Reactive Attachment Disorder

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When Unresolved Childhood Trauma Makes It Difficult to Cope

Part 1 of 2 My first experience with trauma occurred at eight years old, but it didn’t end there. I would spend the next six years experiencing one traumatic event after another.

Sadly, I never had the family support or received the much-needed help as a child. So, after multiple traumatic occurrences, I began to suffer from OCD, PTSD, depression, and an eating disorder.

To mask the pain, I began using substances and alcohol at twelve. I was a short-term bully in middle school and a delinquent student in high school. Then, after high school, I became an alcoholic with severe depression, anxiety, aggression, violent tendencies, and suicidality into midlife.

My trauma caused my loved ones and me so much damage until I finally realized what I was doing wasn’t working and that my past circumstances didn’t have to dictate the rest of my life.

Resolving trauma can be challenging and may take time, but we can heal from it and lead meaningful lives. I never thought the day I would.

What Causes Childhood Trauma?

A child’s most formative years are between 0 and 8, as their brain grows the fastest at this age. And though their brain continues to develop into their mid to late 20s, those first eight years are the foundation for learning, success, and overall health. So, any trauma that occurs during this time can stunt a child in many ways.

As children, we rely on stability to thrive and survive. Still, we can’t control unplanned external events, just as I wouldn’t have expected what happened to me as a child. So, what are some events that can potentially cause childhood trauma?

These may include:





Natural disasters

War or terrorism

Loss of a loved one

Serious medical conditions

Separation from caregivers

Violence in the home or community

Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse

A parent with mental illness or substance abuse issues

There is also secondary trauma, such as witnessing domestic violence or hearing about someone else’s experiences with trauma.

Untreated childhood trauma can lead to anxiety, anger, isolation, or negative thoughts about oneself or the world.

The Effects of Unresolved Childhood Trauma

Not every child who experiences trauma will develop mental health issues. For instance, take two siblings who share the same trauma in their household. Yet, for some reason, one sibling can overcome their adversities over time while the other experiences long-term mental and physical health issues.

Let’s look at some adverse effects of unresolved childhood trauma.

Mental health issues may include:






Reactive attachment disorder

Borderline personality disorder

Physical issues may include:

Panic attacks

Heart disease

Sleep disturbances

Unexplained anger

Autoimmune diseases

Constant state of hyper-alertness

These symptoms can lead to negative coping patterns if not effectively managed.

Negative Coping Skills Caused by Trauma

Many children don’t receive the help and support they need, leading to maladaptive coping skills well into adulthood, including:




Substance abuse


Eating disorders

Bullying behavior

Avoidance behavior

Delinquent behavior

Reckless and risky behavior

Lacking respect for authority

Other harmful coping mechanisms can include self-injurious behavior, suicide attempts, or death by suicide. Therefore, the sooner one receives treatment, the less their symptoms will carry into adulthood.

Treatment for Trauma in Children and Adults

As a former mental health therapist working with youth and families in crisis, I involved the entire household in treatment, not just the child suffering. Otherwise, problems within the family unit would continue to exist without that.

In other words, if a therapist only works with the child, and their mental health improves, they will typically regress if the family isn’t receiving treatment. Therefore, family support and treatment are crucial for the child to maintain wellness.

For adults like myself who never received the help or support they needed as a child, that doesn’t mean it’s too late. Individual therapy, group therapy, or peer support can be very beneficial.

A therapist might use one or more methods to treat an individual’s trauma, including:

Psychodynamic Therapy – focuses on resurfacing unconscious memories or root causes of trauma

7 reactions 2 comments

I’m new here!

Hi, im t im here because ive been struggling alot with flashbacks and getting stuck in self destructive thoughts that then lead to me dissociating and it makes it worse in the long run im a year clean of cutting and i just dont wanna fall back into bad habits

#MightyTogether #Depression #Anxiety #DissociativeFugue #ReactiveAttachmentDisorder

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Does anyone know who does AUTISM assessments for ADULTS in western NC, or east TN, or southwest VA?

Hi. I am seriously interested in getting an assessment for ‘Autism,’ or ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ for Adults. I am over 60, and I don't need it to qualify for any kind of help or benefits at my age. I just need to know, so I can answer a thousand personal questions about myself. It's for my peace of mind, but it also has the advantage of being useful family medical information that I can pass along to my kids and grandkids.

