The Importance of Resolving Childhood Trauma
Childhood trauma is known to cause predetermined psychological, attachment, and relational challenges later in life.
The long-term effects of unresolved childhood trauma are wide-ranging, from developing PTSD, ADHD, schizophrenia, narcissism, and mental health disorders.
In addition to childhood trauma impacting psychological development, unresolved childhood trauma can negatively affect relationships.
The consequence of experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, or other forms of traumatic events during the developmental stages of a child’s life, triggers various trauma responses. The brain reacts to trauma as a flight or fight reaction in an attempt to process the event and protect the body from shock. These responses can be either long-term or short-term.
Childhood trauma that is left untreated will develop negatively during adolescents and adulthood. It is crucial to resolve and effectively address it from the onset of symptoms with a childhood trauma therapist near me or online – regardless of whether the incident happened during childhood or adulthood. This reduces the risk of further complications.
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Unresolved Childhood Trauma
Unresolved childhood trauma can present itself during adulthood in the least expected ways. It is common for those who have not dealt with traumatic experiences to face unexplained sporadic negative feelings or emotions. Commonly, in relationships, the consequence of attachment habits formed due to an unpleasant childhood experience is an indicator of underlying issues. You may find yourself wondering why you suddenly feel on edge or anxious when a certain conflict arises. This may be because of unresolved childhood trauma.
Not every traumatic experience is the same, thus, not every trauma victim will face the same symptoms of challenges later. Although many that have been exposed to traumatic incidents at a young age create a subconscious block to avoid thinking or talking about the event, it does not mean that the root problem has been resolved. Blocking out traumatic events in an attempt to forget about your experience is much worse and has even further complicated aftereffects.
What is considered childhood trauma? According to a study done on childhood experiences, childhood trauma identifies and categorizes traumatic events that happen before turning eighteen years old. Traumatic events such as;
- Terrorism attacks.
- Exposure to violence.
- Separation from a primary caregiver.
- Death of a loved one.
- Emotional or physical abandonment or neglect.
- Dysfunctional households with substance abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
- Critical medical conditions.
Trauma can be caused by a wide range of experiences, the above-mentioned are the most common causes.
“How do I know if I have unresolved childhood trauma?”
Identifying childhood trauma requires introspection and revisiting unpleasant memories, the intention behind this is to take note of what happened, why it happened, and what effect it has on you now. Anyone who has experienced trauma will present symptoms in their way. Some victims of childhood trauma adopt negative and unhealthy attachment or coping mechanisms, while others intentionally dismiss their triggers. Unresolved childhood trauma can manifest into adulthood, causing challenges with mental and physical health, social interaction problems, lack of purpose or direction, PTSD or depression, and anxiety. Among various consequences of untreated childhood trauma, look out for these.
These indicators of unresolved childhood trauma should never be ignored;
- Negative and unhealthy attachment habits or behaviors.
- Challenges forming relationships.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Unable to cope with stressful events.
- Low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
- Learning or cognitive disabilities.
- Substance dependency or medications.
- Hyperactivity and lack of ability to concentrate.
- The weaker immune system constantly falls sick.
- Memory challenges.
- Commonly engage in high-risk behaviors.
Although it may not be obvious to identify the indicators of untreated childhood trauma in adults, the above-mentioned warning signs are the most common signals. It is suggested for trauma victims to connect with a professional trauma therapist to guide them through acknowledging and healing untreated childhood trauma.
Depression, anxiety, or any other severe cases of trauma effects can develop and become irreversible. We suggest working through identifying signs of childhood trauma with a trauma specialist from BetterHelp as soon as possible and learning the next steps to heal from unresolved childhood trauma.
The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Relationships
Have you ever experienced anxiety when separated from a partner? Or, have you felt a need to always be near friends or loved ones? This may be a result of childhood trauma. Children who experience unhealthy interactions and relationships with caregivers in their impressionable years, develop negative attachment styles that heavily impact their relationships later in adulthood. When childhood trauma is left unresolved, it is known to creep up and threaten personal relationships later in life.
Many trauma victims tend to suppress negative emotions, however, it becomes a challenge when you experience unpleasant memories of your childhood and are unable to happily reminisce in comparison to your social circle, or significant other. Although it may seem as though the trauma you were exposed to during earlier years has dissolved, it is important to note that the brain stores shock from traumatic events for years after the incident. As a result, warning signs may begin to present themselves.
