Why are you here? Do you feel stuck? Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Developmental Tauma.
Ok! I know what your thinking..."Whoa, Stacey, slow your roll. My issue is not childhood-related. Your super off the mark here." What, too early for the Real + Raw talk? Am I coming out of the box with the T word too early on in our relationship for you? Here is the deal. Never have I ever worked with a client in which the issue, the "stuck", doesn’t root back to experiences from childhood. Never. I know. No one wants to hear it. I get it. But, I’m here to tell it straight. There is no benefit to either of us for me to not shoot straight from the hip. You want help. I want to help. The trust starts here.
When people come to me they are often super "stuck". This "stuckness" could be one of a number of issues. Honestly, regardless of which "stuck" they come to me with, in some way shape or form it goes back, way back to a vital vivid crucial moment in life in which you were left feeling unsafe, unseen, unheard, unimportant, not enough or different. It is these experiences that are the root for this ever growing tree of "stuckness". Now that we've set that straight, let's get to understand how and why you've been spending a lifetime dealing with the moments that occurred when you were young and what we can do about it going forward.
You are not alone. Childhood trauma and Developmental Trauma occur more than you think. A recent survey conducted by the National Survey of Children’s Health showed, excluding economic hardship, approximately 30 percent of children experienced one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) in their lifetime, and about 14 percent experienced two or more. According to a 2018 Child Trends brief, including a measure of economic hardship, about 45 percent of children have experienced at least one ACE. Parental separation and economic hardship are the most common ACEs regardless of race and ethnicity, though children of different races and ethnicities do not experience ACEs equally. Child abuse and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are serious public health problems and can have long-term impacts on health, opportunity, and wellbeing. This issue includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (such as a religious leader, a coach, a teacher) that results in harm, the potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.
Common types of abuse and neglect: Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse (behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being ie name-calling, shaming, rejecting, withholding love, and threatening), Neglect (the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. Including housing, food, clothing, education, access to medical care, and having feelings validated and appropriately responded to.). ACES can also show up when a child experiences or witnesses violence, abuse, or neglect or having a family member attempt or die by suicide. Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding, such as growing up in a household with: substance use problems, mental health problems, instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison.
The examples above are not a complete list of adverse experiences. Many other traumatic experiences could impact one's health and wellbeing.
Any experience that leaves a child feeling unseen, unheard, unimportant, not enough, not worthy, insignificant, or different can have a life-altering effect that impacts that person into adulthood.
ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adolescence and adulthood. They can also negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential.
Adverse Childhood Experiences can have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, as well as life opportunities such as education and job potential. These experiences can increase the risks of: injury, sexually transmitted infections, maternal and child health problems (including teen pregnancy, pregnancy complications, and fetal death), involvement in sex trafficking, and a wide range of chronic diseases and leading causes of death such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and suicide.
ACEs and associated social determinants of health, such as living in under-resourced or racially segregated neighborhoods, frequently moving, and experiencing food insecurity, can cause toxic stress (extended or prolonged stress). Toxic stress from ACEs can negatively affect children’s brain development, immune systems, and stress-response systems. These changes can affect children’s attention, decision-making, and learning. Children growing up with toxic stress may have difficulty forming healthy and stable relationships. They may also have unstable work histories as adults and struggle with finances, jobs, and depression throughout life. These effects can also be passed on to their own children. Some children may face further exposure to toxic stress from historical and ongoing traumas due to systemic racism or the impacts of poverty resulting from limited educational and economic opportunities.
B R E A T H E. I know, it's a lot to take in and I'm here to help. As a trauma-informed coach, I'm not only aware of the impact that these experiences have had on you, I have a full box of tools to help you move forward. Yes, it is possible to go from surviving to thriving. I've got you! The first step in moving forward is awareness.
Awareness is the first step in becoming unstuck. Here are a number of resources to help you gain a deeper understanding about ACES and how it affects adulthood.
READ or LISTEN
Take the ACES Quiz! What's your score?
If you feel that ACES has had an impact on your life and you would like help resolving these long-term effects, take the quiz, drop me a line below with your score, and let's connect on how to move beyond the circumstance!
Lack of confidence, low self-esteem, negative self-talk, self-doubt, self-criticism, loud inner critic, perfectionism, fear of not fitting in and being different, social anxiety.
Reliving old traumas, having blocked emotions, feeling detached, disconnected, and disassociated, fixed beliefs, anger issues, emotional dysregulation, withdrawal, issues with authority.
Insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, low immunity, migraines, pain, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), skin problems, weight issues, inability to heal wounds, inability to heal from surgery
Money beliefs, financial instability, pay rise or promotion discomfort, poor performance at work, presentation skills, confidence and leadership, discomfort pitching business or selling services
Fear of getting hurt, fear of commitment, jealousy, repetitive patterns of dating the "wrong people", unable to trust, loyalty issues, not setting boundaries, people pleasing, placing other people's needs ahead of their own, "busy-ness"
Procrastination, learned helplessness, controlling issues, biting nails, OCD, overspending, people pleasing, inability to set boundaries, overextending to burnout, "workaholic"
Fear of flying, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of uncertainty, public speaking fear, fear of using your voice, fear of being seen, fear of mistakes (hello Perfectionism!)
Unhealthy eating habits, "retail therapy" to the extreme, hoarding, alcoholism, smoking, gambling, drug addiction, sex addiction, any behavior done to the extreme without feeling fullfilled
I didn't list your issue?! I'm so sorry. It's not intentional but I'd love to hear from you. What's got you stuck? Drop me a line and let me know!
I find that when working with clients most fall into 2 categories; The Aware and The UNaware of their own childhood trauma and its effects on their adulthood. Regardless of which category they fall into, the reality is there is something that left them feeling unsafe, unimportant, insignificant, not enough, alone, or different.
"The Aware" know they experienced an event or a series of events in their childhood that they'd label as "traumatic". To resolve it, perhaps they participated in some sort of therapy. Maybe they didn’t. Perhaps they did so much therapy they thought they were done, but yet - they continue to be stuck with a capital "S". They are so done with being stuck they would rather place their childhood in a box, wrap a heavy chain around it, drop it to the bottom of the ocean, pretend it never happened and walk into the sunset. They walk around thinking "I've done the work", "I'm exhausted", "I get it, no need to re-hash". Yet, they are still stuck.
"The UNaware" are also stuck. In a funk and they aren’t quite sure why. There was no “abuse” in their childhood. No scrapes, blood, or bruises to indicate anything “traumatic” happened. But yet, they walk around in a fog and an inability to fully function, or maybe they are even too scared to show up in the world and would rather remain “small and unseen”. They may experience unexplained anxiety, panic, and depression or perhaps they walk with unexplained illness, chronic disease, or autoimmune issues.
Do neither of the above speak to you but yet, you are still..."stuck"? Maybe I'm missing a category. I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line, share your "stuckness" and let's see how I can help.