The 6 characteristics of childhood trauma

Emotional wounds can be very deep, especially if they occur during our childhood. Boys and girls do not have the right tools to deal with the problems that may come their way, let alone if they are faced with events as serious as child abuse or mistreatment.

Negative childhood experiences influence personality, so much so that in adulthood they can emerge as psychopathology and symptoms such as stress, anxiety or social withdrawal, without the affected person knowing. that it is due to a fact of the past that it has not yet dealt with.

In order to help people who may have experienced a traumatic event in their childhood, we will see today the main features of childhood trauma, in the sense of how they manifest themselves in adulthood and their causes.

    What are the characteristics of childhood trauma?

    There is no doubt that childhood is a vulnerable and decisive stage. All the physical and psychological impressions that we receive in the first years of life mark our personality, for better or for worse.

    His mark is long lasting, so if the impressions are negative, they will be particularly distressing. not only when they lived, but also in adulthood. Particularly negative experiences of childhood can turn into childhood trauma.

    What is the child’s trauma?

    A childhood trauma is an emotional injury as a result of a painful or distressing event experienced during childhood. These traumas are like injuries and can be more or less serious. This is not to say that some traumas should be underestimated because no matter how severe they will have a very negative impact on the personality and a whole process is required to overcome them as well.

    Despite this reality, there are a lot of people who go into psychotherapy saying they don’t deserve to call their trauma that way. They feel that their suffering is not legitimate.

    There are no real traumas and mundane traumas. All trauma must be repaired, no matter how severe. It is essential to teach those who manifest to manage their emotions, to deal with the painful memory of what happened to them as children, and to know how to forgive themselves and others.

    The effects of childhood trauma are very long lasting, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome. In the worst case, there will be sequelae, but there will be some improvement. It all depends on the severity of the childhood experience and whether you are receiving the appropriate professional help to deal with the emotions you arouse. You can have a full adult life, despite a traumatic childhood, although it will require therapeutic processes. and a deep personal development.

    Childhood trauma cannot always be linked to obvious past events. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. They left them in a dark place in their minds, hoping they wouldn’t bother them anymore.

    The problem is, even if they don’t remember exactly what happened, their personalities are disturbed. The bad memory, the trauma, continues.

      What is the cause of childhood trauma?

      There is a lot of situations that can be experienced as traumatic and have effects until adulthood. Some are more obvious than others because they have greater social recognition or are of interest to the media and the legislator. Others, on the other hand, do not have this weight of social recognition, even if they can also be very harmful.

      Some examples of situations experienced in childhood that can crystallize in the form of trauma son:

      • Family or school rejection.
      • Physical or verbal abuse and mistreatment at home or at school.
      • Sexual abuse.
      • Humiliations and harassment.
      • Parental neglect.
      • Family conflicts.
      • Close drug addicts.
      • Poverty and social exclusion.
      • Stressful situations and feelings of insecurity in childhood.
      • Separations or divorces that do not respect the needs of the children.
      • Sudden deaths.
      • Pathological pain.
      • Natural disasters and catastrophes (for example, terrorist attacks, wars …).

        Signs of childhood trauma

        As we said, it is possible to have been through trauma and not know it at all. You may have experienced a traumatic event as a child that it has deeply marked us and that it manifests itself in adulthood, but that we are not aware of it.

        Poor management of frustration, temper tantrums, low self-esteem and other maladjusted situations can sometimes be linked to a traumatic childhood experience.

        Some signs and symptoms of childhood trauma son:

        • Anger, irritability and mood swings.
        • Depressive states.
        • Low self-esteem or damaged self-image.
        • Anxiety, anxiety, panic attacks.

        • Phobias or irrational fears.
        • Emotional overflow or avoidance of conflict.
        • Extreme shyness which hinders social interactions.

        • Problems of life with sexuality (from impulsive or risky behaviors to absolute rejection of sex).
        • Somatizations: physical manifestations of trauma, often linked to the disease.
        • Distorted ideas about the world and about oneself.
        • Sleep disturbances, such as nightmares or insomnia.
        • Eating disorders (lack of appetite, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating…).

        • Problems with memory and concentration (closely related to attitudes of dissociation when faced with the pain of a trauma that one does not feel capable of handling).

