You do not always have to feel that way.
A childhood trauma, like any other psychological trauma, leaves deep mental scars that affect the mind, often in the form of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can keep you from healing your trauma for a long time – years or even decades, in some cases.
There are many symptoms of PTSD with which you may not even be confronted because you are undergoing a childhood trauma in your own way.
The nature of your trauma – along with your childhood history and relationships – contributes to your PTSD symptoms. That is, they can be complex and different from the typical ones.
Your symptoms and your life may change. You do not have to live like this. All this can be clarified.
If you ask yourself, "Do I have PTSD?" Then you probably noticed some worrying behaviors or symptoms. So, what is PTSD?
It may be helpful to know the trauma definition and to know if the symptoms you have are "typical" of the disorder.
However, remember that it is you. The way you experience the after-effects of your trauma does not have the same meaning or symptom as others.
Here are some "universal" signs or symptoms of PTSD:
- Recurring, unwanted burdensome memories of the traumatic event
- Reliving the traumatic event as if it happened again (flashbacks)
- Concussive dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
- Severe emotional stress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of something
- Avoid thinking about or talking about the trauma.
- Avoid places, activities, or people who remind you.
- Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world.
- Hopelessness about the future.
- memory problems.
- Difficulty Maintaining close relationships
- Feeling detached from family and friends
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Easy to scare or be scared
- Always be on the alert for dangers
- Self-destructive behaviors like too much drinking
- Sleep Disorders
- Concentration Disorders
- Overwhelming guilt or disgrace
Most of these reactions are traumas and there are many causes of PTSD. What underlies your dreams, nightmares, negative thoughts about yourself, guilt and shame has a complex meaning.
To find out the effects of childhood trauma, they need to be understood. They have experienced terror. This terror has aroused feelings that are typical for you.
PTSD is about terror. If you have had a childhood trauma, you have been in a situation of overwhelming helplessness. The trauma lives now on your symptoms and your constant fears.
How does that happen?
When people are afraid, they respond with a "fight" or "flight" reaction. But what happens if you can neither fight nor escape because there is nowhere to go?
This is a trauma . They feel helplessly trapped in an unmanageable situation.
In trauma, "escape" in your mind through what psychologists call dissociation. Dissociation means that during the trauma you release yourself from your emotional reactions and feel nothing.
In fact, you may feel like you're floating when this happens. as if the one who experiences the trauma does not really she is . This is a form of "flying".
Often this trauma comes back in nightmares, flashbacks, or in different ways that you experience again and again. Even if you have no flashbacks or nightmares, there are other ways to relive traumatic fears.
Terror lives deep in your bones and you can not get rid of it, even if you thought you did it.
There are eight ways you can react if you suffer from PTSD due to trauma:
1. You are hypervigilant and watchful.
Your mind is on high alert. It's not something you do intentionally. it is the impact of a trauma.
They are constantly searching the world for clues to danger. feel safe nowhere can not sleep you check the locks. You are afraid to go alone, especially at night.
However, it's hard to believe someone will protect you. The world seems to be out of control. Everything could happen and you are helpless to stop it.
Your only option, your subconscious mind says, is to keep a watchful eye on everything and everyone around you. That way, you might be able to protect yourself this time.
. 2 You feel danger on every corner
A childhood trauma means that you were in danger . This caused your brain (more specifically, your subconscious mind) to assume that danger could occur at any moment.
You were helpless and there was no one to turn to for sure. Maybe your trauma was caused by someone who should take care of you.
They were on high alert, had to take care of themselves by being extremely careful.
You have to feel under control. and knows what it's like not to be. Her childish mind remembers the trauma of powerlessness. Hypervigilance and fear of danger should protect you.
You'll take care of yourself, because no one else can be trusted to bring you to safety – especially before the disaster that you're sure will happen soon.
. 3 You have the feeling of an impending doom.
Yes, you feel that danger is on every corner. But even worse is the horror that faces a terrible earthquake catastrophe.
Believe it or not, this horror is often angered when you have something good . The disaster that awaits you will surely do you the best.
Someone could die. You could be killed. Everything will fall apart. You are afraid to take a wrong step.
This terror sometimes scares you out. Afraid to drive. Worried about going to sleep. Even sometimes panicking about what you eat. They are afraid to part with their loved ones.
4. They are afraid of anger, fight back or express themselves.
Anger is an eerie feeling. They are afraid that you will hurt someone, make him disappear or that he will retaliate. So, your anger might be well hidden, even from yourself.
Or, when you get angry, big, frustrated explosions can cause you to be anxious or guilty. They try hard to control it the way you try to control everything else.
