Many childhood experiences can overload a child with emotions.
If we’ve been subject to traumatic childhood experiences, our entire existence is altered by that. While we think those memories belong to the past, they hunt us throughout adulthood. They can negatively influence our health, income, and mental well-being.
This article focuses on how we unconsciously drag our trauma into adulthood and how this shapes our future. Ultimately, we explore how to use our brains to overcome childhood trauma and live as highly-functioning adults.
Understanding Childhood Trauma
It’s important to note that significant emotional events can affect nearly everyone. Almost every human experiences a certain amount of trauma, be it micro or macro trauma.
Any area of your childhood overcharged with significant emotional events most probably molded your thoughts and, consequently, your behaviors.
That’s why understanding childhood trauma begs for an in-depth analysis. Most times, we’re unaware of how it conditioned us and, as a result, altered our personalities.
Just because we managed to stifle a painful memory doesn’t mean it vanished from our system. To protect us, the brain can hide traumatic memories. But only partially. They can be brought back through flashbacks, dreams, or even triggers we unconsciously surrender to. And this is how harmful memories are activated without us digging into the compartments of our brains to seek them.
As children, we had to adapt to riding the emotional tide of trauma without having the tools to ride it. This forced adaptation may have brought insecurities, guilt, and even shame. As children, we don’t have the filters to determine what’s good or bad and how to process events like these.
We assume adults know better. So we take them for granted. But most of the time, those people are burdened by their traumatic memories and, even as adults, are trying to cope with them. However, like children, most adults aren’t equipped to manage their trauma. They consciously or unconsciously navigate through their own traumatic backgrounds without a clear map to reach a healing destination.
The Positive Side of Experiencing Negative Emotions
All emotions are helpful because they serve as an internal barometer. Suppose we feel uplifted, energized, excited, or inspired. In that case, it’s a sign to take those good emotions up a notch and create congruent actions. When we’re under the spell of these states, our minds focus on the good side. High-quality emotions invite similar emotions in, and it’s easy to achieve positive results when they fuel us.
However, taking action is also crucial if you feel anxious, sad, or irritated. But we’re speaking of a different type of action. Dealing with negative emotions starts with acknowledging them. Where do they come from? How long have they been dwelling inside you? What triggers them?
On the plus side, uncomfortable emotions help us survive. Pay attention to your internal radar, which signals when something is not going according to plan. These emotions keep us awake and alert, ready to access our best resources to deal with danger.
If you avoid uncomfortable emotions, you automatically remove challenges from your agenda. And without challenges, you can’t experience any sustainable success. Long-term success requires a particular skill set. We’re speaking about resilience, bounce-back capacity, and strength to overcome obstacles. Sometimes, overcoming challenges becomes challenging in itself, and there seems to be no way of rising to the occasion. In this case, accepting failure and seeing it as a natural step in our growth will add to our resilience levels.
The easy route is to stay on the safe path forever to ensure we ward off uncomfortable emotions. But this is just an illusion. Emotions are a fundamental part of our existence. Life would be tasteless without them. Without negative feelings, we would never experience growth. The polarizing effect of experiencing both positive and negative emotions is that we can learn to appreciate the good ones. Plus, negative emotions are an invitation to rise above them and demonstrate grit. It helps to remember that all growth is cumulative and, thus, exponential.
Emotional language doesn’t come with a manual of instruction. Perhaps this is why dissecting our emotions becomes an outside concept we want to keep at bay. If we pretend unpleasant feelings aren’t there, we don’t have to deal with them.
Learning to sit with an obnoxious feeling is a sign of courage. It forces you to dissect that feeling and take ownership of it. It also catapults you into the present moment and signals that it’s time to release the burden you’ve been carrying and focus on elevating your life.
Dealing with negative emotions is a way to better understand our behaviors and, ultimately, why we make certain decisions.
Ignored Emotions Determine Our Future Choices
Our lives are a reflection of the choices we make. Some of them were consciously agreed upon. Others, however, developed unconsciously. Our choices, even the unconscious ones, are strictly correlated to our emotions. But it goes further than this. The negative emotions highly influence most choices we dread exploring. Humans are hardwired to move away from pain and closer to pleasure which explains why we avoid taking the routes that can make us feel uncomfortable.
And how do we know which emotions are uncomfortable? They activate an avoidance response in us. And we convince ourselves to go to certain extents to dodge them. It’s a mechanism of protection against reliving unpleasant past feelings. We might also get the illusion that if we ignore them, they don’t exist. But when these traumatic emotions surface, they force us to act irrationally because we don’t know how to deal with them. An emotional avalanche can leave us overwhelmed, confused and irritated. Something inside us needs to be taken care of, but we have no idea where to start. And this is how self-doubt creeps in.
When you ignore what’s happening inside, you send a message to your inner being. It’s approval to neglect parts of you. But you can’t function at your utmost capacity if you agree to turn a blind eye to those splintered pieces. They belong to you and are the ones that need most of your attention. If not, in time, this can lead to low self-esteem and even depression.
