Tag Archives: Childhood Trauma And Behaviour

Patterns of Behaviour Stemming from Childhood Trauma. Part 2.

problem behaviors due to child trauma

behaviours caused by childhood trauma

In Part 1 of this post I examined how the following behaviour patterns can result in later life due to the experience of childhood trauma : people pleasing; excessive need for control; neediness; insomnia; having weak boundaries; and making unhealthy partner choices.

In this part, I will consider the remaining behaviour patterns, presented on the list in Part 1, which can result from childhood trauma; these are :

– neurosis

– eating disorders

– addictions to sex/relationships

– bipolar disorder


low self-esteem

suicidal behaviour

addictions to drugs/alcohol

chronic physical ill-health

severe depression

Let’s look at each of these in turn :

– NEUROSIS : this can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as:

a) constantly being anxious that others dislike us or are trying to avoid us

b) sometimes having a distorted perception of reality (although not bad enough to be labelled as psychotic ).

c) being excessively anxiety prone in general

d) having phobias

e) having a nervous tremor and/or tics

f) often feeling fearful in situations most people would find relatively easy to deal with

g) a tendency to be excessively sensitive and to over-react

h) excessive smoking

– EATING DISORDERS : two well known eating disorders which may emerge (more commonly in females) are anorexia and bulimia.  Also, many people in psychological pain over- eat, or eat compulsively, for its calming and comforting effects which, in turn, can lead to obesity or even morbid obesity.

– ADDICTIONS TO SEX/RELATIONSHIPS : for many people, addictions are a temporary escape from acute psychological pain but leave us feeling even worse in the long run, these can include feeling constantly compelled to have promiscuous, but essentially empty, sex or to obsessively pursue relationships which do us no good. By masking the pain caused by psychological symptoms, they can also prevent us from taking action to address the root cause of them. But addictions can only mask our pain for so long – reality needs to be dealt with sooner or later (and, of course, the later we leave it, the more difficult it generally becomes).

Many have not one, but multiple, addictions (eg nicotine, coffee, alcohol, drugs, sex , damaging relationships etc). We use our addictions to constantly try to keep the pain of the past at bay, thereby preventing us from living fully in the present.

– BIPOLAR DISORDER : this very serious disorder has been linked to experiences of childhood trauma and can involve very extreme fluctuations in mood; for example, a sufferer of this condition may feel elated and euphoric on one day and then feel in a state of suicidal despair the next. These moods can overtake sufferers ‘out of the blue’ and individuals who are affected by this illness tend to be far more governed by their feelings in life as opposed to rational thought and logical planning. Sufferers show marked instability, and, without treatment, can find it almost impossible to keep their lives in a state of equilibrium. If a person suspects s/he may suffer from this condition, it is essential to seek appropriate professional advice.

The final six behaviours given on the list above are covered elsewhere on this website, simply click on them in the above list to be taken directly to the relevant articles.

I hope you have found this post useful.

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