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​How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship

Developmental trauma is the result of ongoing injurious parenting that is beyond a child’s control. Naturally open-hearted, innocent children are unprepared for physical abuse, emotional betrayal, and relational neglect. In addition, traumatizing families seldom teach their children the skills to cope with the roller coaster of their painful emotions, confused thoughts, and dysregulated physiology, leaving them unprepared for the challenges of adult life.

Adults who grew up in misattuned or hostile family environments often do not realize that their struggle with anxiety, lack of confidence, shame, self-hatred, depression, anger, violent behavior, and difficulties in relationships are the outcome of the physical and emotional trauma sustained within the family ― what is referred to as developmental trauma.

Healing Developmental Trauma demystifies the seemingly endless number of emotional and cognitive problems that result from developmental trauma

Current research in affective and interpersonal neuroscience shows that emotional and cognitive distress in childhood can shift the trajectory of brain development and undermine the stability of the nervous and endocrine systems. It is now known that emotional and relational trauma force survival adaptations in children’s brain circuitry that predispose them to hypervigilance, mistrust, and isolation as adults. This greatly differs from the brain development of children who grow up in families that provide safety, security, and support.

NeuroAffective Touch® and NARM™ show how surviving the distress of growing up in a dysfunctional family says a lot about a person’s strength and resilience. Some childhood struggles teach coping survival skills that serve a person well in adult life. However, without realizing it, some individuals develop adaptive behavior patterns that work against their success. Healing Developmental Trauma identifies these dysfunctional patterns by showing how what happens at each stage of development can impair the capacity to connect with self and others and in turn negatively interfere in adult relationship and life choices.

Developmental trauma disrupts normal identity formation because it forces children to focus on survival skills.  In survival mode, fear and vigilance take over the resources ordinarily allocated to normal development. Traumatized children adjust their behavior by preparing for the worst. They survive by becoming mistrustful of other human beings and hyper-alert to cues of emotional and relational danger.

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