Sixty-eight percent of children and adolescents experienced at least one traumatic event by the age of 16 according to a study completed in North Carolina. Whether these individuals witnessed something traumatic or were victims to an event first hand, these events have the ability to shape and change your future as an adult.
Examples of potentially traumatic events include, but are not limited to, experiencing an earthquake or hurricane, an industrial accident, a vehicular accident, incidents of physical or sexual assault or various forms of childhood abuse. These events can change the way in which those impacted view the world around them, and how they function well into their adult years.
Here are 5 different ways in which these events can impact adult survivors:
They often deal with conflict in a passive-aggressive way.
When a child grows up in a home in which anger is expressed in a negative way, such as resulting in violence within the home, they learn that anger is an emotion that they ‘shouldn’t’ express. In their efforts to suppress this emotion it often surfaces in passive-aggressive reactions to the events that occur in their life.
They develop an unhealthy relationship with their own emotions.
While most healthy children grow up learning how to feel and express the emotions that they feel, children with unhealthy home lives often learn to suppress all emotion. Expressing upset, sadness, displeasure or anger can often set off their parents, teaching them that they should avoid these feelings at all costs.
They create a new, false self.
Children crave affection and acceptance from the adults that are in their lives. If they feel as though they are not receiving this, they may try to change who they are to become the individual that they feel they need to be to be worthy of this affection. This creates a form of ‘self’ that isn’t true to their character and can be carried well into their adult lives.
They become passive in an attempt to keep those around them happy.
Children who grow up in a situation in which they felt abandoned or neglected they may have learned to go out of their way to keep others happy. One of the sacrifices that come with this way of thinking is that they will often give in to whatever others desire, pushing their own needs and desires aside.
They subscribe to victim thinking.
Self-talk is incredibly powerful and can impact us in every aspect of our lives. Individuals who have been victimized as children often view themselves as having no control over their lives. If they haven’t dealt with this trauma as they grow up this way of thinking can carry well into their adult lives.