It’s like one of those commercials for class-action lawsuits: Have you or someone you love been affected by taking X drug? You may be entitled to additional compensation.
Only, this time, there’s nobody to sue and no jackpot waiting at the end. You’re 100 percent responsible for this one on your own.
The more childhood trauma you experience, the more likely you are to be toxic to others, only you probably won’t know it. That’s why I keep writing about generational trauma even though I’m far from having resolved it yet; it just has too much consequence. Since child abuse and neglect affect a reported 600,000 people a year (truly a massive undercount because so many cases go unreported) there are a lot of people out there suffering from this. It’s time to bring it to an end.
How trauma makes you toxic
If you grew up without anyone consistently meeting your emotional or physical needs, you’ll probably be in a lot of pain (both emotional and physical; victims of childhood trauma are more likely to experience chronic pain.) If you were physically or sexually abused, the pain would be even greater.
All you’ll want is a conflict-free life that wasn’t like your childhood. You may talk way too much about yourself because you’re just relieved that someone’s finally listening to you and seems to think your life is important. But even that has an expiration point and you may have already passed it. Conversations are supposed to be two-way streets.
You may be manipulative, but you won’t recognize it as such. You’re just trying to get your needs met the only way you know how.
Some people try to self-soothe the constant anxiety that’s very often a part of having experienced childhood trauma, either by shopping (my former drug of choice) or with alcohol or other substances. Some people turn to religion as a coping mechanism, but if they’re too focused on making sure you live up to “the rules,” their religious expression can harm their relationships.
Another common habit is to try to have control over pretty much everything. If you grew up in chaos, controlling what you can may be the only thing that makes you feel safe.