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Childhood trauma

From Trauma Freeze To Inner Peace

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15 min

From Trauma Freeze To Inner Peace

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” — Dave Pelzer, A Child Called “It”

It’s a truth many of us face: childhood wasn’t always filled with joy and carefree moments. Sometimes, memories of painful experiences linger, causing a deep ache within. And whenever you may remember that painful experience, something aches your chest.

You might attempt to manage your life, but for many, the impact of childhood trauma can make even seemingly simple tasks incredibly difficult. Recognizing that past experiences may significantly affect your day-to-day functioning is important.

You may find yourself increasingly searching online for answers, googling “How to heal childhood trauma?” Yet, therapy might seem daunting and unattainable. That’s where Breeze aims to offer support.

In this article, I’ll share some insights into processing childhood trauma, overcoming triggering moments, and building relations with your inner child.

Is Getting Over From Trauma Freeze To Inner Peace Possible?

Healing from childhood trauma is possible, but it’s essential to recognize that the journey is unique for each person. While many find significant relief and improvement, the process can vary in duration and outcome. Seeking support and resources can be valuable steps towards rebuilding resilience.

You may be looking for an answer to the question, How to heal yourself mentally and emotionally?

Overcoming childhood trauma requires commitment, patience, and willingness to engage in self-improvement. Nevertheless, the results are worth it.

Once you start recovering from trauma, you’ll notice positive changes in your attitude towards life and behavior. Some benefits of childhood trauma healing may include: 

  • Ability to build healthy relationships
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Enhanced emotional intelligence
  • Sense of purpose and empowerment

Can You Heal Childhood Trauma Without Therapy?

Disclaimer. It’s essential to understand that while it’s possible to embark on a journey of healing from childhood trauma on your own, this path can be significantly more complex and challenging. 

Healing trauma is like navigating through a dense forest. While it is possible to go through this process on your own, many find that working with a therapist makes the process much easier and less scary.

Self-help methods and psychological education can provide useful starting points and support, especially for those experiencing mild to moderate impacts of trauma. 

At the same time, the depth and personalized care offered by professional therapy are often crucial for those whose daily functioning is more significantly affected. 

Remember, seeking professional help is a strength, not a weakness, and it can be a key component in the healing process for many.

Besides, if you can’t or don’t want to visit a professional, you still have enough to heal alone. There are plenty of strategies that help reduce the symptoms of childhood trauma.

One of the main strategies is developing coping mechanisms that help manage stress in tough times and difficult situations. If you find yourself thinking, “My inner child is coming out, and it hurts. What can I do?” it’s important to acknowledge this pain as a step towards healing. 

Engaging in mindfulness, journaling, or talking to someone you trust can help you navigate these feelings. Remember, reaching out for support, whether to friends, family, or professionals, is integral to your healing journey.

The healing path starts with working on thoughts, habits, and emotions. You may grow up in a challenging environment and treat yourself with kindness. This is the first significant step in a nonlinear and complex healing process.

As Maria Baldellou Lopez, MSs., BMBS, states, “While self-help and psychoeducation resources can provide valuable support, they should not substitute professional intervention. This is particularly critical in cases of complex trauma, where specialized therapeutic guidance is essential to effectively address the intricacies of these experiences, ensuring comprehensive healing and resilience-building.”

How to Acknowledge Unresolved Childhood Trauma

Recent studies highlight a concerning statistic: approximately 75% of children aged 2-4 years experience some form of physical punishment or psychological violence from parents or caregivers.

The effects of unresolved traumatic experiences may follow you for the rest of your life. Depression, anxiety, frustration, ADHD & trauma — everything is connected. 

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) often leave individuals carrying burdens from their past into adulthood. Acknowledging them is a crucial first step to healing childhood trauma.

Approach the experience with openness

Childhood trauma responses vary widely among adults in forms such as stress, depression, anxiety, mood fluctuations, and frustration, to name a few. 

Each person’s journey with these symptoms is unique; some might face these challenges daily, gradually learning to navigate them. Others might cope by maintaining the appearance that they are unaffected.

Acknowledge that both responses are common ways of trying to manage the profound impact of trauma. Recognizing and accepting where you are in your healing process is a critical step toward recovery.

