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Developmental trauma: 6 signs we need to be aware of

Developmental trauma: 6 signs we need to be aware of

Do you know what development trauma is? It’s so common among children that doctors coined this term to explain it. Do you know what development trauma is? For many years, mental health professionals have focused primarily on the shock of extreme events. For example, situations such as wars, car accidents, or harassment. But they largely overlook the second type of trauma, which is no less insidious, pervasive, or real. The term we may use is developmental trauma or complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Developmental trauma.

Developmental trauma is therefore the result of seemingly invisible experiences of childhood abuse. In this case, the mistreatment or mistreatment was repeated many times. These cumulative experiences include verbal abuse, neglect, or manipulation by the parent beyond the control of the child. There is also no hope of escape. How is it possible that in a secure society such as America, our children come out of childhood in a state similar to those who survived the war?

Psychological problems to childhood traumas

These repeated experiences often traumatize the child. The child is suffering, brought up in a toxic environment of parental inconsistency and emotional abandonment. The youngest also suffer from danger or unpredictability and “invisible trauma”. As a result, these behaviors cause psychological and neurological disorders. While it is fairly easy to recognize when physical or sexual violence is present, it is extremely devastating when it happens in the home.

Having parents hurting us can easily escape our consciousness. The innocent children suffer from difficulties in recognizing the emotional damage caused by alienation or emotional abandonment. Most importantly, children with these types of wounds are often bewildered and confused by the pain.

So, despite the hidden nature of this situation, there is a growing body of research linking many psychological problems to childhood traumas. These can be, for example, chronic emotional trauma. That’s why it is important for parents and mental health professionals to become familiar with the symptoms of developmental trauma if there is any chance for injured children to live a normal life.

What exactly is developmental trauma?

Unfortunately, these types of situations often take place at home. Developmental trauma is a term used in the literature to describe childhood trauma such as chronic abuse or neglect. Plus other horrible practices that happened in their own homes. When a child is exposed to overwhelming stress and their caregiver fails to help them or, worse, causes them stress, they become traumatized. In other words, the child experiences developmental trauma or is a victim of harmful behavior.

Most doctors are familiar with the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, the vast majority of children with trauma will not develop PTSD. Instead, they are prone to emotional, cognitive, and physical illnesses that last a lifetime. These are chronic family traumas, such as having a parent with a mental illness or abusing certain substances. For example:

  • Losing a parent due to divorce, abandonment, or imprisonment.
  • Witnessing domestic violence.
  • Not feeling loved or in a close relationship with the family.
  • Not enough food or clean clothes.
  • Direct verbal, physical or sexual abuse.

Psychologists have intensively studied the effects of childhood trauma on older patients. The obtained evidence comes from a database of over 15,000 adults. This is the famous study we know as the Child Adverse Events Study.

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Warning signs of developmental trauma

A deep-seated shame

First, the child may somehow consistently claim to be “flawed”. For example, he may think that he is stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, or otherwise lacking. They can say things to themselves like, “I’m a bad kid.” Signs of toxic self-hatred are a precursor to suicidal thoughts.

Helplessness and the feeling of losing the ground under my feet

First, developmentally traumatized children feel that they lack some kind of solid foundation. The lack of this “ground” contributes to the feeling of helplessness as well as feeling bad in your body. This can make children vulnerable to being overwhelmed.

Feeling hopeless and despairing over life

Children with chronic emotional trauma develop a sense of hopelessness. They believe that no one will ever understand them. This despair leads to the question of whether there is any meaning in life. Faith in people and the possibility of continuing such a meaningless existence disappear, which makes the child feel depressed.

Excessive vigilance and inexplicable fear

Traumatized people have an active amygdala. They experience it as a constant state of arousal. This strengthens the fear of lurking dangers. A child after developmental trauma cannot relax and is nervous. He may also have trouble falling asleep.

Problems with regulating emotions

In other words, your child may be persistently sad or depressed and have unpredictable mood swings. They experience outbursts of anger, and certain situations can evoke extreme emotions in them. Thus, they show an inability to control emotional reactions.

Feeling isolated and disconnected

Since developmental trauma has its roots in attachment trauma, a child never forms a strong parental bond. Children grow up feeling unwelcome in the world. This causes chronic difficulties in building relationships with others. They have both an intense need for contact and a fear of it.

In short, developmental trauma is a silent killer. We need to recognize the symptoms of our children in order to give them the help they need while there is still time to heal their deep wounds.

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