Most people associate their childhood with feelings of safety, comfort, and security. But for some, their early years were marked by neglect, pain, or anguish at home. If this sounds familiar, then you may have lived through childhood trauma.
When trauma happens, a child’s emotional or physical needs are not attended to properly.
The loss of a loved one, childhood illness, too many siblings, emotionally unavailable parents, and even a parent’s own childhood trauma, are all agonizing experiences that many young children have to live through.
Psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, community or school violence, witnessing domestic violence, disasters or terrorism, and serious accidents or shocks can cause serious childhood trauma as well. [1, 2]
The impact of these negative childhood experiences may manifest as toxic behaviors over time — behaviors that are classic signs of trauma. Often, our adult selves are oblivious to these destructive patterns. These can include unprovoked breakdowns or venting on people who don’t deserve it.
Trauma survivors may start relationships from a space of pain, insecurity, and agony, leading to certain behaviors. Unresolved childhood trauma can also affect self-esteem, create anxiety, cause post-traumatic stress disorder, and affect general health. [1, 3]
Responses to Childhood Trauma
Traits of unhealed childhood trauma can include:
- Communication issues – You may blame, criticize, block, lash out on, or refuse to let another person in. This highlights an inability to ask for what you want in an open and straightforward manner because you were never taught how to do so. 
- Emotional dysregulation – A child who experienced trauma may not know how to self-soothe and relies on caregivers to do so. When this does not happen, a child grows up feeling anxious and fearful. While survival requires that a child finds a way to get around a lack of safety, it can make it difficult in later life for the child to regulate emotions when confronted with overwhelming situations. [5, 6]
- Fear and anxiety – Depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, obsessive behavior, anxieties, relationship fears, trust issues, fear of judgment, outbursts of frustration, or social anxiety are all symptoms of fear that can result from childhood trauma. 
- Constant attempts to please – You may have a love/hate relationship with being helpful. No matter how many times you try, saying “no ” just doesn’t come naturally. Silencing yourself and pushing your emotions away, all the while working to anticipate the emotions of other people can leave you feeling burnt out. 
- Overexplaining – This is a trauma response for people who had to walk on eggshells around their parents. Constant worry about doing or saying the wrong thing paralyzed them. So, people-pleasing becomes a default behavior, serving as a survival instinct to avoid abandonment. This can also manifest as overexplaining or oversharing. 
All of these contribute to a vicious cycle where you may revert to childlike patterns of asking, demanding, or being passive-aggressive to have your needs fully met. Some of these behaviors can be easily overlooked and may seem normal, but they can have a significant impact on mental and emotional well-being. It is important to be aware of these signs and to take them seriously.
If you find yourself reliving the trauma through triggers or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Dr. Nandi’s Calming the Chaos Audio Series may help you let go of feelings of anxiety and tension.
Neuroscientist Explains Overexplaining
Overexplaining may not seem like a sign of childhood trauma, but it can be a subtle and often overlooked indicator of past traumatic experiences. This behavior can be a way for individuals to cope with feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and mistrust that may have been caused by trauma.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, provides more insight into overexplaining and how to help people heal from trauma with cognitive techniques. 
To do so, Dr. Leaf believes that we must identify the “root” thought that causes the undesirable behavior.
If you find yourself overexplaining a lot, you may be expending a lot of mental energy in managing your emotions and attempting to decipher others’ perceptions of you. This constant effort leads to mental exhaustion.
Uncontrolled toxic thinking has the potential to create a state of low-grade inflammation across the body and the brain. This affects cortisol levels, hormones, inflammatory factors, and brain functionality. The bottom line is that our life experiences are reflected in our biology. [8, 9]
Psychoneuroimmunology research has shown how conscious thinking controls the function of the immune system. When we are stressed, there’s a noticeable impact on the body’s ability to protect itself.
Dr. Leaf developed a mind-management system to rewire the brain, heal past trauma, and remove barriers to healing. Participants in her clinical trials who practiced these techniques for 21 days saw an 81% decrease in depression and anxiety.
The 5-step tool used in her trial appears to act as a “reset,” inducing system for a healthier, happier state.
The simple 5-step mind management process called the “neurocycle” is based on the science of thought and brain science — specifically how we form thoughts with our minds.
The five steps are:
- Gather information about your thoughts and behaviors. Recall a moment when you found yourself overexplaining recently. Remind yourself that oversharing doesn’t create intimacy; it can be a sign of self-absorption that is masked as “vulnerability.”
- Reflect on your answers to number 1. Understand why you exhibit these behaviors. Think about how overexplaining may harm your relationships and your life in general.
- Write in a journal to record thoughts and gain a better understanding of the root of your trauma.
- Recheck to see your behaviors in a new light and avoid being so hard on yourself. Transform negative thoughts into positive ones using affirmations and self-love.
- Practice new ways of thinking. Be patient, celebrate small victories, let go of people-pleasing, sit with your feelings, allow yourself grace, and practice mind management — where you’re aware of how your behaviors affect others. 
My Personal RX: The Power of Positivity
We can’t force ourselves to suddenly “be over” something. For true healing to occur, all feelings need to be allowed, encouraged, and heard, whether through visiting a psychologist, seeking therapy, or finding empathic responses from trusted sources.
People who have been taught to “tune in” to their unconscious are better at managing their thoughts. Since they can “detox” and “build” their brains, they can navigate the ups and downs of life with grace.
Change always comes through awareness, the power of positivity, and taking small, purposeful steps in the direction you want to go. If you would like to move through fears with conscious intent and deep inner knowledge, Dr. Nandi’s Calming the Chaos Audio Series can help.
- Understanding Child Trauma – What is Childhood Trauma? | SAMHSA
- How To Recognize If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You As An Adult (& How To Heal)
- A behavioral perspective of childhood trauma and attachment issues: Toward alternative treatment approaches for children with a history of abuse.
- Trauma’s Impact on Relationships: Part II
- Childhood Maltreatment, Emotional Dysregulation, and Psychiatric Comorbidities – PMC
- Effects | The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- When People Pleasing is a Trauma Response: Fawn Trauma Explained — Sana Counselling
- How Over-Explaining is Linked to Trauma + Strategies to Find the Root & Heal
- Why mind-management is the solution to cleaning up your mental mess – White Paper