April 22, 2024 at 12:44 am

What Are Clear Signs Of Childhood Trauma? People Shared Their Thoughts.

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AskReddit/Unsplash/@e_sykes

Sometimes, you can just tell…

I’m talking about obvious signs of childhood trauma in people who are either still young or are still carrying those scars with them later in life.

What are those signs?

Check out how people answered that question.

Avoid at all costs.

“Scared of conflict to the point you avoid it at all costs, certain that if it happens the other person will hate you/ it will end awfully.

You’ve never seen people calmly sit down and discuss their emotions in a loving way, so that world doesn’t exist.”


“No tolerance for anything less than perfect, especially from self. Feels like a failure. Can’t feel happy.

Ruminating and obsessing over the smallest mistake. Always apologizing. Emotional dysregulation. Lack of executive functioning skills. Break down is someone corrects or criticizes. Can’t express emotions.”

A terrible cycle.

“Choosing partners who don’t support, cherish or value you.

Choosing jobs and relationships that reflect the lack of empathy and neglect that you grew up with.”


“Constant dark humor or self deprecating humor.

Also the ability to totally pretend bad things never happened or pretend someone didn’t do something awful to you.

People might think you’re really funny and forgiving but sometimes they are both just coping mechanisms.”

A big sign.

“Getting disproportionately frustrated at themselves for small accidents such as spilling things, accidentally breaking something, etc.

What happens is, a lot of these people would be abused as a kid for these things, so as an adult when it happens, their brain overloads their system with fear and anxiety, and frustration can be secondary emotion to that.

So when these things happens, this is basically a conditioned response because your brain associates these accidents with imminent danger.

This is why therapy is so important for people who had shit childhoods especially during their developing years.

I had no idea this was a thing until I went to therapy, but when my therapist explained this to me, it made so much sense. And now when these things happen, I tend to laugh it off.”

Play it cool.


A kid doesn’t realize their parent (mom in my case) is an emotionally abusive jerk. All I knew is I didn’t want people to be so mad at each other.

I think my life would have been better if I hadn’t talked them out of divorce.”


“An adult acting childlike. People think it’s cringe but age regression is a trauma response. You can especially see this is you’ve ever been to a psych ward.

People are clinging to blankets and stuffed animals. Childhood was probably the last time they existed without being traumatized.”

All of it.

“Inability to form and keep relationships, having sparse or little to no memory of your childhood, eating disorders, depression, social anxiety, agoraphobia, extreme emotional shifts, attachment issues, consistent exhaustion, strong unexplainable reactions towards social stimuli, separation anxiety, gastrointestinal issues and complications, substance abuse and addiction, intrusive thoughts, self-destructive behavior, etc.”

Just an observer.

“Inability to feel or process some emotions.

I, for example, can’t feel lonely. Isolation, as a child, was my only time of peace, and now i crave it to an unhealthy degree. Being alone never gets old for me. I never feel the need to be near or with anyone ever. I’ve never dated irl, i’ve never had more that one strong friendship.

Inability to trust that people are genuine. I cant receive a compliment. I believe 100% of them are just lying to me or lining me up to use me for some reason. I CAN be criticized, but it’s meaningless. It doesn’t hurt, or change anything. Everything in my entire life has had major negative critical judgment, and it’s like water off a duck’s back now.

Lack of desire to compete or accomplish. This can include goal setting. As a child i learned, no matter how much effort i put in to get something i wanted, it wasn’t good enough, or it would be taken away by the poor decisions of parents. They would move.

Destroy it. Lose it. Give it away to someone else, or, move me away from it. So, even at 40, there’s nothing i’ll work towards, because nothing feels like it’s real, or worth it, or going to be kept. I’m like the anti-hoarder. Nothing has value to me like it should. Nothing.

Loss of sense of self. Sometimes you feel disembodied. You feel like an observer in your own life. Third-personing things.”


“One sign you can notice in yourself that I didn’t realize until I started therapy: you don’t have physical sensations when feeling.

Everything is just like….mental? It’s hard to explain but…happiness is supposed to exist somewhere physically. Not every emotion is supposed to be represented by your permanent vague chest tension. Wild!

Another sign: you rarely, if ever, talk about yourself socially. I ask a shit ton of questions of people and I am happy to listen to them and hear their problems, but I don’t share much of myself to anyone.

It makes it hard for me to deepen relationships because I don’t practice vulnerability. I don’t think people want to hear from me.

Finally, hypervigilance. I know people based on their footsteps. I know where my husband is at any given moment (he’s lovely, he just has to deal with my traumatized ass) in the house. I don’t think I have ever truly relaxed.”


“Being afraid to ask for things. Remembering footsteps. Not liking spending time with family. Doesn’t like going out because you’d be alone and watching others have fun with each other.

Your own family not remembering the last time you laughed or telling you to smile. And constantly saying “I wish she’d smile more” while looking at photos. Being shy or awkward around your own friends in person.”

Leave me alone.

“Not wanting attention. Not taking photos. No social media.

Don’t celebrate birthdays. Dont want any awards. Don’t want any kind words. Just let me exist.”

Take care of yourself out there, fam.

If you thought that was an interesting story, check out what happened when a family gave their in-laws a free place to stay in exchange for babysitting, but things changed when they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.