How childhood trauma affects relationships?
The tell signs of unresolved childhood trauma are unique to each individual. The triggers, reactions, and experiences are entirely different and may either be subtle or obvious. If you suspect that there is unresolved trauma causing conflict in your relationship, it is advised to trace back to your childhood and identify monumental incidents that could have affected you into adulthood.
If at any point during childhood you experienced:
- Sexual abuse, assault, or violation.
- Emotional or physical neglect.
- Physical abuse or violence.
- Witnessed violence or abuse.
- Experienced acts of terrorism or war.
- Were abandoned by a caregiver or parent.
- Grew up in a household where there was substance abuse.
- Experienced mentally unstable parents.
- Lack of emotional acknowledgment from a parent.
- Unstable relationships between parents.
The above-mentioned incidents are all impactful and are categorized as traumatic events and experiences. Consequently, this leads to complications during adolescence and adulthood, where victims will commonly experience trauma triggers, responses, and reactions. Additionally, because trauma is left unresolved, ignored, or suppressed, it manifests into further mental health challenges, attachment disorders, PTSD or C-PTSD, as well as depression and anxiety, among various other aftereffects.
The impact of childhood trauma on relationships is devastating, and if not dealt with accordingly, it can result in immense distress in relationships. Adults who have experienced traumatic incidents during childhood usually develop trust issues, they prefer to maintain distance from friends and potential connections out of fear. They also struggle with effective emotional expression and communication and often have already developed negative reactive habits in times of triggering situations. Consequently, this can lead to a lack of genuine emotional connection and attachment in a relationship.
The effects of childhood trauma on relationships in adulthood.
- Lack of building trust with a partner.
- Fear or avoidance of intimacy.
- Poor communication habits.
- Anger management challenges.
- Lack of genuine empathy.
- Unable to process and express emotions effectively.
- Awkward social behavior.
- Unhealthy reactions to normal conflict situations.
- Emotionally unavailable.
- Low self-esteem, self-confidence, and poor self-image.
- Typically prefer to be self-sufficient and independent.
For those who have experienced traumatic events or incidents during their younger years, it is encouraged to work through each incident carefully. This can help you identify why certain things happened to you or around you, additionally, you will be able to understand and acknowledge what triggers hurtful memories and resolve them moving forward. The effects of childhood trauma on relationships can cause ongoing emotional distress and anxiety if left unresolved.
Learning how to resolve childhood trauma will allow you to not only reconnect with yourself, but you will also heal and allow others to be a part of your life without the fear of traumatic incidents happening again. To avoid any irreversible damage and negative impact caused by unresolved childhood trauma, we encourage you to connect to a BetterHelp childhood trauma psychologist who can offer you professional guidance, advice, and support during your healing journey.
Emotional trauma is often overlooked after experiencing a traumatic event. What happens when you are exposed to an incident that causes shock, feelings of unsafety, or danger, is that the body automatically responds by trying to protect itself. During this time, you may not notice the effects immediately, however, after the experience, emotional trauma will start to develop.
What is emotional trauma? Emotional trauma is used to define something incomprehensible. An incident that has made you feel unsafe, in danger, anxious, or severely stressed and anxious. It is common for events such as natural disasters, sexual abuse, or violence to cause long-term consequences of emotional trauma later in life. As a result of the ending of a once-off or ongoing traumatic experience, you may start to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, or C-PTSD. Additionally, emotional trauma symptoms are commonly accompanied by physical indicators such as insomnia, chronic nightmare or flashback, and social anxiety.
Trauma responses are different for each individual. In cases where the incident did not happen to you personally, being a witness or hearing about a traumatic event can cause secondary emotional trauma. An example of secondary trauma is witnessing physical abuse, hearing about a natural disaster, or a friend sharing their trauma experience. This can have long-term effects on your emotional well-being.
When Identifying emotional trauma, it can be categorized by physical or emotional trauma reactions. Trauma specialists encourage you to use these indicators as a guideline to resolve and heal your emotional trauma.
Behavioral or emotional trauma responses.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Fear, guilt, shame, and anger.
- Withdrawn from loved ones, family, and enjoyable activities.
- Deliberately avoiding people and places that trigger the trauma memory.
- Confusion, denial, and frustration.
- Severe concentration challenges.
- Extremely hypervigilant of your surroundings.
