19 thoughts on “How Childhood Trauma and Dissociation Result in Horrible Adulthood Problems

  • March 15, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Love the dissociation/self-disconnection discussion. This kind of alienation, self-alienation, is the root of a myriad of problems that nothing but self-connection can resolve. Great article.

  • March 15, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    And Then There Are Those That Are The Exception To The Rule, Mainly Because Of The Age Of The Child When The Abuse Happened, After The Formative Years And To An Already Strong Willed Strong Brain Independant Person At The Age Of 7, But Because Of The Severity Of The Abuse Has Life Long Problems, Like Night Terrors.

    • January 2, 2020 at 5:21 am

      I also have night terrors. 20 plus years of them. Just now realizing it was a symptom of CPTSD.

  • March 16, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    The only part of the article that I identify with is not showing emotion. I know what I feel but I avoid showing emotion especially around my family who labeled me a psychopath because I try not to gratify them with emotional reactions to their frequent verbal abuse.

    It’s harder not to react to physical abuse, but as a child I was very proud and I would get up quickly after being hit by a parent or my older sister and glare at my attacker. This made my abusers claim to be victims of my bad temper and say I lack human emotion even if I was crying when I stood up to their attacks.

    As an adult, the only abuser left in my life is my older sister. She still has tantrums like a five year old when she doesn’t get her way. Because I still don’t like to let her to see that her verbal abuse gets to me, she says I live in my own little world and that I don’t understand anything about the real world.

    I am used to my family declaring me insane or ignorant to justify their abuse but these false accusations do bother me because I think my sister spreads lies about me to mutual acquaintances which has caused problems with other relationships.

    Lately I am aware of feeling anger towards people I encounter socially, but I dont think it is projected anger. I am angry at family friends who pressured me to take the abuse with a good attitude and tried to stop me leaving an abusive parent who emptied my bank accounts and tried to force me to pretend to have romantic feelings towards them. I am angry at school friends who stood by and said nothing while my older sister hit me to make me do things for her. I am angry at people who assume I enjoyed a privileged life demand excessive favors or try to shame me for not letting abusive parents back in to my life. I have reasons for feeling angry and I believe I have a right to be angry at injustice. I do not think the concept of protected anger is entirely wrong, but I feel that the article should emphasize the possibility that sometimes abuse survivors can be angry for the right reasons. I’m this age, when everyone wants to play at psychoanalysis and claim to understand you more than you understand yourself, I think it is not entirely fair to say that people who experienced abuse are not in touch with their own feelings or know why they are angry. Just because we do not always confide our true feeling, it doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of them.

    • March 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      Hi E,

      Thank you for your comment.

      A quick response: No one is saying that EVERYONE who experienced abuse is not in touch with their own feelings or know why they are angry. “Just because we do not always confide our true feeling, it doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of them.” Just because you are, doesn’t mean EVERYONE is. It applies to whom it applies and doesn’t to whom it doesn’t.


  • March 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    I have been reading a lot about this whole topic and pretty much all of it is on point with what I am feeling/experiencing in my life but I can’t seem to identify anything that happened during my actual childhood years that would have been the start of it. Is it possible to have all the symptoms/effects that go along the childhood trauma and dissociation etc but it actually start from an experience that happens later in life (like teen years for example)?

  • March 17, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Your observations are clinical, precise and ring true. Can you devote an equal amount of time to consider solutions. For example, do you consider any of these behaviours to be trans-generational, habits repeated and learned from parents? Could improved parenting skills help? The most successful recorded methods, to date, in dealing with this kind of problem seem to involve family therapy in which the influential come together as a group in dialogue, enabling an individual who suffers from arrested development to blossom

  • March 29, 2019 at 6:47 am

    I grew up with a narcissistic mother and all that entails. Sometime, decades ago, I “checked out”. Too painful to be on earth.. in my body… connected. Anything that validated my existence was met with rage, or, if self generated (like trying to get a job) was met with severe anxiety. I avoided any validation of my existence with every fiber of my being. I even ended up homeless- no address, no phone (pre cell phone days). 20 yrs ago I started a relationship with a narcissist (unbeknownst to me until years into it after the mask came off). I’m realizing how perfect this was to create, although excruciatingly abusive. He distracts me from “being here”, being connected to myself, being part of the whole called “humanity”. I’m too busy staying one step ahead of his games, and keeping him calm, and defending myself. I also use making sure the house is perfect, gardens perfect. Another distraction. Or arguments with neighbors. I can’t even acknowledge my existence with personal hygiene. I avoid admitting that I am alive. Before the present narc in my life, I spent years “healing” my childhood. Read the books, felt the pain, pounded the pillows, forgave, cried, accepted. But in retrospect, it was another distraction. It feels like living in a snow globe, and I can see the outside world, I just can’t join it, or experience it. I am now 60 years old, in extreme poverty, and wondering “is it too late?” How does one start at this age? And, I have a narcissist who, in past, sabataged any attempt to function outside of him. Like I said, I subconsciously created him as a distraction… but now I want to live and experience life, and any attempt would be met with rage. I can’t afford to support myself. I don’t have the work skills to support myself. And if I mention “work”, he threatens to leave, meaning I’ll end up homeless due to work skills that does not compensate basic living expenses. Point- I am changing with my need to get connected to myself, but my situation- the parameters set by a narc who puts a roof over my head, hasn’t.

