Recognizing the Invisible Wounds: Signs of Childhood Trauma in Adults

Published April 25th, 2024 by A Better Way Healthcare Services, LLC GA

As adults, we often carry with us invisible scars from our childhoods, remnants of experiences that have shaped us in profound ways.

As mental health awareness gains momentum, it's crucial to recognize the subtle signs of childhood trauma that may manifest in adulthood.

So what signs should you watch out for? We can help. Let's go through the top signs of childhood trauma in adults.

Difficulty Trusting

Adults who have experienced childhood trauma may display heightened suspicion and fear of others' intentions. They may constantly question people's motives and be on guard for potential threats, even in safe situations.

Because of their past feelings of betrayal and abandonment, individuals with childhood trauma may find it challenging to open up and share their thoughts, feelings, or vulnerabilities with others.

Constantly scanning for signs of potential harm or betrayal, they may exhibit hypervigilance in relationships. That makes it challenging for them to relax and trust others.

Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is a common manifestation of childhood trauma in adults. Adults with low self-esteem from childhood trauma may engage in persistent negative self-talk, constantly criticizing themselves, and feeling unworthy or inadequate.

They may carry a heavy burden of self-blame for past traumatic events. They may believe they deserved what happened to them or they were somehow responsible for the abuse or neglect they experienced.

Childhood trauma can contribute to negative body image issues. This could lead to feelings of shame, disgust, or inadequacy about one's appearance.


Adults who have experienced childhood trauma may experience vivid and intrusive memories of events in their past. These memories can feel as if they are happening in the present moment, causing intense emotional distress.

Certain sounds, smells, sights, or sensations can trigger flashbacks in individuals with childhood trauma. These triggers may be directly related to the traumatic event or symbolically connected.

Avoidance Behaviors

People struggling with a past traumatic event, like childhood abuse, may actively avoid people, places, activities, or situations reminding them of what they endured. This avoidance is a coping mechanism to reduce distress and prevent triggering flashbacks. 

They may also avoid discussing or thinking about their traumatic experiences. This is a way of burying emotions or memories as a way to cope with the trauma's pain and discomfort.

Boundary Setting Issues

Those with past trauma may struggle to assert themselves and say no when their boundaries are being crossed. They may feel guilty or anxious about setting limits with others.

They may frequently put others' needs and desires above their own, sacrificing their own well-being and boundaries to maintain peace or avoid conflict.

Boundary-setting issues can contribute to codependent relationship dynamics. This results in individuals prioritizing others' needs and emotions at the expense of their boundaries and well-being.

Signs of Childhood Trauma in Adults: Now You Know

Now that you're aware of these signs of childhood trauma in adults, you'll be able to get the treatment you need.

Are you looking for some additional support with your mental health journey? Better Way Healthcare Services has been helping people like you since 2015.

Contact us today

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