- Flashbacks and nightmares.
Physical signs of emotional trauma.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Disturbed eating habits.
- Chest pains, headaches, or muscle tension.
- Unexplained pain or illnesses.
The severity of emotional trauma can develop and complicate psychological, emotional, and physical health challenges. Although it may seem as though emotional trauma can resolve itself, unfortunately, many trauma victims experience complications as a result.
Why is it important to heal emotional trauma? As you grow and develop physically, mentally, and emotionally, the experiences you’ve faced will impact how healthily you develop relationships during adulthood. This means that as a consequence of traumatic experiences, you are at a higher risk of developing negative attachment habits, substance abuse, or various eating, sleeping, or personality disorders.
It is recommended, for anyone who has experienced a traumatic incident in their lives, to identify and acknowledge the trauma. Additionally, connect to a specialist in emotional trauma therapy near me or online, that will be able to advise you on how to move forward and heal your emotional trauma effectively.
BetterHelp offers the best certified and experienced trauma specialists who are trained to heal the effects of childhood trauma on adults.
The fear of abandonment primarily develops as a consequence of behaviors modeled by parents or caregivers during childhood. Childhood abandonment trauma can be a result of experiencing loss, rejection, or any form of abandonment during childhood. Later in life, those who have experienced abandonment in their early years are more prone to have difficulties developing and maintaining healthy relationships.
To have healthy attachment in adulthood, it is crucial to resolve challenges such as emotional and abandonment trauma. More often than not, victims of emotional trauma are challenged with unhealthy coping mechanisms and behaviors as a result of experiencing emotional or physical inconsistency from a parent or primary caregiver.
Childhood abandonment trauma is known to impact the development of attachment styles. Based on the relationship and interaction between child and parent, as well as parental behaviors and availability, directly influence attachment styles. Unhealthy attachment styles are known as;
- Anxious attachment.
- Avoidant attachment.
- Disorganized attachment.
People with these unhealthy attachment styles often find it challenging to maintain healthy relationships due to fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem. This is a direct influence of possible childhood abandonment that has complicated further challenges. Childhood experiences influence and shape your beliefs, outlooks, expectations, and behaviors in future relationships.
How can I tell if I have fear of abandonment?
Although the signs of childhood abandonment trauma may not be easy to identify, there are a few indicators that may mean you have a fear of abandonment.
- You tend to develop relationships quickly.
- The potential loss if someone causes your severe panic.
- You prefer to avoid people or places where you may face rejection.
- You have trouble trusting others.
- You have stayed in unhealthy relationships.
- Maintaining relationships is a challenge.
- You struggle with emotional regulation and stress.
Abandonment trauma not only influences your attachment style, but it can also additionally lead to self-sabotage, relational sabotage, and separation anxiety. Trauma affects two crucial areas of the brain that are associated with regulating stress and trauma responses. Thus, when trauma incidents are left untreated, the brain continues to develop negative protective methods.
What are the forms of childhood abandonment?
Although it is common to assume that abandonment is physical, children can feel abandoned in more than one way.
- Emotional abandonment.
- Physical abandonment.
Emotional neglect or abandonment happens when a child’s emotions are not appropriately met by a caregiver. This results in the child feeling rejected, insignificant, and unwanted, consequently causing fear of abandonment.
When a child experiences being separated from a caregiver or having physical needs such as medical care or necessities withheld from them, this also contributes to developing abandonment fears.
The long-term effects of childhood abandonment trauma can cause negative impacts in various areas of your life. It is not uncommon for unresolved trauma to complicate and reappear at vulnerable times.
We urge you to connect to a therapist specializing in childhood trauma near me or online
BetterHelp offers the best online trauma specialists who will be able to provide a safe and comfortable environment to help you address and effectively heal from your traumatic experience.
How Childhood Trauma Causes Depression
Trauma responses are known to cause damaging effects both during the incident and long after. In cases where the traumatic experience is ongoing, the response may become increasingly harmful and result in the development of anxiety disorders, unhealthy attachment habits, and forms of depression.
Did you know that recent studies done on childhood trauma show that the experience or witness of a traumatic incident during the formative years can dramatically alter a person’s brain? What this means is that as a result of witnessing tragic events, you are predisposed as an adult to develop depression, commit suicide or, become a drug or substance abuser. As psychologists continue to discover the impacts of childhood trauma in adulthood, it has been noted that adults suffering from depression should take the necessary measures for treatment in the early stages. The reason being is that those who have had the experience of a traumatic event before the age of 7 are less likely to respond positively to antidepressants later in life.
