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Types of Traumas Experienced in Childhood

It is no longer a secret that adverse childhood experiences can manifest as traumas in their adult life. Traumas, if unaddressed, can haunt them for the rest of their lives, leading to complicated physical, mental and emotional challenges later in life. However, once identified, there are ways to heal, there are ways to recover and there are ways to transform. A majority of human beings that I’ve known in a specific space like the healing modalities have gone through a lot of stuff themselves and yet we are still here. So if you are someone that’s going through that stuff and it’s fresh and it’s raw and it’s real and it’s overwhelming, just know that the cure for the pain is in the pain.


In this post we talk about some examples of how adverse childhood experiences can manifest as traumas in adult life.


Fear of Abandonment

If you experience fears, if you experience adverse childhood experiences growing up, I think the most important one that pops up is this thing called fear of abandonment. And sometimes this fear is rational. You want to know why? Because those who were supposed to be there for you and support you and love you and nurture you and care for you abandoned you. So therefore where does your ideology and framework and the perspective and the way you view the world come from? From reality. Mom and Dad left, I was abandoned. Sometimes that abandonment can come through something like death though there was no choice with it. Sometimes there could be the abandonment that comes through separation or divorce and the situation was so volatile or hostile that the kid couldn’t really continue a relationship with one of them, but in the mind of a child they were abandoned. 


When we have that fear of abandonment in every relationship we get into, guess what? We always think that we’re going to be abandoned. We always think that we’re not worthy of love. We always think that we don’t deserve happiness. And people put up with so much crap because they don’t want to be abandoned. And this doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships or relationships. It can happen at work. People put up with so much because they don’t want to be abandoned and ultimately what happens my friends is, people start to leave people. Before they leave them they don’t allow anybody to get close. Because they’re terrified of being abandoned. And if that happens to you in your life just know that you got to go back to the source, the origin. 


You got to be able to change the way that you view this whole situation because the saddest thing that happens to those who have a fear of abandonment is that those individuals start to do one thing. People start to abandon themselves. So hear this if you have a fear of abandonment because of your adverse childhood experiences, because you were abandoned by those who weren’t supposed to abandon you, and you don’t heal from it you will start to abandon yourself as an adult, you will abandon your values, your goals, your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations, and your standards, and you will live a life that you look around and say what the f— is this. So in order to break that cycle you got to stop abandoning yourself. You got to start reconnecting to that wounded part of self that was left and make one promise, one commitment, that you will no longer do to yourself what other people did to you. Once you start doing that it’s the opening in the catalyst for your healing recovery and transformation process.


Impact to Mental Health

If you experience any type of adverse childhood experiences you will experience a significant impact to your mental health. How does this show up? 


In a child it could show up as:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD


If you don’t have those things treated you carry them on to adulthood and if you have all of those symptoms it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to live life, or live it in a way that you can thrive. So if it becomes unbearable, we start to use people, places, things to self-regulate those emotions, substance abuse, codependent toxic relationships, workaholism, any type of way that you can just check out for a little bit. And if you do that what’s going to happen? You’re going to have impacts to your health. If you’re using food to cope you’re setting yourself up for potentially cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes. If you’re using substances to cope you’re developing potentially setting yourself up for dependency addiction. If you’re using people to cope you’re probably going to set yourself up with some volatile toxic situations. So when it comes down to it starts and also impacts the immune system, stress and cortisol levels do a number on the immune system which turns into autoimmune diseases. There’s enough studies out there that correlate things like stress and cancer together. You don’t have to take my word for it. I know some of you don’t believe that stuff but it’s out there, it’s validated, it’s verified.