It’s important not to minimize the influence of the past. Allowing yourself to acknowledge that the traumatic events occurred is vital. Healing begins when you confront, rather than ignore, these experiences. Embracing this truth is not about accepting the trauma as unchangeable but recognizing its impact on your life as the first step towards healing and growth.

Accept the past

Did you find physics intriguing at school? Interestingly, some concepts from physics can offer insights into our emotional lives.

Consider the third law of Newton: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This principle can metaphorically apply to our emotions as well. The more we try to avoid facing our pain, the stronger and more overwhelming it becomes.

How to heal from trauma without therapy?

While navigating the path to healing from trauma, allowing yourself to feel your emotions is truly crucial. Understandably, this process may be incredibly challenging initially. However, confronting these emotions is a step towards diminishing their power over you.

Focus on your body

A first step in the healing journey is to tune into your feelings and sensations. Listen attentively to your body: how does childhood trauma manifest within it? Perhaps these memories surface as chest discomfort or cause you to physically curl inward, bearing the weight of past experiences. It’s common for individuals to experience recurrent stomach aches or headaches.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can leave imprints on your body for years. Recognizing these signs and understanding their impact is a significant step in therapy for childhood trauma.

Reflect on your feelings

Take a moment to consider what you’re feeling right now. Are you experiencing worry, anxiety, or being overwhelmed? Or perhaps you’re feeling excitement, happiness, or joy?

In therapy, tracking your emotions and identifying their triggers is a common practice. By doing this consistently for at least a week, you can gain insights into how past events influence your current mental health and overall well-being.

Wondering how to heal from deep emotional wounds? Start by accepting that experiencing fluctuations in mood and having intrusive thoughts are part of the healing process. There’s no need to battle these feelings; instead, acknowledge each emotion as it arises. 

This acknowledgment is your first step towards healing. Over time, and with the proper support, you’ll find strategies for dealing with childhood trauma and learn to manage and move beyond these feelings.

Process healing as a journey

Understanding psychology can sometimes feel like navigating a complex game where you face challenges gradually. However, unlike a game with a final boss, healing from childhood trauma involves a unique and non-linear journey for each individual.

Have you seen the movie “Good Will Hunting”? It portrays a young man struggling with deep emotional wounds. Through the course of the film, he addresses various layers of his past, including emotional neglect and abuse, gradually working through these challenges. 

This movie perfectly shows the importance of acknowledging and methodically addressing past traumas, emphasizing that processing childhood trauma is an ongoing process that requires patience and perseverance.

Choose to heal

Recognizing that you can’t change the past will help your healing. This realization does not mean you condone or agree with what happened. Instead, it’s about understanding that your past experiences need not define you or dictate your future decisions.

In the next section, I’ll share some strategies to support you in this journey. For now, this step is to open yourself to change and healing. This doesn’t imply an easy choice or a quick fix but a commitment to engage in a process that can ultimately lead to freeing your inner child and reclaiming joy.

Childhood trauma healing is a way to happy life

10 Practical Tips on How to Go From Trauma Freeze to Inner Peace

“People raised on love see things differently than those raised on survival.” — Joy Marino, American actress.

Childhood trauma can profoundly influence our perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors. However, it’s possible to forge a future where the past does not hold undue power over our lives.

How to heal yourself emotionally? Let me provide you with some ideas.

1. Ask for support

Usually, the gut feeling of people who survived trauma tells them to avoid social contact. However, when you choose not to accept help, the trauma response gets more powerful, leading to further emotional distress and isolation.

Remember that you aren’t alone. Even if it seems that no one understands you, there are always people who can help. Withdrawing from others isn’t a good idea; tell loved ones about your feelings. Together with people that you trust, you’ll be able to heal much faster.

How to get past childhood trauma?

  • Talk to the closest people
  • Find a supportive community
  • Build new nurturing connections
  • Learn to share your feelings

Maria Baldellou Lopez, MSs., BMBS believes, “Trauma’s reach extends far beyond combat, affecting individuals across diverse backgrounds and often leading to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Central to the healing process is the indispensable role of emotional connection. Both research and clinical practice emphasize the profound influence of interpersonal support in enabling individuals to navigate and overcome traumatic experiences. 

2. Stay around people who understand and respect your boundaries 

Finding and maintaining a supportive environment is one more tip on how to heal from abuse. This means surrounding yourself with people who provide safety and respect your need for space and boundaries.

