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How Toxic Family Dynamics Can Cause C-PTSD In Emotionally Intense Children

Toxic Family Cause CPTSD Emotionally Intense Children

Toxic family dynamics and complex PTSD (C-PTSD) – The wound of being too intense

Developmental trauma, or Complex PTSD, results from a series of repeated, often ‘invisible’ childhood experiences of maltreatment, abuse, neglect, and situations in which the child has little or no control or any perceived hope to escape. Growing up in an environment full of unpredictability, danger, parental inconsistencies, or emotional abandonment, these individuals are left with ’hidden traumas’ that disrupt not only their psychological but also neurological and emotional development. 

When it comes to emotionally intense, sensitive, and gifted individuals, we ought to be cautious of the confines of categories and diagnoses. Far too often, the most creative, forward, and independent thinking people are being misunderstood, mislabelled, and misdiagnosed.

Being sensitive does not equal vulnerability. Sensitive people are innately porous and receptive to their environment, making them painfully aware of not just physical sensations, sounds, and touch, but also relational experiences such as warmth or indifference. In critical, undermining settings, they may devolve into despair, but— and this is important to note— in a supportive and nurturing environment, they thrive like no others.

It is true that because of their unique ways of perceiving the world, they are acutely aware of and have more intense internal responses towards existing problems in their early lives, which may exacerbate the impact of any developmental deficits and trauma. However, sensitive children respond to not just the negative but also the positive. They may be more prone to upsets and physical sensitivities, but they also possess the most capacity to be unusually vital, creative, and successful.

In other words, the intense and sensitive ones are not born ‘vulnerable’, they are simply more responsive to their environments. And with the right kind of knowledge, support, and nurture— even if this means replenishing what one did not get in childhood in adulthood— they can thrive like no others.

Want to know more about toxic family dynamics? Read The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma In Adult Life

The Invisible Trauma (C-PTSD)

In the past, psychologists have typically focused more on the impact of ‘shock trauma’ from extreme events such as accidents, wars, and natural disasters. However, there is a second type of trauma that is very real and pervasive, yet not captured by the traditional diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The term Complex PTSD describes chronic childhood trauma such as emotional neglect or parentification, that are invisible in nature.

It is easy to recognize when a child is explicitly, physically, or sexually abused, but the impact of having inadequate or deficient parents can be elusive and escape our collective awareness. Sometimes the trauma could even be about what your caregivers did not do (omission) rather than what they did (commission).

Unfortunately, unlike shock trauma or physical abuse, the psychological injuries caused by emotional abandonment or alienation are often invisible and unacknowledged. This may leave these children feeling confused; assuming that their traumatic experience is not justified, and many turn to blame and shame themselves. Even as adults, they may suppress or deny these painful memories as they dismissively compare their trauma to those who were more ‘noticeably’ abused.

Growing research has found that a wide array of psychological difficulties finds their roots in these chronic childhood relational and attachment injuries. Children who experience this type of trauma show a disrupted ability to regulate their emotions, behaviors, and attention, and these symptoms often extend into adulthood, leading to clinical presentations including Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Borderline Personality Disorder, and even chronic physical pains (APA, 2007).

Toxic Family Dynamics And The Sensitive Child

Some of the toxic family dynamics sensitive/intense children can get locked into include: Having depressed or emotionally blank parents, having controlling parents, enmeshment, having to step up as ‘little adults’, having to face parents’ envy, being scapegoated as the black sheep.

Being parents to a sensitive and emotionally gifted child has its own rewards. However, they need to be very mature and highly aware. Many parents do not have all that it takes. Most of the times, parents do not exploit or abuse their sensitive children on purpose, their limited understanding or experience get the best of them.

The families of emotionally intense children end up in one of two ways; they could allow themselves to love the kid, however painstakingly, or they reject the child for his or her strangeness.

In an experiment conducted by Andrew Solomon, involving interviews with over 400 families, he observed that in the case of having atypical children, would-be good parents were extraordinary, going the extra mile if the need arose and the would-be bad parents were downright abusive. He concluded that having an exceptional child exaggerates parental tendencies.

Complex or developmental trauma is detrimental because they are invisible. On the surface, we looked just fine. We were provided with all the material things we need; clothing, food, etc. But the way we feel inside does not measure up to what our appearance portrays. There is sometimes a pressure to keep up an illusion of a “normal happy child from a normal happy family”. Our parents and society tell us we are well, but the fact that we did not feel this way made us more confused.

