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.
10 thoughts on “Signs Of Unresolved Childhood Trauma”
Finally some one brought awareness to mental health. I was really excited reading your article and the facts you have provided were right on point. I wish the community especially my community took mental health more serious. When someone needs help the most its filed on social media for the world to see. How helpful is that?
Social media can have a huge impact on how mental health is being acknowledged. A couple years ago people were not talking about these issues and right now, we’re being heard and more awareness has been brought up towards our needs – which are still in critical conditions but we’re working towards a better future for ourselves and that’s really important. Children deserve to be heard and taken care of. We’re here to uplift and help each other.
This is a very informative piece. Things you have brought to light that most persons are unwilling to accept as truth. It is always hard to go through the abuse, but I believe that acknowledging what happened and getting help for it is the best way. Just like you said. How can we expect the cycle to end if we don’t stop it?!
Keep up the blog, I’m very interested to see where you take me next! Thanks.
Thank you for stopping by!
The child is never at fault when it comes to any kind of abuse. No one has the right to hurt another person in any way, shape, or form. I’m glad these issues are being talked about more, but there’s still so much work to do and so many more lives to save.
I absolutely loved your article from top to finish. I stand in awe!
For some post, I skim through hoping to find something that resonate. In other posts, I just find as much positive attributes to mention as possible. That said, I could resonate with just about everything you said.
I can relate to the hurt, pain, abuse, trauma, shame, guilt, anxiety, mistreatment, distrust, vulnerability & emotional wounds.
In addition to this, I starred your page and downloaded it for future reference.
All in all, you have got a very emotional intelligent post on your hands. Very real, deep, and fact-y to a crisp. Bravo!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’m sorry that you could relate to this topic but I am glad that you could find it comforting enough to help you understand and dig deeper into these issues. Not everyone is willing to talk about them but I am glad that as a society we’re putting in more notice even though there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Again, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me. Take care!
I really enjoyed reading your post. There needs to be more awareness for Child abuse. Child abuse can be physical and or mental. Neither one is good. I have seen people who were abused verbally as a child and they end up to be either adult bullies or people who just keep to themselves. I find it sad that an adult in the child’s life can be so destructive to their lives. Children are a precious gift from God and should be treated as such.
We need to also keep in mind that the child who has gone through unbearable trauma doesn’t always end up with the same abusiva behaviors as the people who hurt them.
I hate my parents for the lack of guidance or protection they failed to provide me with growing up. They taught me absolutely nothing as a child. So much so that as far back as I can remember, I had to get my foreskin surgically removed because they failed to teach me about hygiene. Because the mother was too weirdly bunched up about sexuality and the body that she wouldn’t discuss a thing. I’m pretty sure today it would be child neglect. That was just the beginning, I once had a sheet of plastic given to me as a Christmas present from an Aunt, supposedly a ‘high-speed sled’ thing which I very much wanted to try out one rare snowy day that year, at the bottom of the garden is a massive stone wall. Well, before I could even balance myself on that death-trap I careened into that solid stone wall at the bottom, took literally 2 to 3 seconds to cover that ground. No reaction time. Luckily “I” had the presence of mind to wear a little plastic helmet, the mother didn’t even insist on it. After that incident I wasn’t even taken to hospital for a check-up. It’s still unknown what mental damage that (evidently) caused me. Before finishing primary school I was kicked so hard on my private area by a much older and stronger girl that one of them failed to develop and drop properly, probably stunting my growth and causing unknown developmental issues. They did no follow-up with the school, …didn’t seem to care. They were invasive of my privacy and once the mother openly confronted me about some drawings I did which I hid under my bed and a stupid ‘journal’ thing I kept as pure fantasy, the kind of release a child needs developmentally, nothing but pure fantasy and expression. She exclaimed how it was ‘offensive’ to her. Not seeing how she was over-stepping a boundary and widening the tentative gap of trust between us. I still to this day have no idea what she did with those. I’m pretty sure she gave them to someone to ‘analyze’ or even handed them in to the police or something. As I grew up and went off to college, I’d return home to find my wardrobes empty, the mother would routinely go through my clothing and remove it to give to charity. Then think nothing of it even deny she touched anything. I used to struggle in school (Surprise, surprise… Unchecked head-trauma and absolutely no support or guidance at home…?) And once a Right-wing nutcase teacher gave me the lowest-possible mark out of spite purely because she had opposing political views to my Councilor father. Again, they did nothing about it. I was raped as a very young, vulnerable teen (Possibly just turned 17) on 2 separate occasions by 2 different abusive over-weight women. I couldn’t open up about that at home, I had no support network or love there. With no coping mechanisms and no known-strategies, I had to push it down, try to move-on and cope myself. When I passed my driving test the father had the audacity to say to my instructor (in-front of my face) that, “Well, I know you have to let a certain percentage pass” ..Yeah. No, “Congratulations” for me. When I was harassed constantly by a newly-arrived CID inspector all over the town I was growing up in, the parents turned a blind-eye. Didn’t want to know. I was bullied to 2 older kids in school, every chance they got to mess with me they did, eventually I was assaulted by one, when I went home with a sore eye-socket the mother screamed at ‘me’ for it. Not the reaction you would expect from a ‘loving parent’ I know families who would go out of their way to spill blood over something like protecting their children. But, oh well. Then I had to get the hell out of that toxic home. I began failing at life, I struggled with many addictions, primarily alcohol problems. There was no love or concern about that. I started to go off the rails, admittedly. But what chance did I have? Looking back I just can’t blame myself for the trouble I fell into. I was unloved, raised in an un-loving home environment. Taught absolutely nothing and never given any guidance to help me through life to speak of. …Yea, I hate my parents. I now have a dead father and a mother I haven’t spoken a word to in almost 10 years. I abhor the adoption system too, as I see it as their fault they let all this happen to me.
I can relate to all of that.. And it’s very relative to me.
I am so sorry for what you have been through. Having to deal with abusive parents is honestly one of the worst things any human being can experience as a child. I believe you; you’re not alone in this.