I have written elsewhere about how, after my parents’ divorce, my mother increasingly used me as her emotional caretaker, even referring to me, quite brazenly, as her ‘Little Psychiatrist’ (a role foisted upon me that I see now, with hindsight, I was all too willing to fulfil to the point of preoccupation and even obsession) until I was thirteen and our relationship broke down in such a way that I was forced to go and live with my father and his newly acquired wife.
The definition of childhood trauma, according to The National Institute Of Mental Health (USA), is as follows :
One way to help define childhood trauma is to split it into two categories, as shown below :
- INTERPERSONAL TRAUMA
Interpersonal trauma refers to trauma that the child experiences as a result
There are many traumatic events that can befall us in childhood which, as we have seen in other articles I have published on this site, can, potentially, result in us incurring significant and long-lasting psychological damage, especially in the absence of appropriate therapy and meaningful, emotional support from others.
In this article, I will list several types of childhood trauma that can occur and give a brief explanation to elucidate each of these traumatic events :
I have already published articles on this site about the downside of childhood fame and about the problems that the gifted child might encounter. However, in this article I am going to outline the findings of a study undertaken by Rockwell and Giles (2009) which involved the researchers interviewing well-known celebrities (although the study does not include details of who these celebrities were in order to preserve their privacy in relation to the information they provided).
In his critically acclaimed book : ‘CRACKED : WHY PSYCHIATRY IS DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD‘, the author, James Davies, argues that psychiatry is a pseudo-science which :
- over-medicalizes human behavior, labelling individuals as mentally ‘ill’ when it is not appropriate to do so
- is far too driven by the avarice and insatiable greed of profit-chasing pharmaceutical companies, leading to the over-prescription of drugs which are frequently not only ineffective, but actively harmful.
In order to illustrate this argument, one of the examples that Davies presents us with is that of a child displaying behaviors that would traditionally be associated with attention
Emotional Neglect And Epigenetics.
Studies suggest that emotional neglect and a lack of warm, affectionate, loving nurture in childhood can, in effect, switch off crucial genes that help us to regulate stress.
This is thought to be due to a phenomenon known as epigenetic modification.
What Is Meant By The Term ‘EPIGENETICS?’
Epigenetic modification refers to the mechanism whereby the way in which genes express themselves can be altered by
Probably the best known expert working in the field of understanding how the body and our experience of the crippling effects of severe trauma are inextricably linked is former Harvard Professor, Bessel van der Kolk.
Bessel van der Kolk stresses the crucial importance of treating the effects of severe trauma in a HOLISTIC manner ; in other words, therapeutic approaches for trauma need to not only focus on the physical brain (e.g. by treating
A study by Lanius et al. was conducted to cast light upon why many with individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including those suffering from complex-PTSD, often find it excruciatingly uncomfortable every time the rules of social etiquette compel them to make eye to eye contact with another human being (I, myself once attempted to circumvent this
An experiment carried out at the University of Puerto Rico (Quirk et al.) on rats has shown that administering a drug directly into their brains can induce in them a sense of safety in a situation in which they were previously fearful.
Brief Summary If Experiment :
Rats can be conditioned to fear the sound of a particular tone (the fearful response takes the form of the rats ‘freezing’ )if, each time the tone is sounded, the experimenter administers
Self-defeating personality disorder (also sometimes referred to as masochistic personality disorder), whilst not included in the current edition (fifth) of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), is still frequently referred to by mental health professionals to help explain various aspects of behavior.
What Is Self-Defeating Personality Disorder?
In order to be considered as suffering from self-defeating personality disorder, an individual will be suffering from a minimum of five of the following symptoms :
Extreme emotional detachment can operate as an unconscious defense mechanism to help us cope with traumatic experiences including, of course, childhood trauma (such as emotional, sexual and physical abuse). If it is necessary for us to employ this coping mechanism for extended periods of time, it can become a deeply ingrained and pervasive part of our psychological make-up and we may continue to use it to protect ourselves from potential, emotional harm for the rest of our lives.
What Is Meant By Hypervigilance?
A person who is hypervigilant feels constantly ‘on edge’ , ‘keyed up’ and fearful. S/he experiences a perpetual sense of dread and of being under threat despite the fact, objectively speaking, there is no present danger. Indeed, the person affected in this way is so intensely alert to, and focused upon, any conceivable imminent danger that s/he may develop paranoia-like symptoms and frequently perceive danger in situations where no such danger, in reality, exists.
What Factors Make The Symptoms Of Complex PTSD Even More Serious?We have seen from several other articles that I have published on this site that the experience of a traumatic childhood is linked to the development of complex PTSD later on in life.Whilst all cases of complex PTSD are extremely serious, certain factors are thought to increase the risk that we will develop an especially severe form of the disorder. These are as follows :
- the person responsible for causing the
Sex Addiction And Childhood Trauma :
We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that those who have suffered significant and protracted childhood trauma are at higher than average risk of developing an addiction to sex in adulthood (for example, see my post entitled : ‘Childhood Trauma And Its Link To Hypersexuality‘).
Blotting Out Emotional Pain :
One reason why those who have suffered childhood trauma may become addicted