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Childhood Trauma : Seeking Closure

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In the context of childhood trauma, ‘closure’ can perhaps be best described as deciding to live life by one’s own autonomous actions and decisions rather than allowing one’s life to be dictated by one’s painful past. It is also about being compassionate with oneself and being realistic. For example, accepting that one will continue to have painful memories and the unpleasant feelings such memories sometimes evoke, rather than to expect them to be banished from one’s mind for ever more.

Hopefully, however, as times go on, the intrusiveness of such memories and feelings will become less frequent as well as diminish in intensity.

childhood trauma closure

Seeking and accomplishing ‘closure’, and letting go of the past, or something close to it, needs to be an ACTIVE PROCESS – one needs to decide to alter one’s attitude (for example, focusing on how the experience of trauma has made us mentally tougher rather than on the hurt we have been caused and deciding to concentrate on the present and future rather than to obsessively dwell on the past – in the case of the latter, I dread to calculate the number of years I wasted).

It is likely, too, that we need to give ourselves  permission to start to enjoy life again – all too often, those who have suffered from significant childhood trauma become self-loathing adults and carry around an almost unbearable burden of irrational guilt  It can take a surprising amount of inner strength to finally ‘let ourselves off the hook’.

In many ways, until we achieve something near to closure, we have been in a kind of state of ARRESTED EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT (i.e. stuck at the stage of emotional development we were at at the time of our traumatic experiences.  By obtaining some kind of closure, we can finally look forward to developing some sort of emotional maturity and a degree, perhaps, of inner peace.

In short, we can start to actively live life, rather than reluctantly endure it.


Obtaining closure involves us using our resilience. Resilience involves :

– developing the motivation necessary to make positive changes to our lives

– developing the ability to control our feelings rather than passively reacting to them and allowing them to dictate our actions

– attempting to develop our ability to trust others (where appropriate)

– attempting to develop a more positive outlook, rather than seeing ourselves, others and the world in general in a uniformly negative way.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSC; PGDE(FAHE).

About David Hosier MSc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

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