Can Childhood Trauma Continue Influencing Your Destructive Habits in Adulthood?

Childhood trauma impacts every aspect of your life as an adult. If you suffered from physical abuse, emotional abuse or sexual abuse, in any combination, you have brought fundamental ideas and reactions to life triggers into your adult life. Your childhood understanding of what it took to survive or overcome your traumatic experiences can still tangle up how you function as an adult.

Because you learn your value at the hands of those who are raising you, those base understandings of your worth in the world will impact the relationships you will seek out, the behaviors you tolerate in others, and the amount of self-care you give yourself. If you believe that your place in the world doesn’t deserve safety and respect, you will find an environment that is dangerous and abusive.

Not All Trauma Leaves a Mark

Many sufferers of emotional abuse don’t believe that they are trauma survivors, because emotional abuse doesn’t leave a mark. However, if you suffered Adverse Childhood Events, such as humiliation, backbiting at the hands of a parent, or were raised by an addict, it may be impacting your expectations in daily life.

Fundamentally, emotional abuse tells you what you’re entitled to as an adult. Not only can any form of abuse in childhood set you up to build a life that includes it in adulthood, but you can also become a person who can’t respect anyone who treats you with kindness and respect. If your personal relationships include a tendency to desire to save someone or be saved, you may not have ever learned what a supportive relationship looks like.

The Problem is Bigger Than We Think

The 1995 to 1997 study of Adverse Childhood Events study indicates that greater than 60% of adults suffered emotional abuse in childhood. This abuse includes parents or caregivers who abused, demeaned, or humiliated you as a child. If you saw parents gossip about other family members, or compare you favorably or unfavorably with other children including siblings, or neglected you because they couldn’t handle their own stress or had no support, you may be acting this out in your adult life.

Abandonment and neglect also add to the trauma inherent in Adverse Childhood Events. If you have a family history of addictive behaviors, you may well be suffering from the double-whammy of a genetic predisposition toward addiction and a fear of abandonment. Many children of addicts had no idea when the addictive parent would be home, or how dangerous they would be when they arrived home. These fears don’t disappear when they no longer need to rely on the parent to come home. Many trauma survivors love living alone because they can control their conditions, but they struggle to build loving relationships with their mates.

From Mind and Soul to Body and Physical Health

The trauma response from childhood triggers will spill over in multiple areas of your life. If you spent your childhood wondering about your own security, you may face constant money worries no matter the size of your income. If you spent your childhood being berated for any mistake, you may be afraid to try anything new. The anxious response to getting caught in an error at your job can lead to a life of constant checking and re-checking your work. Perfectionism and the inability to release information can be an indication of childhood trauma. Workaholics may make good money, but their health will suffer over time.

For those who heard constant bickering, arguing and gossip or back-biting, you may spend your adulthood never trusting your friends or siblings. Ultimately, you may find yourself living a very lonely life, simply because it reduces your risk of exposure to the unkindness that you understood was just part of family life. Worse, it may lead you to participate happily in gossip, poisoning relationships with potential friends and mates and destroying your relationships with your remaining family members. Loneliness and uncertainty can lead to anxiety and depression, which can actually shorten your life.

Contact us for a conversation about how childhood trauma is impacting your life today. Your story deserves to be heard and your healing process is critically important to your future success and happening. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 844-639-8371.

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