Articles About Childhood Trauma And Related Topics

Category Archives: Whole Site (all 850+ Articles)

Over 850 free, concise articles about childhood trauma and its link to various psychological conditions, including : complex posttraumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD), borderline personality disorder (and other personality disorders), anxiety disorders, depression, physical health conditions, psychosis, difficulties forming and maintaining relationships, addictions, dissociation and emotional dysregulation (such as dramatic mood swings and outbursts of rage). The site also comprises articles on treatments for childhood trauma and related mental health problems as well as articles on posttraumatic growth and other relevant topics. There is a search facility on the site to facilitate exploration of subjects covered.

Anger Resulting from Childhood Trauma

Anger is not a bad thing, if it is APPROPRIATELY EXPRESSED. Expressing it inappropriately will usually get us nowhere and can badly back-fire. However, its appropriate expression is often most effective.

As we begin to realize that what was done to us as children was wrong, anger often emerges (especially when we start to understand all the ramifications of how we have subsequently been affected by it).

Repressing anger (‘bottling it up’) is often painful and stressful. We can also get to the point when we can contain it no longer and this might result in it being MISDIRECTED (expressed against the wrong person) or in it being expressed in a DESTRUCTIVE and DAMAGING way (to both ourselves and those we interact with).

It is much better if anger is MANAGED and only expressed in a manner which is beneficial.

For some, expressing anger gives rise to a feeling of power, the power that was denied us in childhood, and can therefore feel that by expressing this anger we are in some way protecting ourselves or taking back ‘control’ (though, almost always, uncontrolled outbursts of anger backfire very unpleasantly). The adrenaline associated with such anger can sometimes lead to it being expressed in a very intense way. Whilst this may be understandable, then, such expressions of anger ULTIMATELY HARM THE PERSON EXPRESSING IT.

 

THREE CATEGORIES OF ANGER:

1) PRIMARY ANGER.

This is anger which is REASONABLE given what has occurred – it is directly related to what has happened and is not influenced by extraneous factors.

2) SECONDARY ANGER.

The psychologist Aaron Beck, during the 1980s, defined this type of anger as RESULTING FROM FEAR or HURT. WE USE IT TO TRY TO PROTECT OURSELVES AGAINST FURTHER TRAUMA. This type of anger can be EXPLOSIVE and feel as if IT IS ‘TAKING US OVER’. It may occur in response to:

– perceived rejection

– a perceived slight

– a perceived threat

All of the above may trigger memories, consciously or unconsciously, of the original trauma; this can explain the (seemingly) disproportionate intensity of the reaction.

3) PAST ANGER.

This refers to anger we are currently feeling but which STEMS FROM THE PAST. When it is TRIGGERED BY CURRENT EVENTS, the anger we express, similar to the anger illustrated in 2 above, can be disproportionate (to the current event). For example, we may see a mother in the street screaming aggressively at her child which in turn triggers memories of how we ourselves were treated in childhood.

 

It is better to express anger in a healthy and helpful way rather than to REPRESS or DENY it (in the case of the latter, it can profoundly, negatively affect our peace of mind or lead us to TURN THE ANGER IN ON OURSELVES or DISPLACE it (i.e. take it out in an inappropriate way on those who do not deserve it).

AMBIVALENCE.

It is natural to feel anger towards the person/s who caused our childhood trauma but the anger we feel is often COMPLICATED BY FEELINGS OF AMBIVALENCE if the person/s who caused our trauma also did good things for us. Such ambivalence can feel very painful and confusing, leaving us feeling CONFLICTED. In simple terms, we develop mixed, and very often contradictory, feelings towards the person/s.

Alternatively, we may excuse the person/s who caused the trauma by telling ourselves they behaved as they did due, for example, to the extreme stress they themselves were under.

This may make it more difficult to feel the anger, and, as a result, we may feel EMOTIONALLY NUMB ( a kind of dissociative state).

Whilst anger should not be forced, if we find it difficult to connect to our anger the following exercise may be useful:

1) to imagine ourselves at the age we suffered the trauma, remembering how young and vulnerable we were (if you have a photograph of yourself at the relevant age to look at this could be helpful).

2) think about what occurred and how it made us feel

3) think of the ways in which our lives have been damaged as a result, and how many years have been lost (it is important to do this in a safe way and reading my post on COPING MECHANISMS could be helpful in order to help ensure this).

