Adverse Childhood Experiences Part One
TRAUMA IN CHILDHOOD Part 1 of a 2 Part Guide
Trauma in childhood covers a range of issues. Trauma will mean different things to different people. What may have traumatised you may not have had the same impact on a sibling or other family members. Shocks and ordeals can happen to any of us at any age, how we react and respond to new upsetting events is often based on the original blueprint we have created when something in our past has been traumatic for us.
Our individual emotional or physical wounds could be as a result of being abandoned or neglected as a child, witnessing or engaging in family conflicts, parents divorcing, mental health issues within the family and physical, verbal or sexual abuse and violence. Being exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impacts how a child develops and how they survive and thrive in the world.
If you experienced anguish in childhood, you may have formed limiting beliefs about yourself, other people and the world around you as well as the expectation additional suffering and trauma will follow. The memory of the trauma lives on long after the actual event is over. We become hyper vigilant - responding in fight, flight or freeze mode to any perceived danger whether the threat is real or imagined.
What we believe to be true, may in fact be a protection mechanism the mind creates to keep us safe from further perceived threats. These self defeating beliefs are made up when trauma occurs, to protect us from our worst nightmares. We may find ourselves responding to a situation when a memory which seems like the original trauma surfaces, though in reality it is completely different. Our filters can easily become our default responses and our behaviours reflect the imagined scenario. These reactions more often than not limit our potential in so many ways.
The subject of trauma is huge. In Mothers and Daughters, I have covered in brief some key points for your understanding. If you have an interest in childhood trauma, you may wish to explore research in the area of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE study). This is one of the largest research studies ever conducted, to assess associations between maltreatment in childhood and health and well-being in later life, if you are an ACE sufferer, the good news is you can make changes for the future, learning what contributes to raising a child effectively. More on this topic will be covered in Chapter Five of Mothers and Daughters, as well as links to the study in the appendix.
More advances in research are being gained in the areas of adverse childhood experiences, the impacts of stress and how those stressors can alter the structural development of neural networks and the biochemistry and neuroendocrine systems. Research shows how early ACEs have long-term effects on the body, including speeding up the process of disease and ageing and compromising immune systems.
The study indicates epigenetic transition may occur due to stress during pregnancy or during interactions between mother and newborns; this will include not being able to bond with the infant for many reasons. Infants are aware of maternal stress and depression in the mother. There are also indications that partner violence may have epigenetic effects on infants. Traumatic childhood experiences are major risk factors leading to poor quality of life, illness and death.
Part Two will follow next week. For more information on on overcoming ACE's please do contact me via www.mothersanddaughters.solutions