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  • Writer's pictureWill Dempsey

3 Ways to Heal Childhood Trauma

No matter how old we are, our childhood traumas stay with us. Many of us, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, have had to deal with rejection, trauma, neglect, and other forms of abuse. We may try to bury those memories or dismiss the pain, but they’re still there and impact our lives in ways we don’t always recognize. 

Many of our unhealthy patterns are linked to self-defense mechanisms developed in childhood — and those self-defense mechanisms are a redirect response to how we were hurt.

It is possible to heal those wounds, however. In today’s post, we’ll explore three ways to do just that.

1. Self-Love

This one isn’t complicated, but it’s hard to implement. When a child experiences neglect, abandonment, abuse, or rejection, it often leaves them feeling broken and unworthy of love. The people and places that should have been safe were anything but. One of the key ways to start healing your childhood trauma is to start loving yourself.

What does that mean?

Acknowledging your limitations

Silhouette Photo Of Man

Those of us who experienced childhood trauma often end up holding ourselves to unreasonably high standards. There’s a strain of perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking that runs through us. For some, that’s because we learned that the quickest way to avoid conflict or receive love was to perform at a high level in school or proactively defuse big tempers by tending to chores around the house.

One form of self-love is acknowledging, accepting, and owning your limitations. Those limitations don’t mean you’re broken or unworthy of love — they’re a recognition of your humanity. Your worth is innate, not tied to achievement.

Practicing self-care

Another common issue faced by those who experienced childhood trauma is difficulty practicing self-care. Self-care includes putting effort into maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, but it also means more than that. It means surrounding yourself with genuine and loving friends rather than people who reinforce negative beliefs you might have about yourself.

  • Healthy routines

  • Avoid overcommitment

  • Seek safe friendships

2. Embrace Your Inner Child

Often, the most tragic result of childhood trauma is how it causes us to bury the best parts of ourselves. We learn to be careful with our words, to manage other people’s emotions and tempers, and to always look for danger, but that comes at a high cost. It might be difficult or scary to indulge in creative outlets, make new friends, or explore new places.

Try imagining your childhood self as a companion; you’re the parent now, and your job is to love that inner child the way you deserve to be loved. Encourage your inner child when they try a new skill or face adversity. Give your inner child the adventures and opportunities you would have loved as a child.

3. Therapy

There are a number of therapeutic approaches to treating childhood trauma. Two of the most effective are EMDR therapy and CBT therapy.

EMDR therapy is geared towards helping people heal the traumatic memories that haunt them, while CBT therapy involves learning to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about the self. Both forms of therapy are pharmacologically safe and can be done remotely — CBT can also be done as part of a support group.

There’s nothing wrong with needing help to come to terms with childhood trauma. Sometimes we need a guardian and advocate that can help us challenge our memories. A companion to help explore them in a safe place. An ally to accompany us on our journey. In my work with people who experienced childhood trauma, I am mindful of the fact that those wounds run deep. Frequently, healing them often takes time. If you’re interested in learning more about therapeutic options to heal your childhood trauma, reach out and schedule an appointment for trauma therapy today.

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