Looking to know more about toxic family dynamics? Read The Lifelong Effects Of Childhood Emotional Neglect

Here, we lay out a few toxic family dynamics a sensitive and intense child often gets locked into:

1. Scapegoating

When we as an emotionally sensitive child was born in a neuro-typical family, it was difficult for the family to understand us. As such, we quickly became the cast away; “the different one” or the “difficult child”.

It takes a lot of patience, maturity, and strength to bring up an emotionally sensitive child. However, due to all sorts of reasons, from trauma to lacking in emotional incapacities, not all families can do this. In a healthy family, there should be enough room for each member of a family to express themselves as individuals. But in families with little tolerance of differences, the child becomes the scapegoat; the black sheep of the family.

Being scapegoated may not mean that our family did not love us. Usually, people resort to making a scapegoat of an individual avoid dealing with their own emotional turmoils. As soon as someone is scapegoated, the family will try to make it stay that way so that they do not have to deal with their own problems or vulnerabilities. When we try to change or leave, we may be emotionally blackmailed or manipulated.

The following may indicate you have been scapegoated:

  • You were criticized for innate attributes or characters such as sensitivity and intensity.
  • Name tags such as “weird”, “trouble” etc.
  • Unequal treatment compared to your siblings.
  • Your mistakes or errors are blown out of proportion and were punished more than is necessary.
  • You were not paid enough attention when bullied.
  • No one cared enough to know or understand or listen to you.
  • Your family dismissed or downsized your achievements.

Once adopted, we find it difficult to shake away this scapegoat role, even as an adult. We may carry this assumed identity all our lives.

While we may intellectually understand later in life that we were not the cause of the family problems, shifting from the self-loathe to self-love requires profound emotional healing. We must know we were never the cause of chaos in the family; neither were we responsible for solving any problems. To heal, the child in us must go from being in denial to anger to finally finding freedom and release.

2. Parentification

Parental guidance and protection are crucial in developing a sense of safety and foundation within our psyche. Some parents, however, cannot provide this due to insufficient emotional resources. If this is the case, the parent-child roles are reversed; the child becomes the parent, and the parent becomes the child. This parent-child role reversal is known as parentification.

Generally, there are two types of parentification.

Emotional parentification happens when the child becomes the parent’s emotional support. This could occur when a parent shares the innermost details of their anxieties and worries with the child – intimate details the child is really too young to process.

Instrumental parentification is when the child engages in physical labor and support in the household, such as doing the housework, cooking, cleaning, taking care of younger siblings, and other “adult” responsibilities.

Between the two types, emotional parentification has the direst consequences in terms of childhood development. In psychological terms, it is considered a form of abuse, exploitation, and neglect that is difficult to respond to.

Parentification can happen in several ways; the parent was behaving child-like, confiding in the child on sensitive matters, or relating with the child as a peer or close friend. If we had been put in these situations, we would feel obliged to step up to the role to deserve the parent’s love. The effects on our sense of self-worth and our idea about love are far-reaching, though not immediately apparent.

Parentification is a boundary violation. We were forced to grow up faster than we should. We had nobody to look up to or rely on for guidance. We had to learn and accept that our needs would not be met and that having our dreams and desires was not acceptable. As a result, we learn to shove our feelings down. We learn to deny our innermost thoughts and ignore our own needs so we can avoid disappointing our parents.

When parentified, we had to parent our siblings as well. We might end up feeling short or as we failed because by default, it is impossible for a child to perfectly fit in the roles of a parent. We may also feel guilty when we have to leave home (e.g. when we go to college and have to ‘leave our siblings behind’). Psychologically, we feel like parents walking out on their children.

There is no way we could have helped their parents with their emotional pains or many dissatisfactions of their lives. We believe it was our fault and that we were not enough. This affects us even as we grow into adults. We have an overly obligated sense of responsibility in relationships and may overcompensate for this. We do not learn to say no or know when to stop giving. We are always too eager to help or rescue other people from pain and might be attracted to partners that take more than they give. Eventually, we can become emotionally drained and fatigued.

What makes the situation worse is our difficulties in getting angry at our parent. When we were parentified, we intellectually understand they did not mean to be abusive and were just limited or vulnerable.

As a sensitive child, we felt very compassionate and protective of our parents. This protective instinct hinders us from admitting the truth of what we have been deprived of.

Ongoing research has proven that this sort of abuse is a risk factor in a child’s normal development. It leaves deep emotional wounds that endure into their adult years, adding to the challenges already present. Behavioral manifestations that begin in childhood tend to become worse in adulthood, making it challenging to maintain healthy relationships.

Our suffering continues as we enter adulthood. As the primary caregiver for our parents and siblings, there is often no emotional support, no safety net. For the most part, we were expected to keep it together and never show signs of distress. As adults, we may have trouble saying “no” to people. We are often unable to express anger and have a hard time trusting others.