While navigating your healing journey, it’s also wise to gradually learn how to manage potentially triggering situations in ways that feel safe for you.

It’s important to recognize that ‘safety’ can mean different things to different people. For some, physical safety is a priority, while for others, emotional support plays a more significant role.

If specific environments or situations are unavoidably stressful or triggering, seek strategies to minimize their impact, such as through mindfulness techniques, support groups, or professional counseling.

Remember, it’s normal for the healing to involve a range of emotions. As you progress, you’ll develop stronger coping mechanisms for overwhelming feelings. Professional support can be invaluable in guiding you through this process, helping you to build a foundation of emotional well-being

3. Take care of your body and mind

“In a healthy body, healthy mind,” right? There’s logic in this statement.

When you feel sick or exhausted, you probably won’t have enough resources to cope with stress.

Moreover, sleep and mood affect each other, so it’s common for people who don’t get enough sleep to be exhausted.

So, I’d suggest doing several things when you are healing childhood trauma.

  • Establish a schedule. If you have a daily plan, your stress level will reduce significantly. Thus, your body starts to recover faster, and you’ll get more productive and focused. This is a great way to deal with overwhelming feelings and take your mind off.
  • Eat healthily. Avocado toasts, almond milk latte, and gluten-free breakfasts? Not necessarily! Choose simple and organic food that provides you with enough nutrients and vitamins. Poor nutrition can cause symptoms of depression, so try to keep a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly. Can you imagine that 65% of people who include light exercise in their routine report having improved mental well-being? When processing childhood trauma, regular training can become an additional fulcrum in your healing journey.
  • Have enough sleep and rest. Counting sheep doesn’t help, and every night becomes a nightmare. Research shows that adults who have experienced emotional and physical abuse are more likely to have sleep-related symptoms. Thus, when getting over childhood trauma, having enough rest is crucial. Get hacks on how to fall asleep quickly and get up full of energy in the article “Why do I wake up tired?”

Remember, healing is a personal journey that encompasses both your mind and body. Take small steps, be gentle with yourself, and recognize your progress.

4. Reconnect with your inner child

Have you heard about the Parent-Adult-Child model? Let me highlight some basics to help you understand your inner self.

The Parent is the ego state that copies the behaviors and beliefs of our parents and close relatives. We remember the events, phrases, and attitudes in childhood, and later on, they influence our lives and everyday choices.

Messages like “you should / shouldn’t,” “it’s your fault,” “you won’t do this,” or vice versa, “I believe in you” — all of them turn into our inner Parent.

How to heal shame from childhood? By becoming a nurturing and supportive Parent for yourself. Remember that some beliefs aren’t yours, and you don’t need to live according to someone else’s statements.

The Adult characterizes our ability to analyze situations and behave rationally. It’s a grown and conscious version of us. That “adultier adult” most of us look for from time to time. The reality is that it’s inside us.

The Child is the ego state that makes us think and behave like a childish version of ourselves. For instance, in childhood, you used to be playful and spontaneous, and now, when an unexpected opportunity appears, you may catch it despite what you are obliged to do.

When dealing with childhood trauma, it’s crucial to hear your inner child. Ask yourself how often you suppress inner wishes and desires because “you should.” How often does your inner parent become too strict and controlling?

To make healing more effective, ask yourself something like, “What kind of trauma do I have?” You could also take Breeze’s childhood trauma test to get personalized insights into your experience.

Whether it’s connected to lack of support, emotional neglect, or abuse, now you can become a caring Parent for your Child. Focus on the things you didn’t receive in childhood and treat yourself with love, nurturing the wounded parts of yourself with kindness and understanding. 

5. Read about your experience

“When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible.” — Tina Lifford, American actress and playwright.

What do you think about when you hear the word “reading?” You may remember fiction books like Cloud Atlas or The Fault in Our Stars. Or perhaps personal development books, like Atomic Habits or Rich Dad Poor Dad, come to your mind. 

Besides, there are dozens of books on unresolved childhood trauma that are simply put and clear to a reader without a Ph.D. in psychology. I highly recommend reading them to understand your experience and feel empowered. This way, you’ll learn to cope with the past and get a roadmap to recovery.

So, next time you’re scrolling TikTok, why not give these books a try? They could provide some refreshing perspectives and help in your journey towards healing from trauma.

