Children often copy their parents and the environment they live in. This is how children learn. But sometimes parents force their missed opportunities on their children and this can have a bad effect on them when they grow up.
In this blog post, I will talk about how some adults might be able to fix the damage of their childhood trauma by learning from them.
What is considered a traumatic childhood?
Think of the most traumatic event you've had. It could be an accident, something like a hurricane or divorce. Now think about how it has affected your life and the way you live it each day. Is there anything you don't do because of this experience? What kind of fears do you have? How does this event affect your daily life?
We all have at least one difficult experience in our past. How bad is it to have a traumatic childhood? We need to first define "traumatic." If we take these words literally, then any difficult situation can be traumatic for someone who's gone through it. But some children develop PTSD if they go through even a normal childhood.
What children experience at an early age, especially between the ages of one and seven years old is very important for their psychology later in life. If they are experiencing continuous stress, then they will feel overwhelmed by fear. This might cause them to retreat into loneliness, isolation or extreme passive-aggressive behaviour.
What can be traumatic?
In children, trauma is often associated with physical or psychological pain. When children suffer from fear and insecurity on a daily basis, it can have long-term effects on their behaviour.
But in my experience, almost anything can have traumatic imprints. What really makes a situation traumatic is the vibrations of the people in it.
I was with the nanny a few times in playgrounds a few years ago, and always with laughter mixed with surprise I heard the defining phrase: "Watch out, because if you fall, I'll beat you up, you'll see!" Even though this may seem like an innocent event to us, maybe as an adult this is an event that is "perfectly normal", but as a child it is a mix of "taking care" and " intimidation". As a child, we can't separate them, so we store them up at the same time.
I call them limiting thought patterns for simplicity.
They are two-way programs, because as long as they are connected, both branches can work just as strongly. The mind of a child in this environment stores "This event - bring this to me, and vice versa." For example: in order for my mum/dad to support me, love me, nurture me, I need danger. Or, "I feel supported when I am in danger."
JW started playing sport at a very young age and swimming quickly became one of her passions. Some researchers have observed that genes start adapting to the environment before the organism has even evolved. Perhaps that is why she felt that swimming would be the sport in which she would really excel. And his dad BW became his best partner. So much so that he gave almost all his time to JW's development. JW's mum supported her daughter, but she quietly watched from the sidelines. Every now and then she would comment, "Wow!" Encouraging her daughter to keep it up. Her dad, on the other hand, supported his daughter with a completely different intensity. This had caused conflict when she was a child, but JW never imagined it would have such an impact on her adulthood.
During one of our sessions, the subject came up that it was extremely difficult for her to do something that was really important to her. Most often she felt an extremely difficult inner tension when she had to choose between two things. Many times she felt that she had to do everything for something that she believed less in and that she would like to do, but that she was simply forbidden to do.
What we found was that one of the most difficult things he had to do as a child, and it became more difficult over time, was to stay at least an hour a day when he could play quietly. Every moment was allotted. Limited, in that sense.
What are signs of childhood trauma?
It also shows - that while the very process of transforming such a limiting thought pattern is possible with a lot of practice and the right virtues - that there is an extremely long list of ways to do it, not a game! Life events that will define the lives of many of us for decades cannot be treated lightly.
Early childhood trauma has been linked to a number of mental and physical health problems. These include depression, anxiety, addiction, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Some signs that someone may have experienced early childhood trauma are: aggressiveness or excessive anger; difficulty trusting adults; running away from home frequently; drug use or alcohol abuse.
The most important thing is to recognize the problem, because children who have experienced early childhood trauma are often in denial. They do not want others to see their wounds and will try at all costs to hide them away from prying eyes. If they are even aware that they are in such a situation.
The task is even more difficult if these traumas are of psychological origin and, in adulthood, have an almost irreconcilable origin.
Does childhood trauma ever go away?
Perhaps one of the most important things to understand is that this is how not only the limiting thought patterns, but all the thought patterns, all the programs that we have in the subconscious are formed. Sometimes it is hard to understand how two people can have different feelings about the same event. But this is not always clear cut.
However, if we approach this question from the perspective of whether the "traumatic part" of the experience can be changed, then thank goodness the answer is a resounding yes!
If you are reading this article, it's likely that the traumatic part has already been set in motion for quite some time - which means we can now start working on something new! What happens with children who have experienced a particularly cathartic event? They often try to suppress their emotions. Most often they just try to "get over it". They can't really share it with anyone else. Especially not when they are going through it with someone who is supposed to be their supporter.
And even when they are older, children often have a hard time dealing with their feelings. What children need is to feel safe so they can express themselves in safety. And that's what you also want for your children! It does not matter how old they are or whether the trauma has already happened or not yet - it still matters very much!
Dealing with trauma requires extraordinary attention, thoroughness, compassion and a range of other important skills. I've spent the last 8+ years using my previous experiences to bring more focus and competence to my work. Seeing my students and client’s transformation, I am extremely positive about the possibility of change.
How do you let go of childhood trauma?
Dealing with trauma is not a task that can be summed up in 3 points. You cannot learn the techniques to change them more easily in one or two days of lectures! But the most important ingredient is that it is possible!
Quite often, signs of change show up. The first thing is to be open to it. When one already knows everything, and more, one can neither be receptive nor change-able.
"In order to let go of childhood trauma, you have to understand that it was a necessary experience at the time. You can't change what happened in your past but you can learn from it and move on." - Wayne Dyer
As I have written before, due care must be taken. A form of "reverse engineering" is the most successful. Especially for those who are already of adult age. A particular present event triggers emotions, and we can map the direction of events along these lines. We can observe other layers of this. There are layers that can be linked to the present, there are layers that go back to childhood, and there are layers that go back even earlier.
I know that in most places right now there would be a list of steps here. I have such a list. But the more I deal with it, the more I feel the presence of so many variables.
I don't want to lead you, Dear Reader, in the direction that the presence of this or that is indispensable in such a process. Yet my aim with this post was to show you that much is possible!
We’ve helped many people heal through sessions and seminars and know how important this work is when dealing with such an intense subject matter.
Though this blog post has been a long one, there are still many topics we haven’t covered! If you want more information on any of these topics or if you need help with your own traumatic experience and its effects on your life, don't hesitate to reach out for support!
We're here for you every step of the way - just let us know what we can do.