LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD ABUSE AND TRAUMA
For a number of years there had never been any mention of child abuse causing long-term damage to a person once they had been removed from the abuse or the abuse had ceased. While there has always been speculation about it, it had never been extensively investigated.
Of my own experiences as a survivor of child abuse it never occurred to me as an adult that my early traumas were the underlying cause of the significant distorted view I had of myself, and the world around me as I grew up. Full forward a decade or two and we can now find numerous researches on the many correlations between early childhood abuse and the mental, emotional and physical health problems that are evident in adult survivors today.
While much has been researched and written about the long term affects of child abuse I would like to offer my findings from a survivor's perspective. The list below is a brief insight into the long-term damage of my childhood abuse and how it had impacted on my life years after the abuse had ceased. I would like to also add that I have long since been treated for my illnesses and live a very happy life today pursuing the things I love. If I had not sought help however, it could have been a very different outcome. As a survivor I know how important it was for me to receive help and so with this in mind I strongly encourage anyone who is suffering today as an adult from childhood abuse and trauma to find your bravery and seek support.
Long term damage: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually
When we are little children we have no control over our lives, it is in the hands of our parents, our extended family and other adults to give us love, guidance, encouragement, nurturing and all the necessary tools and skills to help us grow into confident happy adults. When we are abused however, and neglected and psychologically traumatised we don't stand a chance. As we become adults we can find ourselves confused, tormented, misplaced, we may dislike ourselves, we have little to no confidence, we fear every thing, and have a confused view of the world in terms of trust.
The good news is that there is one thing we do have as an adult that we did not have as a young child - control. As an adult we now have a choice to seek help, and learn skills and find tools that will help us move forward. Is it fair of what happened to us absolutely not, did we deserve it, absolutely not, can we change things, absolutely!
The memories of our childhood cannot be erased, what happened to us is part of us, its what makes us who we are. We can learn however, to integrate that part of us in a way that can be productive and positive, we have a choice to turn things around and create a beautiful life. I share this statement with deepest sincerity. I survived, I found healing, I learned many things that I have used to help me find myself and live a happy life. I have also gained a lot of insight into how to cope with triggers because they do occur from time to time. It hasn't been easy but my persistence, my stubbornness, my drive and my desire to live the second part of my life to the fullest is more appealing to me than letting my past take my future and swallow it up. I wish the same happiness for you also.
If you or someone you know is experiencing trauma from childhood abuse and it is affecting your life and those around you, help is available. If your past trauma is in anyway interfering with your life today then I urge you to make a choice to let go of the chain that keeps you bound to your past.
"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed, it means the damage no longer controls your life."