You can still remember how your parent yelled at you constantly when you very young.
Every little thing you did seemed to set them off. You tried your best, but of course, you were only a child!
Over time, you learned that you had to walk a very fine line in order to please your parent.
This trauma stuck with you as you became an adult. And now you struggle with chronic anxiety symptoms that you just can’t seem to shake.
You may not have realized that early life trauma could be the source of these issues. However, trauma therapy can help you connect the dots.
What Is Early Life Trauma?
Early life trauma is also called developmental trauma. It consists of experiences you had as a child that greatly affected your personal development.
A trauma could be anything. For example, experiencing a loss in your life—such as the death of a loved one or your parents divorcing—is an example of trauma.
Yet, trauma doesn’t only happen with life-altering events. The daily interactions that you had with adults, especially your parents, can also cause early life trauma—if they were negative.
The problem with these latter type of traumas is that they are not singular events. Rather, they occur on a daily basis throughout your life, often into adulthood. These too can shape how you view life and what you consider to be “normal.”
How Developmental Trauma Influences You in Adulthood
When you’re young, you are like a sponge, absorbing everything that is occurring around you. You are learning how to interact with other people, in particular adults.
What you experience shapes how you perceive the world around you. So, when you have a parent that criticizes you every day on your appearance, for example, you learn from that.
As an adult, then, you may develop chronic anxiety symptoms based on your appearance. In other words, you become afraid that you are being judged every day by others for how you look and dress.
Trying to cope, you may attempt to ensure that every little detail is perfect. But when something falls out of place, it causes you emotional distress. So much so that it can be crippling.
What about Significant Early Life Trauma?
Sure, significant early life trauma, such as witnessing a car accident, will also affect you. You may develop a fear of driving and avoid doing so as much as possible. Or you may prefer to drive only short distances to run errands.
Long-distance driving, however, is out of the question. In fact, whenever you step into a car, you can feel your heart begin to beat faster. Your hands begin to get clammy as you clutch the steering wheel so tight your knuckles turn white.
Yes, significant early life trauma can definitely play a role in developing chronic anxiety symptoms later in life.
How to Treat Chronic Anxiety Symptoms
The best way to treat chronic anxiety symptoms stemming from developmental trauma is by participating in trauma therapy.
Why trauma therapy? Because it allows you the chance to find closure.
The reason why you are experiencing chronic anxiety symptoms now as an adult is that your brain is telling you that there is still danger. And this, despite the fact that you are now an adult and the traumatic events occurred long ago.
Of course, trauma therapy does require you to revisit those painful periods in your life. Yet, it also offers you the chance to find the closure you need so that you can find relief from your anxiety symptoms.
Make no mistake about it, early life trauma can and does influence you as an adult. You may not realize it, but it can be the reason why you have chronic anxiety symptoms now. However, trauma therapy offers the chance to make the connections and get the help you need to resolve your early life trauma.
If you would like to learn more about my approach to trauma therapy, please click HERE.