When an infant or child experiences extremely distressing experience(s), such as being witness to verbal or physical abuse or a direct target of abuse and neglect, that is traumatic. Trauma causes the brain to develop survival strategies, which will continue to run inefficient and inappropriate reaction patterns even after a danger has passed. Consider that a child’s brain and socialization skills are still developing and it is easy to understand how a learning child may adapt habitually poor coping skills. Time alone does not heal these types of wounds. This is Complex Trauma. It is also known as Developmental Trauma Disorder.
There is an adverse childhood events scale of 0-10 that measures the risks encountered in a developing mind. Research has demonstrated that the higher you score in specific adverse events while you were a helpless, dependent, and developing youngling, the more likely as an adult you will struggle with medical issues such as auto-immune disorders, mental health issues, which are likely diagnosed as depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance use disorders, personality problems and relationship, trust, and attachment issues.
Natural reactions to trauma Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn turn into go-to coping mechanisms as a child reaches adulthood. It may look like any combination of these traits: Victimhood, Chronic Pain, Anger, Rigidity, Over- Achieving, Avoidance, Urges to Intoxicate, Addictive personality, Anxiety, Depression, Feelings of Emptiness, or People Pleasing, and Repetitive Dysfunctional Relationship patterns. There is also such a thing as an Emotional Flashback. This is that embarrassing and damaging for an adult, tantrum, meltdown, losing it that is not in proportion to whatever the initial upset was.
C- PTSD differs from classic Shock Trauma in that symptoms are more elusive yet pervasive.
GOOD NEWS There is now a growing body of therapy to address these early life trauma effects, including EMDR, Polyvagal Theory, Somatic Experiencing, and others. C-PTSD affects the biology, psychology and social function of the person and it is significant to your life story. A wHolistic therapy approach addressing body, mind, spirit and soul.