Many would rather pretend these feelings don’t exist because people are afraid of not being able to let go. But this comes with a high price: self-criticism. If you acknowledge a feeling but don’t know how to manage it, it’s like waking up a monster and not knowing how to put it to bed. And who will you blame for that? Yourself.
Practicing inner exploration can help us determine our traumatic adaptive behaviors and shed light on our blind spots. When we experience similar situations over and over, we form a pattern. All inbuilt patterns and responses fabricate our personalities.
Stress is important in deciding what stand to take and which mask to wear. If we experience positive stress, we may tap into the dedication and motivation we lack. For example, if we’re at the gym, we know that we can’t make strides if we don’t help our muscles become stronger. Working out induces positive stress, and we use it to our advantage to upgrade our bodies.
The same happens with a deadline. It may push us to perform better because of the pressure we feel. It’s similar to a positive nudge to complete our tasks and move to the next goal.
We’re wired to adapt to stress positively. However, there’s a downside to stress, especially if it’s constant. Suppose we experience a traumatic event and don’t have the tools to deal with it. In that case, we’ll find ourselves under abnormal pressure. At a young age, as we develop a survival response, we will regulate our behaviors according to that stress.
When a traumatic event happens, a disconnection is formed. And if that disconnection remains unrepaired, this will create a hole in a child’s personality while they cope with adapting to the chaos they feel inside. This is how we become people pleasers. People pleasers have developed the conviction that they shouldn’t create a stir around them. They teach themselves to suppress their voices to maintain peace.
If we’re scared of triggering negative reactions in the people surrounding us, we tend to become people pleasers. But deep inside, it depletes us to constantly make sure we’re not stepping on someone’s toes. We inherently do it as a coping mechanism. We want to avoid reliving a disastrous experience at all costs and create a sense of safety.
Conversely, we may find that we form an obsessive need to control everything in our lives. Because our rights have been disrespected in the past, we can develop a massive need to control our surroundings. This starkly contrasts with the feelings of powerlessness we experienced in the past while going through a disturbing situation. A self-protective mechanism to prove to ourselves that we have control over our lives.
An easy way to determine if you’ve developed an adaptive response to a traumatic situation is to find the areas where you always say yes to people. The same goes for identifying the headquarters of the need to control. This way, you start being mindful of the mechanisms you relied on to survive trauma. But, at the same time, it helps you cut the chords with the past and focus on healing because the best thing about our personality is that it can always be changed.
The Frontal Lobe, a Powerful Tool We All Possess
The frontal lobe is one of the most important areas of the brain. It is associated with intelligence. It hosts social skills, emotions, long-term memories, capacities, and judgment. It’s in charge of our abilities to plan, organize, and solve problems and is a fundamental source of emotional management.
There are two frontal lobes. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. It is in charge of language and logical and analytical thinking. On the other hand, the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. It’s responsible for non-verbal abilities, such as creativity and imagination.
The prefrontal cortex is located at the front of the frontal lobe. It modulates our personality development, preserves our values, and keeps our goals alive. It also shapes how we process information and the criteria for making decisions.
However, we’re rarely aware of the power of our brains. And brain waves have a lot to do with that. Brain waves are like electrical voltages that help us enter certain states. Theta waves are fundamental in remembering emotional states and encrypting new memories to give them a new meaning.
When you’re under seven years old, your brain operates at Theta, which is 5 to 7 Hertz per second, but you don’t have access to the front part of your brain. You take everything people say for granted and unconsciously install limiting beliefs such as unworthiness.
Our lack of filters to assess what’s right or wrong makes us vulnerable to others’ opinions. We store beliefs almost on automatic pilot and get all sorts of patterns locked in. This happens before our frontal lobe fully develops in order to protect us.
Things get different at 8-9 years old. The frontal lobe is more developed at that age. You now have access to that area of your brain. Because it’s in charge of how we manage our emotions, we may respond differently to that criticism. We won’t be subject to absorbing everything we hear.
The good news is that the brain and the body are records of the past. Which means they can be reprogrammed.
It’s Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood
Hypnotherapy is instrumental in letting go and overcoming childhood trauma. While we’re no longer children, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. Hypnotherapy helps reprogram unconscious, limiting patterns and beliefs because of how they are installed and stored in the subconscious mind.
When we tackle the part of the brain that operates at 4-7 Hertz, we can go inside that area and reprogram it. This way, you harness the power of Theta waves in a way that allows healing and enables you to live a more fulfilled life, regardless of past events.
Click here for a special gift from New Mindset Hypnotherapy. Let go of past limitations and learn to recognize the brilliance of your future so you can start reprogramming your brain today!
If you wish to take ownership of the potential you’ve always had – The Elite Mentorship Forum might be the next right move for you. During the program, you will learn ways to manage your brain that will clear the clouds of self-doubt and help you create unparalleled achievement and abundance.
How would you help a loved one overcome childhood trauma?