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How Does Childhood Trauma Impact Adult Relationships?

Young female reflecting and listening to her psychologist

Childhood is meant to be a time of innocence, growth, and exploration. However, all too often, that idyllic path can be ruined by a traumatic experience. In fact, three-fifths of children are likely to experience a traumatic event.

Childhood trauma is a serious issue that can continue to affect individuals long into adulthood. Keep reading to learn about the impact that childhood trauma can have on adults and their relationships. You'll also discover the effect of EMDR treatment on recovery.


Forms of Child Trauma

Any situation that causes negative, confusing, or overwhelming emotions can be a potential source of trauma. Some types of trauma are common, including:

• Physical abuse • Sexual abuse • Abandonment • Natural disaster • Bullying • Witnessing abuse • Loss of a loved one • Severe illness

It often takes a combination of factors to result in trauma, so these experiences may not have long-term effects on all children. For instance, the age of the child, the length and intensity of exposure to traumatic events, and the presence of a trusted safety net all play a role.

Complex trauma refers to multiple exposures to traumatic events over a period of time.

Effects of Trauma

Trauma creates instability that can impact someone for the rest of their life. Childhood trauma symptoms may appear as a sense of guilt or shame. It can result in depression, anxiety, anger, and even health issues as well.

Another effect of trauma is reckless behaviour. According to Communities Together for Children, victims of trauma could be more emotionally volatile and engage in unsafe practices. This could be in the form of self-harm, substance abuse, crime, and unprotected sex.

When faced with the chronic stress of complex trauma, a child may also become developmentally delayed. They could have trouble learning, problem-solving, and thinking about the future.

Childhood trauma can also harm future relationships. Traumas like abuse can lead to trust issues. Trauma victims may not be able to form healthy attachments.

Creating Healthy Adult Relationships

Attachment in adults comes in four forms. First, there is normal healthy attachment. Then, there are three attachment disorders: dismissive-avoidant, fearful-avoidant, and anxious-preoccupied attachment.

A fear of intimacy, distrust of people, and even extreme neediness characterize these attachment styles. There is often a disconnect between relationship partners as well as insecurity.

Disordered attachments result in unhealthy relationships and stress for both partners. No one chooses their attachment style. However, unhealthy ones can be corrected and the ability to create secure relationships restored.

Through professional treatments like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), you can build healthy relationships.

EMDR uses external stimuli to disrupt emotional distress and create new associations. This treatment is successful in reformulating negative beliefs and desensitizing people to triggers. Treating trauma and anxiety is the first step to creating healthy relationships!

Seek Treatment to Heal Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a long-lasting issue that can have countless negative effects on a person throughout their adult life. Healing trauma through professional treatments like EMDR is crucial to maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Make an appointment today to get started on your path to recovery!

If you'd like to learn more about EMDR, treatment plans, or the problems you may be facing, contact us today or take a look at the rest of our site!


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