While not all children who have experienced a traumatic experience necessarily develop this disorder, many will do so and recovery is challenging even for those seeking treatment.
If something terrible happened to you in childhood, there are four ways it can change you. Childhood trauma is more common than many of us realize. According to the U.S. National Network for Child Traumatic Stress, 78 percent of children reported more than one trauma experience before the age of five.
Twenty percent of children under the age of 6 were treated for traumatic experiences, including sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, or traumatic loss.
How common are traumatic childhood experiences?
Adults suffering from developmental trauma may develop complex post-traumatic stress disorder or ‘cPTSP’, which is characterized by difficulties in emotional regulation, consciousness and memory, self-perception, distorted perceptions of the authors, difficulties in relationships with people other and negative effects in the meaning of life ..
Although not all children who have experienced abuse develop this disorder, many will do so and recovery is challenging even for those seeking treatment.
How does trauma affect identity formation?
When we look at how childhood trauma affects a person later in life – identity formation is an important part of normal development and occurs throughout life – from birth, through childhood and adolescence, to adulthood and old age.
Identity, including one’s sense of well-being, the integration of emotions and intellect, the basic awareness of the emotional state, the sense of security and coherence as an individual, and even the basic experience of who one really is – is damaged by trauma because survival takes precedence over development. normal personal and uses resources normally provided for normal development.
Early trauma changes the path of brain development because an environment marked by fear and neglect, for example, causes different adjustments of brain assemblies than an environment of security, protection, and love. The sooner the pain, the deeper the effect. The task of developing identity in adulthood, which is quite challenging both for those with a secure and normal education, is particularly difficult for those struggling with the consequences of developmental trauma.
Due to developmental delays and traumatic consequences of growth, which often include substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, increased risk for many health problems, behavioral problems, and difficulties in personal relationships and professional development, identity development stagnates .
People who experience a very painful childhood often may not remember much of their upbringing. They often do not have a clear history of themselves as children, adolescence, early adulthood, and sometimes later in life. This autobiographical meaning may be missing, underdeveloped, false or oversimplified. Many people feel as if someone has stolen their childhood – and without such a ‘foundation’ (growing up) – an adult’s identity is threatened.
They can easily end up near emotionally unavailable people, violent or narcissistic, or they can try, for example, to rescue and fix the people they are meeting. They consciously want to find someone who gives them what they intellectually know they need and want, but the unconscious influences lead them to known unwanted paths.
Alternatively, people with negative experiences involving intimate relationships may choose to avoid intimacy and isolate themselves. Especially when childhood trauma has been a defining component of key relationships – parents, siblings and other important people – any recollection of those experiences can lead to painful emotions and an escape from oneself. In extreme cases, it can lead to self-destruction.
Connecting with yourself, as with others, is a powerful reminder of past traumas, activating memories and emotions that are often very difficult to bear. Self-care is discontinued. An individual may not be able to think at all on their own and will give up any incentive to do so. A person often characterizes himself as disgusting and fundamentally bad, which reflects a rigid traumatic identity.
They, for example, are able to feel only vague emotions such as frustration or boredom, or can block resentment until anger erupts.
They can adopt an overly intellectual identity, behaving rudely or clumsily with others. This leads to difficulties in personal relationships, as emotions are necessary for intimacy and shaping career choices and often limit progress. Reintegrating emotions, although rewarding and necessary for growth, can be very challenging, full of fear and difficult experiences. Developing compassion and patience itself can be difficult but rewarding.