Childhood trauma could potentially have long-lasting consequences in our lives, especially if we don’t realize that we’ve experienced it. Our childhood is our “normal”, so it can be difficult to recognize when things are happening that shouldn’t be.
When we realize that bad things have happened to us, we may not see that we’ve been traumatized, or that this trauma has affected different aspects of our personal or professional lives.
Some ways childhood trauma can affect us in our adulthood
In our personal lives it can affect how we handle our intimate relationships and so forth. I was molested at the age of 9 and only started receiving aid in dealing with the effects of that experience after I turned 18. When I got married in my early 20s, my husband and I struggled sexually. I just would not allow him to initiate sex; I would feel like I was being violated again. Eventually, after openly talking about it with trusted friends and also going through a few counselling sessions, I came to terms with the childhood ordeal and acknowledged the effects it had on my life. This assisted us.
Another way the consequences of childhood trauma can be seen is in how people interact with each other in the workplace. There are different types of relationships that we enter into. There can be a relationship between employer and employee, or that between two or more colleagues. This trauma can take many forms, including mistreatment, exploitation, abuse, or a lack of approval or love — and it can adversely affect how individuals interact with other people at work. If you’re someone who constantly finds yourself in conflict with your supervisors, your employees and/or your colleagues, you might want to consider the possibility that you have unresolved childhood trauma. It is important to take time to review the past and seek help if need be.
The dangers of living with unresolved trauma can be that the victim of such can easily become a perpetrator themselves. As an example, a young boy exposed to physical violence between his parents can grow into an abusive adult while a young girl in the same situation can be attracted to abusive males as she grows into adulthood. It is important to deal with these issues as soon as we realise there could be traits of unresolved childhood trauma in our adult lives to avoid them impacting us in negative ways.
Stories of hope
Fortunately, change is possible. A lot of people have managed to curb the effects by simply making the decision not to let their past ordeals be set-backs in their adult lives. They have simply refused to live as victims. I am just going to briefly share success stories from 2 international celebrities who managed to overcome their childhood trauma. They have even become powerful forces in the entertainment world regardless of the past.
Tyler Perry may have a slew of movies sliding into movie theatres every year, but it wasn’t always that way. He suffered abuse as a child, both physical and sexual, and he never felt safe.
Oprah Winfrey suffered from a traumatic childhood. She has spoken about how she was both physically and sexually abused as a child. She admits she survived not only a brutal rape at the age of 9, but constant episodes of sexual molestation between the ages of 10 and 14, as well as a series of physical abuse.
We need to have the tenacity to rise from the proverbial dust from our past and seek relevant help in order to overcome the effects childhood trauma may have in our lives.
Therapy and recovery
If you experienced trauma or abuse during childhood, you might wonder if you should seek therapy. But maybe you are too busy to commute to appointments. You don’t even have any time to feel everything, much less talk about it.
Then there are the plethora of worries people sometimes have when they consider working with a therapist. You might think, “What if I end up feeling worse? What if the therapist thinks I don’t have any problems? Am I exaggerating my experiences?”
Childhood misfortunes make everything more difficult — self-confidence, conflict resolution, being in love, and being successful. A therapist can help people identify, fully describe, and respect their journey, and also appreciate their own “hard won” survival skills.
You can feel much better today as an adult than you did as a child and adolescent. You are not helpless to change your moods, behaviours, and circumstances. It does, however, require a commitment to personal growth and often is enhanced with the right therapist.
Facing Your Problems Head On
It is unfortunate that one can ignore the childhood trauma for a good while and only to surface at a time when you best need to be collected. Nonetheless, the energy spent in pretending to have had a blissful and healthy family as a child may be better spent turning around and facing the demons in the face. See your past for what it was and seek ways to deal with it.
The Inspired Africa is a magazine that hopes to see Africa and her people reach to their maximum potential. If by any chance, you have been moved by this series and feel an urge to get some help, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Till the next article, its happy reading to you all.