Each year in this country millions of children are the victims of child abuse at the hands of parents, guardians and other adults. Whether this abuse is physical, sexual, verbal or emotional, it can leave scars on their heart and psyche for many years.
Here are just some of the long-term effects of child abuse on adult survivors:
Forming Healthy Bonds and Relationships
The lingering effects of childhood abuse make it very difficult to trust others and form normal, healthy connections. Survivors may find it particularly difficult to maintain successful romantic relationships as they may not be able to ever let their guard down and be truly vulnerable with their partner.
Developing Health Conditions
Childhood abuse can eventually take a toll on our physical health and wellbeing. In fact, an NIH study suggests that certain symptoms are common in abuse victims, particularly in women who experienced sexual abuse as a child. Symptoms range from back pain to eating disorders, nightmares, severe headaches and even fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
A Lack of Confidence
All children should feel safe and secure growing up. In a normal, healthy childhood, a child can emotionally attach to one or more adults who make them feel safe and secure. But in a childhood where the individual suffered some form of abuse, they may never have been able to form trusting bonds with others. And a lack of these secure attachments can negatively impact our ability to interact with the world around us as adults.
Getting the Help You Need to Move Through the Trauma
If you’re an adult who survived childhood abuse, there is help out there for you. While you cannot change the past, you can heal from the trauma so you can change your present and future.
If you would like to explore treatment in a safe and secure setting, please reach out to me. I am here to provide the tools and safe space in which to explore and process your trauma. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can have the amazing life you know you deserve.
Stephanie Post, PsyD. at Higher Self Psychotherapy is a certified EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapist. She works online with individual adults across California and in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco. She specializes in trauma therapy, and helps individuals with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. She uses EMDR therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and IFS therapy to help her clients thrive.