While it might sound a bit overly obvious a lot of people don’t stop to realize the damage that childhood trauma does on us well into adulthood. We might seem normal but our brains are wired differently.
The things we go through as children can and do alter the way our brain develops and in turn changes its physical structure. The way we think, behave, and even feel can be altered by the way in which we grow up. If you went through some kind of intense trauma as a child, you are most likely someone who relies heavily on your fight or flight response. Children who spend a lot of time terrified or afraid as kids end up forcing their own minds to remain in this way of thinking as they grow older.
I recently came across an interview that Side Effects/WFYI did with Psychiatrist Bessel ban der Kolk who wrote the book ‘The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,’ and it really got my gears turning in regards. In this interview, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk says that psychological structure changes the connections and activations within our brains thus working to shape it. This highlighting how if we as children go through traumatic events we can become more intensely alert to them as adults because of the way we work to avoid those events as a whole or how we react to them.
“Yes, because of developmental issues. If you’re an adult and life’s been good to you, and then something bad happens, that sort of injures a little piece of the whole structure. But toxic stress in childhood from abandonment or chronic violence has pervasive effects on the capacity to pay attention, to learn, to see where other people are coming from, and it really creates havoc with the whole social environment.”
In regards to overcoming this kind of thing and bettering yourself as an adult who was traumatized as a child, you can practice mindfulness, work through yoga, and even try to go through something called neurofeedback according to David Hosier from Childhood Trauma Recovery. He wrote not too long ago that there are several effective treatments out there for those who want to give them a try.
Neurofeedback is biofeedback for the brain and neuro-counsellors can provide their patients with such feedback simply by using special, computer software.
The neurofeedback the patients receive allows them to become aware of their brain function frequencies and how these relate to different emotional states.
What do you think about all of this? Does it help you to better understand children and how things affect them? Were you affected in some way by the things you went through as a child?