Childhood is supposed to be a time filled with joy and wonder, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sadly, some of us endure traumatic situations during our childhood that ends up affecting us well into adulthood.

While trauma can mean different things to different people, childhood trauma is most often abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. Since children are in their formative and developmental years, when we experience neglect early on, it changes our brains and how we cope with the world. Being abused at an early age can make it hard to find our place in the world. And unfortunately, many victims of trauma do not even realize how their trauma is affecting them.

As adults who have experienced trauma, we will interact with the world and with people in a different way than those who have not experienced trauma. Here are 9 behaviors of adults who experienced trauma at a young age.

1. Addiction.

According to various studies, trauma early in life can cause addiction later. There are many reasons for this, but the most likely of all is that the victim is trying to self-medicate or find self-worth through their drug of choice.

2. Trust issues.

Being abused early on, especially when it involves caregivers, can make it hard to trust. Because our minds develop our connection to social interaction during our formative years, when we are harmed or abused, it can cause us to believe that people and the world are not to be trusted.

3. Unstable interpersonal relationships.

Most people who have been abused deal with issues of self-worth. Deep down, a trauma survivors may believe they are worthless or undeserving of love. In relationships, the person who was traumatized may cling in one moment and then push their partner away in the next.

4. Paranoia.

After finding out that horrific things happen early on, it can be hard to predict what could happen next. Because of this, many trauma survivors, especially those that experience it early on are distrustful and paranoid of others.

6. Unstable emotions.

We also learn how to process and handle our emotions early in life. When this learning becomes disrupted by something catastrophic, our emotions can end up all over the place.

7. Fear of abandonment.

Neglect and abuse oftentimes cause the victim to have a deep-seated fear of abandonment. Because they were hurt or neglected so early, they know what it’s like to be left behind. This can cause them to even perceive abandonment when it’s not present, which can cause issues in relationships as well.

8. Self-sabotage.

Self-sabotage is what happens when something good is happening, and we do something to sabotage it. For example, someone who has been traumatized may get a really good job and then stop showing up, because they feel like something bad is going to happen anyways to ruin the opportunity, so they might as well go ahead and get it over with. This can be one of the worst effects.

9. Chronic illness.

A 2014 study carried out by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine discovered that having a history of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is linked to higher rates of a cancer diagnosis. In a review of 155 similar studies, scientists concluded this was likely because of lifestyle choices made by people who had experienced more ACEs.

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