Childhood trauma is more common than many people think. However, many people who experience it—especially at a very young age—try to repress those memories or forget about them as a defense mechanism.
That can work for a while. There are many functioning adults who had to deal with childhood trauma and haven’t had any major issues because they’ve repressed those memories.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work forever. Even if you think it is, there are often some telltale signs of childhood trauma that eventually start coming through in your behaviors and mental well-being.
If you’re willing to admit that you think you may have experienced childhood trauma, you’ve already taken the first step toward healing.
However, you might be asking yourself… what now?
Recognize How It’s Affecting You
Chances are, if you think you may have experienced trauma as a child, you’ve started to notice some unusual signs and symptoms. Some of the most common include:
- Low self-esteem
- Trust issues
- The constant need to please others
- Fear of being judged
If any of these problems sound familiar, you’re not alone. However, it’s important to pay attention to them, rather than trying to ignore them. While they can be signs of other things, they all link to childhood trauma and can impact your overall quality of life.
Take a break whenever you’re feeling one of these symptoms. Pause, and take stock of how it affects you. If you don’t try to process those feelings, your shame and guilt can become worse, and you’ll risk stepping into a cycle of negative thought patterns that can lead to anxiety and depression.
Recognize the Types of Trauma
Even if you’re experiencing symptoms, you might be tempted to brush them off. Or, you might think what you experienced as a child wasn’t “officially” a type of trauma.
Most of us tend to view trauma as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. While those are definitely some of the biggest forms of trauma, there are many other subgenres that fall beneath them, including:
- Witnessing a sudden death
- Emotional Neglect
- Violence in the household
If you experienced or even witnessed any of these things as a child, you went through trauma. Your feelings and experiences are valid, and they shouldn’t be ignored or swept under the rug.
How to Heal From Childhood Trauma
Once you recognize that you experienced trauma as a child, it’s important to start healing. Even as an adult, finding ways to break free from those childhood chains is imperative.
First, be patient with yourself. If a close friend or family member admitted to you that they struggle with the effects of childhood trauma, how would you respond? Chances are, you would show compassion and kindness. Make sure to do the same with yourself.
Second, reach out for help. Dealing with childhood trauma as an adult can be overwhelming, and there are a lot of complex issues to work through.
While leaning on family members and friends for support is never a bad idea, it’s usually even more beneficial to talk to a mental health professional like a therapist or counselor. There, you’ll be able to get to the root cause of your trauma (no matter how difficult it may be). Once you’ve dug up the past, your therapist can help you develop the skills to manage your symptoms and rediscover who you are without the weight of your trauma holding you down.
If you think you may have experienced childhood trauma, don’t wait another day to get the help you deserve. Contact me for more information or to set up an appointment.