RECOVERY Archives - Page 3 of 19 - Childhood Trauma Recovery

Category Archives: Recovery

These articles contain a wealth of information relating to recovery from childhood trauma, including therapies and self-help.

Childhood Trauma Recovery : Rediscovering Our True Selves


As we recover from our childhood trauma, we can start to get back in touch with our authentic self, untainted from the trauma’s effects. We can start to become the person we always wanted to be. Indeed, although our trauma did us incalculable harm, it is likely that it also forced us to develop strengths which we may well now be in a position to utilize to our advantage.

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Whilst, prior to recovery, our lives were dominated by reliving our trauma and acting out its effects, we can now begin to discard our ‘victim status’ and begin to pursue our aspirations, even though, to begin with, we may find this a rather frightening prospect.

We needed to be strong in order begin our journey on the road to recovery and we can now use this strength, and the self-discipline that went with it, to start living our lives in a productive, positive and fulfilling way.

At first this may well involve sensible risk taking, trial and error, and an acceptance that we might make mistakes.

Also, we can begin to discard those aspects of ourselves, caused by our traumatic experiences, that were dysfunctional and held us back in life. With a new understanding of why we developed these dysfunctional behaviours in the first place, we can also now begin the process of treating ourselves with compassion and understanding; in short, we can start to forgive ourselves.

We now know that these unhelpful behaviours need not be a permanent part of ourselves.

What is described above is referred to by many psychologists as post-traumatic growth – you can read one of my articles on this by clicking here.


MP3s :

Many interesting hypnosis MP3s relating to the above may be found by clicking here (or see my ‘RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS’ section by clicking on this in the MAIN MENU).

eBooks :


Above ebook now available for immediate download from Amazon. $4.99. Other titles available. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

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

Childhood Trauma : Coping with Rejection.


‘We are never so defenceless against suffering as when we love, never so unhelplessly unhappy as when we have lost our loved object or its love’

Sigmund Freud, 1856 – 1939

My mother threw me out of the house when I was thirteen years old, so it was necessary for me to go and live with my emotionally aloof father and religious fundamentalist step-mother (she was prone to shout at me in ‘tongues’ – in relation to this. you may wish to read my previously published article entitled : The Use Of Religion As A Weapon Of Abuse). Later in my adolescence, she manipulated my father into throwing me out of the house, too. The irony was that my step-mother had founded and ran a charity for the homeless, called Watford New Hope Trust, which still exists today. The irony seemed to be completely lost on her, however.

If we find we have relationship difficulties in adult life, frequently this can be traced back to the kind of childhood trauma I describe above. As a result of these difficulties, we may find that we perpetually repeat meeting with rejection in our adult relationships,  mirroring the rejection we experienced in childhood.

Being rejected, for most of us, is a deeply painful experience, and, at the extreme end of the scale, can lead to suicide.

One reason why the pain of rejection can be so acute is that it reawakens the feelings of profound distress we experienced due to the rejection we suffered in childhood.


The kinds of emotional response being rejected by someone important to us entail include :

a) grief

b) anger (e.g. ‘why has this person hurt me so badly?’)

c) depression

d) fear (e.g. of future loneliness or of having to cope without the person’s emotional support).

e) hate (linked to anger, above, but can also involve self-hatred due to the lowering of own self-esteem in the face of having been rejected).


One important form of rejection can be termed ‘self-rejection.’ This kind of rejection has its roots in us having been rejected as children. Examples of such rejection may include :

– having a parent walking out on us,

– having a narcissistic mother (click here to read my post on this) who was too self-involved to meet the emotional needs of her children

– having an emotionally distant and aloof father

– having an alcoholic parent who consequently neglects us emotionally

– losing a parent through suicide

N/B. If the child has someone else in their life who provides a lot of love and affection the effects of the kinds of losses outlined above may be mitigated.

