A child who witnesses or experiences emotional or physical abuse, or struggles through neglect, will often show signs of trauma as an adult. Dealing with any type of abuse means we will be affected, whether we realise we are or not. Emotional trauma escapes no-one.
Children will begin to evaluate what everything means out of the events they witness and in doing so, we create an internal map of how our world looks to us. If a child has the love and support they’re supposed to have, their internal map will look and feel normal, but sadly not all children get that.
For any child, it’s important they begin to change their internal map as they grow, so that by the time they become an adult, they have created a new internal map. The old ways of interpreting the world if it’s not recorded properly, will inevitably damage the way children emotionally function as adults and speaking from experience, it’s not easily changed.
Sadly, because of abuse, damaged children will create a version of themselves that they think their parents or family will love and accept. They in effect become the person their family wants them to be. That way, they don’t have to think about or change anything and their family get what they want. Those children will continue to bury how they feel, just so that their needs will be met.
In those circumstances, instead of thinking about their own needs or what their needs are, children will continue to concentrate on other people’s needs, aiming to please and just so that they will be accepted. Because they will fail to acknowledge or connect emotionally, it’s not something they will consciously recognise.
When anyone continues to bury their emotions, they begin to lose touch with reality, of who they are. I believe though, that no matter the age, it’s important we challenge ourselves so that if we’re not connecting with our feelings, we begin to connect, in a way that makes us feel normal, whole and safe, particularly around abuse.