The effects that our early life and childhood have on us for the rest of our days cannot be underestimated. For many of us, the formative experiences in our early life may have entirely faded from memory. For others, they may have been actively blocked out. But regardless, these experiences are the foundations on which our entire personality is eventually built. We’re going to look at a few of the ways early trauma can stay with us for life, in one way or another, including:
- Exposure to substance abuse
- Exposure to physical abuse
- A lack of emotional connections
Early Exposure to Negative Habits Can Stay with You
Many studies have shown the effects that early exposure to destructive habits in parents can have on children in later life. In many cases, exposure to such habits can eventually lead children into these habits themselves. In the case of drug or alcohol abuse, it’s easy for some to dismiss this as an inherent genetic predilection. But in the case of something like gambling, where there is no chemical element, it’s clear that learned behaviour plays a massive part. The neglect that is often the feature of a childhood surrounded by addiction also has extremely strong effects on a developing mind. Seeing a parent choose drugs or alcohol over childcare tends to lead to feelings of neglect. These can manifest themselves in later life in a number of ways.
Many children exposed to a parent’s substance abuse at an early age feel in later life that they never had a real childhood. This is the same with children exposed to domestic abuse. The trauma they went through made them either block out their childhood, or find nothing in it that resembles a conventional childhood. This can lead to an adult who feels that something key is missing from their life, and the underlying feelings of loss can permeate many aspects of everyday life.
Traumatic Relationships Often Lead to Poor Choices in Partners
Another feature of adults who grew up deep in traumatic relationships is a string of poor choices regarding people in later life. Our earliest experiences of relationships are formative and define what we consider to be normal connections in later life. An early experience of abuse and trauma can impact the brain as the only way for relationships to be. This can lead to people seeking out abusive partners and failing to understand the reasons for doing so. Constant disappointment and abuse in relationships can compound upon itself until an adult fully understands the mistakes they are making.
An alternative outcome for people who have experienced a childhood of abusive or negative relationships can be to shun human interaction in general. It’s not unusual for victims of childhood trauma to consider themselves as loners, and better off without any meaningful human interactions. This can result in them being constantly on guard, emotionally unavailable, and unwilling to show their true thoughts and feelings to others. This pattern of thought and habit can be extremely hard to untangle.
Abuse Can Become Internalized as Self Hate
One of the most common ways for abuse relationships with parents and carers to impact in later life is a feeling of self-hate and worthlessness. The constant negative reinforcement experienced in childhood can become embedded in a person’s brain, leading to self-destructive behavior. Drug and alcohol abuse are common examples, as are abusive relationships and erratic or reckless behavior.
These are a few examples of the lasting effects that childhood trauma can have on a person. The good news is that, once the root causes of adult issues are realized, it is possible to move forward and undo some of the damage. An understanding of the cause is the first step on the path to realizing your own self-worth and getting past the feelings of helplessness and abuse that became driving factors in your feelings and decisions. It’s not an easy task, but it is possible.
Not Enough Human Interaction in the Early Days Affect Development
We all ready about the extraordinary connection that appears between parents and the child. While the mother seems to always have a more important role in this connection due to the 9 months in which her and the baby are one, the father also plays a very important role. It’s often observed that those kids that have very busy parents that are always traveling with work or their own business, are predisposed to becoming loners, avoiding social contact and even showing some delays in development.
A child that receives daily attention and affection from the mother is more likely to develop faster and show more progress than usual when it comes to emotions, speech, movement and everything else that is connected with the early steps of development. If there’s not enough human interaction, most importantly with the parents but all interaction is healthy, there are a lot of chances that the adult will prefer isolation, avoiding social contact, choosing a job that doesn’t require team work and a lot more other effects. And while some of us do not consider these traits as ‘negative effects’ , we’re all ‘Zoon politikon’ and social interaction stands at the very base of our foundation.