If, due to such early experiences of loss and rejection, we do indeed become self-rejecting, it can take the form self-damaging behaviour that makes us unattractive to others. Examples include : over-eating to the point of obesity, not bothering about personal hygiene, substance misuse,  wearing deliberately unflattering clothes, or behaving in such a way that it makes it highly probable we will drive others away. Such self-rejection usually operates on an unconscious level.


If we have experienced a significant rejection in childhood by one of our primary caregivers and were unable to make sense of it, mentally process it or come to terms with it we may develop, on an unconscious level, a deep-rooted psychological need to perpetually repeat the experience of rejection. The compulsion to repeat the experience will tend to continue until we become consciously aware of what it is we are doing. This can mean, as adults, a pattern is developed in which we unconsciously seek out relationships with those who are bound to reject us, just as we were rejected as children. 

For example :

– a gay man may try to establish a relationship with a straight man

– we may behave in such ways that we ensure our partner rejects (making impossible demands, extreme possessiveness etc) us

– we may form relationships with people who emotionally or physically mistreat us and who show little, if any, affection

Of course, there are many other ways we might put ourselves into the position whereby we will drive others to reject us ; however, underlying them all is a desperate attempt to come to terms with the primary, childhood loss. By re-experiencing it, we unconsciously hope to master it.


Psychologists have identified the following steps as being necessary in order for us to break out of the cycle of repetition compulsion :

1) the acknowledgement that we are stuck in a pattern of behaviour whereby we have been ‘courting rejection.’

2) the acknowledgement that we have been behaving in this way, up until now, due to the profound pain we have been caused by our childhood rejection (and of which, up until now, we may well not have been fully aware).

3) making a definite decision to try to alter our behaviour in such a way that the likelihood of further rejection is minimized (whilst accepting nobody can completely eliminate the possibility of meeting with rejection in life and therefore being prepared to take some level of risk with future relationships)

4) a concerted effort (ideally through therapy) to come to terms with, and fully mentally process, the original childhood loss

5) we need to come to terms with the realization that our future behaviour need not be dictated by our past experiences and that we are capable of making a proactive decision to stop self-sabotaging.



Dealing With Rejection | Self Hypnosis Downloads

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

Childhood Trauma: Identity Problems and How to Tackle Them.,


One outcome of childhood trauma can frequently be that the person who has suffered it is prone to develop IDENTITY PROBLEMS.

A person’s identity represents their attempt to pin down the essential elements s/he sees (rather than what others see) that make the individual who s/he are. One’s identity develops over time.

Our identity can be helpful to our psychological health (if we see ourselves in largely positive terms) or unhelpful to it (if we see ourselves in largely negative terms). People, especially if suffering from depression, lacking in confidence etc, extremely often view themselves FAR MORE NEGATIVELY THAN WOULD BE OBJECTIVELY WARRANTED; whereas many others (not suffering from mental illness, in many cases) may see themselves in far too glowing terms (this ‘over self-congratulatory’ view adopted by many is thought to have developed to confer evolutionary advantages on those who have it – appearing confident to potential mates, for example – provided, I suppose, it is not absurdly exaggerated).

Aspects of our lives which can affect our identities include:

– our values
– our physical appearance
– our mental/physical health
– our education
– our achievements (or lack, thereof)
– our work (Freud attributed especial importance to this, as he did to sexual fulfilment, the thwarting of which, he proposed, could lead to extreme neurosis)
– our relationships
– our age (please, don’t remind me)
– our financial situation
– our perception of our social status (or lack, again, thereof)

The identity which emerges from such factors is strongly related to our self-esteem and self-confidence.


This begins very early in our lives. Ages 4 years to 6 years are thought to be a critical time; TRAUMA during this period is LINKED to the DEVELOPMENT OF IDENTITY PROBLEMS IN LATER LIFE. From the ages of about 6 years to 12 years, the child normally develops the skills necessary to MANAGE EMOTIONS, a skill strongly linked to identity (eg ‘cool’ versus ‘volatile’); indeed, if TRAUMA INTERFERES WITH THIS PROCESS AN EXTREMELY TEMPESTUOUS ADOLESCENCE CAN FOLLOW).