What is the connection between childhood trauma and depression?
It is believed that depression is a genetically inherited condition, however, recent studies have revealed that there is a direct link between childhood trauma experiences and the predisposition to depression in adulthood. The reason depression is a result of childhood trauma is due to the chemical reaction in the brain during and after the incident. When a traumatic event happens, the brain and the body’s stress levels become suddenly heightened, this causes an overstimulation of key areas in the brain responsible for the body’s stress and sensory regulation. When these fundamental areas are overworked in the short period of the incident, it becomes a challenge for the brain to recover and return to regular functionality. In the long run, as a result of the trauma reaction in the brain and the body, you will experience a chemical imbalance, which consequently can lead to developing a wide range of severe disorders, depression being one of them.
Different types of depression that can develop as a result of childhood trauma;
1. Major Depressive Disorder.
This is a mood disorder that causes symptoms to persist for longer than two weeks.
These symptoms include;
● Feelings of despair, guilt, or suicide.
● Lack of energy and interest in activities.
● Significant weight gain or loss.
● Lack of sleep or no sleep at all.
● General low mood.
The difference between MDD and Dysthymia is that the symptoms persist for longer than two years. Although it may be a manageable depressive disorder, dysthymia is known to develop and interfere with daily responsibilities.
3. Bi-Polar Disorder.
Also known as mania depression, this causes major mood swings between abnormally low moods and extremely elevated moods. Often when someone with bipolar disorder experiences hypomania (elevated moods), they may require hospitalization as they can lose touch with reality. They may indulge in high-risk activities, excessive spending, and abnormal plans. On the contrary, when they experience lows, they may experience extreme depressive episodes and potentially become suicidal.
4. Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Also known as ‘SAD’. This form of depression causes you to feel seasonally depressed due to a lack of certain seasonal vitamins such as vitamin D. It will be a recurring seasonal depressive period causing;
● unstable mood
● Light sensitivity
● Appetite changes
How to tell if you have depression caused by childhood trauma.
The most common signs of depression due to childhood trauma are physical and mental indicators. Because traumatic incidents impair the functionality of both the brain and the body, it is important to take note of the symptoms.
- Anger management challenges.
- Seem disconnected, non-responsive, or lacking interest.
- Lack of energy.
- Concentration challenges.
- Sleep disruptions or insomnia.
- Significant weight loss or gain.
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
- Lack of positive self-esteem or self-worth.
- Memory loss or gaps in memory.
- Confusion, lack of empathy, or disassociation.
These are all common tell signs and warning indicators of childhood trauma causing depression. If you are aware that you have developed depression as a result of a traumatic experience, it is advised for you to seek professional treatment to avoid any further complications or harm to your mental and physical health.
Untreated childhood trauma is extremely detrimental to a victim’s overall well-being later during adulthood. In addition to developing various psychological challenges, childhood trauma can also impact;
- Your interpersonal relationships.
- Overall relationship with yourself.
- Negative self-worth.
- Performance at work or education institutes.
- Your emotional expression and comprehension.
- Attachment styles.
Any form of depression should be taken seriously as it can develop and become increasingly detrimental to your well-being. BetterHelp treatment for depression caused by childhood trauma has been effective for many trauma victims. We encourage you to connect to a specialist to guide you through healing trauma and depression.
Childhood Trauma and Schizophrenia
Can unresolved childhood trauma cause schizophrenia? The short answer is definitive, yes. Childhood trauma is known to complicate a wide spectrum of damaging aftereffects. PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, and various psychological challenges are consequential of untreated childhood trauma.
What is schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is categorized by recurring defects in the perception of reality. Unfortunately, as a response to trauma, the brain becomes chemically imbalanced and as a result, can cause schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that affects your ability to;
- Regulate emotions
- Behave normally
- Perceive reality as it is
Psychologists affirm, there is a combination of factors that can cause schizophrenia; genetics, childhood trauma, the chemical balance in the brain, brain structure, and birth defects or complications.
Patients who have reported symptoms of schizophrenia as a consequence of childhood trauma often experience periods in which they have trouble perceiving people and surroundings. They commonly feel out of touch with reality and show signs of hallucinations.
