Children are generally believed to be exceptionally resilient and able to recover quickly from any distress, however, some childhood trauma can have long-lasting and severe effects on the lives of adults. Any childhood trauma can cause a child to feel helpless or insecure, such as sexual, physical or verbal abuse, family violence, unstable or insecure environments, parental isolation, neglect, bullying, serious illness or aggressive medical procedures.
When we take these emotional, physical or behavioral stab wounds of our childhood into adulthood, they can have a negative effect on our relationships, careers, happiness, health, etc. until we process our emotions and heal them. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Malini Saba, a psychologist and president of the Ananke Foundation, discusses five ways to overcome childhood trauma as an adult.
1. Identify the problem and its triggers – The initial step to alleviating childhood trauma is to conduct a thorough self-examination and acknowledge the existence of the problem. Once you acknowledge the problem, you need to understand it. What is the reason for this? Does it include solitary eating or playing, a particular city, outfit, song or family member? We all have triggers that can help relieve our childhood trauma. The healing process helps with identifying the trigger, and many people can leave their past behind only by realizing and knowing their triggers.
2. Love the child within you – Revive the experience you are recovering from and imagine that you are meeting a younger person in the present. Speak, hug, and shed tears to comfort your inner child. If the child is afraid, try to calm them down. Give that child the comfort he needs. Be the kind of adult that the child doesn’t have when they’re young. If you can’t picture it yourself, try meditation to cure childhood traumas but this is not just a one-time thing. This meditation should be done for at least 21 days (or until you feel a release). You’ve been thinking about this memory for years. Don’t be surprised if you actually take some time to leave it.
3. Positive affirmations should be used – Negative childhood events can disrupt our brain pathways, preventing us from enjoying life on our terms. We must actively nurture our hearts, brains and souls with positive affirmations to reverse the effects of years of trauma. We must reassure our inner souls that we are safe and responsible as we are no longer children. Positive affirmations are necessary to counteract the effects of bad childhood experiences. Take the time to determine which affirmations you practice. Write down positive affirmations that resonate with you and practice them every day. Even better, record them in your voice and listen to them before and after bedtime.
4. End negative chatter – As you heal, you will experience several emotions. You remember the details of your past long forgotten. And most of all, if you have not already done so, you are likely to start engaging in negative psychological talks. Learn to calm your mind and break the cycle of negativity. When you are trying to fix your past, try some relaxation techniques, meditations, music or podcasts that will help you calm down and reduce stress and anxiety. You should know that you have been trying to replace the existing brain area for years. It can be challenging and it can resist change in the most realistic and rational way.
5. Learn From – It’s hard to leave a traumatic memory when we don’t know why it happened. We often struggle to understand why something happened, which in reality is probably meaningless. Imagine that you are the third person observing the experience. List what you have learned so far. Make a list and stick to where it appears every day. Remember that everything happens for a reason. You learned from it and now it’s time to move on.
Bringing his expertise to the same topic, psychologist Dr Ariba Abbasi lists five ways to alleviate trauma and live a healthy life:
1. Recognize and revoke authority – Victims of childhood trauma often act as if the event never happened or blame themselves, which can lead to guilt and self-blame. Accepting that the trauma has occurred and that you are not responsible is essential to healing. Because of the feelings of helplessness you experienced as a child, it is possible to carry those feelings into adulthood and make decisions based on those experiences. Being a victim means that your past has a direct impact on your present. Once you have relieved your pain, you can control the present. If you are willing to let go of your childhood obstacles and ways of coping, you can regain control of your life and heal your pain.
2. Don’t isolate yourself; Instead, get help – The first tendency of many trauma sufferers is to isolate themselves from people but this only makes the situation worse. Make an effort to preserve your relationships and seek help as part of the healing process. Consider talking to a trusted family member, friend or counselor and join a support group for survivors of childhood trauma.
3. Make sure you’re taking good care of yourself – If you are healthy, you will be able to cope with stress. Plan your day so you get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise regularly and replace bad habits with healthy ones. When emotions become uncomfortable, bad habits can take many forms, such as negativity and constant suspicion of others, or turning to alcohol or drugs. These may help in the short term, but they can intensify your depression, anxiety and feelings of loneliness. Bad habits can be difficult to kick off, especially when they are used as crutches to avoid reconsidering childhood grief and trauma. A support group or therapist can teach you the skills needed to break unhealthy behaviors and replace them with healthy ones.
4. Learn to accept and leave things you cannot change – Accepting something does not imply that you are accepting your shock or that you like it or agree with it. Acceptance indicates that you have decided what to do with it. It is up to you whether you choose to control your life or leave it. The act of leaving does not imply that the problem has been magically solved. This means that your unpleasant childhood memories and feelings will not stop you from living your good life now.
5. Be gentle with yourself – Traumatic childhood injuries can make it difficult for you to leave uncontrolled emotions, feelings of hopelessness, a strong sense of self-defense mechanism, and distorted views. Getting rid of these feelings takes time and effort. Never give up on yourself, no matter how slow your development is. There are small victories in your recovery that will help you win the war that will eventually heal your childhood trauma.