The word “childhood” invokes innocence, joy, and optimism. To be a child is to be protected, loved, and cared for. The lack of these things often causes trauma for children as they grow up. Keep reading to learn about the effects of childhood trauma on adulthood.
Having a sense of love and protection often leads to stable, safe, and lasting relationships later in life. The above is what childhood should look like. However, in contrast, the realities of a lot of children based on their experiences are totally different.
Children and Trauma
Childhood trauma can come in many forms, such as physical or sexual abuse, witnessing a traumatic event, hospitalisation, domestic violence, experiencing bullying or experiencing a natural disaster.
Unlike adults, children do not see or consume information through the lens of education or life experiences. Since they have no clear understanding or idea as to why these things happen, they often end up blaming themselves.
Effect of Trauma on Child Stability
Childhood trauma often deprives a child of a sense of self, it undermines their self-worth and stays with them as they get into adulthood.
During this traumatic process of growth, a child begins to feel guilt, shame, and disconnection from others, with increased anxiety, depression, and shame.
For example, a child’s attachment patterns later in life may be affected if they experience emotional, physical, or sexual abuse at the hands of a caregiver or someone else who is close to them.
They might begin to view guardians and caregivers differently and lose faith in their ability to keep children safe or even just “care about them.”
It takes years of effort to put back together the broken parts and help a child restore their feeling of trust after it has been damaged.
This lack of trust often leads to adult attachment disorders, which affect these children when they become adults.
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Types of Adult Attachment Disorders
When a child experiences abuse from a parent, caregiver, or guardian, a number of disorders often occur when they become adults. Below are some of them.
Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment: an adult at this stage may seem needy and clingy and would often yearn for validation in their relationships. They often feel insecure because of the lack of emotional security they experienced while they were growing up.
The child constantly questions their place and demands constant affirmation when they are told they are loved but yet are frequently rejected.
Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment: this type of attachment happens when a child’s need is rejected or ignored. As a result of this, the child chooses an ultra-dependent lifestyle when they become an adult to avoid being rejected again.
Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: some adults find it difficult to trust people, share their emotional thoughts and create connections. This is because as a child they were exposed to abuse and neglect which made them fear close relationships.
Lasting Effects of Childhood Trauma
There are many effects of childhood trauma, depending on the child that is affected and the type of trauma.
Children who lack a sense of security and protection have their own way of protecting themselves so they can survive daily.
After seeing a parent or caregiver explode, they can get used to acting cautiously. As a result, out of fear that they might lose control and become angry, people start to become sensitive to every interaction and other people’s moods.
These children learn to adapt by repressing their emotions and causing trouble. preserving their fury, fear, and sadness.
There is a solid relationship between risky behaviours such as smoking, unprotective sex and childhood trauma according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
People who have gone through a series of abuses are prone to experiencing stress and anxiety later in life which can cause serious emotional issues throughout life.
To wrap it up, a traumatic childhood experience sets a broken foundation for someone for the rest of their life.
The way a child is raised matters a lot, if a child grows up feeling insecure, neglected and unloved, it will definitely teel on them and affect them as adults.
It is advisable that parents, guardians and caregivers study their children and find out how they feel and find a way to correct trauma wounds early.