Experiencing trauma in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. When childhood trauma is not resolved, a sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.
Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety, including:
An unstable or unsafe environment
Separation from a parent
Intrusive medical procedures
Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma
People react in different ways to trauma, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond, so don’t judge your own reactions or those of other people. Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.
Two things stand out to me here. One, as another article I blogged about recently stated, it’s not just physical abuse that causes trauma in childhood, so we should be looking at of the causes of trauma and how they leave children at risk for more trauma into adulthood because of a lack of skills to deal with stressful situations.
Second, everyone’s responses to trauma are different. That’s why I hate when survivors of child abuse start comparing stories and symptoms as if there’s some sort of “normal” reaction to child abuse. Of course there is no “normal” reaction, there’s nothing normal about being abused as a child, and there’s no one way to heal or overcome that abuse.
But healing and overcoming is possible.