When we can start to feel the anger without it overwhelming us, we can try to focus on our anger for longer periods of time.

Now we turn to how to deal with these angry feelings:

HOW TO DEAL WITH FEELINGS OF ANGER.

We often respond to anger in ways that only damage us. This may include turning the anger in on ourselves (e.g self-harm, self-hatred), turning it on others who do not deserve it (DISPLACEMENT) or perhaps turning to drink and/or drugs to temporarily dissipate the pain and anguish our feelings entail.

However, clearly it is important to deal with our anger in a CONSTRUCTIVE way.

One way to do this is to express it ASSERTIVELY (i.e. in a CONTROLLED, APPROPRIATE and RESPECTFUL manner).

To express anger towards a particular person, in a SAFE and appropriate way, can be achieved in the two ways outlined below:

1) INDIRECTLY:

here, the person is not confronted face-to- face. Examples would be to write a letter (it is not even necessary to send it; merely writing down our feelings towards the person with whom we are angry can be a step forward, alleviating the painful feelings associated with repressing anger) or to role play (perhaps getting a friend to play the part of the person we are angry with).

2) DIRECTLY:

In order to make sure this is done appropriately and safely, planning and preparation are definitely helpful.

 

How Holding On To Chronic Anger Can Harm Us.

I remained angry at my parents for a very long time indeed. I would repress it for lengthy periods, but it was always lying dormant, waiting for a trigger that would cause it to erupt. My outbursts of rage,therefore, were intermittent, and would tend to occur at times and of exceptionally intense stress or when they behaved in a rejecting way that resonated too painfully with my memories of how they rejected and discarded me in my youth.

Being chronically angry, apart from anything else, is a very destructive and emotionally distressing frame of mind to endure – it is also highly mentally enervating  and exhausting, sapping one’s energy and, often, too, spoiling one’s quality of sleep. These effects can combine to lead to a state of constant exhaustion.

Many people who were mistreated by their parents as children harbour anger, hostility and resentment towards them for years or decades. Some hold on to these destructive feelings even after their parents are dead; indeed, not only may these feelings not abate once their parents are dead, they may even intensify. This may give rise to feelings of guilt and shame, too, about not being able to free themselves from their anger.

 

As I’ve already suggested above, such deep rooted and pervasive anger often impacts on many areas of the angry person’s life in very harmful ways. I provide examples of how this may happen below:

– displacement of anger onto innocent victims when anger is not being directed at the parents. This may lead, frequently, to getting into conflict with other relatives, friends, work colleagues, service providers etc. and always seeing the worst in people. Often, the angry person will not be consciously aware that the anger s/he is expressing is displaced anger.

– quick to condemn those one perceives as having done something wrong/immoral and to then dismiss them as a ‘terrible person’

– gain a reputation for being an angry, judgmental, censorious and unforgiving person, even when this isn’t the ‘real you’

– loss of capacity to experience joy or pleasure in life

– a proneness to express moral outrage

– a marked tendency to be critical about everyone and everything

– strong need to feel morally superior in relation to others

– development of a ‘me against the world’ approach to life

– feelings of hatred for others easily triggered

– general misanthropic attitude towards world

– fantasies of revenge

– regard self us utterly innocent victim, persecuted relentlessly by moral inferiors and idiots

– perpetual feelings of resentment and bitterness which alienates others

– regard self as ‘judge and jury’ when it comes to assessing moral character of others and as omniscient and infallible in one’s ‘god-like’ judgments

OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT ANGER :

 

RETURN HOME TO ABOUT CHILDHOOD TRAUMA RECOVERY

RESOURCES :

ANGER MANAGEMENT : SELF HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS 

 

anger_management_ebook

Above eBook now available on Amazon for instant download. Other titles available. Click here.

David Hosier. BSc; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

RE

Overcoming Relationship Difficulties Caused by Childhood Trauma

childhood trauma and relationship difficulties

We have already seen that as survivors of childhood trauma we often find it very difficult to trust others. We may avoid close relationships in order to avoid the possibility of being hurt.

Whilst this can allow us to feel safe from harm, it can also lead to extreme loneliness.

Research shows that without good social support the childhood trauma survivor is much more likely to suffer emotional problems. Having just one person to confide in, though, can help to SIGNIFICANTLY ALLEVIATE emotional distress.