        All of these signs are indicative of childhood trauma; however, it is worth going into more detail on some of the defining characteristics of people who have such experiences.

        As we mentioned earlier, There are many situations that can be experienced as traumatic, but they all have the same behavioral and relationship patterns in the subject who experienced them., features that we explore in more detail below.

        1. Inhibition and withdrawal

        Withdrawal and inhibition are traits closely associated with people with difficult childhoods. They make their emotions and thoughts invisible, they don’t show them to others lest it be used as a weapon against them.. Retirees find it difficult to reveal their inner world, they dare not express what they really think or do what they want. And they are afraid of others.

        It should not be confused with introversion. There are people who are introverts and for this reason are not very good at social situations. This does not mean, however, that they are afraid to say out loud what they think or feel. Just because they don’t get along with others doesn’t mean they can’t act independently or say whatever they want when needed.

        However, when there are childhood traumas that have not yet been overcome, the person has the express desire to go unnoticed, not to attract attention for fear of being attacked. She is afraid of reliving an experience that will cause her further trauma.

          2. Bad mood and frustration

          Anger is one of the emotions most felt by those who have yet to face their traumatic childhood experiences.. Not that they are violent, but they are angry with the world, a world seen as cruel and hostile. It also makes them intolerant of frustration and very aggressive in their dealings with others. We have the impression that they are about to explode.

          His anger is also expressed in the form of inconstancy and frustration. They lose patience with certain things, starting things that soon after they get tired, lose interest, or get angry because it doesn’t turn out the way they wanted it to. As a result, their academic and professional performance may be involved, as well as not doing well in work teams.

          3. Self-esteem issues

          People who have not gone through their childhood trauma usually have very low self-esteem, which is evident in the form of a very exaggerated underestimation of themselves. They feel very inferior to others and have a very low self-esteem. As a result, they often reject other people’s flattery and even perceive it as an attack, a sarcastic comment or a mockery.

          In his mind echoes the comment that they are not worth it and that if someone tells them yes, then he is lying. This is why they do not rely solely on emotional reinforcements, on words of admiration. For them, it is a deception because they cannot understand that someone has a positive concept, based on the fact that they hate themselves.

          4. Apparent overestimation of themselves

          It also happens that people who experienced trauma in childhood overestimate themselves, considering themselves superior to others. In fact, it’s pure facade. It is a defense mechanism to compensate for the bad opinion they have of themselves and to manage, through pathological mechanisms, the abuse or damage they suffered in their childhood.

          5. Constantly apologize

          Related to the points above, people who have experienced childhood trauma not yet overcome feel that neither their opinions nor themselves are worth it. That is why, afraid to do or say something very wrong, thinking that they may unintentionally disturb others, they often apologize. They apologize when they speak, as if they don’t have the right to express their opinion, or when they have to go somewhere. They apologize for everything.

          This is a very noticeable characteristic of people who suffered trauma in childhood, it shows that they received a very restrictive education. Parents tended to humiliate them and show them few expressions of affection. It gives aggrieved people the feeling that they need to apologize for any action that gives them a presence in the world.

            6. Flee or live in conflict

            Most traumatic childhoods developed in high conflict families. His childhood was marked by physical and verbal disagreements and assaults from or against his mother. Any word or act could trigger problems, punishments, recriminations, even humiliations, humiliations experienced in a particularly painful way. This is why people with this type of childhood can grow up with fear or a fixation on conflict.

            Those who fear conflict will constantly flee. In reality, they can go to great lengths to overcome their own convictions in order to avoid a contradiction.. Instead, those drawn to him do so by turning every aspect of his life into one, turning the most innocent disagreements into real dialogic battles.

              The importance of psychotherapy

              Childhood trauma will not resolve on its own. They rarely magically disappear. We have to work with them, learn to deal with them and deal with our emotions so, if they don’t, they will eventually invade our personality, affecting us in all aspects of life. We cannot be happy or have emotional well-being if the past is relived over and over again in our minds and hurts us from within.

              Psychotherapy is essential for a better life, and people with childhood trauma are the best examples. Only those who dare to take the plunge to see a psychologist and delve into the depths of their traumatic childhood to deal with their personal demons manage to improve in life.

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