The sad truth is that some people never truly heal from childhood trauma.
The painful memory of the abuse stays with them long after they enter adulthood. It could be awakened by various triggers that affect their minds and unlock fears they never believed would haunt them ever again.
These little things that remind you of a time when you felt helpless, desperate, alone can come in all shapes and sizes. The sound of a child’s cry, the smell of a burning cigarette, the sight of the place you grew up in – anything could be a trigger depending on your personal experience.
Here are 7 childhood trauma triggers you probably didn’t know could affect you.
1. Stumbling upon someone who looks like the person who abused you.
Looking at a person who resembles your abuser can bring you back to harrowing memories you had locked away long ago. Unfortunately, the setting may not allow you to simply walk away. If you, for example, have a coworker whose looks remind you of your abuser and there is no way you can avoid their presence, consulting a professional might help you cope with the uncomfortable situation.
2. Seeing the object they used to hurt you.
Anything the person responsible for your childhood trauma used to abuse you with can trigger you. It can be an object, like a belt, or something more abstract, like the time when you’re running late for a class or a meeting, reminding you of how strict your abuser was and how they used to make you regret not being punctual.
3. Being involved in a conflict.
If you are a childhood trauma survivor, then you probably strive to avoid conflicts at all costs. Somehow fighting and arguing brings negative energy that reminds you of the horror you have been put through, at a time when you were not able to stand up for yourself. Even witnessing a conflict you are no part of may awaken distressing memories.
4. Certain types of physical touch.
Touch is one of the most powerful triggers, especially for victims of physical abuse. A simple tap on the shoulder that usually means someone is there for you or sympathizes with your situation can bring you a painful flashback of your traumatic past.
5. Sounds reminding you of the abuse.
Hearing certain sounds of pain such as crying, sobbing, screaming, or sounds your abuser used to make, such as tapping their foot, for example, is another thing that could make you feel as if you were reliving the agony of your childhood trauma.
6. Scents that smell like your abuser.
A particular perfume, a lighted cigarette, freshly mowed grass, it could be literally anything. Just like certain sounds, smells that remind you of the person who traumatized you.
Time itself heals. But if you were a victim of an isolated incident that happened during a particular time of the year, it will always remind you of the abuse. For instance, while most people can’t wait for the Christmas season, as they get to spend time with their families in the cozy homes they have been raised in, many dread that time, as it reminds them of a painful childhood memory they cannot overcome.
Triggers are unique to every person. While something may seem insignificant for you, it can be incredibly hurtful for someone else.
Nevertheless, in case you don’t have a strong support system of friends and family, do not hesitate to seek professional help.