6. Practice mindfulness

Memories can cling to our minds like chewing gum, trapping us in a cycle of rumination. Do thoughts about the future send shivers down your spine? I feel you. There’s nothing wrong with being caught in the currents of time.

Consider Carl Fredricksen from the animated film “Up.” After the loss of his beloved wife, Ellie, Carl found himself trapped in memories of their shared past. He struggled to move forward, clinging to the familiar comfort of the past.

Even though Carl experienced a traumatic event as a grown adult, this is an example of how people who deal with childhood trauma responses live.

To understand your emotions and guide yourself through the storms of past traumas, try mindfulness. It’s a practice that helps you stay in the present and enjoy every moment “here and now.” In childhood trauma healing, it can play the role of an anchor that always gets your thoughts back from painful memories to current choices. 

7. Try journaling

Journaling offers a powerful outlet for processing emotions, confronting fears, and addressing concerns associated with childhood trauma. By putting pen to paper, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing.

How to heal yourself mentally and emotionally with journaling? Note your emotions regularly and without judgment. If you feel overwhelmed or have difficulty dealing with a triggering situation, releasing your feelings into a notebook may help.

Expressing yourself healthily and safely can help you reconnect with your inner child, bring happiness to your life, and avoid overstimulation.

8. Substitute negative habits with positive ones

Quick fact. Over 70% of adults receiving drug or alcohol addiction treatment experienced childhood trauma.

But don’t jump to conclusions too fast! We are more than our trauma. Thus, you can live a healthy and happy life after a traumatic experience. 

I encourage you to explore healthier habits, and here’s why:

  • Break the cycle. Unhelpful coping mechanisms like alcohol and drug misuse can develop in response to trauma. Replacing them with positive habits disrupts this cycle and paves the way for healthier coping strategies.
  • Enhance self-esteem. Engaging in activities like sports, art, or social interactions can foster a sense of accomplishment, reducing feelings of worthlessness often associated with trauma.
  • Feel empowered. Making proactive choices to engage in positive habits gives you a feeling of control of your life and helps you break free from the grip of trauma.

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, opt for a raw food diet, or follow the routine from “The Miracle Morning” if you don’t want to. However, taking small steps toward a more conscious version of yourself will be a perfect therapy for childhood trauma.

9. Connect with people with similar experiences

Building connections with others who have walked a similar path can be an anchor in your healing journey. Connecting with others who have been through traumatic events and sharing your thoughts in a supportive environment can also be very therapeutic.

There are also support groups for people who learn how to heal from childhood trauma. They can give you a sense of belonging and help you deal with the symptoms more effectively. 

What’s more, socializing regularly will let you improve your emotional intelligence. It can enhance your understanding of others and help you better cope with your emotions, which will become one more step to your story of healing from trauma.

10. Be patient and keep going

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” — Carl Rogers, American psychologist.

In an era of quick fixes and instant gratification, it’s important to recognize that healing from childhood trauma is not a journey with a predetermined endpoint. Each step forward is a testament to your resilience and strength.

When you heal childhood trauma, remember that the process won’t be a straight line of constant growth but rather a wavy line that gradually tends upward.

Keep going despite all the ups and downs, and you’ll see the first outcomes soon.

  • Honor your progress. Notice even the smallest changes in your behavior and praise your inner child. Long-lasting effects of traumatic experiences don’t disappear in days or weeks, so let this experience go gradually and trust the process.
  • Promote self-love. What would a 5-year version of you like to hear today? Give yourself enough support, as only this way can you cure childhood trauma. Grab some motivation by reading self-love quotes and creating your self-care rituals. 

To Sum Up

How do you feel after reading this article? Perhaps it’s something like excitement and anticipation of a journey to self-discovery.

Save these tips on how to deal with childhood trauma, promote love for yourself, and foster healing in your journey toward happiness. Take a well-being test from Breeze to get personalized recommendations on your path to emotional stability.

Maria Baldellou Lopez, MSs., BMBS, comments, “If you have experienced trauma, please know that healing is attainable. Seek support from trusted loved ones and professionals and remember, you are not alone.”

Maria Baldellou Lopez, MSs., BMBS photo

Reviewed by Maria Baldellou Lopez, MSs., BMBS

Maria is a dedicated Neuroscience and Psychology researcher, holding a BSc in Neuroscience and Psychology and an MSc in Psychiatri...