In ‘normal’ development, adolescents may experiment with various identities and this process gradually leads to the stage in which there is a sense of the identity becoming crystallized. Again, however, individuals affected by trauma will often find this period exceptionally stressful and find that NO CLEAR SENSE OF THEIR OWN IDENTITY EMERGES – THEIR SENSE OF THEIR OWN IDENTITY CAN BE CONFUSED AND THEY MAY FEEL THAT THEY ‘DON’T KNOW WHO THEY REALLY ARE’.


By adulthood, then, those who have experienced childhood trauma will often find that their identity is UNSTABLE and FRAGILE – this will often mean that their attitudes, values and sense of who they are are all prone to wildly fluctuation; these changes are frequently dramatic (eg oscillating between feeling deep love and deep hatred towards the same person; or, sometimes, perhaps, feeling exceptionally important only to shift without warning or obvious trigger into a feeling of despair, self-loathing and worthlessness).


Identity problems in adulthood are often a symptom of BPD. BPD frequently occurs as a result of childhood trauma and much more about the condition can be discovered in the by clicking here to read my article about it.


How can people with identity problems make their sense of identity stronger? One possible place to start this process, which needs to be gradually worked on over time, is for the individual suffering from the crisis in identity to consider the things which are of most importance to him/her in life; identities are largely formed based on these considerations. Prorities in life which people choose to concentrate on, and, which, therefore, contribute to making up their identities include:

– friendships/relationships/family
– academic interests
– career
– creativity (eg painting, writing, acting)
– hobbies
– choice of entertainment (eg musical taste, taste in film/cinema/theatre, favourite kinds of books etc)
– material possessions
– spirituality/religion/atheism/agnosticism
– charity work (eg for homeless, rehabilitation of ex-prisoners, environment, hospice, Amnesty International)
– physical appearance
– financial situation

This is not, of course, an exhaustive list and there may well be other areas that can be added, depending on preferences.

A starting point might be to pick out 3 or 4 areas of interest (this, in itself, reflects identity, and, therefore, can be seen as providing foundational pieces of the jig-saw yet to emerge, as it were) and to concentrate on these at first (other elements can be added later; merely starting the process may lead to other ideas emerging at a later time).

For each of the factors selected, it can then prove of use to set some goals relating to how these areas may be incorporated, or, more fully incorporated, into one’s life (these goals need to be quite specific and achievable; there is little point starting with such challenging goals that they may prove impossible to meet and thus damage morale).

Here are some examples:

– because academic achievement is important to me, I will enrol in a night-school class (investigate and specify appropriate course) and complete the course
– because family and/or friends are important to me I will attend an anger management course
– because creativity is important to me I will set aside two hours a week to write poetry/novel
– because my mental health is important to me I will seek out appropriate counselling and complete the sessios recommended (provided the therapy proves of potential value, of course)

The more the individual is able to incorporate and develop areas such as those listed above, which reflect his/her true values, interests and priorities, the more AUTHENTIC and REWARDING the person’s life is likely to be; the more, too, will the individual’s true and stable sense of self continue to evolve.



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

Constantly Feeling ‘Empty’? Effects And Solutions.

We have seen in other articles posted on this site that those who suffered significant childhood trauma are at increased risk of developing conditions such as depression, anhedonia and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). One of the main symptoms of all three of these disorders is chronic and intense feelings that life has no meaning or purpose and a sense of emotional deadness / sense that one’s feelings have ‘shut down’ (sometimes referred to by psychologists as having flat affect). In short, a feeling of absolute emptiness.

Feeling like this can lead the individual into a desperate search to at least feel something, even if that ‘something’ is negative ( in terms of its effect on self and others).

This drive to feel something rather than nothing is generally fuelled by an unconscious motivation.

Because it is so hard for an individual suffering from this pervasive sense of emptiness to feel anything, the experiences that s /he may seek to pursue (to at least feel something) may be ones that are intense (whether they be emotional or physical experiences).

