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Impact of Childhood Trauma on Adulthood
In spite of the fact that it has been years after his mother’s death, Amina, a 22-year-old Indian native, still has vivid memories of cradling his mother’s lifeless body in his arms. In his mind, there are certain things that never disappear.
Childhood experiences have a significant impact on a person’s character as an adult. People who had a happy childhood are more likely to become what we call “normal” adults. A child’s mental ability is not yet developed enough to deal with even the tiniest unfavourable situations. As a result of their upbringing, many of these individuals have a difficult time managing their emotions.
Last year, Rashi, a final-year undergraduate, lost her grandma. She also claims that she hasn’t really accepted her loss. Her grandma was her lone confidant as a child since her parents worked and resided in separate places. “I’m susceptible because I still have my mother’s fantasies,” she confesses. I experience panic attacks whenever I think about her. Since then, I’ve had a number of breakdowns. Rashi’s dating life has been adversely affected by her newfound anxiety about being abandoned, in addition to her longstanding struggles with mental illness.
It’s not only the death of a loved one that may alter a person’s course in life. Hyderabad-based writer Agam was in the 5th or 6th grade when his neighbour sexually attacked him. “Even though I’m content, I’m unable to control my emotions when I drink..” I’ve gotten more introverted and self-conscious,” he admits. Moreover, Agam says he’s given up on making new friends since the encounter left him feeling incapable of expressing himself.
An Indian stylist has a similar story to tell. She was sexually raped as a child by a guy who worked at her location, but she didn’t recognize it until her school had a presentation on sex education that she was being victimized. It was then that she began injuring herself in her sleep, a symptom of her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every morning, I’d wake up with bloody fingernails and scrapes all over my legs. She was able to manage it for a while with meditation, but now she suffers from insomnia and anxiety attacks all the time. Furthermore, she admits to exhibiting suicidal and self-destructive tendencies recently.
Mental health therapist believes that the stigma and lack of information around mental health concerns make it difficult for some people to recognize their own trauma responses. An individual who was sexually molested as a youngster is likely to have a difficult time in school because of their fear and anxiety.” It may seem to others that the individual is just unmotivated to study or lazy, but in truth, this is only a method for the trauma to the surface,” she explains.
According to Ali, the traumatic reaction manifests itself differently in each individual. Low self-esteem and other mental health issues are all possible side effects of chronic stress and anxiety. Other symptoms include headaches and stomachaches as well as backaches and panic attacks. Self-doubt is a typical reaction to trauma since survivors feel they didn’t do enough to help.
A clinical psychologist shakes her head in agreement. She believes that creating a safe and nurturing environment for a kid is the first step in preventing them from experiencing trauma. Innumerable factors influence a child’s development, including how a parent acts.
Abha, a Hyderabad-based journalist, and actor, wholeheartedly agrees. Despite the fact that they could see she was suffering, her parents allegedly made all key choices for her without discussing her as a child. As a result, “there was too much going on at once.” Relocating to a new school, a new college, a new subject, bullying, a sick mother, a new father… That was too much for me,” she admits. Adding to Abha’s animosity, she says that she felt she had no control over her life since others had made the decisions for her. “How could my parents have missed the fact that I was depressed?” she wonders.
Kriya says that coping with mental health difficulties may be difficult as a parent of a small kid. Aside from the expectations a kid has of their parents, he believes that society as a whole also has expectations. However, he argues that this is less important than the former since your kid should always come first.
A child’s intellect and energy may be nurtured and channeled in the appropriate way if the family environment fosters the right mentality, according to Kriya. Ali, on the other hand, believes that parents and guardians must “identify and work on their own triggers or traumas, in order to reduce the risk of passing it down to their children and inculcating it in their conduct.”
People who have experienced trauma may benefit from mental health services if they get them at the appropriate time. Rishi believes it would have been a great assistance. His family was too distant for him to confide in, he claims. “I would have been more emotionally stable if someone rational had taken out time to explain things to me,” he adds.
Agam shares this sentiment. It would have been far better for him to notify his parents that his neighbour was attacking him, but he was afraid to do so as a child. There’s still time. It is claimed by Ali that counseling may help people overcome their childhood trauma. “Therapists can use a variety of approaches such as Cognitive Processing Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, EMDR, etc. In her words, “therapy has shown to be extremely helpful in addressing childhood trauma and in enabling individuals to establish healthy families and have a satisfying life.”
It is Bhasin’s opinion that at the very least we should discuss these issues. We need to increase awareness by normalizing and not trivializing “tough” issues like parental sexual or physical abuse. This does not imply that something is acceptable because it affects a large number of people. She goes on to say that failings in parenting, such as hitting children, should be called out because it can be extremely upsetting for a child.
PTSD evolves over time. Amina, Rishi, and Abha, all three of them, have spent enough time thinking about their family’s position to attempt to put the trauma-inducing events in perspective. Both agree that they wish they hadn’t had to go through and deal with so much trauma at such a young age. They may have developed emotional maturity as a result of their trauma, but this was not a need for them when they were children; all they wanted was to be happy. I wish someone had stepped in to assist.
Children need to know that they can walk and talk to get what they need, says Kriya. In my opinion, the “comfort nook” strategy works. In order for a youngster to feel safe and secure, at least one person should constantly be available.”
Childhood experiences have a significant impact on a person’s character as an adult. People who had a happy childhood are more likely to become what we call “normal” adults. A child’s mental ability is not yet developed enough to deal with even the tiniest unfavourable situations. An individual who was sexually molested as a youngster is likely to have a difficult time in school. Low self-esteem and other mental health issues are all possible side effects of chronic stress and anxiety.
A clinical psychologist believes that creating a safe and nurturing environment for a kid is the first step in preventing them from experiencing trauma. A child’s intellect and energy may be nurtured in the right way if the family environment fosters the right mentality. Ali believes that parents and guardians must identify and work on their own triggers or traumas, in order to reduce the risk of passing it down to their children. We need to increase awareness by normalizing and not trivializing “tough” issues like parental sexual or physical abuse. Failures in parenting, such as hitting children, should be called out because it can be upsetting for a child. In order for a youngster to feel safe and secure, at least one person should constantly be available, says Kriya.
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