Why Some People Never Come Out Of Developmental Trauma

Developmental trauma

I think many people don’t understand it. By the time they become aware of this concept, which has been highlighted by the psychologists and psychiatrists, their attitudes have been formed and their behavioral traits well established.

Developmental trauma is the pain that slowly seeps into the psyche of a child, inflicting deep emotional lesions that never heal. If the emotions of a child are neglected or a parent is insensitive or tries to exercise excessive control and doesn’t know how to handle difficult situations, a child may carry those memories with him forever.

Developmental distress is not connected with inadequate care or nourishment albeit it does leave an indelible mark on a child’s developmental stages in cases of penury.

It is more significant in the building of a strong and balanced personality. Emotional aspect of one’s personality is equally important to build self-esteem, security and identity. Insecure emotional beings stem from the kind of upbringing they get at the early stages of their life.

Unpleasant memories stay in the subconscious mind and they keep surfacing, affecting our relationship with the parent or sibling who used or abused you in an unreasonable manner. Certain issues remain unresolved as we refuse to revisit them or we dismiss them as traumatic but they keep returning to haunt us.

Some people emerge out of this trauma if they try to address it or are resilient enough to understand that nothing can be changed about it. According to experts, this happens only in the later part of adulthood.

Developmental deficiencies get entrenched in our personality:

  • Emotional alienation – I have seen such people who struggle with emotional upheavals, who can’t find the right words to express their feelings, who seem to be bitter but are really suffering inside and don’t even have the courage to hug and cry. Probably they have never been hugged in their childhood when they felt the pain.
  • Masked identity – They try to cope up with their fears and insecurities by disconnecting themselves from their past and refuse to talk about it. They put up a bold front though they are broken inside. Their personal growth remains stunted unless they acknowledge and agree to accept the unavoidable that had happened to them.
  • Prejudiced perceptions – They live within their cocoon and refuse to come out. Only a very understanding and loving partner can drag them out. Some of them lack social and communicative skills and therefore don’t make an effort to mingle with the crowd. Often they misconstrue the positive overtures of others as intrusion into their private space.
  • Impeccable exterior – They consider themselves to be perfect and always blame others even for their unreasonable and illogical behavior. This façade of perfection is acquired during childhood when they could have felt inadequate or humiliated due to the expectations of a dominating parent or older sibling. They never move on!

Next time you meet somebody with behavioral issues that make you wonder what is wrong with this person, give a compassionate look and think twice before passing your judgment. He/she could be grappling with his own developmental demons.

Developmental demons

While professional help may be required to heal childhood wounds that keep festering, the first step is acceptance. Those who feel they can handle themselves by being independent and strong further plunge into darkest parts of their mind, pushing their well-wishers far away.

All children face traumas but react differently. Some grow up with a positive attitude and forget about those incidents, which were emotionally distressing while others have negative connotations about them. Those are the ones who have to deal with them all their life.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

52 thoughts on “Why Some People Never Come Out Of Developmental Trauma

  1. This is one of the overlooked aspect of a personality. I’m sure large percentage of people are suffering from it. In India, child’s emotions are often neglected and parents often don’t value them. It leads to feeling of inadequacy and ignorance among child’s psychology. A little care and love is all is needed.

    1. I absolutely agree with you arv. Even after so much awareness children have to face such parents who have high expectations from their kids and unconsciously cause irreparable harm to their personalities. Look at the age at which they compete in the reality shows and how much training they put into their routine, leaving them with no time for their childhood! Children are like clay and mould themselves to fit into whatever situations they come across. Only when they grow up do they understand what got left behind.

      1. How true. The pressure on kids never seem to end. I’m not sure if right things are happening to most of the kids.. especially in India where there’s immense pressure due to faulty education system that only puts pressure on kids

  2. This is a heavy topic but you tackled it very well. Sometimes the circumstances a child is in does affect if they go through physical or emotional trauma, and how they cope with it. You brought up the issue of putting up a bold front and the affected kid/adult not talking about it. This is probably the most difficult aspect to solve. By not talking about it, one might feel that such emotions and thoughts of the past (or present) might silently go away. A lot of the times, bottling it all up gets us no where. Maybe over time that person will get over it, but by sharing and speaking out one can help others as well.

    1. This topic is relevant to each child and adult because all have to go through trauma at some stage of their life. Emotional scars can’t be seen and we try our best to keep them to ourselves. Those who put up a brave front suffer silently. We must share and discuss our emotions and yes, it helps both. But beware of those who derive sadistic pleasure out of your distress. 🙂 Probably that could be the reason why people hesitate in speaking about their hurts. Thanks for sharing your view Mabel. Have a wonderful week.

  3. When I read you I see my mum’s behaviour differently. It must be so hard to grow and build your life with trauma affecting every part of it.
    Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart Balroop.
    Stay blessed and keep sharing the light my friend.

    1. It is very challenging to live a balanced life when you have such demons gnawing at your nerves, reminding you that you are not good enough…those doubts and insecurities persist and linger around us.
      Thank you Marie for understanding the core of this post. Love and hugs dear friend.

