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.
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.
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