Many people do not know if they have gone through childhood trauma or not. What comes to mind when you hear “childhood trauma”? People say, “Time heals everything”, but I want to say time does not heal trauma, time only numbs your feeling, and it is not the same as healing.
I have seen people who have waited for time to heal but the past keeps chasing them and bringing back hurts. When you are traumatized as a child from your past, it lives deep inside you, it is not something that can be squashed and put under the carpet. These memories are ingrained into your system and it influences one’s relationships and self-esteem.
Sigmund Freud a psychologist explains that we have a compulsion to repeat events if we try not to heal. When people say, “but we turned out okay” I ask, “at what expense?”. We will look at some childhood trauma, the causes of trauma and what effect they have on us even in the present.
What Then is Childhood Trauma?
It is the physical, sexual, emotional abuse, it involves domestic violence against children. Many of what I share is not limited to my personal experience but also including my experience with working with diverse parents. There are some stories I cannot share based on confidentiality, but I will paint pictures that will help pass across the message.
We need to understand that trauma is real, one-time event can take its toll on your child and have a lifelong effect on him or her. This event may not be directly done to your child, for instance it could be your child witnessing domestic violence.
The three E’s of trauma are what characterize trauma and they are: Events, Experiences and Effect.
Causes of Childhood Trauma:
1. Physical abuse:
People justify flogging or beating a child as discipline; however, the child’s brain sees every form of physical pain as same. The same way a child’s brain processes physical abuse is the same way it processes this so called “discipline” the child cannot understand the difference.
I need to disabuse the mindset that you need to flog your child for your child to turn out well. There are alternative and more effective tools that can guide you to help your child through misbehaviors. Many times, the anger emotion actually use/loose a parent and he or she does not know the point to stop his or herself. At the start you may have a justifiable reason for flogging your child, but how to do determine when to stop is the problem. This is usually the situation when the anger emotions take over and one cannot think through the process. It is important to think through your process rather than react to something.
2. Trans-Generational Trauma
Sometimes, people experience trans-generational effects of trauma, where certain effects of trauma have been sent from one generation to another. If a father or mother has suffered trauma in the past, they will act out on this trauma and transfer that trauma to their children. A lot of our parents who experienced war were traumatized, and it resulted in them believing it was okay to be harsh on children. Parents who have actually had traumatic experience might actually find it difficult to be fully there for their children. A parent who has not healed from trauma cannot help their children.
3. Sexual Abuse
Your past is not going to just die, if you have been sexually abused in the past and you have not been able to speak about it, deal with it or undergo therapy then you will struggle. A person who has been sexually abused or molested should seek help irrespective of how far back it happened because it can result in adverse childhood effect.
4. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is a thing, and it includes a range of things and situations such as: being shamed for not being able to do what we were expected to do like bedwetting. The truth is that we will carry the voices of our parents in our head for years to come. If you were abused emotionally and you were told hurtful things that you were not meant to hear, you need help. What exactly are you speaking to your children? Nobody will remember the yelling you yell because your words are not heard. No one will remember the flogging because when time comes for your child to choose, they will choose from your words that made sense to them. Many times, parent’s words do not make sense or meaning to their children because they are full of abuse and emotions. You need to understand that for your words to have meaning to you children, they need to be graced not empty.
5. Neglect/Unavailable Parents
A lot of people were neglected when growing up because their parents were too busy. A child wo was neglected growing up will have trust issues. it is important to deal with being neglected as a child rather than ignore it or suppress it.
6. Sibling Rivalry
Sibling rivalry causes trauma that people need to deal with. Some siblings do not talk to each other as a result of rivalries that happen at childhood, if that is you, you need to talk about it and deal with it. Childhood memories do not go away, they follow you everywhere.
7. Childhood Illness
Going through pain as a result of illness as a child, being in and out of the hospital can actually be traumatic for a child as well.
8. Learning Disability
People who had difficulty reading and writing in childhood can carry this traumatic experience into adulthood as well.
How does Trauma affect you as an adult?
If a person does not deal with traumatic experiences, he or she carries it into adulthood via what is called the inner child. These experiences live in our adulthood and show themselves in some symptoms. Psychologists say that 80% of what you do comes from your subconscious and your subconscious is formed in your childhood. Most of the things we do is a carry-over from our childhood, the inner child always shows up in our adult life.
Some other Symptoms shown in adulthood as a result of childhood trauma include:
• Low self-esteem: People struggle with low self-esteem when they have had a traumatic childhood. Some are not able to confidently speak to others or even their children, they do not feel good enough to do things.
• The fear of being judged by others: where people are always afraid of what people think.
• Constant attempt to please people by not being able to say No to people. When parents love children conditionally, they are passing cross the message that they have to always please people.
• Constant Anger, Emotional Outburst and Frustration: If everything your children do, trigger a parent to react harshly, the parent may still be dealing with childhood trauma.
• Difficulty in trusting people: Some people lie though childhood as a coping mechanism for their traumatic experiencing. Such people find it difficult to trust others.
• Feeling isolated and not wanting to be around people
• Other Symptoms also include Depression, Anxiety and fear, Lost of interest and overeating.
• Childhood trauma impacts health via different diseases such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, asthma
Childhood trauma shows up in different ways, you need to take a step back and think through your process ask yourself how your childhood experiences influences you now.
We need to deal with childhood trauma to be able to move on. Over the years, what people did was to develop coping mechanism such as lying, learnt helplessness, etc.
People make sentences like: “it is what I can do”, “why can’t I do it?” I have always said that “You cannot give what you do not have”, this saying is even more critical and applicable in parenting journey.
You can join our upcoming Course: “Healing From Childhood Trauma”
Register here: https://selar.co/Healingcourse
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