What was your childhood like? Do you have an experience that you went through as a child and it’s haunting you? Did you know that we have normalized some of the traumatic experiences that we went through as a child? This week’s coffee Bar was hosted at the Ruben Centre in partnership with Salama Centre – this is a space where young people can express issues on mental health and also advocate for their rights.
Together with the Tujibonge team, an initiative under the Salama Centre co-hosted the discussions with a psychologist present touching on how childhood still haunts us as adults and ways in which we can be able to cope. We started by defining what childhood trauma is –this encompasses scary, dangerous, violent, or life-threatening events experienced or witnessed by children. Traumatic experiences don’t always offer an opportunity to feel your feelings, and if you are too young to understand them properly, it can create lingering trauma reactions.
Children are often viewed as highly resilient and able to bounce back from just about any situation, but traumatic experiences in childhood can have severe and long-lasting effects well into adulthood if they are left unresolved. Adults who experienced traumatic events as children may have recurring nightmares, and flashbacks, or may feel like they’re in a constant state of danger.
Considering this was a safe space, our focus was to share what we might have experienced as children and linking it to traumatic experiences. Society has normalized some traumatic events making it look like a way of life. Some of these normalized traumatic events include loss of someone close to you, corporal punishment, bullying, community violence, beating, and poverty amongst others.
Participants were able to share their personal experiences in which some traumatic experiences are still haunting them or are affecting their lives as adults. To bring the discussion home, we shared some of the traumatic experiences that we experienced as children due to circumstances, set ups or situations.
- Some of these traumatic experiences that are normalized and are currently affecting our lives include
- If you grew up in a violent home, chances of you staying in one relationship are very minimal or you will always have trust issues.
- If you grew up in a set up where you were beaten as a discipline mechanism, you will always have goosebumps any time you witness a child being beaten.
- If you were sexually violated as a child, you will always be careful with who you have a relationship with or have trust issues with the opposite gender.
- If you grew up in a home where your parents divorced, you will always endure anything to make sure that your child has 2 parents.
- If you grew up having 1 shoe or at most 2 pairs, there are high chances that as an adult you will invest more on shoes.
- If you went to high school and maybe you rarely had your parents during school visiting days, you will do anything to make sure your children don’t experience the same.
How do you know that you have unresolved childhood trauma? Substance abuse, dependence, and abuse, stress, anxiety, mood and personality disorders, behavioral issues, emotional immaturity, and inability to handle conflict are just a few of the indicators of unresolved childhood trauma.
“I used to be beaten by my mom to a point I felt that she doesn’t love me. I used to feel like I was adopted. This made me make a promise to never hit my child.” Said a participant
Childhood trauma often causes adults to develop PTSD and have symptoms that affect their daily lives. Children who witness or experience trauma during childhood can develop PTSD and other mental health conditions that last throughout their lives. At the end, we got professional advice on how to cope with some of these traumatic situations. It is also important to mention that therapy, as well as talking to someone, is one of the best techniques that make an individual feel comfortable and capable of processing their past. It’s always advisable to get professional help on any mental health disorder. Salama Centre has a psychologist ready to help you on any mental health disorder. See you on Tuesday!