Simply because the brain doesn’t actively remember bits and details of an individual’s childhood doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is ingrained in the mind’s subconscious. This is especially true when it comes to childhood trauma.
“The past is in the past.” – A gentle reminder people relish whenever they feel themselves overthinking things they’ve said or decisions they’ve made.
The past is like a piece of a road undertaken. It will always be there, readily open if people ever want to go back and reminisce. But if moving forward is the goal, there’s no use looking back and treading down a path already taken. Such is the past; it’s a piece that makes up a person’s whole, but it’s still unworthy of keeping track if people want to move forward.
It’s an understandable and truly logical metaphor.
However, by sticking to this rationale, it must also be acknowledged that how people will experience the road ahead has already been influenced by their previous tracks. Simply because the past can be forgotten doesn’t mean it can be forgotten forever. It will always find a way to resurface, and to the most unfortunate, it comes back up catastrophically.
A Destructive Road Undertaken by Children
In a book by Joseph N. Waddy, the author digs into the sensitive topics that might make adults squirm uncomfortable but are some children’s reality. It’s a book that covers Joseph’s childhood trauma, giving readers a glimpse into the pain he’s lived with and had to cope with.
However, as much as his story accounts for his vulnerabilities and the horrors he’s experienced, it also is chiefly a story of his successes and victories. It shows readers that although children may have unconsciously welcomed this pain and trauma, it doesn’t mean they have to live with it forever. Joseph N. Waddy highlights that in pain, there’s a triumph waiting to be achieved.
Children are typically viewed as naïve and unaware of life’s complexities. If there’s a period they want to go back to, most would likely choose their childhood. Back then, everything was wonderful because it was uncomplicated. People’s mindsets, prejudices, and consciousness hadn’t meddled in and made life a series of calculations dependent on personal decisions.
Back then, life wasn’t for the individual to control. Instead, children are left in their parents’ hands, lives molded depending on how careful these hands are.
However, this might have made life like heaven to some. But those with parents whose hands were as rough as bricks made life an unbearable abyss. What’s truly unfortunate is whatever treatment children receive is beyond their control. This part of one’s life is often buried and forgotten, left to whatever the mind has the capacity to keep.
These events push children to cower in their beds, confused about what’s happening and disrupting their sense of security. Childhood trauma is what flips a switch in children’s minds. Yet, it’s a switch that doesn’t give an instantaneous change but one that brews over time, waiting for the right moment to spill its most bitter and resentful content.
It doesn’t let its existence be known, yet people will always realize it exists. Childhood memories may not always stay, but they will be engraved in people’s relationships and personalities. Hence, whatever childhood trauma inflicted on people will resurface and reflect in adult activities and struggles. “The past is in the past” may be comforting, but it isn’t always true. What happens in the past may remain in that period, but its consequences will only begin manifesting in the future, stretching the past’s influence into the present and future.
Although children are naïve, the brain necessarily isn’t.
People may undervalue or disregard childhood experiences because of the belief they’ll eventually forget or grow out of them. However, for every adverse event a child undergoes, their brain takes the blow. The scars that develop throughout these experiences don’t heal over time unless a proactive approach to recovery is taken. Childhood is everyone’s pillar, the foundation of their lives. How it’s erected constructs what becomes of their adulthoods, their relationships, and thoughts.
A Healing Road Undertaken by Adults
Children can’t distinguish what they’re feeling or what their selves are going through. This is left to the adults’ discretion – not the adults that surround the children, but the adults that these children become.
Healing from childhood trauma means consoling the traumatized child within the adult.
In their physical and mental aspects, people might have grown up such that they can defend themselves and make out why things happen the way they do. However, despite their more mature stature, a child will still be within them, waiting to be unburdened by the trauma they’re suffering. And they let themselves be known in subtle signs of anxiety, fears, and conflicts.
Time may heal but not the wound of childhood trauma. People’s scars won’t quickly heal no matter how long they wait for them to. Over time, scabs will develop, and they will always be tempting to scratch and tear until the wound is reopened. Adults must take time to secure these to avoid a reopening.