We’d like to believe that who we are now is based only on our personalities and current thoughts/life experiences. But a lot of who we are now – how we think, how we feel, and how we process the world – is based on our childhood. Not just our childhood, in fact, but our childhood traumas, which can shape us in ways that we may never realize.
How Our Childhood Traumas Affects Our Emotions and Feelings as an Adult
Research into childhood trauma shows that those that have experienced traumas in their youth are prone to many different long term emotional and psychological challenges, including:
- Increased Risk Of Developing Mental Health Disorders
Not all mental health disorders are related to childhood trauma. But that doesn’t mean there is no effect. Many of those that experienced childhood trauma also show adult mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
- Difficulty Forming And Maintaining Healthy Relationships
Childhood trauma appears to have an effect on the relationships of others, including attachment styles, how to navigate relationships and marriage, how to respond to conflict, and more.
- Higher Likelihood Of Engaging In Self-Destructive Behaviors
Substance abuse, sex addiction, and risk-taking behaviors are all more common in those that experienced childhood trauma. A person that experiences these self-destructive behaviors also may or may not be aware that they are linked to their childhood experiences.
- Impaired Emotional Regulation/Coping Skills
We learn how to cope with stress and anxiety when we’re young. So, when we experience childhood trauma, we may not develop the necessary coping skills and emotional regulation techniques that we need to manage how we feel and cope with what life throws our way.
- Lower Self-Esteem
Finally, those that experienced childhood trauma may be more prone to low self-esteem and low feelings of self-worth, affecting their ability to feel comfortable and confident with themselves and others.
Addressing Past Traumas, Today
There is a myth, related to a specific type of therapy from Freud, that psychologists and therapists focus solely on your past, your relationship with your parents, etc. That is not the case. Much of therapy is actually focused on the present, sometimes exclusively. Your mental health isn’t just about your past, and sometimes the way you feel is related to things that are happening now – or for no apparent reason at all.
But that doesn’t mean that the past is not worth exploring. There are many situations where your experiences as a child do affect you as an adult and, when that is the case, it is worth determining how your trauma may be affecting you and what we can do to help you fix it.
For more information about trauma therapy in NYC, contact Flourish Psychology, today.