Childhood Emotional Trauma Manifests In Different Ways

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Childhood Emotional Trauma Manifests In Different Ways

Trauma has many different meanings when it comes to emotions. One of the broader ways we are understanding more and more of people’s experiences is through their emotional upbringing. There is a movement in treatment and therapy to view most adverse childhood experiences as forms of trauma. Trauma is “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. Though trauma used to be associated only with physical violence, today we understand trauma to have a wide spectrum of circumstances and causes, many of which are emotionally related. Abandonment, neglect, emotional unavailability, emotional abuse- all of these emotional experiences create lessons and rules in the brain about emotions. Leaving permanent imprints on the brain causes difficulty in emotional development and growth for people who experience emotional trauma.

Unfortunately, emotional challenges in childhood are normal. When most other needs are met like being provided for in house and home, food, school, etc, emotional abuse is not considered problematic. For a developing child who needs a supply of unconditional love, support, healthy boundaries and communication, emotional trauma is problematic. It is problematic for children to grow up without the love and support they need to know who they are, how they should relate to people, and what they deserve in life.

As children grow into adolescents, teens, and adults, they develop more emotionally and their emotional trauma, in whatever form, manifests in different ways. For example, people might feel emotionally empty or void, like they’re missing something in their lives because of the love they didn’t receive from their childhood. People who had to completely fend for themselves in their childhood will be fiercely independent in their adult lives, and develop an avoidant personality to keep them from depending on anyone. It is common for there to be a strong inability to recognize one’s own strengths, have compassion for the self, and be able to forgive the self. Parents who don’t fully love their children emotionally teach that child there is something wrong with them, that there is something which inherently makes them unlovable.

Sadly, many adults try to cope with this emotional void in their life through unhealthy ways. Without the awareness that they are missing out emotionally and that what happened in their childhood in terms of emotions isn’t actually normal, the struggle to create what they think is normalcy, looking for love in the wrong places. Drugs, alcohol, abusive relationships, and circumstances which mimic their childhoods become their normal, causing a lifetime of distress.


You deserve love. You are capable of being loved. If you are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction and a childhood full of emotional conflict you aren’t alone. There is a better, healthier, happier way to live. At Avalon By The Sea, we are helping clients heal their emotional and dual diagnosis substance use issues through trusted programs, providing trusted results. Call us today for a confidential assessment and more information: 888-958-7511


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