Trauma rooted in childhood can impact throughout life if not properly treated, often into adulthood. The roots can be subtle or not-so-subtle. Perhaps the most obvious examples of Childhood Trauma might be physical or sexual abuse. These have severe ramifications on the child mentally as well as physically. However, there can also be less apparent forms of Childhood Trauma such as neglect, intentional or otherwise. Likewise, the death of a parent at a young age is a significant trauma in itself.
Even if the abuse or neglect occurred long ago, even if it was a one-off event, it can etch onto a person’s sense of self and affect them long into adulthood. Let’s look at some examples.
Someone who was neglected as a child, even unintentionally, might grow up feeling that they’re inadequate or unworthy of love and attention. This can cause them problems in relationships they go on to develop (or otherwise). They might have trust issues that prevent them ‘letting someone in’ or even avoid forming relationships (platonic or romantic) at all. Or, they do form relationships but are also seeking validation; they may never feel ‘secure’ in their relationships and fear that they will be abandoned.
Someone who was abused as a child, but pushed the memories aside without coming to terms with them, might find the effects manifest differently. Unrelated stress might become more overwhelming than it should. Perhaps a pronounced effect would be someone who has suffered sexual abuse having difficulties with sexual relationships later in life. But it’s not always so obvious; the individual might have anxiety attacks or obsessional fears ― not necessarily connected with the abuse itself, but nonetheless a manifestation of its effects.
While therapy is absolutely required in these cases, it’s essential to make sure it’s undertaken by a therapist specialising in Childhood Trauma. Otherwise, despite their best intentions, they may not simply be equipped or experienced to deal with specific Childhood Traumas.