Such experiences may include:

– provoking others into angry and aggressive arguments

– provoking physical fights

– impulsivity/thrill seeking/risk taking (eg. high stakes gambling)

– extreme use of alcohol/street drugs

– being cruel to animals

– testing others to their limits ( to see if they remain loyal)

– sef-harm

Above: This may explain why some people self-harm

– compulsive shopping

– compulsive eating

– mirroring : the individual who experiences feelings of emptiness tends to have a very weak sense of his/her own identity and feels hollow as a person. In extreme cases, this can lead him/her into taking on the persona of someone else in order to fill this vacuum. In so doing, s/he may imitate the person’s mannerisms, behaviour and style of dress and take up the person’s interests and hobbies. In very extreme cases s/he may take on the person’s name and pretend to have their past.

More healthy ways of strengthening one’s sense of identity include:

– voluntary work for a cause one supports and believes in (eg. Amnesty International)

– taking up a new hobby or resuming an old one

– getting a pet

– developing spirituality

– going to adult learning classes to study a subject that interests one

– training for a new career

Possible Therapies:

Therapies that can potentially help people suffering feelings of emptiness include:

– existential psychotherapy

– humanistic psychotherapy

– logo therapy (this therapy was developed by Frankl, the writer and holocaust survivor)


RELATED ARTICLE : How Childhood Trauma Can Lead To Adult Anhedonia (Inability To Experience Pleasure).

Other Resources:

FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE (self-hypnosis MP3) : Click here.

FIND YOUR IDENTITY (self-hypnosis MP3) : Click here.


David Hosier BSc; MSc, PGDE(FAHE).

Overcoming Guilt Caused by Childhood Trauma

childhood trauma and guilt

If we have been mistreated as children, we may well grow up with a pervasive feeling that we are irredeemably ‘bad’ people (click here to read my article on why this happens). This can lead to what has been termed ‘neurotic guilt’ ; this occurs when we feel a sense of shame about ourselves and we have a generalized feeling of guilt which is not attached to specific acts (or is attached to acts for which we should not, objectively speaking, feel guilt),

guilt and childhood trauma

Another type of guilt can be termed ‘real guilt’ ; this is guilt attached to a specific act which IT IS objectively reasonable to feel guilt about. The main type of guilt that those who have been mistreated as children tend to feel is of the first type – neurotic guilt (although this can cover some real guilt that has not yet been acknowledged).

A certain level of psychological development needs to have been attained to experience guilt (although some people never develop the capacity to experience it – these are called psychopaths and sociopaths).

overcoming guilt

Of course, feeling a certain amount of guilt is a good thing as it stops us doing things (usually) that are in conflict with our values, or encourages us not to repeat our behaviour if we have transgressed our particular moral boundaries. Paradoxically, guilt can, on one level, make us feel better about ourselves. Our reasoning might be that. because our conscience is bothering us about something we feel we have done wrong, we must be a good person to have such high standards which cause us psychological pain if we fall short of them. We conclude we have a strong conscience which is a moral virtue.

However, excessive guilt is unhelpful to both us and others – at its worst, it can lead to a state of deep depression and almost paralyzed inactivity, suicidal feelings, or, even, actual suicide. It is, therefore, important to be able to process guilt and then move on with our lives.


1) Neurotic Guilt – because this is a generalized sense of guilt that is unattached to a particular action/actions, it follows that it cannot be resolved by any particular action (or abatement of action/s).

It is a deep sense of guilt which seems to penetrate to the very core of our being – it is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves as a person : we feel we are thoroughly bad, intrinsically evil, even.

