7 Ways Childhood Trauma Can Follow You into Adult Life
Today I want to talk about 7 of the ways childhood trauma can follow you into adulthood and why it’s so important to process and work through what you’ve been through so that your adult life isn’t affected in these ways, or at least the damage is limited.
I want to start by saying that whatever trauma you’ve been through or faced, whether that was in childhood or as an adult, overcoming trauma is heroic and no small task.
What happened is not your fault but it was real and impacts on you in real ways that have long-lasting effects on you.
Trauma can take on many different forms; verbal, physical, sexual, neglect, withdrawal of affection, bullying, poverty, being given too many responsibilities and so much more. And what one person experiences as traumatic may not impact on another person in the same way, and vice versa.
At the end of this post I’ll leave some signposts to crisis lines in the event that you need to speak to someone urgently and if the contacts I leave are not available in your country, I urge you to reach out to a service available in your part of the world that will offer you some support or someone to talk to if that’s what you need.
In this post, I cover some of the ways that childhood trauma can affect you in adulthood, but there are many other ways that it could and many other effects that you could be experiencing.
You might prefer to watch my YouTube video about it here:
Through identifying with any of the things I speak about below, I want you to bear in mind that all of this can be overcome and you no longer need to accept that the way you’ve been affected by what you experienced in childhood is permanent.
So if you do identify with any of this and you want to be free from the damage, I invite you to schedule a free call with me and we’ll discuss how the work I do will fundamentally transform things for you. I’ll leave a link for that at the end of the blog post.
Some of the ways childhood trauma follows you into adulthood:
1. Cripplingly negative self-talk.
Unfortunately, the things you experienced as a child become imprinted on you and become a part of your psyche and depending on the experience you had, you may have become programmed to believe that you’re not good enough and not worthy. If you’ve often enough heard others say nasty mean things about you or to you, that dialogue becomes the self-talk you play to yourself without even knowing it or being aware that it is happening.
2. You struggle to communicate about your needs or feelings.
If you grew up in a house where there was a lot of anger all the time, you may have become fearful of anger and have learnt that none of your emotional needs mattered so you bury your emotions instead of sharing them. You may struggle to communicate your needs or feelings because it was just not acceptable to do so when you were a child. It’s all learnt behaviour that has become ingrained and formed part of your survival technique as a child. While it may have served you as a child, as you grow up and attempt to form bonds and have relationships, you realise it is a real hindrance.
3. You don’t remember much of your childhood.
There are various parts of the brain that are responsible for repressing or blocking out traumatic memories, and that may be why you don’t have the ability to recollect memories from your childhood. It doesn’t mean that if you have vague memories from childhood, that you experienced trauma, but it is a possibility. Perhaps when you think about the past perhaps there seem to be lots of blanks in the memories that you can remember rather than a clear string of memories. You might get flashbacks to certain events, but not remember them totally. This makes it less easy to talk about the past, because you simply don’t remember it, which makes it less easy to connect with people and share things about your past again, because you simply don’t remember it.
4. You find yourself in toxic relationships.
Growing up in a home where dysfunction was frequent or ever-present, and where love and emotional support were not present, healthy bonds are a foreign concept. This can lead to all kinds of attachment issues, such as the anxious avoidant attachment style, where you want emotionally close relationships, but find it less easy to trust or depend on others. This can lead you to unconsciously seek out toxic relationships because they feel more familiar.
5. You avoid romantic relationships altogether.
Perhaps because you don’t feel able to trust others or you feel like you’re unworthy of love or that you can’t be loved. You may desire closeness and intimacy, but fear rejection. This creates all kinds of problematic relationship cycles and patterns because we unconsciously attract what we give our energy to or focus on, even if we are not consciously aware of it. So if we are unconsciously focusing on people who have broken our trust, hurt us and let us down, guess what kind of people and relationships we’ll be attracting? Exactly. So because there has been so much hurt in this area of life, relationships are completely avoided. Vulnerability is avoided because you’ve been hurt so much by people you once trusted.
6. Disruption in your emotional regulation.
Let’s call a spade a spade here. Trauma in childhood is responsible for so much of what we see in adults as poor mental health. You could end up feeling too much, which results in what could be diagnosed as depression or perhaps you’ve cut yourself off from feeling at all because it’s safer that way. And so you become numb. Maybe you fluctuate between the two. Or maybe one of the many other ways that poor mental health can effect us as adults is what you are experiencing.
7. You don’t know who you are.
When you’ve experienced childhood trauma, your identity is less easy to pin down and you feel disconnected to who you are. The crucial stages for the formation of our identity take place between the ages of 0-7, so if you experienced trauma during that age range, the impact on you and your understanding of yourself is likely to be profound.
So does this sound like you or someone that you know? If so, please reach out for support in overcoming these challenges. These are just some of the many ways that childhood trauma can folow you into adulthood.
The important thing to take away from reading this is that all of this can be overcome and you can truly heal from what hurt you. It is possible to overcome what you went through and it doesn’t need to rule the whole of your life. You can take your power back.
If you want to learn more about that, click on the link to schedule your free call with me today.
If it sounds like someone you know, please take a moment to share this post with them because they also need to know that it doesn’t have to be like this.
I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and change-makers, most of whom have experienced trauma in their childhood. We’ve all experienced trauma to one degree or other and my speciality is working with people who have experienced trauma and need to overcome it so that they can show up in the world in the way they want to; helping others, contributing to transforming the planet, living out their big goals and dreams.
Until you deal with and clean up the stuff that has happened in the past, unfortunately it will continue to impact on you at an unconscious level and will prevent you from having the life you dream of having.
If you feel distressed or disturbed by anything I’ve shared, here are some resources that will help and some helplines in case you need to speak to someone urgently:
And in the USA:
As a gift for you, here is my FREE audio programme which will help you to eliminate and re-programme negative self-talk, which will take you one step towards overcoming what you went through as the way we talk to ourselves is hugely responsible for the way we feel and the things we achieve in our lives.
Enjoy and I’d love to know how you got on with it, so come back and leave me a comment when you’ve downloaded and listened to it!
So please come back and leave me a comment. Can’t wait to hear from you!