  4. Excellent insights, Balroop. Thanks for sharing your observations of this difficult process and the obstacles that get in the way of healing. I do hope that everyone is able to heal from old wounds at least to some degree. ❤

    1. Yes Diana, some healing does occur but it is a slow process, which comes from within and gets boosted by reading more about it. Have a wonderful week.

  5. I think of myself as well-balanced, positive, optimistic, but I must say there are certain horrid memories that pop up unbidden. I’d love to never think about them again.

    1. Sharing those unpleasant memories with a person you trust lightens their burden considerably Jacqui. They get satiated and sit back in the darkest crevices of our mind.

  6. The trouble is with many of our parents is that they were winging it from day one. Then other children arrive and the focus is keeping everyone fed, healthy, educated, clothed and with a roof over their heads. We expect parents to have all the answers but in fact they don’t. Mainly because they are a product of their own upbringings. When I was digging into our family history and met my grandparents for the first time, I discovered through anecdotes and photographs that both my mother and father had emotionally detached parents. I have worked with many over the years who come to realise after being parents themselves just what a tough job it can me.. despite being joyous. Perhaps that is why they say that most only come to terms with their childhood in late adulthood.. It certainly took me over 50 years. Excellent article Balroop, thank you.. ♥

  7. What a lovely response Sally! Thanks for sharing. Personal stories are always more effective and poignant but I have deliberately kept myself out of this narrative though I could write a book on emotional neglect and detachment if I peer at my surroundings. I give a benefit of doubt to those parents who didn’t have the awareness or educational acumen that some of their actions or remarks could have permanently damaged their child’s psyche. What worries me is that in the modern times when parents have so many books and experiences to guide them, they behave irresponsibly! Yes, the reasons may lie in their own past but they ought to move on and respect their children, if they decide to bring them into this world. That is why parenting has been ‘a biggest challenge’ and no one can be perfect.

  8. Balroop, I admire your courage in taking on such a big and sensitive subject. I do agree that this problem does very much exist but I am not even sure all adults are aware within themselves as all would have seemed normal at the time. I couldn’t agree more with the importance of being open and dare be yourself. Gradually that is a healing factor.

    I have seen that it many times is more difficult today with many parents being competitive about their children’s education from as early as 4 1/2 and forcing them to do homework in the evenings. Children cry and scream. Parents scream. So sad as they all love each other.
    Thanks for this clear and important article. Beautifully written

    1. Blessed are those who recognise their behavioural issues and deal with them in a positive manner. Some of them who try to evade them are the ones who pass on their internal strife to others in a passive aggressive manner, which could be detrimental for their relationship with their spouse, children and even siblings. Yes, daring oneself definitely helps but one requires a gigantic heart for that. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your perspective Miriam, loved it.

  9. An interesting thought, Miriam. I suppose a lot of us have some emotional scaring from our childhoods. My parents were certainly much less involved in my school life than modern parents. We didn’t feel neglected as that is how most of my friends parents were too. People also had much bigger families and came from larger families where just feeding the children and keeping them and the home clean was a huge challenge.

    1. A child doesn’t know the difference between neglect and care unless it is too bad. It is only when he enters adolescence and interacts with his peer group, he starts noticing the difference. At that stage he doesn’t know how to react but the images start embedding in his mind. Later they revisit in the form of demons.
      Thank you Robbie for sharing your view.

  10. I read this post with great interest. I totally agree that the wounds and pain from childhood follow us within our psych our entire life. I cringe when I see a parent verbally abuse a child. Physical abuse I report immediately of course, but that’s rarely out in the open. But I feel so helpless when I see children suffer needlessly.

    1. Emotional abuse goes deep down and is much worse as it can’t be seen. Sometimes we do feel helpless! Thanks for the interest Pam, this is a very sensitive topic and needs to be discussed.

  11. An insightful, compassionate write. Yes, understanding and empathy adds to comforting these hurting people… and giving them confidence to get professional help if need be, Balroop.

  12. You offer good advice, Balroop. Awareness and acceptance are important first steps. My experience has taught me that anything can be overcome if we set our intention with firm resolve to do so. Working with a spiritual healer has been very helpful for me, because I found that simply talking with someone wasn’t enough; I needed an experiential approach. And I wonder if that isn’t true for all of us … ❤

    1. You are right Tina, without intention and resolve, nothing can be accomplished. Thanks for sharing your personal journey…all persons have their own way of finding solace.

  13. Balroop, an insightful and informative article…the topic is particularly disturbing as the thought of children facing even unwitting abuse is hard to see and contemplate. When my son was young at school I would see certain behaviour from parents that was extremely worrying and upsetting…I could just imagine how the child felt, could see their emotional reaction. The cumulative effect over years will make any recovery a long process with lots understanding – of oneself and one’s partner etc. As for professional help, that is not always easy to come by…Balroop, a thought-provoking post on s subject that is often ignored; kudos to you for highlighting this issue. May we all go with love, kindness and compassion today and always. ❤️

    1. Annika, you have a kind and loving heart, which can catch the vibes of behavior through eyes. Loved your reflections dear friend. I agree with you, professional help is either avoided or unaffordable in many cases and the trauma gets embedded in the subconscious mind. Many thanks for being so understanding. Stay blessed!

