Complex Developmental Trauma: How does it impact adulthood?
For most people, the word ‘childhood’ brings to light memories of fun, joy and discovery; however, for many, childhood memories can spark a strong adverse reaction that may impact your life in more ways than you think. Sadly, a reported 35 million children in the US have experienced some sense of childhood trauma. Hopefully, this shows you that you are not alone, and childhood trauma is nothing to be ashamed of – despite the way it may make you feel.
Tackling childhood trauma can be challenging, especially for those who cannot verbalise or pinpoint precisely what caused your trauma, which means that for the rest of your life, you are marked by a seemingly invisible event that you cannot recall. Unchecked childhood trauma slowly chips away at a person over time, leading to low self-esteem, shame, anxiety and guilt; this also leads to a fractured sense of identity.
Warning signs of complex developmental trauma
- Deep-seated shame
- Hopeless and despairing of life
- Hypervigilance and inexplicable fear
- Emotional regulation difficulties
- Feelings of isolation and disconnection
There are many other symptoms of complex developmental trauma, often presenting themselves as other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Seeking a therapist for any of these issues is essential in regaining a sense of control over your life and coming to understand the root of your mental illnesses.
Adult attachment disorders
If a parent or care broke your trust as a child, this could stem from attachment issues that follow and shape you for the rest of your life. Adult attachment issues may present themselves as:
- Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment: This form of attachment results when the caregiver ignores or rejects a child’s need. When that child becomes an adult, they may choose to be ultra-independent to protect themselves from being rejected again.
- Fearful-Avoidant Attachment. When a child experiences and is exposed to abuse and neglect, it is natural for some to fear intimacy and close relationships. In adulthood, those with fearful avoidant attachment are often distrustful, have difficulty sharing emotions, and seem disconnected from their partner.
- Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment: This adult may seem clingy or needy and will often require repeated validation in relationships. They will never entirely feel secure, stemming from a childhood with parents who were not consistent in the emotional security they provide. Loving the child and then rejecting them repeatedly causes the child to question their place and require ongoing validation continuously.
The long-lasting effects of childhood trauma
If a child comes from a neglected childhood, they will develop their own coping mechanisms, which follow adults over a lifetime. This results in sensitivity toward interactions with others as they either avoid personal relationships or walk on eggshells around others as a fear response. As a result, victims of abuse are far more likely to experience depression, anxiety and PTSD later on in life.
Childhood trauma causes a fractured foundation to adulthood and can greatly impact victims for years to come. Therefore, it is important to seek therapeutic help to identify the root of childhood trauma and find a way to overcome its effects.
Effective treatments for trauma therapy:
- Cognitive processing therapy: this involves 12 sessions with getting to the root of your PTSD and clients understanding how trauma can negatively impact their lives; this is the most popular form of trauma treatment.
- EMDR stands for eye movement desensitisation reprocessing and seeks to train the brain’s reaction and response to traumatic memories with positive reinforcement to control harmful feelings in response to trauma. This is a highly effective form of trauma treatment.
- Prolonged exposure therapy: this therapy takes place over a long period of time, and the therapist helps individuals confront their trauma
If you feel you have unresolved trauma that may be impacting your life, then it is important to seek professional help to get to the root of your issues. You can start living a life free of fear and uncontrolled by past experiences from this point on. So please head over to my website, where you can book your consultation today to get you back on track to recovery and trauma-free life.