I have a ton of different diagnoses from as many doctors and therapists from over the course of my life. So many of these diagnoses have some of the same symptoms, and so many of the diagnoses seem to battle with others for ‘dominance’, that I don't know what to believe anymore. One doctor will say he's certain I have one thing, and five years later another will say he doesn't agree, and says it's something different. Meanwhile, both of them put me on medications for those things, and the second one is basically telling me I just wasted 5 years of prescriptions and therapy designed for the first thing. Not once, not twice, but many, many times I have gone through this.

Because of all of that, I currently have a bushel of diagnoses that are supposedly correct and current, and a ton of prescriptions to go along with them. And I don't have the confidence that any of them are correct, like I so easily assumed when I was younger. Do you see my frustration?

From my reading in the last few months, I have seen my traits (i.e. symptoms) and my thought patterns and thought processes turn up time and again under the detailed descriptions of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder. If that were found to be true, it would settle my mind, and it would give me something that I lost long ago, and assumed I would never see again: Hope. It would make such a difference if I could be able to focus on one true diagnosis instead of a jillion competing diagnoses. I could work on learning coping skills and workarounds for one thing. One.

So, I need to find a doctor or a therapist who assesses for ‘Autism’ or ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ IN ADULTS  in the:
1.               western half of NC, or
2.               southwest area of VA, or
3.               eastern part of TN.
(A little outside of those areas could work, too, if they are good.) ***I have been told that “the MIGDAS-2 assessment” works better for those of us who have been masking for many years. What are your thoughts?

I do appreciate you reading this far. I know that it was long. If you can help me find someone, please let me know. Thank you for your time.  I wish you Peace, and Joy, and excellent Health.  ♧

#Autism #Depression #Anxiety #PathologicalDemandAvoidanceSyndrome
#ReactiveAttachmentDisorder #SocialAnxiety
#BipolarDepression #TreatmentresistantDepression #CombinedPresentationADHD #ADHD #AspergersSyndrome #AutisticAdults #Autistic
#Hypervigilance #Hyperfocus #silent #EyeContact #Stimming #Suicide #PTSD #CPTSD #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder
#BodyFocusedRepetitiveBehaviors #BFRBAwarenessWeek #Parentification #Abuse #neglect #Insomnia #DermatiIlomania

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Nowhere to go from here

My wife just blew up at me. We need to communicate better, she said. She has a habit of telling me what negative thoughts I am thinking and feeling, and then adding, "well am I wrong?" to it. This is years in the making. Essentially, it happens when she asks me a question or tells me about something, and my tone of voice sounds negative to her, or my face or body language looks negative.

I have chronic pain as well as deep depression, so it is difficult for me to convincingly put on a happy face, or speak with joy in my voice. But I do try my best to speak in neutral tones at the very least, and I have thought that I have a resting face of a neutral mood or higher as much as possible.

It has been building for a long time. I am struck out of the blue most times when she tells me what I am thinking, and how unfair that is, and paints me as the bad guy and her as the innocent one. In the early days, it would just shock me, and sometimes confuse me. In the last couple of years, it just makes me angry and defensive. We've had plenty of arguments about it, but no agreement. She doesn't see it as mind reading because she says "I 'feel like' you were disgusted by what I just said, and you shouldn't be", or "I 'feel' that you think I'm stupid just because I did X, or Y". She says since she uses the word "feel", she isn't mind reading, and so it's up to me to tell her if she's right or wrong. Well, I have been telling her she's wrong for over 40 years now, and that only makes her angry and defensive. I told her time and again that I get mad when people try to read my mind and put words into my mouth. I tell her to skip saying the part about what she is so sure that I am thinking, and just ASK ME what I am thinking, instead. Ninety percent of the time, I am not only NOT thinking what she thinks I am, but I am thinking about some other subject altogether. Then when she accuses me of thinking some negative thing, it hits me out of the blue, and I register it as an insult. I asked her why she can't just ASK me what I am thinking, or ask me how I am feeling. I would welcome both of those if they were honest questions. I would feel like I was cared about. That makes perfect sense to me, but she doesn't see it that way. She says that she's just being honest, and that she IS asking me how I feel, or what I am thinking, when she tells me what she feels like I am thinking. We can't get past that. So she got louder and more accusatory, and then angrily walked out.

