Effects of Child Abuse on Adult Survivors
Each year 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 lasting scars that affect their mental, emotional, and physical health.
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 healthy connections. Survivors may find it particularly difficult to maintain successful romantic relationships as they may find it unsafe to let their guard down and be truly vulnerable with their partner. The defense mechanisms that victims of abuse develop in an effort to protect themselves can contribute to unhealthy patterns in their relationships.
Developing Health Conditions
Childhood abuse can eventually take a toll on our physical health and well-being. An NIH (United States) study suggests various symptoms are common in abuse victims, particularly in women who experienced sexual abuse as a child. Symptoms can range from back pain to eating disorders, nightmares and insomnia, severe headaches, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue.
A Lack of Confidence
All children should feel safe and secure growing up. In a 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, especially if the abuse was at the hands of a parent, one who is supposed to protect the child and to whom the child is dependent for survival. 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, help is available. While you cannot change the past, you can heal from the trauma in a way that limits its effect on your present and future.
If you would like to explore treatment in a safe and secure setting, please contact me. I am here to provide the tools and a safe space to explore and process your trauma. There is a light at the end of the tunnel so that you can feel safe and create fulfilling and lasting relationships.