Childhood Adversity

Trauma as a Result of Childhood Adversity

Do you ever wonder what Trauma actually is? Most of us have some distorted ideas about it. Time we cleared this up.

 

Contrary to common belief, trauma is not in the event. Trauma is in the nervous system. Trauma is simply a nervous system dysregulation.
 

Trauma occurs when our biological systems are pushed past a threshold of tolerance and remain stuck in the survival strategies such as flight, fight, or freeze.

 

There are different types of trauma. Most of us are familiar with shock trauma. This is often related to experiences of war, serious accidents, or experiences of violence. 

 

The type of trauma that I would like to highlight here is called developmental trauma, sometimes also called early-childhood trauma.

 

How does developmental trauma happen? 

 

At some stage in our lives, we experienced an event (or several events) that simply overwhelmed us. It was more than we could tolerate at the time. It was simply too much. 

 

So what is too much? What could possibly be too much for me as an adult? Being threatened by someone pointing a gun at my head? Yes, possibly. Or living in a war zone? Or experiencing and surviving a plane crash? Yes, clearly that would be too much for most of us, and it would most likely cause trauma. 

 

For children though, especially babies and toddlers, the scenario looks quite different. Their nervous systems are not yet fully developed. They are much more vulnerable to outside stimuli than we as adults could even conceive of. And so, chances are that many of us, if not all of us, had an experience or two, or many more than that, that were too much for us at the time. And the trouble is that we are not aware of what happened to us for (roughly) the first three years of our lives.

 

What that means is this:

 

As sad as it is but most of us have no idea that we might have been traumatized!

 

And most of us have no idea, that it can wreak havoc in our relationships, work-life, career, digestive systems, general health and many other areas of our lives!

 

So if you find yourself having symptoms like recurring patterns of dysfunctional relationships, not making it past the 3-months limit with your lovers, going from one man or woman to the next, being left by your boyfriend again and again, choosing the wrong man or woman over and over again, experiencing constant conflict in your marriage, feeling stuck in a frustrating job, not being able to feel your gut instinct, feeling confused about your professional calling, being stuck in the wrong career, having ongoing digestive troubles, autoimmune disease, depression, chronic tension, sleep problems and other health issues that seem impossible to overcome no matter what you've tried?

 

The cause of all of the above might be undiagnosed trauma. 

The ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) proves that childhood adversity has a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. Read more about it here.

 

Surely you are wondering, what can we do about it?

 

That's what I asked myself as well! I was utterly frustrated about having made all the efforts in the world to overcome my relationship issues, digestive troubles, work, and career issues, other health problems, but to no avail. 

 

Until I found methods that actually started helping me release the trauma in my nervous system!

 

It helped me so much, it turned my life around completely! 

 

And I understand now, more and more every day, that healing the nervous system, bringing it back to a regulated state, has to come first. It has to be the first step in everyone’s healing journey. It needs to happen before we can truly and fully heal.

 

Having said this, I 100% subscribe to what one of my teachers Peter Levine once said:

 

“The world won’t fully become enlightened until each and every person on the planet has a regulated nervous system.” (Dr. Peter A. Levine)

Trauma as a Result of Childhood Adversity

Do you ever wonder what Trauma actually is? Most of us have some distorted ideas about it. Time we cleared this up.

 

Contrary to common belief, trauma is not in the event. Trauma is in the nervous system. Trauma is simply a nervous system dysregulation.
 

Trauma occurs when our biological systems are pushed past a threshold of tolerance and remain stuck in the survival strategies such as flight, fight, or freeze.

 

There are different types of trauma. Most of us are familiar with shock trauma. This is often related to experiences of war, serious accidents, or experiences of violence. 

 

The type of trauma that I would like to highlight here is called developmental trauma, sometimes also called early-childhood trauma.

 

How does developmental trauma happen? 

 

At some stage in our lives, we experienced an event (or several events) that simply overwhelmed us. It was more than we could tolerate at the time. It was simply too much. 

 

So what is too much? What could possibly be too much for me as an adult? Being threatened by someone pointing a gun at my head? Yes, possibly. Or living in a war zone? Or experiencing and surviving a plane crash? Yes, clearly that would be too much for most of us, and it would most likely cause trauma. 

 

For children though, especially babies and toddlers, the scenario looks quite different. Their nervous systems are not yet fully developed. They are much more vulnerable to outside stimuli than we as adults could even conceive of. And so, chances are that many of us, if not all of us, had an experience or two, or many more than that, that were too much for us at the time. And the trouble is that we are not aware of what happened to us for (roughly) the first three years of our lives.

 

What that means is this:

 

As sad as it is but most of us have no idea that we might have been traumatized!

 

And most of us have no idea, that it can wreak havoc in our relationships, work-life, career, digestive systems, general health and many other areas of our lives!

 

So if you find yourself having symptoms like recurring patterns of dysfunctional relationships, not making it past the 3-months limit with your lovers, going from one man or woman to the next, being left by your boyfriend again and again, choosing the wrong man or woman over and over again, experiencing constant conflict in your marriage, feeling stuck in a frustrating job, not being able to feel your gut instinct, feeling confused about your professional calling, being stuck in the wrong career, having ongoing digestive troubles, autoimmune disease, depression, chronic tension, sleep problems and other health issues that seem impossible to overcome no matter what you've tried?

 

The cause of all of the above might be undiagnosed trauma. 

The ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) proves that childhood adversity has a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. Read more about it here.

 

Surely you are wondering, what can we do about it?

 

That's what I asked myself as well! I was utterly frustrated about having made all the efforts in the world to overcome my relationship issues, digestive troubles, work, and career issues, other health problems, but to no avail. 

 

Until I found methods that actually started helping me release the trauma in my nervous system!

 

It helped me so much, it turned my life around completely! 

 

And I understand now, more and more every day, that healing the nervous system, bringing it back to a regulated state, has to come first. It has to be the first step in everyone’s healing journey. It needs to happen before we can truly and fully heal.

 

Having said this, I 100% subscribe to what one of my teachers Peter Levine once said:

 

“The world won’t fully become enlightened until each and every person on the planet has a regulated nervous system.” (Dr. Peter A. Levine)

"The world will not be fully enlightened until every person on the planet has a regulated nervous system."

Peter Levine