    • April 19, 2019 at 1:34 am


      Look at the lady pictured at the top of Darius’ article. Do you have any feeling toward it? When I saw it, I wanted to try to convince her that the whole problem she was having — with anxiety, with existence, with dissociation, with being “real,” with self-respect — was good … in a sense that she would probably never believe. It is good because she is good, the whole human struggle which entails such problems is good. It isn’t counterfeit, it isn’t defective … it is human and being human is good. So our entire approach and perspective is housed within this belief: “my struggle is good, my life have value and nothing or no problem changes that. I am going to support and befriend myself no matter how great or lousy I am doing.” What do you think??

      • April 19, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        Thank you for your time. Upon reading your post and looking at the picture, I felt the brief onset of anxiety and tears of compassion. I unconsciously distracted myself. I came back to your post/ the picture a few hours later and I feel nothing. Any remote possibility of feeling anything that pulls me into “being here”, in my body, is terrifying. Feeling good, or positive is either void or terrifying. Rage keeps me out of “here/ now”, as does a “keep busy” with a self created “to do list”, as well as the narcissist I live with, and smoking. Seems I have a list of safety nets to keep myself removed from the excruciating pain of living/ existing. It seems it is emotional hell to be “here” and theoretical hell (theorizing/contemplating about not being engaged) not to be.

      • April 19, 2019 at 5:24 pm

        All that is very human. Just realize that you didn’t invent any defenses or vices, none of it is a disgrace but a very human struggle. Self-compassion in all things. Being here can be terrifying so we have to slow down, breathe deeply and slowly, and try to let our being catch up with us. Fear is okay. Try to face some little phobia, then again, then again. It can help the general fear. I’m interested in how smoking helps. Does it soothe and calm?? Best to you, Trish. Life is worth trying to live and figure out, and I’m sure you realize millions of people have these issues.

      • April 20, 2019 at 6:31 am

        Thank you. I started qi gong for women via internet and am experiencing immediate relief, though it is a struggle to “keep up with it” because my “inner critic” says “DANGER! Exisiting! Feeling!” I veer away from anything that acknowledges me, even taking showers (have to put attention on myself). To answer your question as to how smoking helps… like any addiction, it’s a distraction. It’s also very calming. In closing, I’ll either continue to exist without the stress of struggling to “be here”, or go through the pain of crossing the threshold. Sometimes I think I’m just stalling… waiting for this “movie” called “life” to be over. Thanks again.

      • April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

        Don’t fight yourself. Tell yourself, “Yes I feel fear and sometimes terror over existing, I admit this, am not a screw up because of it … and I am willing to experiment a little bit with “existing things.” Trish … I like this subject. I wrote a 100,000 word paper about it which anybody would be crazy to read. But it is the writing, or any form of giving voice and vent to it, that can help it evolve. If you have any little phobias, try to approach them. Specific fears decreasing helps general anxiety fear decrease as well. Don’t mean to preach … but getting behind yourself, “This is me and I’m okay, I support myself and befriend myself” is critical.

      • April 20, 2019 at 1:03 pm

        It’s a great test and challenge of life to try to improve at this. ANY improvement is sacred.

  • April 17, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    It’s important to remember that different people can respond to trauma differently. At the end of the day, one has to understand that dissociation is a protective mechanism of the mind. The problem only arises when relatively milder trauma are also dealt with by dissociating.

  • October 11, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Hi Still to this day at the ripe age of 57 …My siblings and i suffered every abuse known to mankind ….reading this mmade it all make sense ….my kids and hubby just dont get it ..

  • January 2, 2020 at 5:17 am

    Very well written. At 50 years old, I just completed an IOP program for general mental health. The false beliefs bestowed upon me as a child led to a loss of knowing my feelings & losing sight of my values. DBT has helped. The next step is trauma based therapy.
    I wish everyone wellness who lives with CPTSD.

  • July 20, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    Actually feel sick from reading this. When did nurture become an optional parenting
    strategy? Worse when did the option become acceptable? Parenting this way is not something deemed worthy enough to be held accountable? The child sure becomes someone both they and society hold accountable. Easier to smile tell people what they want and need to hear so we can all carry on pretending ……..
    Dont have answers to any of those questions myself.
    Answers I found within these posts have left me with fear and pain.


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