It is a feeling closely linked to a sense of profound shame. However, it is an irrational guilt and one that is not based on objective reality. Psychoanalysis frequently reveals that this irrational, or neurotic guilt, is actually a defense mechanism against feelings of anxiety, fear and anger. The example below illustrates how this might work :

Say a child grows up in a household in which his/her parents have frequent, violent arguments (involving physical blows, smashing objects, making threats etc). This will clearly disturb the child and cause him/her to feel acute anxiety and fear. The child then develops a psychological coping strategy as follows :

a) the violence of my parents towards one another fills me with fear

b) I need to control the situation so that I am no longer frightened

c) But I have no control over my parents, only over myself

d) I must be the cause of their violent arguing (this thinking occurs because it is psychologically less painful for the child to think of him/herself as the cause of the arguing – and therefore to have some control over it – than to acknowledge s/he has no control over it, which would be psychologically overwhelming)

e) Because I am the cause, I must be a very bad person

f) Because I am a very bad person, I feel extremely guilty.

This all occurs on an unconscious level, according to psychoanalytic theory

So it is this coping mechanism, developed in childhood, that can lead to neurotic guilt.

People who suffer from neurotic guilt also tend to have extremely low self-esteem and are prone to blame themselves for all manner of things that go wrong even if they had nothing to do with them. They are also likely to be prone to severe depression.

2) ‘Real Guilt’ – As we have seen, this type of guilt has a definite and valid cause. It is not irrational and it relates to our moral code. If we do something that contravenes our moral code, we will feel guilty about it (unless we happen to be a psychopath). Therefore, the only way of avoiding a recurrence of this painful feeling in the future is to either adjust our moral code, or ensure we do not repeat our original error.

One way of helping ourselves to resolve feelings of ‘real guilt’ is to openly and frankly admit to somebody what we have done (eg a counsellor or close friend) and acknowledge what we did was wrong. We also need to articulate the fact that we take the moral responsibility for our transgression. Ideally, this will then lead to forgiveness – from both the person we wronged and, importantly, from ourselves (self-forgiveness).


In order to make this determination, it is necessary for us to pose certain questions to ourselves; these are :

– is what happened really my responsibility?

– if so, what factors actually make me responsible?

– which of my moral rules have I broken?

– are such moral rules appropriate/reasonable?

– can I ensure what I did does not recur?

– can I make amends ; if so, how?

Overcoming Guilt

To rid ourselves of ‘neurotic guilt’ we need to concentrate on resolving our ‘real  guilt’. We can only do this, of course, once we have identified which of our guilty feelings have a basis in neurosis and which are genuine.

Once we identify our’ real guilt’ (which we may not have so far acknowledged) we can address and resolve it in the ways mentioned above (eg taking responsibility, making amends, verbally acknowledging we were wrong).

In relation to our ‘neurotic guilt’, we need to accept it is not rational and has materialized due to psychological processes we underwent as a child. Often, too, when we see ourselves as’ bad’, it is  because we have internalized the view of someone who treated us as ‘bad’ when we were also a child (eg a parent, primary carer, or someone else who was important to us). Becoming aware of this will also help us to rid ourselves of our neurotic guilt.

Once ‘real guilt’ has been uncovered and resolved, and we have formed a clearer understanding of what has caused our ‘neurotic guilt’, both should start to fade away.




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

Childhood Trauma : Dealing with Moodiness and Anger


anger and moodiness in childhood

Those of us who have suffered significant childhood trauma often find, in both adolescence and adulthood, that we are full of rage and have great difficulties controlling our feelings of anger. Reasons for this include the conscious or unconscious hostility we feel towards our parent/primary care-giver whom we believe to have significantly contributed to our mental anguish . Such feelings can lead to us :

a) directly expressing our anger towards our parent/primary care-giver

b) DISPLACING the anger we feel towards our parent/primary care-giver onto others (especially if we IDENTIFY such others with our parent/primary care-giver e.g. a therapist) even though they were not the primary cause of it

c) both of the above

d) REPRESS our anger towards our parent/primary care-giver (ie deny it/bury it deep within ourselves) so that we are NOT CONSCIOUSLY AWARE OF IT. If this happens, unconscious processes may take place which cause us to turn this anger in upon ourselves resulting, perhaps, in  self-loathing,  clinical depression,  suicidal thoughts/behaviours and/or psychosomatic illnesses.