Because of our negative experiences in childhood, we might often have NEGATIVE BIASES in our thinking when it comes to considering relationships. These are sometimes based on FEAR.

Below are some examples of negative biases we might have when thinking about relationships.

1) everyone has always hurt me, therefore this person will too; I won’t try to form a close relationship with him/her.

2) he/she has let me down. That means he/she will always let me down and is completely untrustworthy.

3) there’s no way I’m going to the party – they’ll be lots of people I don’t know and it’s certain they’ll all hate me.

HOWEVER, in all three examples it is likely our beliefs are erroneous and based on a negative thinking bias caused by our childhood experiences. Below are some ways it would be reasonable for us to mentally challenge our beliefs held in the three above examples.

1) I am OVERGENERALIZING. My past experiences don’t mean everyone in the future is bound to always hurt me.

2) He/she is usually good to me; therefore there might be a perfectly reasonable explanation why he/she seems to have let me down on this particular occasion.

3) I’m being far too harsh on myself – I may be lacking some confidence at the moment but this does not mean people will hate me. Anyway, I can work on ways to gradually rebuild my confidence.

Indeed, there is a therapy called COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY which helps people to get into the habit of challenging their habitual, unhelpful, negative thinking patterns in a similar way to how I’ve illustrated above. I will look at this in more detail in later posts, but, in the meantime, there are many very good books and ebooks on cognitive-behavioural therapy from online bookstores such as Amazon, Google Books and Kindle.

DEVELOPING SOCIAL SKILLS:

One way to do this is to observe others who already possess good social skills – the type of things they do may include:

-smiling reasonably often

-using a reasonable amount of eye contact

-giving genuine compliments (but not overdoing it)

-using the other person’s name when talking to them (but, again, not overdoing it)

Others that can be observed to help develop social skills may include friends, strangers or even characters from TV or cinema. It can be of particular benefit to observe how others deal with difficult situations.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that when developing social skills, it is best to build up gradually, rather than to throw ourselves immediately into an especially challenging social event.

Resource :

10 Steps to Overcome Insecurity in Relationships | Self Hypnosis Downloads

 

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

Coping Mechanisms for Survivors of Childhood Trauma

survivors of child abuse

How Do Survivors Of Child Abuse Cope?

In my last post I mentioned it might be useful to look at some coping mechanisms one may wish to make use of in the recovery stage from childhood trauma and it is to some of these that I now turn.

There are two main types of coping mechanisms:

1) Those which are helpful in the short-term, but unhealthy in the long-term.

2) Those which are useful in the long-term (but can take more effort and discipline).

Examples of the first include: drinking too much, use of illicit drugs, gambling, over-eating and taking anger out on others (and, almost always, later regretting it).

Examples of the second are: going for a walk, talking things over with a friend, having a relaxing bath or listening to music.

It should be pointed out that the strategies in the first category tend to leave the person with a lower sense of self-worth over time whereas the opposite tends to be the case with the kinds of strategies mentioned in the second category.

The key is to gradually reduce the use of the coping strategies in category one and gradually increase the use of the coping strategies in category two. This can take time.

BREATHING EXERCISES:

Another coping strategy is very simple but very effective (when I first learned this one I was dubious that something so simple could help and was surprised when it did) is to learn ‘controlled breathing’.

Under stress, we tend to HYPERVENTILATE (this refers to the type of breathing which is rapid and shallow) which has the physiological (and indeed psychological) effect of making us feel much more anxious. CONTROLLED BREATHING, on the other hand (breathing DEEPLY, GENTLY and EVENLY THROUGH THE NOSE) has the physiological (and, again, psychological) effect of calming us down. It is recommended by experts that with controlled breathing we should take 8-10 breaths per minute (breathing in AND out equates to ONE breath). With pratise, this skill can become automatic.

FORMING SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIPS:

Survivors of childhood trauma often find it difficult to form lasting relationships in adulthood (sometimes related to anger-management issues, volatility, inability to trust others and other problems). However, those who can form such relationships tend to have a much better outcome.

My next post will look at ways to help overcome difficulties in building and sustaining relationships.

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

Childhood Trauma: An Analysis of Blame.