According to psychologists, schizophrenia from childhood trauma is based on the response rather than the actual traumatic incident. What causes schizophrenia as a reaction to the event is what happens in the brain during and after the incident.
Because trauma is primarily a fear-based reaction, the body reacts in a way that produces excess dopamine, much like that of excess caffeine, lack of sleep, or stress. When this reaction is prolonged, it can cause a person to become anxious and jumpy, and consequently become hypervigilant. This extreme hypervigilance and overstimulated state of being can cause schizophrenia, as many trauma victims may start to develop a distorted perception of reality, leading to hallucinations.
The early onset signs of schizophrenia can be categorized as:
This can involve hearing or seeing things that aren’t there. Especially things from the traumatic incident. Hallucinations can affect any of the senses, from sound, touch, smell, or sight.
Believing a false reality, someone with schizophrenia might feel that they are in danger or under a threat. They may also believe that comments in conversations are subconsciously aimed at them.
Disorganized thoughts and speech.
It is common for schizophrenic patients to have scattered and disorganized thoughts, which interfere with their speech and cognitive ability.
Unpredictable or abnormal behavior.
Schizophrenia causes trauma victims to behave or act in abnormal manners. Often as a result of reliving the traumatic experience, they will behave as though they are in danger again. It is also common for adults with schizophrenia to have sudden outbursts of anger or periods of silence.
Negative or unhealthy functionality.
They may neglect taking care of their hygiene, and experience a decrease in functionality. They may not be able to maintain appropriate posture, making it increasingly difficult to complete tasks.
Due to severe symptoms, patients who suffer from schizophrenia as a consequence of trauma, often have suicidal behaviors and thoughts. It is advised to contact a therapist specializing in schizophrenia to avoid irreversible damage or outcomes.
Overcoming trauma experiences that have resulted in unhealthy consequences such as depression, personality disorders, negative attachment styles, PTSD, or schizophrenia, it is recommended to practice methods of self-regulation in addition to seeing a BetterHelp professional, affordable and effective methods of appropriate treatment.
How Childhood Trauma is connected to Nightmare Disorders
Understanding how Childhood Trauma is Connected to Nightmare Disorders.
When someone experiences a traumatic incident, it is common for them to show signs of PTSD, this involves undesirable memories and flashbacks of their experience. When this trauma is not resolved, it causes unpleasant remembrances of the event as you fall asleep, and when you are asleep – nightmare disorder. This is a negative outcome of unresolved childhood trauma.
Nightmare disorders can be caused by a wide range of experiences such as;
- Stress or external anxiety triggers.
- Medication side effects
- Unresolved trauma
- Underlying disorders.
- Substance abuse.
- Sleep deprivation.
In cases of nightmare disorders as a result of trauma, it is suggested for patients to seek therapy specifically for treating parasomnia. It is common for nightmare disorders to cause challenges in various areas of your life, as well as affect your overall well-being as a result of interrupted sleep and fear of sleep. If nightmare disorders are not treated effectively, you are at risk of developing;
- Borderline personality disorder.
- Stress or anxiety disorders.
- Neurological challenges.
- Mental health challenges.
Studies have shown that the experience of traumatic events that have resulted in nightmare disorders, leaves victims at a higher risk of suicide. In general, nightmare disorders harm your quality of life. Noticeably affecting the quality of sleep, volatile mood, as well as lack of energy.
It is crucial to have good quality sleep that is uninterrupted by chronic nightmares. A lack of healthy sleep patterns can cause physical health challenges such as having a weaker immune system, chronic illnesses, inflammation in the body, and mental distress.
Treatment to manage and overcome sleep disorders caused by trauma requires either pharmacological or psychotherapeutic methods of therapy.
This form of psychotherapeutic method focuses on cognitive behaviors. This method addresses the recurring nightmare and through sessions, starts to rewrite and reconstruct the nightmare to become a more pleasant dream.
2. Exposure, relaxation, rescripting therapy.
Another form of psychotherapeutic healing method where nightmares specifically related to trauma is addressed. Through the combination of IRT (imagery rehearsal therapy) and exposure therapy to help the victim revisit these nightmares and develop self-soothing methods. Another benefit of nightmare disorder treatment is that through increasing lucid dreams, the victim can have more control over dreams.
We strongly encourage victims of childhood trauma suffering from nightmare disorders or sleep interruptions to consider connecting with a BetterHelp trauma specialist that can help them effectively manage, cope and overcome unresolved trauma.