We may find, too, that, as adults who experienced severe childhood trauma, our moods are far more prone to change than the average person’s. We may, for example, find our feelings of intense irritation and anger are much more easily triggered than they are in most others. In short, we may find our moods and emotions are highly unstable and unpredictable. This, in turn, can cause others to be wary about interacting with us, perhaps feeling that, when they do, they are ‘walking on eggshells.’

We are especially likely to experience problems controlling our moods and emotions if our adverse childhood experiences have led to us developing a mental illness such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).





1) If we have a mental illness, such as BPD or PTSD (as referred to above) we should very seriously consider obtaining specialized treatment to ameliorate such conditions. Cognitive-behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy are two possible options).

2) Improve our diet – for example, a high intake of sugar can cause intense highs and lows directly affecting our mood.

3) Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, both of which can have powerful effects upon how we feel

4) Avoid recreational drugs – this is especially important if we are vulnerable/have a pre-disposition) to developing mental illness. Recreational drugs can tip people over the edge (eg cannabis-induced psychosis).

5) Try to tackle any sleep problems – lack of sleep/sleep deprivation is very likely to make us more irritable/prone to anger.

6) Reduce stress as much as possible – this is extremely important as, when we feel under attack and generally oppressed, then, much like a cornered animal, we are far more prone to ‘lash out.’ This is an inbuilt, biological defense mechanism. If we have been drinking due to stress and, as a result, our inhibitions are lowered, we are particularly at risk of destructive behaviours which we are liable, later, deeply to regret.

Furthermore, if we suffered severe childhood trauma, it is possible that the development of vital brain regions such as the amygdala were adversely affected. Such damage is now known to make it much harder to deal with stress and to make the individual who sustained it generally more emotionally unstable (click here to read my article on this).








Above eBook now available on Amazon for IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD CLICK HERE

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


Overcoming Aggressive Behaviour Linked to Childhood Trauma. 5 Step Method.

overcoming aggression

childhood trauma and aggressive behaviour

I have already written at some length about how childhood trauma can lead us to become full of anger and prone to aggression in later life in other posts on this site. In this post I want to look at a 5 Step Method which can help us to overcome this problem. The goal of this 5 step process is to try to develop a more tolerant and accepting attitude to things which previously could have made us act aggressively.


These may include :

– finding it very difficult to accept criticism or acknowledge our own faults – this can result in becoming very defensive which might include becoming enraged and aggressively counter-attacking the individual who challenged us

– trying to get our own way with little or no regard for the feelings or wishes of others

– shouting and becoming verbally abusive and hostile when others fail to comply with our wishes

– turning discussions into heated arguments and trying to dominate the other person by talking over them, interrupting and generally not giving them a proper opportunity to put their own views across

– using threats (both verbal and through body language) or physical assault to get our own way


If we think some or all of the above may apply to us, a method frequently used by therapists involves carrying out a practical exercise involving 5 key steps. I give details of what this exercise involves below :

1) Try to recall a specific example of a time you were in a situation in which you think you acted aggressively, think you might have acted aggressively or were accused by others (either correctly or incorrectly) of behaving aggressively (what does not seem aggressive to us may still be perceived as aggressiveness by others).

2) Write down how you behaved in terms of body language etc, what you said, and how you said it (tone of voice etc)

3) Write down what the consequences of what you said and did were, both immediately after the event and later on. Also, write down how what you said and did made you feel (again, both immediately after the event and later on)

4) Write down what you could have said and done in a calmer way

5) Write down what you think the pros and cons of acting in the calmer way you described in step 4 may have been.


If you think that the pros outweighed the cons in step 5, make a conscious decision to experiment by acting in this calmer way next time a situation arises in which you may previously have behaved in an aggressive manner. See if you feel better for having behaved more calmly, and achieved a better outcome. If you find you prefer acting in this calmer way in situations which in the past would have provoked aggression, by consciously reminding youself to behave in this new way it should become an ingrained characteristic.

I hope you have found this post useful.

Best Wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)