As a child, you likely looked to adults in your life as trusted and guiding sources of wisdom and protection. Whether it was jumping into a car and buckling a seatbelt or trusting that healthy and safe food was on your plate each day, the adults in our world were heralded as the first place for comfort and help. For many, the thought of an adult being anything other than a protector was unthinkable.
Unfortunately, for countless individuals, those trusted adults proved to be anything but safe. For those who are victims of childhood trauma, the effects of past abuse can leave a scarring impact on the remainder of their lives. For various reasons, the effects of child abuse are far more damaging than almost any other type of negligence or pain – as the threats and actions taken against us as a child can rewire our brains and take our lives down unexpected paths.
Understanding The Types Of Child Abuse
While any attack or negligence toward a child should be taken as a serious act of abuse, those who may have been victimized as a child may find helpful in understanding the categories and classifications of child abuse and neglect:
- Child Abuse: any physical, emotional, or sexual abuse toward children.
- Child Neglect: the horrific effects of not emotionally connecting with a loving heart towards one’s child and essentially leaving them to suffer alone in the earliest times of life
- Any severe injury or illness that has not been treated in a timely or proper manner.
- The experience of enduring a severe event, such as a natural disaster, an assault, or criminal act.
- The experience of having parents separating or divorce early in life.
- Watching and living with one parent who abuses the other parent or partner.
- Enduring life with a parent or guardian suffering from a mental health condition, substance abuse, and incarceration.
Any of the above experiences can severely damage a child’s psyche. Not only are these traumatic experiences to undergo at the moment, but the impact of such trauma can leave long-lasting impacts on a child’s life for years to come.
When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds
For many years, the common response to an adult suffering from child abuse or neglect was to “simply get over it and move on.” However, childhood trauma is not an experience that one can “get over” through time and distance from the event. The impact on the mental, emotional, and often physical aspects of an individual’s life can last far into adulthood – decades after the event has occurred. These biological changes can be hard to identify and even more difficult to overcome.
The impact of childhood trauma can lead to mental health issues – such as anxiety and depression – and physical manifestations such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and panic attacks when memories or similar circumstances to the abuse trigger an emotional response. For some, the burying of these past events can lead to an even more dangerous explosion of life-altering symptoms that can interfere in the individual’s ability to live a productive and thriving life.
Choosing Therapy over Self-Medication
For those who suffer from the ongoing effects of child abuse and trauma, finding hope and healing from their often unspeakable pain comes in the form of self-medication. Seeking the temporary escape through numbing practices such as drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviors can mask the issues for a time but never truly heal the pain and brokenness that has hardened over time.
Rather than suffer alone in silence, victims of child abuse are encouraged to seek the help of a licensed therapist who excels in childhood trauma. In my years of practice as a licensed clinical therapist, I have had the privilege to walk alongside those who are still experiencing the long-term impacts of an abusive childhood. Yet, as difficult as the journey may be, there is hope. In sessions with me, individuals have found hope and healing from years of abuse through therapy methods that aim to heal the heart, mind, and soul.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of childhood abuse or trauma, I am here to help begin the process of healing. Please contact me today to set up a worry-free consultation that will lay out the framework for discovering hope, healing, and confidence for the days ahead.