I posting about this topic because I just talked to a teacher who said she things children in her class were being abused in someway. And wanted to know the signs. This broke my heart. All teachers and principals should have to take a class on recognizing abuse.
Abuse related trauma can develop after a person has been hurt, neglected in childhood. These people may have been:
- Sexually or physically abused
- Emotionally abused or neglected.
As a result these people may have overwhelming feeling of distress, fear and helplessness.
Traumatic childhood events can change the the a person brain and body work. Trauma can affect the person’s emotions, memory, thinking and sense of self. Trauma can affect relationships.
People most often develop the effects of trauma if, as children, they felt helpless and trapped by the abuse. Often the abuser is a family member or a friend.
One in five people have been sexually abused in their childhood. One in two has experienced attempted sexual abuse. Sexual abuse affect people from all backgrounds.
How Do The Effects Of Trauma Develop?
Trauma is a normal response to being abused. Many children survive abuse by developing ways of coping that last Into adulthood.
As a child the symptoms are:
- Infants excessive crying or developmental delay
- Fear, anxiety, clinging
- Nightmares, sleeping problems
- Bed wetting
- Social withdrawal
- Poor concentration
- Detracted easily
Children who are abused may not be able to understand that what is happening to them is wrong. Yet their bodies still hold the memories of abuse.
Many people who have been abused are easily triggered by things that remind them of their abuse. Their bodies may feel as if they are reliving the trauma and they may have flashbacks ( sudden vivid and unpleasant memories of the event.
Women cope with painful feelings in different ways. For example they may develop a eating disorder, misuse alcohol or other drugs, or even harm themselves. These behaviors may help women cope for a while. But they often make them feel more isolated and depressed, and can increase anxiety and sleeping problems
I used to go for days without sleeping so I wouldn’t have flashbacks backs in my sleep or have nightmares that my mother was standing by my bed ready to choke me.
Trauma effects can make a women feel out of control, or like she’s going crazy. She may fee, either emotionally numb or suddenly alert and panicky. Women may not realize that they are reacting to things that remind her of her abuse. Many people don’t know that abuse can affect their lives for many years and do not connect the common effects of trauma to experiences of the childhood abuse.
Many people in society judge people who have mental illness or child abuse stories. It is devastating to the person that has been abused to live in a world the has stigma towards them because their living out their childhood traumas. I often use the quote “Don’t Judge Me If You Don’t Know My Story.”
Recognizing Abuse Related Trauma
The effects of trauma caused by abused and other common effects of trauma include:
- Trouble Sleeping
- Having panic attacks and anxiety
- Drinking or taking other drugs
- Binge eating, throwing up or starving
- Feeling like you don’t can’t go on with your life
- Repeated experiences of sexual or physical violence
- The feeling of self-hate and low self esteem
- Fearing people and relationships
Sometimes when a woman seeks help, the care provider may not link her reactions with abuse-related trauma. Women can e wrongly diagnosed and given unhelpful treatments, including some types of medicines. Often, the care provider sees the effects of the trauma as substance use, depression, or even mood disorders as the problem, rather than as a result of childhood trauma.
Many situations can make a woman’s child worse.
A woman may try to talk to friends and family members about the abuse. If a woman is told to just forget it and get on with their life. She can feel isolated and silenced.
Children can feel the same way. When I was in 1st grade. I tried to talk to a teacher about my abuse. My teacher spoke to my mother, who said I just had an active imagination. The teacher left it at that. She stopped trying to help me in class and always put me in the very back of the classroom.
If a woman is in a relationship with someone who is emotionally, sexual, or physically abusive. It worsens the effects of the original trauma. It doesn’t allow woman the safety she needs for healing.
When I was suffering with from the effects my childhood trauma. A doctor diagnosed me with bi-polar disorder. That diagnosed label followed me most of my life. Causing my husband to emotionally abuse me which in turn made me have more trauma.
Like a vicious circle it can go on and on. Causing stress, for the woman who is already traumatized.
Blame And Shame
Without support and understanding, women may continue to feel guilty and ashamed. This can make them become isolated, depressed or harm themselves. Feelings of guilt and shame occur when the person is:
- Blamed for the abuse
- Were pressured to keep the abuse a secret
- Wrongly believed that she wanted the abuse
- Told others about her abuse and was not believed.
Strength And Healing
If you have experienced childhood abuse, it can be overwhelming and upsetting to learn how it effected your life. Remind yourself that you are a survivor. No matter how hard your life has been, you have found the strength to go on.
It is also important to respect the way of coping that has allowed you to protect yourself, and to survive emotionally and physically. This same strength can be used in your work toward healing from the abuse. Healing starts with learning to identify and understand what has happened to you, and how it affects your life today. That way you can find the kind of help you need to recover.
You can recover and begin to heal when you understand why your life turned out the way it did.
Never ever abuse a child in anyway. You could ruin them and their entire life.