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Unpacking Repressed Childhood Trauma: Identifying Signs in Adults

Posted by Kelsey Juntwait on

Traumatic experiences from our childhood can affect us in unexpected ways as adults. But with the right help, we can start to identify and understand repressed childhood trauma and begin the healing process. 

Introduction To Repressed Childhood Trauma

Repressed childhood trauma is typically defined as emotional or physical trauma that occurred during childhood that has been repressed from conscious memory. 

It could be a traumatic event, such as physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or even a natural disaster; it could also be the result of difficult family dynamics or a stressful home environment.

Whatever the cause, signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults can range from physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches to emotional symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed or hopeless.

In some cases, repressed trauma can also manifest itself in behaviors, like increased drug or alcohol use, social isolation, and difficulty maintaining relationships.

It's important to remember that repressed childhood trauma can remain dormant for years before surfacing, and that unresolved trauma can carry serious and life-altering consequences. Which is why it's essential to acknowledge the potential impact of repressed childhood trauma has on underlying mental health issues and behavioral problems to ensure long-term well-being.

Causes Of Repressed Childhood Trauma

Repressed childhood trauma can be caused by a variety of experiences. Some of these causes include:

  • Physical or emotional/verbal abuse or neglect
  • Bullying
  • Witnessing a traumatic event
  • Living in a chaotic or unpredictable environment 
  • Sexual abuse
  • Parents who are addicts
  • Being a victim of domestic abuse
  • Having a family member with a mental illness
  • Divorce or seperation
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Having a family member in prison
  • Unstable household

It's important to recognize that even seemingly minor events, like excessive criticism or ridicule from parents, can absolutely cause repressed trauma if they happen often enough and with enough intensity over time. 

Signs Of Repressed Childhood Trauma in Adults

Repressed childhood trauma can manifest itself in many different ways in adulthood, including physical, emotional, and even behavioral signs. And for some, that trauma may be SO deep-rooted that they don't even consciously realize it's there until later in life. Additionally, repressing childhood trauma, and the symptoms that come along with it, can lead to a range of physical and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Which it's why recognizing the signs and symptoms is so important.

Common signs of repressed childhood trauma to look out for include:

  • Unexplained sadness, anger or anxiety
  • Feeling disconnected from others
  • Difficulty regulating emotions.
  • Avoidance of certain activities or people
  • Memory loss
  • Low self-esteem
  • Physical aches and pains with no medical cause
  • Difficulty forming trusting relationships
  • Feelings of insecurity or low self-worth
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Anger issues
  • Self harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Avoidance of interpersonal relationships
  • Poor self-esteem
  • An inability to cope with stress or difficult situations
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues

It may be challenging to recognize some of these signs in yourself, especially if your childhood trauma has been repressed for a long time. But it IS important for adults to be aware of them so they can seek out a solution when needed.

It's also important to remember that not all signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults manifest in the same way — while some might have more extreme responses like self harm and substance abuse, others can have simple behavioral changes like feeling insecure or having difficult with trust. So it's not critical to check out EVERY one of those signs for you to recognize you have repressed childhood trauma. 

Harnessing the Power of Somatic Exercises to Heal
Repressed Childhood Trauma

Treating repressed childhood trauma is a complex process that needs to take into consideration both the physical and psychological effects of the trauma.

And that can be done through a somatic exercise program.

Treating adults who have repressed childhood trauma with somatic exercises is an effective way to help them experience long-term healing. By engaging in somatic exercises, adults can gain a deeper understanding of their body and how it responds to their emotions. These exercises can be used to help adults recognize their body's sensations, allowing them to become more aware of their feelings and experiences. Through this awareness, adults can begin to process their repressed childhood trauma and begin to actually heal from it. Additionally, somatic exercises can help adults to develop healthier coping skills and build resilience. By engaging in these exercises, adults can learn to better manage their trauma, allowing for improved mental health and overall wellbeing.

Through the pathway of somatic healing, the body’s natural healing mechanisms can be activated so it can address both physical and psychological signs and effects of repressed childhood trauma.

While traditional therapy is still the widely accepted form of treating repressed childhood trauma in adults, somatic exercises is a widely beneficial alternative that not only heals you from having repressed childhood trauma, but also releases the stores of it that's found throughout your physical body.

Start a somatic healing program today to heal from trauma and get back to living a life that feels GOOD.