Adult survivors of childhood trauma
“The past is the past, leave it there and move on”. If only it was as simple as that.
Childhood trauma refers to something that is violent, frightening and can be life threatening in the life of a child. This can include incidents of sexual abuse, witnessing violence, being the victim of violence, bullying, traumatic grief / loss, domestic violence or continually being exposed to frightening and unsafe situations. The trauma suffered by a child can cause physical and emotional responses that may continue into the adult life of the individual. What happens in our childhood affects our adult lives, both positively and negatively.
Some adults find themselves behaving in ways that they don’t understand. Irrational thinking to their child’s “normal” developmental play and exploration, becoming overprotective and not allowing their children to experience the world as a place they can feel safe in. Some have trust issues, or find themselves in the same or similar relationships that they experienced as children that were traumatising. Other people may find themselves wanting to be “people pleasers” or highly successful in some areas of their lives and failing in other areas. Many adult survivors experience many emotional symptoms and not just one or the other.
Children have not yet developed proper coping mechanisms and when frightening, violent and threatening incidents occur, unhealthy coping mechanisms may develop. If these events are never processed, adults will continue reacting to similar situations the way they did as a child and even project these fears onto their own children and partners.
Childhood trauma can leave the adult with PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, anger and even feelings of being abandoned and feeling alone.
Therapy is a safe space to be able to deal with the memories, incidents and feelings that were experienced as a child. Counselling helps to gain understanding of how the childhood trauma has impacted on your life as an adult. Healthy coping mechanisms can be explored and developed. Individual therapy gives you the chance to examine the specific trauma experienced and learn to overcome it in ways that are best suited to you.