Trigger Warning: Abuse
They say it’s the little things in life which matter, but sometimes little things which might not seem so important can have a huge impact on our lives forever. For example, some toxic childhood memories don’t seem too significant to people, but many studies have shown that such traumatic events can severely impact a person’s psychological and sociological well-being.
As the number of adverse experiences increases, the risk of problems from childhood through adulthood also rises. It has also been shown childhood trauma such as toxic parenting, neglect, bullying, sexual and physical abuse can have long-lasting, negative effects on the person’s mental health and well being.
Through many studies, it has been well determined that childhood trauma can act as a catalyst of many social, mental and cognitive impairments that can lead to an increased risk of mental health issues, substance abuse and self-destructive behaviours.
Exposure to adverse childhood experiences can include separation from family, home violence, racial and ethnic disparities, income disparities, neighbourhood violence, mental illness or substance use disorder of caregiver, divorce, a new home or school, illness and hospitalization, death of a loved one, poverty, natural disasters, and adults negative discipline techniques.
Childhood trauma can encompass many different situations and may be different from person to person who goes through the events; a traumatic experience causes horror, terror and helplessness both at the time of occurrence and later in life. There are multiple ways in which childhood trauma can be manifested in adolescents; it can continue to haunt them in multiple ways and can leave a significant impact on their lives at school, home and other social settings.
A child with a complex trauma history may also have certain issues in forming healthy relationships with the people around them; they might also have problems regulating and expressing their emotions. Complexly traumatized adolescents tend to react to external stimuli faster than others; their reaction to different situations might be different as compared to other kids who had a normal childhood.
Their emotional responses may be unpredictable or explosive. A child may react to a reminder of a traumatic event with trembling, anger, sadness, or avoidance. For a child with a complex trauma history, reminders of various traumatic events may be everywhere in the environment.
Such a child may react often, react powerfully, and have difficulty calming down when upset. Since the traumas are often of an interpersonal nature, even mildly stressful interactions with others may serve as trauma reminders and trigger intense emotional responses.