Unresolved Childhood Trauma

HAS A TROUBLED CHILDHOOD LEFT YOU FEELING ASHAMED?

As an adult do you find yourself hiding certain things about you, in fear of judgment from others; due to the stigmatization it may entail? It is not uncommon, for Individuals who have experienced complicated childhoods to fear both intimacy and being alone. Especially, when the trauma from your past is continuously triggering your future. Oftentimes, you may find yourself shutting down emotionally, and acting passive aggressive; due to fear of abandonment. People with fear of abandonment struggle with emotion regulation and are not comfortable with revealing and communicating their needs or feelings. They struggle with trust issues and may find it hard to be vulnerable with their partner or others close to them.

Unresolved Childhood Trauma

Unresolved childhood trauma is one of the most common issues that people deal with in counseling, and it can come up during therapy sessions in many different ways. What exactly unresolved childhood trauma is, though, and how you can identify it in yourself or a loved one, depends on the unique details of each person’s situation and the way they experience it. Generally speaking, unresolved childhood trauma refers to mental, emotional, or physical abuse that happened to someone at an age when they were too young to understand what was happening or were otherwise unable to process it rationally.

Unresolved Childhood Trauma Symptoms

Symptoms of unresolved childhood trauma can vary greatly, depending on which type of abuse you experienced. For example, if you were physically abused as a child, you may have symptoms such as muscle tension or pain, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, or an inability to relax. If you suffered sexual abuse as a child, you may experience depression and anxiety disorders later in life. And if you witnessed domestic violence as a child, you might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological problems. The signs and symptoms of unresolved childhood trauma can also be different for men than they are for women; while some effects of abuse are gender-neutral, others are more common among one sex than another. These differences are especially pronounced when it comes to sexual abuse—for instance, men who were sexually abused as children tend to display anger and aggression later in life, while women who were sexually abused tend to display shame and self-blame. Because these behaviors manifest differently between sexes, it’s important that counselors understand how childhood trauma affects both genders.

Dealing with negative emotions from unresolved trauma

How to deal with negative emotions from unresolved childhood trauma . One of the most common challenges that people face when they seek counseling for childhood trauma is dealing with anger and other negative emotions. These feelings are a natural response to not having our needs met as children, but they can be overwhelming and difficult to handle in adulthood. While it’s important to acknowledge your feelings, it’s also critical that you learn how to process them effectively so that you can move forward in your life. Here are some tips on how to deal with negative emotions from unresolved childhood trauma.


The first step in learning how to deal with these strong emotions is acknowledging their presence and allowing yourself to feel them fully. Many people who have experienced traumatic events will avoid feeling their pain because they believe that doing so will only make things worse or prolong their suffering. However, avoiding your feelings only leads to more intense emotional distress down the road. By allowing yourself to experience your negative emotions without judgment, you can begin to process them in a healthy way. It’s also important not to blame yourself for having these feelings; even though you might think you should be able to handle everything on your own, it’s perfectly normal for someone dealing with unresolved childhood trauma to feel angry or sad at times. Learning how to deal with these negative strong feelings may require help from a professional counselor who is experienced and skilled in working with clients who experience childhood trauma.

How Counseling Can Help Treat Unresolved Childhood Trauma

Counseling can help treat unresolved childhood trauma by providing a safe space for you to process your emotions and heal from past events. Trauma can take many forms, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; neglect; loss of a loved one; or natural disasters. It’s important to understand that everyone experiences trauma differently—what may be traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another. For example, some people may experience only minor symptoms after experiencing a tragic event like 9/11 while others will suffer from severe depression and anxiety. The key factor in determining whether you have experienced trauma is not how much it affected you at first but rather how much it continues to affect you now. If an event has negatively impacted your life in any way, then it counts as trauma and should be addressed with professional help.

Picture of a teddy bear with a Band-Aid on his head; tuck in bed.

My "therapy den" is a safe place where you can work toward healing unresolved childhood trauma without fear of judgement. No journey is too big or small.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of unresolved childhood trauma

Emotional Symptoms: anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, shame or guilt; an innate feeling that they are bad, worthless, or without importance, Suffering from feelings of detachment, or feeling "dead inside", frequent mood swings, poor self-esteem, irritability and anger issues. Unexplained or irrational fears of people, places, or things, Not being able to tolerate conflicts as they once would have.


Behavioral Symptoms: risk-taking behaviors (including sexual promiscuity), aggression and violence, addictions (to drugs or alcohol), excessive eating or sleeping, self-harm.


Physical Symptoms: frequent headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension or pain, digestive problems, chronic pain. Anxiety and or Panic Attacks, Flashbacks, nightmares, and body memories regarding the traumatic event,


Cognitive Symptoms: Suffering from chronic or ongoing depression, difficulty concentrating and paying attention, poor memory, Hypervigilance (a constant feeling of being on guard), Dissociation as a real disconnect in situations and conversations.


Therapy approaches used for unresolved childhood trauma

Counseling can help treat unresolved childhood trauma by addressing underlying causes of your symptoms. Here are the common therapeutic approaches used:


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps you identify and change negative thought patterns that may be contributing to your symptoms. CBT also teaches you coping skills to manage stress and deal with problems more effectively.


Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): This approach combines cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness techniques to help you better manage overwhelming emotions and cope with difficult situations. Trauma-focused therapy: If you experienced a traumatic event, such as sexual abuse or combat, then trauma-focused therapy can help you process these events in a safe environment. It’s important to note that some people who have experienced trauma don’t need formal treatment. However, if you still struggle with unresolved trauma years after an event occurred, professional help can be invaluable.


EMDR Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): is a type of therapy that uses eye movements or other forms of stimulation to help you process traumatic events. It’s an effective treatment for PTSD, but it can also be used to treat other types of trauma. How do I know if I need counseling? If you are experiencing symptoms of trauma—such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, anger issues, nightmares, flashbacks—then professional help may be right for you.

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Jennifer L. Hillier M.A. LPC & CCTP

8620 N. New Braunfels Ave Suite #538

San Antonio, Texas 78217

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