Signs Of Unresolved Childhood Trauma
Child abuse and trauma are, sadly, more common than what we’d like to admit. If we take a look at the statistics of these horrifying tragedies, according to the National Children Alliance, in 2018 there was an opinionated belief that around 678,000 children were the target of child abuse that later on escalated to trauma. Although these numbers are only an estimate based on reported cases, we really don’t know the exact number of children who have been victims of these heinous crimes.
Based on these statistics it has come to a nearby conclusion that around 3.5 million children have been investigated by child protective services. From those 3.5 million, only around 1.9 million children received prevention services. To which, if we come to think of how the system works and how overworked child protective services claim to be, in my opinion, based on what I’ve experienced with these agencies, there are so many more probable cases that have not been thoroughly checked; some of them even pushed aside because the worker thinks that it’s irrelevant, or that it doesn’t require an immediate welfare check, some cases may not even be investigated due to the lack of time, personal, financial issues, and a lack of motivation; but again, this is just my opinion.
Disclaimer: I am in no way a mental health professional. Everything that is said on this post in completely based on personal experiences, opinions and an understandable proportion of facts.
First on the list of signs of unresolved childhood trauma we have self-destruction. Often times, people are not aware of the self-destructing things that they do, which can include but are not limited to: drug or alcohol abuse, procrastination, reckless behavior, compulsive activities, changing yourself to make others like you, being self-derogatory, etc.
Growing up in a toxic environment while a child is still developing can have enormous negative effects as the child grows up and starts their journey towards adulthood. Childhood trauma can severely affect one’s self-esteem and create self-destructive thoughts about feeling worthless and misunderstood.
Abusers often make the child survivor feel like they’re the only ones who can dictate how the child should feel, act, behave, and say. Due to this, children often become guarded and they build walls on their surroundings to prevent anyone else from hurting them or making them feel like anything else than what they’re used to.
After being hurt by someone the child trusted they try to distance themselves from other people to shield their emotions or to simply just ignore the trauma and pain they’re enduring. Being vulnerable with anyone, or forming deep connections with other people often feels impossible and terrifying. The person is not used to letting their guard down to let others in and potentially see what they’re hiding, their fears, their emotions, their trauma, etc.
Being emotionally distant is a constant battle with yourself because you want to be seen, you want to be heard and understood, but you’re too afraid of opening up to someone and obtaining the same feedback that you have been thrown ever since you were a child. It’s often easier to shove our emotions and keep bottling them up so you can feel like you have control of yourself rather than opening up with the fear of being mistreated.
Another one of the signs of unresolved childhood trauma can be associated with anxiety, oftentimes without even a concrete reason.
Anxiety can be described as an emotion surrounded by intrusive thoughts, overall tension, concerns over things that the person is unable to control, and a constant need to avoid certain situations.
Anxiety is often triggered by a specific situation, person, or memory. When a person feels anxious for absolutely no reason, most times this can be related to unresolved childhood trauma and the repression of said trauma. Anxiety can often appear at random times such as: job interviews, meeting someone for the first time, giving out a speech in front of a huge audience, among other things. When the person can’t find a specific trigger, can’t understand what they’re feeling, or when the anxious feeling is often persistent without reasoning, that’s when you may be experiencing unresolved traumatic experiences.
Letting go of the past is often really hard to do and most times it is impossible. Dealing with the remainder of your unresolved trauma can be both emotionally and physically draining. It all starts to take a huge turn when it seems like you can’t see past that traumatic experience. It is a constant struggle to see the good things that life has, the small things that bring a smile to your face, the things that make you feel at ease and feel calm. The feeling of what you want versus how you feel is often accompanied by an overwhelming fear of wanting to feel alive and shine, but you’re too used to the feeling of misery and worthlessness that it starts to blur out the possibility of things working out and getting better.
Resisting positive change and blocking it out with the mindset of “I don’t deserve that” can be potentially damaging towards your mental health and your well-being; you can eventually fall into the trap of denial, self-sabotage, and negativity.
In the end, happiness can be an unknown territory due to past traumas. It can feel unfamiliar and scary for someone who has been suffering so much. After all, that’s what your mind has been used to; pain, uncertainty, disturbance, and fear. It’s scary to see the light at the end of the tunnel when all your life you have been living in darkness.
Be Drawn Towards Negative Outcomes
The last sign of unresolved childhood trauma I will be talking about is the tendency of gravitating towards people who are not good for you. Being so used to the mistreatment that you have endured throughout your whole childhood often tends to have a serious impact on the people with whom you relate. The way you were mistreated oftentimes reflects how you view love, acceptance, and how you should be treated by others. It doesn’t matter how badly a person has treated you, it’s undeniable to want the people that surround you to be as similar, regarding actions, as the people who brought out pain into your life during your childhood.
Of course, this is a completely toxic characteristic to stand by, but at the same time, it’s what you’re most familiar with. This is something that you can work on and improve the way you need others to treat you, so that eventually you’ll be able to let go of all the negativity that has been surrounding you.
From A Personal Perspective…
Having been abused as a child always leaves scars that can never be healed – I’m not saying that they can’t, but instead, that it’s quite difficult to do so – but something that it’s extremely important to understand throughout all of this is that none of this was your fault.
Parents, caregivers, and adults surrounding you as a child are the ones that were supposed to take care of you; not the ones to destroy you.
There are many more signs of unresolved childhood trauma that I haven’t mentioned so please don’t take this short overview as the last chapter of possible symptoms. If by any chance you can relate to any of these and would like to improve your mental health and the way that you’re feeling then maybe talking to a professional can help you understand better.
Due to the current circumstances that we’re living in, I know that it’s scary to go out of your house to make an appointment and start your healing process; because of that, I thought I’d share this platform called Online-Therapy that aims to help you feel better and potentially heal without leaving your house. Yes, you will be talking to a certified professional, and not someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.