How to Recognize If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You as An Adult (& How to Heal)

How to Recognize If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You as An Adult (& How to Heal)

Sometimes the past doesn't stay in its proper place.

It may surprise you if you went through childhood trauma that the issues you dealt with as a youngster are still bothering you today.

You could be concerned that your traumatic upbringing would affect your happiness, relationships, or perhaps other aspects of your professional life. Perhaps you are unsure about how to begin learning how to heal.

Recently, you haven't felt like yourself. And you've been wondering: Do you have unresolved trauma from your youth? You assumed it had ended.

Nevertheless, may your childhood trauma be affecting your adult life and giving you the impression that everything is upside down? If so, why now, then?

"Why now?" undoubtedly seems like a million-dollar question. You've made an effort to advance. even frequently effectively blotted it out.

Yet recently, your anxiety has returned. occasionally on the edge of panic. Feelings of depression are starting to dominate. You could even feel like hiding out in a shell.

How might your trauma be unresolved? What’s this about?

What is unresolved trauma?

Perhaps you've heard the term "unresolved trauma," but what does it actually mean? You have persuaded yourself that it is all behind you and that you have moved on. Is that not enough?

Perhaps you've also had treatment. How could you possibly still be in pain?

Being traumatized as a child haunts you for the rest of your life. Even to the point of becoming imprinted in your bones.

Even if you dismiss the memories or aren't even aware of them, they are still deeply ingrained in your physical symptoms, your difficulty in relationships, and your low self-esteem.

Many traumatized children believe they have always been on their own, therefore they make every effort to handle their difficulties on their own.

The problem is that doing all by yourself gets you so far. Because of this, the most severe effects of childhood trauma typically stay "unresolved".

You could ask: “Even if I’ve had therapy?”

Sadly, yes. To get to the root of your formative experiences, you need a therapist who specializes in treating childhood trauma, which is something that many therapists lack.

There is no magic solution for handling unresolved childhood trauma. Your own experiences have affected you in your own unique way.

Regrettably, the root reasons for your childhood trauma are still being ignored. Such indications can go away for a while. Yet, stress that agitates your emotions or an event that comes dangerously close to triggering a former traumatic event may cause you to revisit the first experiences.

Why “the past” isn’t always the past

Although your trauma is technically "in the past," you can't truly move past traumatic events that happened to you as a child unless you fully comprehend how they continue to influence your present-day relationships, experiences, and symptoms.

We have a "compulsion to repeat," according to Freud, even when we strive not to. Because of this, you can find yourself in relationships that make you think of ones that once caused you trauma.

Your symptoms or habits could manifest in a variety of ways. Once more, these are very specific to you. The past is never simply the past, and that is what matters.

Your childhood trauma may continue to be "unresolved" until you have received assistance figuring out precisely how the roots of your past are still present in the present.

What causes trauma in childhood?

Trauma can sometimes be quite visible, such as in cases of physical or sexual assault. But there are other forms of childhood trauma that you might not even recognize as trauma.

Neglect is also traumatic, as is the death of a parent, a serious childhood illness, a learning disability that made you question your abilities, having too many siblings, a detached, emotionally unavailable, or anxious parent, or even your parent's own childhood trauma.

One or more of the following may have affected you: neglect, parent loss, severe childhood illness, learning disability, too many siblings, emotionally distant, or anxious parents, your parents had childhood trauma.

Childhood neglect refers to not having your emotional or physical needs met. This can be a result of your parents being overwhelmed and preoccupied.

Or because one or both of them have a mental disorder, which makes them want you to act as the "parent," look after the other children, or perform a lot more household chores than any youngster should.

Whatever the reason, your desires for nurturing and care were ignored, disregarded, or met with a tremendous deal of resentment. Never should a parent take advantage of their child for their own purposes.

The physical and emotional requirements of a child should come first. If yours didn't, you were ignored.

Early in life, losing a parent to death or abandonment is traumatic. No matter how well-cared-for you were by other family members or your parent who is still alive, this type of loss is profound.

The loss lives on much more strongly within you if it wasn't acknowledged, heard, or permitted. You required a moment to grieve, and perhaps you still do.

Because you too early discovered that a required loved one could vanish or be taken away. You develop a fear of losing.

This is a vulnerable moment, even if your parent passed away while you were in your early 20s. Because closeness and need imply the possibility of loss, you can fear becoming close.

Most unresolved childhood trauma impairs one's self-worth and creates anxiety.

As a child, did you suffer a serious illness? If so, you were probably hospitalized or isolated at home.

You were cut off from customary social interactions, which undoubtedly made you feel lonely and perhaps even self-conscious about your differences.

Because of it, you could now feel less socially secure and unsure of where you fit in.

Hospitalization also means separation from parents, frequently fear, and often traumatizing medical procedures. This can leave you with anxiety that persists

It helps if you had strong emotional ties to your parents and they were readily available and encouraging. Otherwise, you can now experience insecurity in significant connections.

