The individual you become says a lot about the upbringing you have had. But is our childhood actually in our hands? As a child, one would easily believe what they are told and they would accept the happenings around them as the reality of the world.
The experiences we have in our childhood shapes the adult we come. Traumatic or blissful, our experiences from childhood have a huge impact on our present as an adult. They shape the quality of our life as an adult.
The experiences we have as a child, as I mentioned in the very first line, says a lot about the individual’s upbringing. It is the sole responsibility of the parents to give their child a childhood that they remember with smiles and good memories. But, unfortunately, it isn’t the only way it happens.
Many children around the world are facing abuse and trauma they didn’t even sign up for, all because of some or the other situation. These children as grown-up adults have severe impacts of their past on their present and future.
While right parenting, right surroundings, and right exposure can shape the entire perspective of an individual, these things when done wrong are fairly responsible for all the problems that happen in adulthood.
Childhood trauma is inflicted in several ways. It can be inflicted by parents, siblings, relatives, or people in the surroundings with authority and power who disguise their intentions with fake concern for the child. These experiences leave dark traces on the child’s mind which stay and severely affect them all physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally.
Children with a history of experiencing abuse or neglect have a huge impact on emotional wellness, mental wellness, physical health and their personal relationships as an adult. The timeline and the extent of the trauma affect several factors of adulthood. Depending on these, some people can successfully overcome and settle their traumas to live a happy and fulfilled life.
If a person has survived any kind of abuse as a child, it has often resulted in feelings that arise emotional concerns. These people are likely to feel anxious, worried, ashamed, guilty, helpless, hopeless, sad, and angry.
Effects on self-image are one of the most strong effects of childhood trauma. The trauma often leads these adults to have a sense of victimness. They think of themselves as the oppressed ones in every situation, around everybody. They adopt this incredibly dangerous and unhealthy ideology of feeling and behaving like a victim.
Other situations where childhood trauma kicks in are the passive and subservient behavior of the individual. People with records of bad past as a child usually have the habits of being alone and keeping their emotions all bottled up. They don’t talk much about how they feel, they don’t share their emotions. Even though expressing thoughts is a personal choice, in cases of childhood trauma and bad past experiences, burying your feelings and carrying a heavy heart only increases the longevity of the trauma making it worse for the individual.
Survivors of abuse or any traumatic happening as a child have been linked to mental wellness concerns. Substance abuse, self-harm, suicide, and relationship difficulties are just a few to name.
Psychological Science reported that people with childhood trauma were more prone to depression. And, owing to the fact that depression still lacks behind being seen as a serious situation in society, this makes it even more serious for people like you and me who understand the effects it can have on an individual.
Depression holds the power to instigate people to instigate self-harm mentally and even physically.
People with wrong childhood experiences have a situation called “heightened stress response”. This leads them to a lower sense of emotions, sleep difficulties, and lower functioning of the immune system. It also increases the risk of many other physical illnesses and conditions that affect health throughout life.
There’s a protein called S100B. The spike in this protein can potentially damage the inflammation in the human brain. Usually, such a spike happens after a physical head injury. Unfortunately, researchers have found a similar spike in children with emotional trauma.
Other than this, people with records of childhood trauma are at a higher risk of health problems like cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and others among many.
An adult’s personal relationships are another important aspect that can be severely affected by their childhood trauma and ugly past experiences. As per research, people with these bad experiences either tend to avoid relationships for the longest time or attract emotionally abusive and toxic relationships.
Victims of childhood trauma have troubles in their relationships because of various reasons: fear of commitment, separation anxiety, fear of being judged or misunderstood, and social anxiety.
What should be done?
As people of the present times who understand and support the awareness around mental wellness and emotional wellness, it is our responsibility to recognize and analyze the potential signs of trauma in the children and adults around us.
The sufferer isn’t always open to talk about their sufferings. As people who care for them, it is us who have to do it.
Here are a few ways in which you can lend a helping hand to someone going through a tough time because of their bad past experiences:
Help them to practice self-care: Feelings of self-harm and worthlessness are the most heightened in people with childhood trauma. Hence, helping them and giving them ways to engage in self-care can definitely be a stepping stone.
Give them options to involve in extracurricular activities: Replacing the negative and traumatic memories with new, creative, and positive ones helps them to explore themselves. This is why new hobbies and interests should be encouraged to help them find their purpose.
Seek professional help and guidance: Mental wellness is as important as physical health. So, just like a physical, medical situation, emotional and mental wellness concerns like childhood traumas deserve professional guidance too.
But, while you lend your helping hand to people in need, make sure you are “fit” enough to lead them. You can read about our previous blog on eligibility for mental wellness here.