, since it was not in our power to avoid it. From there, you can work on feelings of guilt and shame, which are common in these cases.
A final step in treatment is understanding how past events affect our present lives. This will allow us to understand why we act in a certain way, which will allow us to modify our behavior. Thus, little by little, we will recover our personal well-being and we will take back the reins of our daily life. At the end of the process, the trauma will not be forgotten, it will always be there; However, it will not influence our lives, we will have processed what happened and we will be able to completely eliminate the consequences it left behind.
It will be, in a way, like a scar: we know we had a wound, and there will always be a sign, but nevertheless it will no longer hurt or prevent us from developing a full and satisfying life.
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