How Does Trauma as a Child Impact Future Relationships?

When trauma happens, it comes in many forms that impact health and mental well-being. Trauma-related symptoms can include panic attacks, triggers, or feelings of anger or numbness. With any type of trauma, it can have an impact on a person’s future relationships and health. Learn more about how trauma from the past infiltrates the present and sometimes creates a perfect storm of challenges for people, including addiction.

Triggers for Trauma

The brain is wired for connection to the environment. When unprocessed trauma or PTSD symptoms arise as a result of life experience, or ongoing stress, this can trigger fight or flight feelings later in life. Because ancestors were in tribes and relied on this feeling to deal with hunting and gathering for food, it was necessary for survival. Now, this is not necessary and it is more likely people will respond to relationship conflict or rejection with primitive survival mechanisms. When the brain thinks something is a conflict, it may trigger the amygdala to feel like it is losing control and start to shut down.

Fight or Flight

When trauma occurs as a child, the future feels a bit like running away from the pain or trying to negotiate away from it. Unprocessed trauma or ongoing serious chronic stress can cause the brain to stay in fight or flight mode. It may be conflict in the home, addiction, drinking, or other behaviors, but the brain will give this response priority and generate fighting, fleeing, or freezing when the amygdala signals a relational emergency. Fighting can result in attacking others or controlling them. Flight can result in avoiding problems, panicking, or acting impulsively to avoid emotional situations. When a person freezes, they may feel helpless, avoid action, shut down, or disconnect from their partner. Shame-based responses may grow and make a person want to hide or feel rage toward people they perceive as having shamed or rejected them. Shame makes a person hide parts of themselves from partners and put up a wall or barrier. Shame makes it hard to self-identify with what that person needs os they may numb out with drugs, alcohol, play video games or shop excessively to make up for it. Future relationships are contingent on a person navigating them effectively, even if it is not perfect. The difficulty lies in the fact that trauma disrupts a person’s ability to deal with relationships, handle romantic partnerships well, or even be able to have friendships. Mental, physical, and spiritual health may be a challenge for someone in recovery from a traumatic experience or set of experiences. There is help in the form of psychological counseling, detox from drugs, and help to get around addictive behaviors. It is possible to help a loved one feel better while dealing with past trauma and learn how to cope effectively in the future in recovery.

The Last Resort helps people find their calling and purpose in life beyond addiction, trauma, and pain. There is hope for healing and finding a way to put aside negative experiences to cope effectively. Rehab is waiting for you to come and learn how to live better in recovery. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.