Looking to know more about how it feels when you have experienced toxic family dynamics? Read 8 Things You Can Relate To If You Were Emotionally Neglected As A Child

3. Having emotionally unavailable parents

Some caregivers can be emotionally unresponsive to their children due to mental illnesses, limited psychological capacity, work or health demands, and neuro-atypical traits like Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, or autism. This unresponsiveness, in turn, makes the children feel shut out and abandoned.

Parents need to acknowledge children’s expressions for them to develop a sense of self-worth. This is done through a process called mirroring. Children need to feel wanted and welcomed by their parents. To achieve this, parents applaud a child, encourage them, and converse with them in an affirmative way.

Sure, a parent cannot be there for the child at all times. A parent has work or other commitments to attend to. But as a baseline, we receive enough mirroring experiences to have a foundation. If we have received sufficient mirroring as a child, we will have enough memories to draw from and no longer requires constant reassurance.

We will grow up with a good sense of self-worth and an ability to self- regulate. If, however, we have not had enough mirroring experience, the development of our internal-mirroring would have been hindered, and part of our psyche remains child-like and dysregulated.

In the Still Face Experiment by Edward Tronick in 1975 (there is a short, provocative video clip on Youtube) which demonstrates the process and importance of mirroring, a mother is asked to keep a blank face and ignore the child’s attempt to engage her. The child “rapidly sobered and grew wary” on getting no response from the mother. On several failed attempts, he resigned and turned away, looking hopeless. These events occurred quite quickly, that they could have gone unnoticed. The experiment shows that we learn to regulate emotions by mirroring. Babies only learn to manage and regulate how they feel when they have other people as mirrors.

This skill is particularly crucial for empathetic children. We are likely to have an active mirror neuron system that makes us more prone to emotional contagion and being affected by other people’s feelings. It is easy for us to get overwhelmed by other people when we cannot self regulate.

Adults in some families may disapprove children with scorn when we try to connect with them. This emotional neglect takes a substantial toll on. We do not easily forget these hurtful events.

4. Enmeshment

According to the Separation-Individual theory (1975), babies have a natural symbiotic relationship with their mothers at birth. However, they still need to have a sense of self and know their mothers as a different entity from them so that they can develop healthily.

However, some parents have a hard time letting go and separating themselves from their children, usually due to their own insecurities or unfulfilling lives. This eventually denies the child opportunities to take risks, explore, make productive mistakes, and become resilient.

Anxious parents may subtly send emotional messages like “I cannot survive without you”, “don’t go”, “don’t grow up”, “you can’t go”, “you can’t make it without me”, “it’s a dangerous world out there” to their children.

Often, these parents’ need to be in control comes from the fear of being dispensable. They may try and use the child to fill a void they feel from being displeased with their own lives or relationships.

Alice Miller, in her seminal work “The Drama of The Gifted Child”, explains this situation. On having a child, the parent may feel as though she finally has someone who will love her unconditionally and proceed to use the child to fulfill her own need to be wanted (the female pronoun is used in old psychoanalytical texts. We should be careful not to preserve this mother blaming culture). We can imagine why it is tempting for the parents to use an empathic child as a confidant— they are loving, perceptive, and sensitive. They can sense when their parents feel down even before they do.

When our parents’ needs override our need to be independent, we develop an identity that is tailored to suit their needs. After all, we were afraid of losing their love. This results in enmeshment— a relationship where people become excessively involved with each other.

In enmeshment, family boundaries are blurred or non-existent. A switch in someone’s mood quickly affects the whole family. Since we did not grow up with firm emotional boundaries, we struggle to set them as adults. We have a blurred sense of identity and find it difficult to differentiate between our feeling and the feelings of those close to us. We feel an obligation to help others, sometimes compulsively. It may be difficult for us to have balanced relationships.

Enmeshment often occurs under the guise of love, loyalty, family, or unity, which makes it even more deceptive. Rather than love or family, it comes from a place of fear. A truly loving family encourages the young ones to be independent, to be a “self” rather than an “us”. A child should not feel like there is a condition in which he is loved. Parents should not feel like their children are their only source of happiness, fulfillment, or wellbeing.

Enmeshment is not a malicious scheme by parents. It often is a family pattern, passed down from generations. Parents are usually not even aware that they are enmeshing their young ones; they only are repeating a cycle.

Want to know more about enmeshment in toxic family dynamics? Read 13 Signs You’re Suffering From Toxic Family Enmeshment

5. Competition and oppression

Parenthood comes with an array of emotions; anger, joy, grief, pride, and so on. While it is not commonplace to talk about it in society, jealousy is one of these emotions that parents can feel towards their children.