Childhood Trauma and ADHD
The experience of childhood trauma can have severe consequences on someone with ADHD. As ADHD is already a stress and anxiety-related disorder, the experience of stress caused by a traumatic event can complicate the disorder.
According to trauma specialists, childhood trauma can cause ADHD as a result of post-traumatic stress effects on the brain. During a traumatic experience, the body releases large amounts of adrenaline which assists the brain with the “flight or fight” response. During this process, a stress hormone is also released, this is meant to help the body mobilize and store energy.
Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming amount of hormones and signals sent out during the trauma experience, the stress experienced becomes a toxic shock and consequently causes the inability to process the events effectively. When this trauma response is not resolved from the onset, it can cause complications such as ADHD, depression, or anxiety disorders.
Understanding childhood trauma and ADHD.
Various forms of childhood trauma can impact ADHD. If these experiences happened before the age of 18, you are likely to experience negative impacts on your overall emotional, physical and social well-being.
1. Forms of abuse.
● Psychical or emotional forms of neglect.
3. Household disruptions.
● Witnessing substance abuse.
● Mentally ill parents or caregivers.
● Domestic violence.
These are forms of impactful childhood trauma that can either complicate ADHD or cause the development of ADHD as a long-standing consequence.
Identifying signs of ADHD as a result of trauma in adults may overlap with symptoms of PTSD. However, these are notable warning signs of ADHD triggered by traumatic stress.
- Poor memory.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Challenges connecting with others.
- Substance abuse.
- Emotional dysregulation.
- Sleep disruptions or frequent restlessness.
Although it is common to experience conjoint symptoms of PTSD and ADHD long after a traumatic experience, it is always advised to seek professional advice to identify your condition. Because childhood trauma can be a result of exposure to stressful events and experienced at any point in a child’s life, the trauma’s impact on the brain can later lead to cognitive and emotional distress that may resemble ADHD.
It is possible to heal and overcome childhood trauma and ADHD. Through methods of psychotherapy, trauma victims are taught how to reconnect the brain and the body. A form of therapy known as somatic therapy helps to alleviate chronic stress responses and release the shock within the nervous system.
With this psychotherapy, trauma victims are encouraged to revisit and rewrite the narrative of the trauma incident. This helps to shift through processes associated with the trauma and resolve the issue.
If you experience persistent symptoms of ADHD caused by a traumatic event, we suggest connecting to a childhood trauma therapist near me or online
BetterHelp offers unique therapy methods to overcome ADHD and childhood trauma are EMDR therapy, talk therapy, imagery rehearsal therapy, as well as, any other cognitive-focused modalities.
How do you know if you are a victim of childhood narcissistic abuse? It is commonly challenging to identify narcissistically abusive parents. In most cases, you will only realize you are a victim much later in life once you notice the aftereffects.
What does it mean to experience childhood narcissistic abuse? Narcissistic abuse is a form of abuse where the abuser only cares about themselves. They may use manipulative methods to gain control over their victim. Narcissism is considered a personality disorder that has repetitive patterns of self-interested behaviors, self-centered experiences, and a lack of empathy. People that have narcissistic personality disorder have a generally exaggerated sense of self.
What does childhood narcissistic abuse look like? When it comes to narcissistic abuse from parents, assessing the relationship and interaction you had with your parents can help you identify abuse patterns. Narcissistic abuse from parents involves a deep desire for constant admiration and attention, even at the expense or cost of their own child’s well-being or development. Not all parents that have narcissistic personality disorder abuse their children, there are two kinds of NPD parents, the ones who are easily identifiable through their intense sense of self-importance and self-destructive behavior. Then there is the overt narcissist that hides behind charming and loving appearances.
How to spot childhood narcissistic abuse;
- Their children are seen as an extension of themselves rather than a separate entity.
It is normal for a parent to feel responsible for their child’s success and accomplishments. However, narcissistic parents often live vicariously through their kids. What this means is that they will force their child to achieve in the world, from a young age, and then take the appraisal and recognition for themselves. This becomes hard for a child to develop their own identity.
You might have also experienced a parent withholding love or affection if you did not perform up to their standards.
Narcissistic parents have a lack of boundaries, they will commonly overstep or completely dismiss your boundaries. They may go through your personal belongings or become personally involved in your social life.