 

Childhood Trauma And Blame

When we are children, if someone treats us badly, we attempt to understand why. But in trying to understand, the child’s logic is very often flawed and s/he falsely deduces s/he is to blame for it. The child’s flawed logic may flow similarly to this:

‘Someone is hurting me…punishment only happens to bad children…that means I must be bad…therefore I am to blame for this happening…it is my own fault, there’s something wrong with me.’ THIS CAN OCCUR ON AN INSIDUOUS, UNCONSCIOUS LEVEL.

For this reason, many individuals who have survived trauma spend their adult lives feeling deeply guilty. Often, too, the individual will feel deeply unworthy and may be filled with a strong sense of self-loathing.

It is important to realize such feelings have been ‘programmed’ in through the abuse and are absolutely not a true and accurate reflection of the person who suffers them.

THE NECESSITY TO STOP BLAMING ONESELF:

Although stopping blaming oneself is a very important step and obviously extremely beneficial to one’s sense of self-worth and peace of mind, it can be difficult and challenging. For example, one may have led a life without looking for joy, success or close relationships because ONE FELT ONE DIDN’T DESERVE SUCH THINGS. Seeing things in a new way, and the realization one isn’t a bad person or to blame for the childhood trauma and had , in fact, every right to live an enjoyable life, may cause the individual to feel overwhelmed by a sense of GRIEF for all the wasted years.

Another possibility is that the realization one isn’t to blame will sometimes cause this blame, sometimes in a very intense way, to be turned on those who are perceived to be responsible (such as carers or parents).

Letting go of self-blame, then, whilst necessary, can in itself be stressful. However, coping mechanisms can be employed to help alleviate such stress. It is to this I will turn in my next post.

RESOURCE :

Stop Self Blame | Self Hypnosis Downloads

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

Childhood Trauma: Problems It Causes. Part One.

problems caused by childhood trauma

 Problems Caused By Childhood Trauma :

One thing from research is clear: the experience of childhood trauma makes it more likely the individual will suffer problems as an adult. Abuse does not, though, necessarily lead to severe problems, but makes a person more VULNERABLE to them in later life.

THE MORE SEVERE AND REPEATED THE ABUSE THE MORE LIKELY THE INDIVIDUAL WILL DEVELOP PROBLEMS LATER.

However, if the child also has good experiences in childhood this can serve to build up RESILIENCE, diminishing the negative effects of abuse.

For resilience to develop, it is particularly important that the child does not blame him or herself for the abuse.

COMMON PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA:

difficulty controlling emotions

guilt and shamedepression, hopelessness, helplessness

alcohol and drug misuse

eating disorders

dissociation

self-harm eg. cutting self, attempting suicide

lack of confidencesocial withdrawal

poor anger management

difficulty trusting others

being drawn into further abusive relationships

NEGATIVE BELIEF SYSTEM.

Survivors of childhood abuse are much more likely to hold an array of negative beliefs. Their view of themselves and their general outlook tend to be negative. British Psychologist Professor Jehu summarized the kinds of negative beliefs held:

BELIEFS ABOUT SELF:

I am unusual
I am bad
I am worthless
I am to blame

BELIEFS ABOUT OTHERS:

Others are untrustworthy
Others will reject me

BELIEFS ABOUT THE FUTURE:

The future is hopeless

THE EFFECTS OF ABUSE ON THINKING PROCESSES:

Research on this has led to two main findings:

1) Those who have been abused tend to DETACH (or ‘space/zone out’) more than the average person. This is known as DISSOCIATION. It can involve cutting off from emotions or feeling ‘unreal’. Sometimes, if the original trauma was especially adverse and distressing, it might be REPRESSED (‘blanked out’ from memory). READ MORE ABOUT TRAUMA AND MEMORY BY CLICKING HERE.

Survivors are sometimes driven by their pain to INTENTIONALLY dissociate by:

drinking alcohol
smoking
using drugs
binge eating
self-injuring /gambling

2) Survivors of abuse are much more sensitive to abuse-related triggers. This is a kind of defense mechanism: by being hyper-alert to possible danger, the person is more able to protect him or herself. However, if as an adult there is much lower risk, this oversensitivity can severely interfere with the person’s quality of life.

 

Useful Link:

Childhood Trauma: What Is It? Click here.

Other Resources Related To Childhood Trauma :

eBook :

Childhood_trauma

Above eBook now available on Amazon for instant download : click here

 

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

[do_widget id=media_image-11] [do_widget id=media_image-11]