  14. An excellent post, Balroop. I personally know young people who were traumatized in early childhood and will be sharing this post. Thanks so much for putting things into a concise and understandable format with things we can do to help. xo

  15. I loved this post B, so informative. So much of what you’ve written are the things I write about in my own books (as you know). I’ll be reblogging this. 🙂 x

  16. Hello Balroop! Very interesting post. Sometimes I wonder why people need to take classes and be licensed to drive and even to catch fish, but anyone can have a child with no knowledge of how to raise children. That’s why there are so many people with emotional problems in the world. I think everyone should have to take parenting classes. Parenting classes should be part of the high school curriculum, and there should be a board exam that needs to be passed in order for a person to receive a license to have children. This may not solve the problem 100%, but it would lessen the amount of people that screw up their kids due to ignorance, because they didn’t know any better. Thank you for the great article! 😀

    1. You are right Vashti…parenting is considered to be a natural gift…no wonder so many children have to bear the brunt of lopsided upbringing. I agree with you, parenting is the most challenging task and should be taken more seriously. Thanks for your brilliant suggestions…hopefully we are slowly moving towards better societies, in which development of personalities would get prominence. Thank you for sharing your insights. 🙂

  17. Having come from a very traumatic and traumatized large family, I can say there are many ways we have each handled it. And ways we have passed on the damage, even unwittingly and/or unknowingly. Some basic tenets remain in common. Trust is a huge issue, for example. So I can definitely relate to those who have experienced any sort of early trauma, for it truly does mark one for life, no matter how we appear to the outside world. Yet it’s not a death sentence – we can choose how to live our lives and can continue seeking peace and creating a better world. Aloha, Balroop – good post.

    1. I am sorry to hear that you too come from such a background that could have passed on traumatic experiences Bela. I know those handling techniques too well! Though the damages are not very obvious but one realises much later in life when one tries to find the answers for those lurking hurts, which keep visiting in one form or another. I absolutely agree that the choice lies with us but some persons are not strong enough to let go and keep clinging to those developmental memories. Thank you for sharing your optimistic view. 🙂

  18. This is excellent advice, and I wish every parent could read it.. And understand what a responsibility they have , when bringing up our children..
    This so hits a nerve close to home for me.. And you are right we who experienced such emotional wounds while growing, tend to only remember the tears, instead of the joyous times.. And I am certain there would have been plenty, but they are out weighed.. It doesn’t always have to be disturbing abuse that can affect a child.. Feeling unloved, over looked, and made to feel unworthy are enough to lower self esteem, and grow up with a complex of inadequacy, becoming introvert and going within, which leads to depression.. Knowing first hand some of these feelings.. Your post is valuable in sharing your knowledge Balroop..
    Even to this day I can not abide arguments, I tremble inside, and shrink into myself.. As the sound of shouting and loud voices brings back childhood memories.. And while you think you outgrow these feelings, they can lay dormant for years, until a trigger brings it all back and sets a chain of emotions into a new set of turmoil..
    Thankfully I came through these layers of Self Discovery..

    Many thanks again Balroop.. you are very wise my friend..
    Love and Blessings
    Sue ❤

    1. Many thanks dear Sue for sharing your personal journey through developmental trauma and adding so much of value to this post with your memories of how such distress shackles the free spirit of a child. I am glad to hear that you have freed yourself from the emotional pain through self-discovery…many persons just refuse to emerge from those dark corners into which they get pushed while growing up. Self-wallowing never helps and the choice remains with us…to walk towards light and sunshine as this world is a beautiful place when we learn to forgive.
      Love and hugs dear friend. Stay blessed!

      1. Many thanks Balroop and yes, the road to Self Discovery can often be a long one, but it is one only we can walk. And each step is worth the light at the end of the tunnel.. And you dear Balroop inspire and help guide many while walking upon their journey.. So thank YOU my friend xx

  19. At 41 I am only just beginning to fully deal with the developmental issues I’ve encountered due to growing up with a severely bipolar mother. I need to do the work to resolve what I can, or else I will be plagued by those unresolved issues surfacing time and time and time again.

    1. That is very normal Jeri. As youngsters we live in the world of denial and then we try to shrug them off as if they are no longer important but at some stage we have to address them. You are just at the right phase of life when we become resilient enough to go deeper into those childhood hurts and start accepting them as real issues that need to be resolved. Be happy and understand that they were unavoidable…whosoever was responsible!

  20. Parents and adults in general often neglect this issue. They think a child should behave according to the direction of the adults and she/he has not much emotion to care about. This could have ill effects in the future as you’ve discussed. Child psychology, in fact, is a complicated matter and should be handled with care. An eye-opening post, Balroop…. 🙂

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