Parents with unfulfilling lives are particularly threatened by seeing what their children have— opportunities that were not available to them in their youth. As they watch their children grow, their childhood wounds are reopened, and they go back psychologically to when they were children. Sometimes, they even begin to perceive their children as competitors.

This becomes a paradox. On one hand, they genuinely want their children to succeed. On the other hand, they feel intimidated seeing their children more beautiful and more successful than they were or are. They may feel betrayed as the child becomes more independent, considering how much time and energy they had sacrificed for the child. Parents who are not self-conscious may out their resentment and envy in dysfunctional ways. They may give their children back-handed or sarcastic compliments, subtle criticism, or even more direct attack and scorn.

Generally, parents are their children’s first role models. However, when the supposed role models insult us for our accomplishments or put us down, we begin to develop low self-esteem and hate ourselves. As adults, we may feel very guilty or ashamed of our successes in life. We may even sabotage ourselves, stay average, and purposely underachieve.

Carl Jung explains that nothing has a stronger psychological influence on children than the unlived lives of parents. Although it does not make up for how they behave, most competitive parents at a point in their childhood were victims of deprivation. They find it difficult to give positive feedback to their children because they never had it.

How do we release past trauma?

All that has been said so far may be disconcerting.

It is possible that you had hoped and you were disappointed but kept hoping regardless. Or that you were hurt and betrayed but still believe in love. It is possible to feel confused by the several trains of emotions that you have for the family that could not understand you.

From the point of view of human evolution, the bond we form with our parents or caregivers is one of life-or-death and so, the idea that these people we totally depend on can fail us or that we can disappoint them is terrifying. We have historically suppressed the anger or resentment we had for our parents because that was the only way to survive.

Despite becoming adults, a lot of us still have an estranged relationship with anger.

We find ways to rationalize or justify the rage we feel because we feel threatened by it. We say “they did the best they could” to downplay our pain.

Most of us do not feel safe enough to handle our rage and spend so much of ourselves trying to drown it. We may binge eat or numb ourselves, becomes aggressive to ourselves, or fall into depression. Sometimes, the bottled-up rage in us explode unexpectedly, and we sabotage our current relationships with those we love.

Anger is a universal energy. It needs to be acknowledged and released from our system.

Anger is not the same as blame.

There is a hidden belief that comes with anger: “someone must have done something wrong”. This follows that “if no one did something wrong, then it must be me. I must be at fault”.

In truth, blame does not have to follow anger.

Want to know more about how toxic family dynamics can hamper your life? Read How To Heal From Childhood Trauma When Its Hampering Your Mental Health

We may consider separating our parents’ toxic behaviors from the people they are from a spiritual perspective. Perhaps we can try and understand that their dysfunctions come from pain that they inherited. We can see them as ill-equipped humans rather than ‘our parents’. They are fellow people affected by a universal, inescapable pain body.

We can also try and remember that although the pain we feel feels very personal, we are independent of it.

Sometimes, we are only sharing part of a collective, universal human suffering, some of which was only passed down to us.

Our trauma does not define us.

We are not our past.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”― Mother Teresa

Signs And Symptoms Of Complex Trauma (C-PTSD)

What Happens When We Bury Unspeakable Truths

1. We become dissociated and feel dead inside

Cumulative trauma has the power to force our childhood into foreclosure. Our true self is the part of us that is free, spontaneous, and fully alive. But having been emotionally abandoned by our caretakers, we have also learned to bury our true selves.

Such disconnection comes not from one single traumatic experience, but an accumulation of painful emotional memories— when our enthusiasm was met with coldness, our passion misunderstood, our feelings silenced or our actions punished. The innocent, most alive part of us- our Soul, our True Self, or our Inner Child- is forced into hiding.

Because the repeated emotional abuse or neglect was so painful, we had no choice but to dissociate. Our numbing may involve disconnection from the body, our emotions, and other people. We can continue to function in the outside world but don’t feel connected. We hide from our passion, spontaneous aliveness, and the ability to be vulnerable. We observe everything with intellectual curiosity but remain distanced. The result is an emptiness that derails our sense of being. Deep down, we feel guilty for having forsaken our truths.

2. We feel defective

Children naturally blame themselves for what happens to them.

When they are bullied, they believe it is because they are not good enough.

If they seek attention from their parents but are neglected, they believe they are too needy.

If they are burdened with demands that they cannot fulfill, they believe it is their failure— Failing to be a perfect child, failing to take good care of their siblings, failing to soothe their parents’ anger.