Needing a Lot of Space

Those who have experienced a lot of adverse childhood experiences in their life usually need a lot of space, a lot of alone time, a lot of quiet time. Because that’s the only time they were able to kind of just be with themselves. Because if you’re constantly around dysfunction, if there’s abuse, chaos, domestic violence, substance abuse, abandonment, parental separation, divorce, if all that stuff’s around you and it’s always wild and chaotic, the only time that you can actually be with yourself is when you are with yourself. The problem with this is sometimes the space that people gravitate towards happens at the end of the night, like from 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock in the morning, and because that’s back in the day when they were able to just be quiet and chill, well now as adults, if you’re up at 1 or 2 in the morning and you got to function and really be on point at 7 or 8 in the morning it’s not realistic. It’s not sustainable. It works for an adolescent because they can sleep four hours and be okay, but when you got life responsibilities and you need a lot of time to yourself and you can’t find a lot of time and you’re on your phone and scrolling on crap in the middle of the night just know that it’s potentially a response to trauma, potentially. 


Becoming a Caretaker

If you were in a chaotic household where you were the parentified parent, you had a bunch of siblings and there was chaos and dysfunction, you have to grow up and and and take care of responsibilities and do laundry and make food, and take kids here and there, and you’re a kid yourself, and you lost your childhood, it’s safe to say that there was an unequal burden of responsibility in the family. You think it just goes away, if you were responsible for a lot of people in your life growing up do you think that when you become an adult it just goes away? You get to experience a new life? No, nope. I don’t know you that well but guess what? I bet you created a life where you could be responsible for a lot of people. You didn’t do it consciously but it happened. You got an adult child you’re taking care of now, you got some aging parents you’re taking care of now, you got some people in your life that are in crisis mode and guess what? You are the caretaker, the fixer, the person that goes in at their own cost, their own health, their own sanity, they go do for others. Do you think that’s a natural choice we make? I believe it’s learned behavior. I believe it’s an adaptation to trauma. 


The beauty of learned behavior is the following: anything that can be learned can be unlearned. It can be unlearned, it could be relearned, and you can have a new experience. So you first have to come to the awareness that who I am and how I live my life and what I’m doing may not have anything to do with right here and right now, but it has to do with then and there. 


Staying in Relationships Past Expiration Date

We forget how precious this thing called life is, how short it is to go. I understand when you’re working through stuff, duty and honor in that you love somebody you’re going through a turbulent time, you want to go work together on it to heal and move forward as a unit. Wonderful if you’ve done that, one, two, three times in a long-term relationship, beautiful, good for you. You’re growing together. If you’ve done it like 2,000 times in a 10 year span at some point you must look and see that this ain’t working. 


And it’s not just with romantic relationships. One of my biggest pet peeves are people that come to me and they just bitch about work and their boss and the structure and the lack of organization and how they take advantage of everybody there and how they’re not appreciated and how they’re not blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. You know what I say to them? “Leave.” People stay there for years, just miserable, going to work miserable, coming home miserable, as if it’s the only store on the block or business on the block that could actually provide them whatever it is that they get from them. Which I guarantee you, they’re probably not happy with anyways. I don’t know why people love staying in super unhealthy relationships after their expiration date. Could it potentially be trauma they experience in life? 


Constant Conflict or Avoiding Conflict

If you catch yourself constantly arguing or fighting with someone or something, or avoiding conflict at all costs so what does that say? Very black and white, very hot and cold, very this or that. Both of those are a byproduct of the inability to connect your emotions to your thoughts, to your words. If you never learned healthy proper timely communication that is rooted in emotions, thinking and words, then you’re not going to know how to do it. So when you get emotional, when you get flooded with emotions, when you get racing thoughts, you don’t know what to do. So you just go all in, ripping people’s heads off, blowing up, impulsive explosive anger, scary stuff. People walk on eggshells around you or growing up you experienced a lot of rage and anger by others around you and it terrified the heck out of you, so you never want to say what’s on your mind. You never want to share your emotions because you don’t want to get confronted because you got a fear of confrontation. Do you really think those two ways people address conflict, whether they just fight with everyone, argue with everyone, or people that avoid conflict by all costs is just like a personality trait? No, something happened, potentially adverse childhood experiences growing up. 


Our childhood connects to our present. It’s okay my friends, I’m telling you this. If you experience that stuff it’s not a death sentence. If anything it makes you stronger, it shows you who not to be, what not to be, how to not treat other people, and it kind of encourages you to heal. So you can actually go do more of the good stuff rather than the bad stuff.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.