Childhood is the time in our lives when everything should be easy for us. As a child, you have none of the responsibilities that come up later in life. Unfortunately, nearly 50% of adults report that they lived through some sort of childhood trauma.
Experiencing trauma will, of course, impact your life around the time it happens. However, living through a traumatic event in childhood will likely have long-lasting effects well into adulthood. It is so important to recognize this cause and effect so that you can begin to treat your mental health. In order to learn more about the relationship between childhood trauma and adulthood, keep reading.
Your Body will Always Remember
You may wonder how your body can store trauma even if your mind does not. Take a second to imagine that you are in a crowded restaurant. You can smell the food, hear the chatter of nearby tables, and feel the seat beneath you. This is your body’s way of remembering an event with your senses.
Our bodies remember much more than we may realize. Although your brain may begin to twist and distort memories, your physical body will store your trauma. The same is true for traumatic events. If your childhood trauma stems from constant fighting at home, loud noises or shouts may trigger flashbacks of the event for you.
Experiencing Anniversary Reactions
Not only do physical sensations trigger memories of your trauma, but the time of year the incident happened may also trigger a reaction. These are known as “anniversary reactions.” For example, if you experienced a traumatic event in mid-April, springtime may cause you to feel increased anxiety or levels of depression.
Even if you do not remember the exact date of a childhood event, your body can remember it on a cellular level. While you may not be able to prevent these reactions from happening, you can prepare for them. Let your support system know ahead of time that you will need extra support and attention surrounding the anniversary.
Lack of Memories from Childhood
While your body will remember, your brain may forget. If you had a traumatic childhood, your brain might deliberately lose memories to save you the pain of reliving them. The official term for this is known as “blocking.” Unfortunately, the brain is not perfect. This means that sometimes good memories may be erased along with bad ones. This can lead to problems with a developed sense of self as an adult.
Developing Adult Attachment Disorders
Attachment disorders are descriptions of the way we interact with others. Experiencing trauma as a child can stunt the way you form relationships with others which can follow you into adulthood. There are four main types, three of which are generally categorized as unhealthy relationship styles.
The three attachment disorders those who have experienced trauma are likely to develop include:
- Anxious-preoccupied attachment: If you have this style, you may be called “clingy.” Really, you just need extra affection and affirmations.
- Dismissive-avoidant attachment: You may be self-described as completely independent, to a fault, and refuse help from others.
- Fearful-avoidant attachment: This describes a relationship style where you crave emotional connection but are afraid to let another person into your life.
The top priority is that you take care of your mental health. Regardless of whether or not you have fully processed trauma from childhood, I am available to walk with you down the path toward greater mental health. I am here as a resource to help you process past trauma or any other struggles you may be facing. Please reach out to me today to schedule an appointment for trauma therapy.