Experiences of past and current trauma are very common. When a person has experienced trauma, abuse or violence, especially in childhood (known as complex childhood trauma) and they haven’t had the support and help they need to heal from it, it can have substantial impacts. It can affect both mental and physical health (Banyard et al, 2009), wellbeing, self-esteem and relationships, as well as educational and work opportunities. Traumatic experiences, especially those from childhood, are often hard to talk about. Sometimes people with trauma-related problems do not recognise how their prior trauma relates to their current challenges.
If you experienced any form of abuse, violence or trauma in your childhood you may be affected by its impacts. No two people are the same. The same applies to adult survivors of childhood trauma. Different people react differently to their childhood experiences. Regardless of the abuse, neglect and/or violence you witnessed or experienced, and how it is affecting you there is information and support to help. Research shows that with the right support people can and do heal. Many survivors go on to tell stories of recovery and resilience, beyond those of survival.
Some people have experiences in childhood which are not readily identified as traumatic, but they can be. This can happen when a child’s parent or caregiver has their own trauma history e.g. parent with a mental illness, parent who misused alcohol or drugs, parent in prison, victim of domestic and family violence. Some people grow up in communities in which violence and abuse was almost the ‘norm’ and crossed generations or affected the entire community. Others experienced medical or dental trauma, or grew up in care which was ‘uncaring’ and abusive, and/or in situations of disadvantage.
If you have experienced trauma or abuse of any sort in childhood, please look at the following resources and information. We hope they will help you better understand not only the effects of what you experienced and how you’ve coped but also where and how to find help and support.