Experiencing trauma in early life can have a ripple effect that extends into adulthood. Oftentimes, people who have faced trauma struggle with relationships because they replay harmful patterns learned in childhood. This can manifest in many ways, such as difficulty trusting others, feeling isolated, feeling shame, struggling with unresolved anger, being defensive or difficulty communicating needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the ways early trauma can impact relationships and what you can do to find healing.
How Early Trauma Affects Relationships
One of the most common effects of early trauma is relationship problems. People who have experienced trauma often find it difficult to trust others or form close relationships. They may also struggle with anger issues, which can make it hard to maintain friendships or intimate partnerships. Moreover, those who experienced trauma as children are more likely than those who didn’t to get divorced later in life.
Trauma can also affect one’s ability to succeed at work. People who have experienced trauma often have difficulty concentrating or maintaining focus, which can make it hard to perform well on the job. They may also find it difficult to trust or cooperate with co-workers and bosses, which can lead to conflict at work. Not surprisingly, all of these factors can make it difficult for people who have experienced early trauma to keep a job or advance in their careers.
Finally, early trauma can take a toll on one’s physical health. Studies have shown that people who have experienced traumatic events are more likely to develop chronic health problems such as heart disease, sleep disturbance, anxiety, auto-immune disturbances, and diabetes later in life. They are also more likely to abuse substances and engage in risky behaviors.
What You Can Do to Find Healing
If you’ve experienced early trauma, know that you’re not alone and there is hope for healing. Here are a few things you can do to begin your journey:
- Reach out to a therapist and /or a neurofeedback provider who specializes in trauma recovery. Both modalities can help you process your experiences in a healthy way.
- Join a support group for survivors of early trauma. Being around others who understand what you’re going through can be very comforting and helpful.
- Educate yourself on the effects of early trauma. The more you understand about how early trauma affects your mind and body, the more empowered you’ll feel to take control of your healing journey. Two excellent books that may be very beneficial in helping you in this process are:
- The Body Keeps the Score. By: Bessel van der Kolk
- What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. By: Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry.
- Practice self-care. Taking care of yourself is essential for managing the symptoms of early trauma and promoting healing. Consider adding things like yoga, meditation, journaling, and nature walks to your self-care routine.
If you’ve experienced early trauma, it’s important to understand how it might be impacting your current relationships. Although the effects of early trauma can be profound and far-reaching, by reaching out for help, educating yourself on the effects of trauma, and practicing self-care, you can begin your journey toward recovery today.