Childhood abuse can also increase your vulnerability to stresses you may experience as an adult.




Childhood abuse can also increase your vulnerability to stresses you may experience as an adult.

In one study, Vietnam veterans who had been physically abused as children were significantly more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after combat than were veterans who had not been abused as children (Bremner, Southwick, Johnson, Yehuda, & Charney 1993).

These findings were true even when comparing veterans who had had the same amount of combat exposure.

What this means for you is that a previously abusive experience, of whatever type, may increase your risk for having a traumatic-stress reaction to something that happens to you in adulthood.

Experiences that could trigger this reaction include being mugged or assaulted as an adult, having a frightening birth experience, or having someone in your family (including you or your child) become seriously ill.

Cognitive Distortions

If you have experienced abuse in childhood, you may see the world as a dangerous place. Because you have been powerless in the past, you may be highly fearful and overestimate danger and adversity in your current environment.

(My comment: The world was dangerous for me, my father beat me violently. That feeling persists in the deepest reaches of my mind to this day. It is subtle now, not overt, it hides in the shadows)

You may also underestimate your own sense of self-efficacy and self-worth in dealing with both real and perceived danger, and feel that there is nothing you can do. You may feel powerless to protect and provide for your children. (My comment: self worth is replaced by co dependency, we lack clear boundaries and become targets of others)

Cognitive distortions can also influence what you think about your baby and child. In one recent study, mothers who had been physically abused had significantly more negative thoughts about their babies than did the comparison mothers, who had not been physically abused (Gara, Allen, Herzog & Woolfolk 2000).

These distortions can contribute to your emotional distress and increase your risk for depression.



4 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for this information Marty. And all your blog posts. I am currently teaching a chapter on risks and protectors for stress issues and mental health challenges. Hope you are safe & well! Andrea

  2. In ranking seriousness of trauma and accepting that each of us react differently

    Seems childhood trauma has so many more complexities involved with brain development

    We leave childhood without proper skills to
    Navigate life

    Do you know a ball park figure in what percentage of serious abused kids heal or improve significantly

    I know that adding sexual abuse is another factor that is hard to fix and the consequences seem more destructive

    Abused kids see far more danger in normal life

    They also are susceptible to other traumas that normal people escape

    It is like what helped us survive causes us to suffer and get retraumatuzed later

    How do we know our damage and we need therapy

    It will definitely not come from our abusers

    Thanks for your support and kind works

    You inspire young minds to help change mans suffering

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful reply Marty. I love how you ended your thoughts:

    “You inspire young minds to help change mans suffering.” ❤️❤️

    I will let you know if I come across statistics on the number of serious abused kids heal or improve significantly.

    Thank you again for sharing with the world. The inspiration is full circle.

  4. Even if we only help one person, that person may grow up to save the world

    At times giving, helping others has helped me navigate my life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: