How Past Trauma Can Affect You in Adult Life

Did you know that about 78 percent of children experience a traumatic event before the age of five?

If you’re wondering why you react to some situations a certain way, perhaps something in your childhood triggered those feelings. Although it’s not talked about a lot, childhood trauma has a big impact on your adult life.

Read on to learn more about how past trauma can affect your adult life.

Overview of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is also known as developmental trauma, and it’s a lot more common than people think. Many adults can have issues later in life that is triggered by childhood traumas.

Early life trauma is so significant because it changes the developing brain. As a response to childhood trauma, adults experience distorted perceptions of abuse, perpetrators, difficulties building relationships, low self-esteem, and distorted memories.

These are some examples of childhood trauma that can have a negative effect later on in life:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Parental divorce
  • Witnessing domestic violence
  • Death in the family
  • Mental illness in the family

These are examples of experiences that can have a negative impact later on in life.

1. Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

There is a strong link between childhood trauma and substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Many adults who didn’t help process the trauma often have issues managing their stress later in life. They often resort to drugs, food, alcohol as a coping mechanism.

2. Attachment to Unhealthy Relationships

Many adults who suffered emotional or physical abuse as children tend to end up in unhealthy relationships. Because they didn’t grow up with healthy relationships, they tend to gravitate towards emotionally unavailable or abusive partners.

3. Loss of Childhood Memories

It’s not uncommon for individuals who had a series of traumatic events or abuse happen in their childhood to not remember portions of those events.

This type of memory loss is also known are blocking, and it’s a common defense mechanism when people cannot deal with those emotions.

If you want to learn more about the influence of past memories, know more here.

4. Avoidance of Meaningful Relationships

Many adults who suffered negative experiences early in life often have trouble connecting and trusting others. It’s common for those individuals that experience childhood trauma to avoid creating intimacy and connecting with others.

They sometimes believe they’re not worth the love and affection of others and avoid relationships altogether.

5. Chronic Illnesses

Aside from affecting their mental health, childhood trauma can also have a negative effect on their physical health.

Because traumatic events increase cortisone and norepinephrine production, it can lead to diabetes, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and others. Those struggling with substance abuse, can also suffer from a chronic illness as a result.

Are You Struggling with Past Trauma?

Now that you know more about the root and long term effects of past trauma, you’re ready for the next step.

Remember, childhood traumas are often a result of witnessing domestic violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, sudden death in the family, and more.

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