Today, I met one of my childhood friends after a long time, and we cherished the days when we were part of our gang of friends. It was the moment of rejoicing to me. However, not all childhood memories brought happy feelings or moment of rejoice. For some, reminiscing about childhood brought nothing but tears and traumatic memories to them. Similar kind of childhood experiences was shared to me by one of my students, aged 19, three weeks back when I was conducting educational camps in the central regions of Pakistan. Firstly, it is important to know how childhood abuse impacted the adulthood of the abused one. A child can be abused either physically/sexual abuse or mentally/neglected by parents. When a child been abused or neglected as children, they started to feel wounded, deprived and wronged by those whom they love and trust. If these wounds are not healed on time, they continue affecting the child’s subsequent relations.
Sometimes people overcome their childhood traumatic experiences and start living their happy adult life. However, sometimes, the impacts of childhood trauma put a devastating impact on a child’s self-image. When my student shares his childhood experience, I started to observe him and found his completely normal and active. Even he participated so well in the camp that everyone wanted to be in his group. No one without knowing his story would say that this child is disturbed from inside. According to Andrea Brandt, a California based family and marriage therapist, teenagers and youth who experienced significant trauma as children are more likely to develop victimhood thinking. As the name suggests, this state of mind is the belief that one is a victim. Adopting this ideology is incredibly dangerous. How people perceive themselves impacts their words, choices, careers, opportunities, and relationships.
Victimhood thinking is not the only malevolent aftereffect of childhood trauma. People who were mistreated as children may also become passive and subservient. That usually manifests itself in different forms, including failing to self-express and self-defend and bottling up of emotions. While some people may view passivity as agreeability with others and being a team player, burying feelings beneath the surface and not speaking up can have devastating impacts. While passivity and subservience are dangerous for everyone, these traits are particularly hazardous for women. Women who are still struggling with unresolved childhood trauma and adopt the behaviours above are likelier to attract abusive partners or spouses.
According to an article published on Psychological Science, adults who were exposed to childhood trauma are considerably more vulnerable to experiencing depression. Unfortunately, depression is not always taken as seriously as it should be. However, it is a very real mental health issue with devastating impacts. Some of the most common symptoms and indicators of depression are as follows: insomnia, drained energy, hopelessness, ongoing sadness, anxiety, lack of appetite, poor concentration, suicidal thoughts/actions, and more. In most cases, individuals who are afflicted with the abovementioned symptoms tend to isolate themselves, neglect self-care, slack off work, and alienate others.
How to overcome Childhood Trauma
Following are two of the remedies which can help adults to overcome their childhood traumatic experiences to avoid its impacts on their present relationship. Source: Better Help
Self-Care and Self-Reliance
Although self-care may seem somewhat trivial in the face of overcoming childhood trauma, it matters more than many people might think. Individuals who survived traumatic childhoods may subconsciously view themselves as unworthy of healthy habits and lifestyle choices. Therefore, they are likelier to neglect their body, eating habits, etc.
Pursue Hobbies and Extramural Activities
One of the most effective ways of overcoming negative memories is by creating positive memories. Pursuing hobbies and extracurricular interests not only allows adults to evolve as individuals but also find a sense of purpose and have something to look forward to.
Moreover, overcoming childhood trauma will possibly require revisiting unpleasant memories. The road to recovery will never be the same for two different people. It will ultimately be worth it.