I don't know what to do. I am battling Major Depressive Disorder, CPTSD, Anxiety, ADHD and severe Chronic Pain. I am doing the very best that I can. I am on disability, and I fill my days and evenings reading books on my various diagnoses, learning as much as I can, so that I can better control, or adapt, or adjust to the reality of my life, and I do feel good about that. I have tried to share some of this with her, both verbally, and by sharing articles with her via email. She seems stand-offish about it, at best. When I ask her outright if she wants to learn more, she swears she does, but she has a life, therefore she just doesn't have the time or energy to read much about it. I told her a few minutes ago that I will stop burdening her with it, and will stop sending her articles and such. She rebuffed that idea, but added again that she just doesn't have the time. She said she is doing the best that she can in trying to deal with all my problems, and she doesn't have the energy or the will to do it any more. She's "had it."

She came back and brought up another time recently that I was unreasonable, saying that she had told me something about her job, and I had reacted with sarcasm and disgust. I remember it well. It was just the opposite. She told me that her employer was giving $50 bonuses to anyone who got a Covid booster shot, and I responded "wow, that must be nice. Go ahead and do that." She and I both agree that that's all that I said. But she says I was being sarcastic, and spit the words out like venom, and I thought it was disgusting. I remember calmly saying those words, genuinely happy for her to get $50 just for getting a shot that we both were going to get anyway. The difference, more than likely, was the fact that during the time that she was unwinding after work and telling me bonus, as well as about the rest of her day, I was in a pit of depression, and I was in a ton of physical pain from my legs and my back. I know that had to have affected the tone of my voice, the look on my face, and my body language. But I don't talk about the pain, because it would sound whiney and redundant. I was just sitting there listening to her, and I thought I answered appropriately and honestly. Anyway, that night, after I had answered her, she responded by telling me what (she believed) I was thinking and feeling, and she wanted to know what my response was. My response was "that's not an argument I am willing to have right now." To me, I was angry that "it" was happening again, and I could argue about it like so many times before, or I could choose not to. I chose not to argue. To her, I had just insulted her, and said she isn't worth arguing with, and since I had not argued, then what she had thought about me must indeed be true.

If (and when) she "reads my mind" again, and assigns various negative thoughts and feelings to me, we could bypass all of this trouble if she could just hold those 'mind-read thoughts' inside, and just ask me two simple questions, instead. First, "how are you feeling?" And second, "what are you tinking." I will gladly and honestly answer her. But I just can't take any more veritable accusations for thinking and feeling certain ways, and then be expected to explain or defend myself, meanwhile letting it roll off me like water off of a duck's back. It's not an argument I'm having anymore.

Thanks for listening.

#MajorDepressiveDisorder #Bipolar2Disorder #CPTSD #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #Anxiety #ADHD #Autism #BodyFocusedRepetitiveBehaviors #PathologicalDemandAvoidanceSyndrome #AutismSpectrumDisorders #TreatmentresistantDepression #TRD #ASD #anhedonia #ChronicDepression #ChronicPain #SpinalStenosis #GAD #Sadness #CombinedPresentationADHD #SmilingDepression #SocialAnxietyDisorder #Disability #MentalHealth #Insomnia #DiabetesType2 #Diabetes #Asthma #Hypertension #Hypervigilance #nerveandjointpain #HearingLoss #Grief #generationaltrauma #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #TraumaRecovery #Trauma #ChildhoodTraumaSurvivors #MedicalTrauma #IntergenerationalTrauma #Trauma #SexualTrauma #traumasurvivor #Survivor #EmotionalAbuse #ChiildhoodSexualAbuse #ChildhoodEmotionalAbuse #PsychologicalAbuse #PTSD #AdverseChildhoodExperiences #ChildhoodAbuse #ReactiveAttachmentDisorder #RAD #attachment #Childhoodneglect #attachmentdisorder #ChildAbuseandNeglect #FearOfAbandonment #abandonment #Suicide #SuicideLossSurvivors #SuicidalThoughts #SuicidalIdeation #PassiveSuicidalIdeation #suicidal #Depression #MajorDepression


Trying to fix my relationship with my mom

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I figured I’d talk a bit about having a narcissist/borderline mother and how foal rejection in mares, and most animals, is much more common in humans. Any thoughts? #ReactiveAttachmentDisorder