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Childhood trauma: how to recognise it and overcome it

The past is never “just” the past: unhealed childhood trauma is very likely to follow us into adult life and affect our mental health deeply. Let's take a look at how to recognise traumatic stress, successfully overcome it and heal from traumatic events once and for all!


Lonely girl staring out the window as she overcomes childhood trauma

Have you ever caught yourself in a difficult stage of your life, justifying your frustration with quotes like “this is just who I am, I can't do anything about it”?!

Well, oftentimes, it's not you. It's your past unhealed self.


What triggers psychological childhood trauma?


Unresolved childhood trauma can be difficult to understand and manage. It's especially difficult if you're unaware that you're experiencing it in the first place. But if you are aware of your triggers, it's easier to avoid them. This sneaky enemy can occur in early childhood and linger into adulthood and can be more or less intense, arising from different situations, for example:

  • A traumatic event that threatens your safety

  • Physical and psychological abuse that, even if it has not turned into a real threat to your survival, can create serious damage to self-esteem and confidence

  • Micro-traumas, a series of small traumas or stressful events that follow one another and can cause the same symptoms as a traumatic event

  • Emotional traumas, such as stressful events that shatter your sense of security, leaving deep wounds.


Young child dealing with emotional distress and trauma

"Traumas and emotional wounds in childhood form the bulk of our emotions in adulthood. "


Common Signs of Unresolved Trauma

Even when we think we have no memories of traumatic situations, there are signs that will become noticeable in our daily life.


If you’re living with the emotional and psychological consequences of a traumatic childhood, don’t worry, it is more common than you think and the good news is, there is hope.


Here are some examples of the most common traumas and seven ways to heal from them and reclaim your life.


1. Fear of abandonment

People who have experienced abandonment or lack of support from a caregiver during childhood, tend to be insecure and develop an emotional dependency, based on the fear of being abandoned again.


Many people have this feeling of insecurity when it comes to close relationships. It might just be a fear of being left alone or getting abandoned, or some old wounds from childhood that need healing. There are many who feel like they can't connect emotionally, and they may shy away from intimacy.


2. Domestic violence

Culturally, we are used to considering some forms of violence or physical abuse in children, tolerable: a slap, for example. These are obviously minor cases compared to more serious cases of violence.


However, many studies have shown that any kind of violence against children, even the mildest, is not good at all for their mental health.


Violence teaches children to resolve their conflicts through conflict, not to deal with their outbursts of anger with verbal confrontation and to resolve their family conflicts according to the law of the strongest.


3. Rejection

Some parents reject their children for different reasons: maybe they are born at the wrong time, they were not expected, they look exactly like one of their parents, etc.


The constant rejection of a child will create a process of self-rejection in him. This emotional pain from the past will spill over into adulthood, triggering a feeling of inadequacy to cope with life, work, school and even romantic relationships.


4. The wound of humiliation

This type of trauma is more typical than ever and can arise both within the walls of the home and outside, affecting deeply our mental health.


Humiliation a buildup or a single instance of a childhood traumatic event that has to do with children constantly being subjected to situations such as teasing and disqualification, both at school and at home. Future adults who suffer these humiliations will grow up with a strong tendency towards depression, low self-esteem, traumatic stress, and ultimately, substance abuse.


5. Emotional or physical neglect

Emotional neglect is usually generated by a lack of interest in a person's emotional state, for what they feel, for the emotional impact that what goes on around them may have on their internal states, which are not recognised and which are not acted upon in order to modulate them by bringing relief.



Childhood trauma is more common than you think. You are not alone

How to overcome past traumas

As with all events in our lives, to overcome past traumas, the first step is to recognise that we have a problem and accept what we are experiencing. By doing so, we can begin to process what has happened to us to try to overcome past traumas.


There are some traumas that we often manage to process and overcome on our own as we get older, but others that might need therapy to be sorted out.


1. Acknowledge and recognise the trauma for what it is

Don’t minimise, or pretend it didn’t happen. The only way you can begin healing is to acknowledge that a traumatic event did actually occur and that you were not responsible for it.


2. Reclaim control

When you’re a victim of traumatic events, the past is in control of your present. But when you’ve conquered your pain, you are in control of the present.


Increasing your emotions awareness affects your judgment and will help you navigate life with greater confidence. While exploring these inner thoughts and emotions may take some effort, being more self-aware will help you keep grounded by slowing down your thinking process.

For example, try this next time you feel angry with yourself: stop whatever it is that you are doing and ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Are you pressuring yourself too much? Maybe your beliefs and expectations need some adjusting.


Take some time to pause and meditate, start taking slow deep breaths and observe the situation from an external point of view. Can you see what brought you to the outburst?


3. Look for support and don’t isolate yourself

Talk to a specialist, friend, or family member and consider joining a support group. Talking to a mental health professional, a healer or a community can help you in your healing journey towards mental and physical health.


4. Learn the true meaning of acceptance

Letting go doesn’t mean “poof!” it’s magically gone. It means no longer allowing your bad memories and feelings of a bad childhood rob you of a good life in the present.


5. Replace bad habits with good ones

Bad habits can be hard to break, especially when they’re used as crutches to help you avoid reliving the pain and trauma of your childhood. The right healer can help you with the necessary tools to break your bad habits and replace them with good ones.


The first step to change your habits (positive and negative) is to know yourself more. It may sound trivial but many of us automatically carry out habits we have formed over the years. Despite the fact that these affect us negatively, we do not bother trying to eliminate the problem, but think that it is just something we have to put up with. You kind of do, don't you?


6. Be patient with yourself and honour your progress

Rome was not made in a day, but often we forget that.


We almost always claim to be able to make big, drastic changes quickly, ignoring the fact that change is frightening, even positive change.


No matter how small it may seem, it’s the little victories in your healing journey that will eventually help you win the battle of healing your childhood trauma. You got this!


7. Find support in the Finding Healers community

At Findinghealers.com, we are all about supporting our community! Feel free to join us on our forums, chat rooms, and Facebook groups. Browse the site for health tips, live events, online meditations, yoga sessions and much more. And don't forget to sign up for the newsletter!


Whenever you are ready to take the next step in your healing process, remember that our healers are just one click away. Check out our full directory of coaches and healers here.


Conclusion

If you have a deep-rooted issue from anything in your childhood, write about it. It's great to use writing as a method for self-expression and personal growth. It's not a great idea to avoid therapy and just take trips down memory lane. If you have past trauma, psychological fear or feelings of inadequacy, you may feel as if your problems are not important to others, but we assure you, that we care, the people in your life care, and even just one brave conversation with a trusted friend, family member or professional is a huge step towards a future that you will be proud of.


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Great article, thank you Wade.

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