As we look at a child’s need for a safe place and safe people within that space, we find that often events beyond our control have an impact on how much trauma children experience.
That being said, often clients come to me without a big trauma. When we dive in, we find moments that looking back seem so minor, but had a lasting impact. As we explore within the session we easily find the root belief that the younger version of them grabbed onto, and how as an adult, it is keeping them stuck. So yes, I focus on helping clients heal from trauma both in childhood and in adult relationships, but if you find yourself feeling stuck, anxious, or depressed it may be connected to a minor event that we can explore and heal from as well.
As a child, the home and its people are the safe place. It’s a place that we find comfort, can run to for protection, and rely on its stability in a big and unpredictable world. If a child doesn’t experience that safety, or can’t rely on the people within the home to provide emotional and physical stability, then it can have traumatic effects on the children that live there.
Often, when it comes to trauma, we think of physical safety first. Are the children physically safe from physical violence and sexual abuse, and that is where a lot of us stop. But the more we learn about trauma, the more we learn that it much more about the stability of the relationships within the home and the emotional stability of those that the children are dependent on.
Living with a parent with a mental illness or who struggles with substance abuse can create childhood trauma as these children are dependent on adults whose behavior is unpredictable with erratic mood swings and decision making. We also see this when parents of children have unprocessed trauma themselves, and then experience the many physical and emotional symptoms of that trauma such as anger or rage, irrational decision making, anxiety, depression, and phobias or irrational fears. Unprocessed or unhealed trauma can be passed on to their children creating generational trauma.
Adding onto this is emotional abuse that a child experiences within the home often when a child is dependent on an adult who carries wounds themselves and hasn’t healed their own trauma. This looks like a child feeling not seen, not heard, and not worthy of acceptance or love. In reality it looks like being belittled and ignored, or not taken seriously, and can have huge implications as those children become adults.
Another type of childhood trauma is that of abandonment, when one parent leaves and cuts off communication completely or emotionally disconnects from their children and leaves the other parent to try to pick up the pieces. Often just the act of rejection of one parent towards another can cause trauma as children are asked either consciously or subconsciously to choose sides or favorite one parent of another.
Sexual abuse either committed by an adult or another child can create lasting trauma for the child, and often children who experience sexual abuse blame themselves or hold so much shame that they carry far into their adult life. From my experience, most sexual abuse happens by a close family member or neighbor and isn’t a stranger to the child. This then impacts the way the child is able to trust others at a deep level, and often their story stays hidden within them until they are able to tell it and release the shame in their adult life. Untold stories of trauma can have lasting effects on our health.
Another type of childhood trauma that I often see is accident or health trauma. When a child experiences medical procedures beyond routine checkups, there can often be a lot of beliefs that are formed at an early age around those experiences. The physical pain is part of it, but also the reactions by family members, feeling of loneliness, or being incapacitated can lead to lasting beliefs around their abilities or what they deserve.
If you have read this far, you must be as passionate about trauma as I am! The good news is that this is what I specialize in helping women HEAL FROM. This trauma is not a life sentence. The work I do allows you to lift the cloak off of the trauma, see it fully, and then begin to re-write your story, take your power back, and give that inner child exactly what they need to heal and thrive.