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Do We Keep Stress With Us From Childhood?

childhood stress trauma
No matter how rosy the memories, nobody has a truly perfect childhood.  Grandparents die, tragedies happen, families have problems, and so on.  One researcher suggests that the most stressful times can affect us throughout our entire lives.

That’s a pretty strong statement, but there’s a lot of truth to it.  Many girls who grow up without involved dads have trouble with romantic relationships or men in general.  Kids who live have trauma or abuse often have chronic emotional difficulties.  And addiction issues can often be traced back to problems or key relationships from childhood.

The expert, Dr Rajita Sinha, explained that the social nature of humans was a huge protective factor against ongoing stress from this vulnerable time.  She also named education, optimism, and emotional regulation as other important factors.

Though I enjoyed the way this article worked through the topic, I found myself not liking the way it ended – I was left wanting more.  Mostly, I wish the writer would have finished her thoughts about how the interview (through the end) affected her viewpoint.  She outlined her own personal difficulties and stressful circumstances, but didn’t add how she thought the protective factors might apply in her own case.

I admit, I may be looking for too much here.  Maybe she wanted to keep the expert as the focus.  Perhaps the writer didn’t want to expose that much personal information (though she started that way, which is why I expected that at the end).  And if that’s the case, I’ll certainly understand that she ended it with expert quotes instead.  In any case, it’s a good thing to look at our lives on purpose like this, whether privately or openly.

If we’re going to talk about resilience and protection from the chronic effects of childhood stress, that personal reflection must be there for each of us.  We have to be able to see the connections, the good and the bad, from childhood situations to the way we do things now – whether it’s good, ugly, or some of both.  I believe that even people with terribly difficult childhoods can live a better life if they get and sustain meaningful social connections.  It may have had more benefit if they’d gotten social support as a child, but I think later is still better than never.

What do you think?  How have stressful times from your childhood affected you?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Nataraj Metz

Do We Keep Stress With Us From Childhood?

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2019). Do We Keep Stress With Us From Childhood?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Mar 2019
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