How Does Childhood Trauma Affect Adulthood 

Childhood is supposed to be a time of growth, development, and carefree enjoyment. While this may happen most of the time, sometimes there will be trauma in early life that can leave an emotional mark for many years to come. 

But just how long can it affect someone; can childhood trauma affect adulthood?

We’re going to look at what exactly trauma is, and how it can impact an individual’s life decades after childhood. We’ll also take a look at where you can turn if you feel like trauma from your early life is holding you back. 

What Is Childhood Trauma?

It’s important to understand what trauma is, and how it occurs, to know how it is able to affect people so deeply. Trauma is the emotional damage as a result of enduring highly  stressful, abusive, or similar to these situations. Trauma can result from a wide range of events, including:

  • Abuse, either physical, sexual, or emotional
  • Being involved in a traumatic event, or even witnessing a traumatic event
  • Hospitalization for injury or surgery
  • Witnessing domestic violence
  • Being the victim of severe bullying
  • Living through a natural disaster

The complex array of emotions that often floods an individual after events like these can be challenging and difficult for adults or children to easily process without professional help. When they happen to children, their only frame of reference is themselves and their family, and in many cases, especially those where the abuse occurs at the hand of a family member, they often blame themselves.

How Trauma Affects Emotional Stability

One of the most significant ways that trauma seats itself deeply when it occurs in childhood, is by slowly eroding the child’s sense of self-worth, which can drastically reduce their stability. This is one of the types of trauma that will often stay with the child well into their adult years. During their adult years, this eventually causes feelings of guilt or shame, even intense social disconnection. This leads to symptoms like the inability to control their emotions, increased anxiety, anger, and depression.

One of the most common ways this manifests is the development of attachment disorders. Trauma is so complex that sometimes people won’t even realize that’s what is driving their relational thoughts and behaviors. Childhood abuse, such as sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, particularly if committed by someone close to them, can be a significant driver behind problems in forming healthy attachments later.

How Does Childhood Trauma Affect Adulthood

Some of the most common types of adult attachment disorders will include the following.

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

Those who are emotionally or physically abused in childhood may find that they become fearful of intimacy and long-term, close relationships. They are generally distrustful, find it difficult to open up, and might seem disconnected.

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment

When a child is neglected or abused, they will often feel a great deal of shame, which can result in them becoming hyper-independent. This “protects” them from similar rejection or neglect.

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment

This is the adult often called “clingy”, and is frequently in need of specific and repeated validation efforts in their relationships. Even with these, they often don’t feel secure. This is caused by failing to provide consistent emotional security.

Partner With Casa Recovery To Help Resolve Your Trauma

The lingering effects of childhood trauma can cause many issues for us as adults, and when a child doesn’t have a protective, nurturing, and loving environment it can lead to negative effects that follow them for years. Contact Casa Recovery today to discuss your treatment needs in a safe and confidential environment, so you can start healing.

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