7 Steps to Healing Childhood Trauma as an Adult
Have you suffered from childhood and are still trying to move on now as an adult, but healing from childhood trauma is proving to be more difficult than you thought? Overcoming a traumatic childhood is difficult and extremely painful, even when you are an adult.
A childhood can severely affect a person’s psyche and also greatly affect their adult life. Contrary to what most people believe, moving on from childhood is easier said than done.
A bad and rough start in life can not only create lasting changes in your psyche but also affect your mental and even physical health forever.
This is something I’ve personally gone through. I grew up in a home where my father was almost constantly absent and even when he was with us he never spoke to us due to his ingrained PTSD. In addition, my mother was manic-depressive.
Because of this, my two brothers and I never had a normal childhood. But in a way I was luckier than most; at least my parents were somewhat affectionate, albeit flawed and complicated.
Unfortunately, childhood trauma is much more common than you think. But when it comes to issues like this, you must try not to let them rule your life.
While it may seem almost impossible when you think about healing childhood trauma and using it for a better and brighter future, there are certain things you can do to help you achieve that goal.
So how do you heal childhood trauma? Read on to learn more about it!
7 steps to healing childhood trauma as an adult
1. Redesign your story.
Looking back on an unhappy childhood puts you in the position of a helpless victim. This can make you feel unloved and unwanted. This mindset and feeling can lead you into a constant cycle of psychological and mental.
Instead of feeling powerless and incapable, think about all the times you pulled yourself out of countless painful situations as a child and grew into the strong person you are today.
The moment you start thinking this way, you stop feeling like a victim, you take control of your power, and overcoming childhood trauma becomes a little easier.
2. Let go of self-blame and shame.
Shame is one of the most toxic feelings you can experience related to a traumatic childhood. And traumatic childhood experiences are probably some of the most difficult to move on from. Sometimes it’s a permanent thing you live with and other times it hits you out of the blue and touches you as a person.
This makes you doubt your self-esteem with every step you take. Bloomfield calls it a “cancer of the mind” because it makes you feel like you don’t deserve joy or love.
If you’re trying to let go of your self-shame, don’t make it a point of blame. Accept your parents’ mistakes. Guilt can poison your mind and make you angry, just as shame destroys and poisons your soul and spirit.
When you allow guilt to take over, you give yourself a free pass because the mistakes you make can be blamed on someone else. Always remember that you are the master of your destiny and that it is entirely up to you how your life develops!
3. Don’t let regret control you.
One of the downsides of letting go of self-blame and self-shame is that you allow regret to take over your mind, body, and spirit. Regret pulls us into a cycle of “if only” and “what if” and when you start giving in to regret, it can destroy you mentally.
Focus on all the lessons you’ve learned from your experiences and let them show you how far you’ve come. Use your negative and painful experiences to make yourself a better, stronger, and more resilient person, and ultimately work to heal the childhood trauma.
Once you start doing it, regret will stop being negative, and over time it will even stop existing.
4. Never lock your feelings in bottles.
Many of the negative things we think and feel are the result of deep wounds we kept from childhood. Now that you’re older, it’s time to address those feelings. Whether you do this by talking to a professional therapist, telling your friends, writing in a journal, or indulging in your favorite hobby.
On days when the burden of the past weighs heavily on your shoulders, try screaming as loudly as possible into a wide space or your room. As you do this, visualize the pain and allow yourself to feel it before you push it out of your heart and mind.
Katherine Mayfield, an award-winning psychiatrist and author, believes that any emotional release does her good and helps her move beyond her emotional childhood.
She says, “The more you can let go of your pent-up feelings, the more of the past you’ll release. Go to a sad movie and cry in buckets, or hit a bed with a plastic bat – whatever works for you. Letting go of feelings releases energy that you can then use to create a more authentic life.’
5. Respecting yourself is a must.
When you’re trying to heal a childhood trauma, never tell yourself you’re not worthy of respect. The worst thing about any kind of trauma is that it makes you feel like you’re not good enough or don’t deserve respect.
Don’t fall into the trap of accepting that you’re worth treating badly. If you’re having a hard time breaking free from such self-critical thoughts, take a moment to consider other people who have been through trauma like you. Then ask yourself if you think they deserve respect.
The answer will no doubt be yes, so don’t see yourself as unworthy.
6. Honor important relationships.
It might sound cliche or cheesy, but when it comes to overcoming childhood trauma, joy and love are the two best drugs. The more you give love, the more you get it back.
If you experienced hard times in your youth, it can be difficult to see the truth in the lesson. Despite all the pain and suffering your parents put you through as a child, you still want their love, support, and approval. This can make accepting and loving relationships difficult and healing adult childhood trauma very challenging.
Nurturing the close relationships in your life helps you feel a sense of belonging and to know that no matter what, you are not alone. So spend quality time with your friends and family, and treat your children with all the love you hoped you would have as a child.
7. Be your coach and cheerleader.
One of the best lessons you can learn from your childhood trauma is how strong you can be all by yourself. No matter how bad things were, you made it through the other side and now have all the potential in the world to thrive personally, professionally, and spiritually.
So the next time you feel negative feelings like anger, self-loathing, regret, and shame coming up, remind yourself how strong you are. When you feel lonely and unsupported, tell yourself that you are responsible for all your positive qualities.
The best way to love yourself is to write down the five best qualities you admire in yourself and three of your greatest accomplishments. This will remind you that you are more than your childhood trauma and that there is a lot about you to admire.
Recovering from traumatic childhood experiences takes a lot of emotional and mental strength. By accepting and dealing with the feelings, you take a step towards personal acceptance and promote your ability to empathize with other suffering situations.
So don’t cling to your painful past, instead focus on the bright future that lies ahead.