It is common for narcissistically abusive parents to mistreat siblings, they will often compare their children, making one the golden child and the other, the black sheep or the scapegoat. This is extremely damaging to a child’s emotional and psychological development.
2. Guilt trips and controlling behavior.
It is not uncommon for narcissistically abusive parents to feel a deep sense of emptiness within their lives, lack of self-worth, and insecurity. This consequently causes them to seek reassurance from their children or partners. These parents are known as ‘vulnerable narcissists’. As a result, their kids become their counselors or start to feel responsible for their parent’s emotional wellbeing
It can be hard for a child to live their lives for themselves as they are constantly being made out to worry about their parent. In extreme cases, narcissistic parents will make you feel guilty for wanting to move out or do something that they don’t approve of by becoming severely depressed or suddenly sullen and angry.
They may also use phrases such as, “maybe I’m a bad parent” or “I do not deserve your love”, this creates an extremely toxic cycle of dependency that they need from you to fulfill and satisfy their own needs.
3. Sabotage and undercover competition.
Narcissistic parents are always in some way or another in competition with their children. It is common to experience a parent wanting to do the same things as you. This is an attempt to ensure that you do not surpass them in anything. As narcissists are self-seeking, they will make sure that they are always the best, even if this means sabotaging their own child’s dreams.
They will start to see you as a threat and become extremely jealous of your accomplishments, the attention you receive, and your youth. They may react out of anger and frustration and suddenly treat you differently. You constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells and afraid of when they might attack you.
Childhood narcissistic abuse has severe long-term consequences on the victim, including a dysfunctional relationship with their parents due to the abuse experience.
Common consequences you may experience as a result of narcissistic abuse;
- Severe anxiety and depression.
- Lack of self-confidence.
- Hypervigilance and constantly over-aware of people’s intentions.
- Lack of self-worth and self-esteem.
- Cognitive challenges.
- Emotional disassociation.
- Difficulty trusting others.
- Challenges with maintaining and developing relationships.
- Self-destructive or self-sabotage habits.
If you have experienced narcissistic child abuse, you may notice one or more of the abovementioned consequences.
We strongly encourage you to connect with a specialist in narcissistic abuse therapy near me or online to assist you in overcoming the trauma, as well as teach you how to forgive your parent and yourself.
BetterHelp offers the best childhood trauma therapy, from the best specialists with experience in helping victims heal from childhood narcissistic abuse.
EMDR Therapy for Childhood Trauma
Anyone who has experienced traumatic events or incidents during childhood is at risk of developing trauma. Trauma can complicate and cause severe to mild lifelong consequences. It is advised to consider EMDR therapy for childhood trauma to overcome and release any unresolved trauma. In doing so you will be able to live a fulfilled life without the negative impact of childhood trauma.
Dealing with the aftereffects of trauma in adulthood can be a challenge, however, psychologists have developed methods of therapy that help victims effectively overcome and heal from their trauma, and reclaim control.
Common aftereffects of childhood trauma:
- Severe depression, anxiety, and stress disorders.
- PTSD or C-PTSD.
- Personality disorders.
- Cognitive challenges
- Sleep and nightmare disorders
- Negative coping and attachment habits.
- High-risk or self-destructive behavior
- Low self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.
- Emotional disassociation.
- Memory challenges.
In addition to a wide spectrum of negative aftereffects of childhood trauma, the above-mentioned are the most common. Although during adulthood you may feel as though your symptoms are beginning to resolve themselves, at times, maybe getting progressively worse and causing further psychological challenges. We strongly suggest contacting a certified emdr therapist near me or online to effectively address this trauma and its consequences.
What is EMDR therapy? Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. This form of therapy is cognitive-behavioral-focused therapy. What this means is that each session helps the victim to temporarily slow down overstimulated sections in the brain that were affected by the trauma incident. This helps to revisit the memory and process it at an appropriate pace in a controlled environment.
The continuous revisiting and reassessing of the trauma incident allows the victim to acknowledge, accept, process and release the shock associated with the trauma response. Over time, you learn to gain control over the experience, as well as, learn how to effectively manage your triggers in the future.
EMDR therapy is commonly used in cases of sexual abuse, war experiences, domestic violence victims, childhood trauma, terrorist attack victims, and various other trauma-related experiences. BetterHelp EMDR therapists are certified, experienced, and proficiently skilled in treating trauma victims.