Dealing with childhood trauma: How to help your inner child heal from the emotional scars
Living with childhood trauma inevitably takes a toll on your mental health.
A troubled childhood can not only damage you emotionally but also prevent you from developing a healthy self.
Naturally, when we suffer negative experiences, our minds mobilize in order to help us cope. To do so, they use our inner strength reserve. Unfortunately, this reserve is not unlimited. Eventually, it empties out, causing us to feel hopelessness and despair.
Sadly, we can rarely tell whether someone is carrying a grievous memory within. Many sufferers choose to hide their pain, making it completely invisible to others. Oftentimes they even try to hide it from themselves. They carry a burden they choose to ignore, while the inner child inside their souls is dealing with the consequences.
Usually, such people fall into a vicious cycle of constantly dealing with negative thoughts. They feel as if they were trapped inside their own minds. Eventually, many of them become unable to bring anything to an end, as they fear they might fail and be condemned for their incompetence.
The fear of failure and criticism often originates from being raised by overly demanding parents, and it could last long after you become a self-sufficient adult.
Psychology Today explains this by citing Franz Kafka’s piece “A Letter to My Father”:
“When I began something which didn’t please you and you threatened me with failure, my awe for your opinion was so great that failure was unavoidable… I lost the confidence to do anything. … And the older I was, the more solid was the material with which you could demonstrate how worthless I was; and gradually, to a certain extent, you became right.”
These words describe a father-son connection, where the father is lacking compassion and constantly undermines his son. Suchlike behavior coming from a parental figure can lead to severe self-image issues in the child both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, these self-doubt habits may remain instilled in their mentality until the rest of their lives.
However, the source of childhood strain is not always a particular person. A traumatic experience can also lead to life-long struggling.
Is it possible to overcome childhood trauma?
Perhaps many believe that childhood trauma leads to the inability to grow as a successful person. However, that’s not the case for numerous people who have prospered in their careers despite their troubled past. Usually, it is their mental health and overall wellbeing that suffer the most.
The emotional scars we struggle with prevent us from having an eagerness to seek happiness. Distressed by the thought that we will never be able to correct the past, we don’t allow ourselves to consider being happy as a relevant option for our future. And as we do, we fail to acknowledge that healing is, in fact, possible.
Writer and assistant philosophy professor Iskra Fileva says it best:
“A loveless childhood does not make us destined to have a loveless adulthood.”
Overcoming childhood trauma doesn’t happen overnight. It may take years until you finally set yourself free from the emotional burden that comes along. But with the power of intimacy, empathy, and self-awareness, you can help your inner wounded child to find their way back to happiness.