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Childhood Traumas

Many people suffer and have difficulties with their relationships - friendship, family, romantic or work. And they feel that they are not enough in some way. Either because they do not trust themselves or because they don't know themselves.

Trauma is a much broader concept than we might think. What is "traumatic" depends on the person. From your unique set of circumstances, from your own perception, from your internalization of the event.

A traumatic event does not include only the events that we would classically consider: war, natural disasters, serious accidents, violence, sexual abuse, robberies, etc. A psychological trauma is any event so overwhelming that we cannot understand it, process it or leave it in the past. And, many times, we don't even realize that it exists and the influence it has on us. It only reveals itself in some pains or symptoms.

Many traumas happen in childhood. Only this trauma is rarely recognized. As adults, these children end up feeling immensely ashamed of themselves without understanding that they have experienced trauma.

The relationships - attachments - that we establish with our parents or primary caregivers before the age of 5 set a standard, the foundation for our adult relationships. Thais is because we are born completely dependent on adults who, ideally, will satisfy our physical and emotional needs. If those needs are met, we establish secure attachments. If not, the attachments will be insecure and unpredictable. In these cases, the child often has to "betray" him/herself or hide their own feelings in order to receive love and validation from a parent with whom he has created a conflicting relationship.

During childhood, when our brains are still forming, these are the relationship patterns we will get used to. When we enter into adult relationships, there is an unconscious motivation to repeat this same dynamic that we are familiar with and that we learned as children.

The context for the creation of a childhood trauma is typically a context where there was:

  • Little comfort, love, and the ability to calm down

  • Chaos

  • Unpredictable behaviors

  • Violence

  • Little emotional connection

  • Poor security

  • Negligence

  • Lack of well-established boundaries

  • Dysfunctional coping mechanisms - alcohol, drugs, other risky behaviors

  • Abandonment

Childhood trauma can include:

  • The parent denies the child's reality

  • Not being seen or heard

  • Having a parent who lives in an vicarious way through the child's life

  • Being directly or indirectly told that you cannot or should not experience certain emotions

  • Having a parent who overcompensates for what he feels he lacked in his own childhood

  • Having a parent who focuses on appearance

  • Having a parent who can't regulate their emotions

Signs of childhood trauma:

  • Widespread fear of the world

  • Lack of connection with the world and with others

  • Emotional instability - going through a roller coaster of emotions to feel nothing - impulsiveness, anger, difficulty making decisions

  • Few or very vague memories of childhood and growth

  • Not knowing who you are - difficulty establishing your identity

  • Constant doubts about yourself, your abilities - low self-esteem

  • Obsessive focus on another person with fear of abandonment

  • Lack of boundaries, space or autonomy

  • Not being able to trust - fear of intimacy and vulnerability

  • Emotionally addictive cycles of being abandoned / rejected and then chosen again

  • Excessive focus on a sexual connection rather than an authentic and communicative connection

  • A strong desire to be comforted by the person who is causing this severe emotional uneasiness.

Moving away from these traumas implies doing our own "reparentalization", that is, being our own parents. Or have a professional who does it with us.

This reparentalization implies that we will have, in our adult relationships:

  • Clear boundaries

  • Freedom to state our needs and allow a person to help us meet our needs

  • Autonomy and interdependence (mutual dependence - reciprocity) simultaneously (instead of codependency)

  • Relationships with people who have the same values as us

  • Knowing our own value

  • Build relationships where there is room for mutual evolution.

Final points:

- Trauma is something we experience, it is not our identity.

- It is not something we have to live with forever.

- Overcoming a trauma involves reconnecting with our inner world and finding security in ourselves - something that the trauma took away from us.

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