Those who survived childhood trauma often have to deal with the repercussions well into adulthood. This introduction offers a few key steps for healing.
In medicine, the word trauma speaks of a physical blow that causes injury inside the body. These injuries aren’t always evident from the outside but, if left untreated, they can manifest into more significant problems later. This definition applies well to the idea of psychological trauma, especially trauma experienced as a child. Fortunately, like physical injuries, there are ways of healing childhood trauma as an adult.
Acknowledge the Trauma and Its Effects
Those who have endured trauma in their childhood can find it difficult to look back on it. After surviving it once, it’s natural to want to focus on moving forward. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it may be challenging to acknowledge the trauma happened at all because of the implications it may have on one’s sense of self or their view of loved ones.
However, as with physical trauma, these wounds can have a profound impact later in life, making it difficult to move forward if not acknowledged. Some signs your trauma may be impacting you include:
- Isolation and difficult connection with others
- Difficulty with trust
- Fear of intimacy
- Insecurity and low self-esteem
- Self-destructive behavior
Acknowledging where you are may seem like a small step to some, but it is an immense leap toward healing from childhood trauma as an adult.
Once you have acknowledged the source of your pain, it can be tempting to isolate yourself. But isolation can exacerbate many of the negative emotions you are already experiencing. Bringing others into your healing will help you process your trauma and bring comfort throughout the process.
Professional aid refers to those trained to help people face mental and emotional difficulties, such as counselors, therapists, or psychiatrists. These individuals can give you invaluable insight into what you experienced from an outside perspective and help you understand your own emotions surrounding the trauma. They can also help you identify next steps to take beyond therapy.
A Note on therapy Types
Not all therapy types are the same. For some, simply talking through experiences is the most valuable strategy. For those with more deeply-rooted trauma, more intensive therapy, such as ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, may be in order. If one treatment doesn’t help, know that there are other options.
Depending on the situation, it may be difficult to find those you can confide in about your trauma. But having a trusted few people who are willing to be with you throughout the process will make dealing with the ups and downs easier. This is not to say that all your social connections have to surround your trauma. Your time with your support group should simply affirm who you are in the present.
Embrace the Process
Remember that healing from trauma isn’t always a linear process, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. There may be times when you may feel that you have gone backward instead of forward. In those moments, it’s important to have grace for yourself and remember every hard day is moving you closer to healing.