Childhood Trauma: A Survivor’s Perspective

Part 1

What a complex subject: trauma. Because abuse and trauma are very complex. Developmental
and/or childhood trauma leaves an impact on a person in a way that nothing else does. It
changes the neurons in the physical part of your brain. God created our brains to be wired for
connection. Trauma creates separation. Isolation. It fragments the brain into parts. If you were
two years old and you experienced a traumatic event and no one was there to help you process
it, part of your brain gets stuck at 2 years old. You weren’t safe. Or cared for. Your body will grow
to become an adult, but your brain can have many different ‘ages’.
I personally experienced lots of different traumas growing up, along with many different kinds of
abuse. This is called chronic trauma, or ACE. Adverse Childhood Experiences. When that
happens, many different ‘parts’ are formed, because of the different ages/stages that things

Rejection, abandonment, and neglect are some of the worst traumas a child can experience. It
does more damage than almost any other kind of trauma, because there is no contact. For
myself, physical or sexual abuse was often more preferable than not, because at least there
was someone paying me some kind of attention. It sounds twisted but it’s very true. Because
some kind of attention, even negative attention is better than the nothingness of abandonment
or rejection.

The reason why rejection, neglect and abandonment are so much more damaging is because
there is so much isolation. There’s nothing. No one notices. No one cares. Children are left to
fend for themselves; to live or die as the case may be. Most children will fight to live. It’s why
we’re so good at surviving. It was either fend for yourself or die trying. It’s actually a form of
protection for us. Those of us who grew up with trauma and abuse, know that if we would’ve had
to feel the pain of the things we endured as a baby or child, we would not have been able to
survive. God gave us that protection of being able to shut off our brain.

But the very things that God gave us for protection as children in those circumstances, often
hinder us in the healing process. Especially when we encounter someone in our lives who truly
and genuinely cares and loves us. We are incapable of receiving love and care because of all
the trauma. Not because we don’t want to, but because we don’t know how to. We can see it
around us but we can’t get it for ourselves. Love and care are not things that we were ever
taught. And if a child isn’t taught, they don’t know. We are unable to recognize what it looks like
when someone truly does love us the way Jesus intended. We don’t trust love because we
can’t. Or care. Maybe we’ve been told that we’re not worthy of love. Or that we’re too hard to
love. Or that we don’t deserve love. Or maybe the ‘love’ that’s been modeled to us was
connected to abuse. Maybe our parents ‘loved’ us as long as we were good, but as soon as we
disappointed them they withdrew their ‘love’. To trust love means more hurt. By the time we’re
adults, our hearts are so tattered that there’s hardly anything left to even want to believe in a
good kind of love. God created us for love and relationship. Connection. Trauma and abuse
sever all of that. It isolates us. Sometimes it even isolates us from ourselves. We don’t know
who we are. We are more like a robot than we are the person that God created us to be.

Published by Pursuing Our Purpose

Welcome! We are two sets of sisters that are best friends; longing to live the purpose and design that God has specially planned for every one of us. We would love to have you come along with us as we learn what it looks like to be a true woman glowing with an inward beauty that comes from our Heavenly Father.

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