If you had learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, ADHD, or any other learning disorder, you probably felt different or unfavorably compared yourself to the other kids.

If learning issues went untreated and you didn't receive enough support, it can be very challenging to live with them. Even incredibly smart children eventually come to believe that they are not at all smart.

Your self-image is greatly impacted by this. You might have put a lot of effort into getting better and better while battling obstacles outside of your control. Or perhaps you gave up and caved.

Either you are still too perfectionistic or you always try to please others while never feeling satisfied. Or you feel always behind and cannot progress.

Even if you believe your learning issues have been resolved, they can still affect you.

Are you one of many children in your family? Did you feel as though there was never enough for everyone? It frequently occurs in households with many kids.

Particularly if you were all born near to one another, resources are limited. In particular, if your mother was tired, stressed, and preoccupied with the siblings who seemed to always need more.

Or, if you were the oldest, you would be expected to look after the younger children.

Being a child among many siblings can be traumatic, despite how loving you might have thought your family was (or perhaps you didn't feel that way at all).

You might have felt lost in the crowd. Not heard or observed. pushed aside, excluded, and utterly by myself. A youngster could feel emotionally abandoned and unwanted as a result of this sibling relationship.

You might even believe that in order to be appreciated, you must put aside your needs or be the giver. You might also sense a profound longing for the love you think you can't and won't find.

When a mother is distant or unavailable, the impacts of having too many siblings are even more noticeable.

A parent who is unreachable is traumatic. Children require attention, validation, being held, and emotional support. As you wait, watch, and long to be heard, the impacts can endure a lifetime.

Perhaps you are wary of your wants and unsure of whether you will be loved. Perhaps you also learned to keep your distance and not have high expectations.

Maybe you had an anxious parent. One who was afraid, expected catastrophe, hid away from people, or was untrusting.

Without you even realizing it, your parent's anxiety can seep into your pores, leaving you traumatized, constantly worried, and suffering from the same anxieties.

A parent who was emotionally detached or anxious was likely traumatized as well.

Transgenerational trauma is unquestionably a thing!

It is passed down from parent to child, from unconscious mind to unconscious mind, if your mom or dad had a traumatic childhood that was also unresolved.

Children are vulnerable. You picked it up. You too were impacted.

Parents who experienced trauma continue to experience trauma. They frequently can't give you their whole attention or start to identify with the abuser who also abused them.

Or, if your parent(s) survived a terrible incident, like the Holocaust, the terror and unfathomable losses may continue to haunt them and you.

If these many sources of trauma go unresolved, their effects continue to live on and all can affect you long into your adulthood in a variety of different forms.

How does it affect you as an adult?

Even though you've made every effort to move on, there is still a traumatized child living inside of you, and this might cause childhood trauma to occasionally seep into your adult life.

This kid part of you still carries your trauma and suffering if you haven't had the correct kind of therapy or enough support to deal with your trauma.

Childhood trauma symptoms may appear when you are stressed, even if you aren't constantly aware of them. Or if anything that happens to you now serves as a conscious or unconscious reminder of something that happened to you when you were a child.

Your childhood trauma lives in your symptoms. Depression. Panic attacks. An eating disorder. Relationship fears, catastrophe anxieties, and obsessional worries.

You can have trouble trusting people, low self-esteem, fears of being judged, a relentless need to please others outbursts of frustration, or social anxiety symptoms that won’t let up.

Can childhood trauma be healed?

Yes, unresolved childhood trauma can be healed. Look for therapy with someone psychoanalytically or psychodynamically trained therapists.

  • A therapist who understands how childhood experiences, especially traumatic ones, affect adult life. Ask for multiple appointments to determine whether you sense empathic understanding. If not, keep searching.
  • It's crucial to have a secure therapy environment where you can develop trust.
  • Your therapist needs to understand and allow for your distrust at first.
  • All feelings need to be welcomed, supported, and acknowledged. These emotions could include terror, fear, deep sadness, and anger.
  • Your therapy must progress at your rate of choice. You shouldn't be forced, judged, or expected to go more quickly than you are capable of.

What you need is a sensitive, compassionate, and empathic response. The little traumatized child still living inside you has to feel seen and safe. Empathy, however, is not everything. Also, you require a person with expertise in how childhood trauma affects an individual's life. Someone who sees the very specific impacts on you.

You don't have to put up with the upsurge of symptoms that leak out in response to stress or unpleasant reminders. You will recover from unresolved childhood trauma when you receive this type of therapy and can give yourself the time you require.

The Client Journey PLLC was established to assist clients in comprehending the mental and emotional obstacles brought on by their early experiences. We can assist you to heal from your childhood trauma. We assist them in identifying the role that their upbringing has played in their overall development so that they can heal from their past, create a practical action plan for the future, and lead more fulfilling lives. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.