Perhaps as a child, you hurt or frightened someone's anger. You could not fight back when you were little and you may have been threatened or punished if you have tried to speak out. Probably somewhere in you where you do not have to obey.
It's very hard not to be able to stand up for yourself, but you can not. You swallow how you feel. You do not trust people, relationships or other people to be there for you or to listen.
. 5 You panic because you are trapped or become claustrophobic.
You feel trapped in many different situations. Can not say "no" or leave if you want. Maybe you are even claustrophobic.
You can not ride in elevators or stay in small rooms. Not in an MRI, a small room or a crowded area. If you feel like you're not coming out, panic. You avoid these situations at all costs.
If you feel that you are giving other people what you want and can not express your feelings or needs openly, this is a different kind of trap. It's more about what a trauma means to you.
Your feelings are trapped in you. You can not be open yourself. Both you and your feelings are trapped in a tight box.
. 6 They are suspicious of relationships.
One reason you can not be open to yourself is that you worry about most people. You are wary of anything that you consider unpopular, good enough or as good as it is.
They are constantly comparing. Things often seem like defeats. You are not sure. Fear makes it difficult to relax.
Basically, it's not easy to trust someone. Sometimes you do not think it's worth being around, but you're lonely, so you do that.
However, because you're always worried about being judged, rejected, or used, you never really feel ] close. It is a vicious circle that you would like to get out of but can not.
You are almost always in a state of high or low anxiety.
. 7 They suffer from depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or alcohol / drug use.
What causes childhood trauma in your head can lead to profound and prolonged depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse.
Constant worry, the terror of disaster, feelings of immediate danger, panic, fears, expressing your feelings are fear-driven. You need to feel controlled, and obsessive-compulsive disorder is one way to try.
OCD is emotionally a way to overcome anxiety. You may be ritualistic about the things you do. Clean constantly. Or keep things in order. In fact, try to plan things carefully so you do not make a mistake. An error means losing control. But inevitably there are terrible doubts. What if you are wrong?
It is very difficult to live that way. Especially if you feel that there is no relief and no escape. And that leads to depression. They feel hopeless. I can not sleep. Dreams and nightmares are haunting you. You are afraid to try a therapy – or maybe that has failed you.
Turning to alcohol or drugs seems to be the only way out of constant agony. Your self-esteem is very low and you do not have much hope. But it's important to know that none of this is your fault.
You do not have to live like this.
. 8 You keep dreaming about your traumatic events.
In your nightmares your trauma only seems to repeat, similar to flashbacks. But if you look closely, there are more details. Your dreams could be so terrible, disgusting or frightening that you do not want to sleep out of fear of another.
How could they possibly have something to say? You just want to get rid of them.
Dreams are messages from your subconscious. As hard to believe as they are, they're trying to help you find the scars left by your trauma. Dreams and nightmares, however, can be very scary.
That's why it's important to get help from someone who knows what he means.
In particular, you need help from someone who specializes in childhood trauma. You are very likely to be afraid of trusting someone. Especially if you have failed a therapy (or therapies before).
If you had a trauma as a child, trust is not easy to get.
So, what can I do now?
There are some wonderful treatments for PTSD. Psychotherapy with someone specializing in childhood trauma is the best option.
A therapist trained in psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy is best placed to understand the unconscious meaning of your symptoms. If you get to the root, you will not continue to suffer.
It's important to remember what a childhood trauma did to your head that does not define you. It is not you, and it is not permanent. All these effects can change.
You tried to take control. Flight. Avoidance. These are the methods that you have applied yourself.
If one of the results of your trauma is distrust of people or relationships, it was your decision to rely on yourself.
I was alone with your terror, your fears and your panic. They had no choice but to try to stem their feelings. However, this only leads to another form of escape and leaves your symptoms.
If you can take the risk of therapy, your therapist must understand and take seriously how difficult it is for you to trust.
Psychotherapy can be a place where one is no longer alone with his horrors, fears and worries. And since these symptoms are largely psychological in nature, they can definitely change with help.
You will learn to rebuild trust, get to the bottom of your fears and grieve the injuries and traumas you have suffered. You will learn again to be sure what is the most important thing you can do for yourself.
Life can become better . The effects of childhood trauma need not continue.
Sandra Cohen is a Los Angeles-based psychologist and psychoanalyst specializing in childhood trauma, helping to heal the effects of trauma on your mind. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website.
This article was originally published by Sandra E. Cohen, Ph.D. Reprinted with permission of the author.