If, as an intense child, we are scapegoated as the ‘problematic one’- the one who is ’too much’, ’too sensitive’, the origin of all woes in the household- we would believe we are at fault and internalize a sense defectiveness. We then believe that we are disgusting, ugly, stupid, or flawed. Our toxic shame binds us with beliefs such as ‘nothing I do is good enough’, ‘there is something wrong with me’, ‘I am bad and toxic’.

Toxic shame makes us think we deserve little and need to settle for less. It stops us from fulfilling our potential as we hold ourselves back.

Want to know more about the effects of toxic family dynamics? Read The Childhood Wounds We Carry In Adulthood When We Were Deprived of Love

3. We become highly anxious

If our parents are emotionally unstable, or if due to their vulnerabilities we felt the need to take care of them, we become the ‘little adult’ at home. We are hyper-vigilant, always watching out for the earliest smallest clues of our parents’ emotional fluctuations so that we could protect ourselves and our siblings. This hyper empathic tendency doesn’t go away, and we carry it into our adulthood.

Our nervous system remains in a continual state of high arousal. We may feel we cannot relax and have to always look out for danger. We may be irritable and jumpy, suffer from insomnia, and other anxiety-related disorders and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Our bodies store traumatic memories more than our mind does. As a result of childhood trauma, we feel ungrounded and uncentered. We are like frightened children living in adult bodies; when the unexpected things happen, we are overwhelmed and feel close to breaking down.

4. We resort to addiction and compulsions to cope

Our brain is designed to protect us; when we come across a particularly difficult or traumatic situation, it will be stored in a way that is ‘frozen in time’.  We may not even remember it. We are not sure what triggers us, but our suppressed memories come out in the ways of uncontrollable mood swings, persistent sadness and depression, and explosive anger.

Through addictive behaviors of any form, from drinking, spending, eating to compulsive sex, we try to either A) Numb away the pain that we try so hard not to feel, or B) Fill the inner void. However, this can escalate into a compulsive cycle, for the numbing/filling effect from these external agents never last long, and the moment their effect ceases, we reach for more. It is a dead-end escape route that never leads anywhere.

5. We are fearful of closeness

Trust, interdependence, acceptance all require a degree of vulnerability our wounded skin finds too hard to bear.

If we had not felt welcomed into the world, we would always feel like an outcast, someone with no hope of finding belongingness in the world. All our life, we are caught between the intense need for kinship and extreme fear of contact.

After having been betrayed by those who were supposed to love and support us, we decide that we would no longer take any pain and disappointment. We thought if we stop hoping or believing in anything or anyone, we could avoid the potential let down. instilled in our subconscious is the belief that it is risky to have hope and expectations, so we don’t attach to anyone or anything to avoid disappointment.

Suppressing painful memories consume a tremendous amount of energy.  if we bury our betrayal trauma without processing it, we relate to the world through the lens of grudge and suspicions and push people away.

On the other hand, if we had grown up in a chaotic household, or that our parents are overprotective or overbearing, we fear being smothered, losing control, or losing a sense of individuality. We fear being asked for too much, and thus distance ourselves and withhold.

Retreating from closeness does not necessarily mean isolating entirely, but we may feel the need to conceal parts of our authentic self.  on the surface, we are social but we don’t get close to anyone. Or maybe we settle for false- closeness in sex but never commit to knowing anyone in depth. We hide our passionate, loving self, and become cold, cynical, and sarcastic. Withdrawing into our shell whenever we feel vulnerable also means not able to take in support and love from others.

Eventually, we lose hope in finding anyone who can understand us.

Looking to know more about toxic family dynamics? Read The Lifelong Effects of Childhood Neglect By Parents

6. We damage the love that we do have

Neuroscientists have found that parents’ responses to our attachment-seeking behaviors, especially during the first two years of our lives, encode our view of the world. If as infants, we have consistent attachment interactions with an attuned, available, and nurturing caregiver, we will be able to develop a sense of safety and trust. In contrast, when our parents are emotionally unavailable to us, we would internalize the message that the world is a frightening place; when we are in need, no one will be there.

This results in deep fear of abandonment. As adults, any kind of distance, even brief and benign ones, may trigger us to re-experience the original pain of being left alone, dismissed, or disdain. Our fear could trigger coping survival modes such as denial, clinging, avoidance, and dismissing others, lashing out in relationships, or the pattern of sabotaging relationships to avoid potential rejection.

Fear of rejection or abandonment may also bring us to put up with a damaging relationship or stay in an abusive one. The message that we received from our unhealed wounds tells us that being mistreated, degraded is still better than being on our own.

7. We sabotage our success

Our experience might have led to believe our success and happiness would threaten our siblings, attract envy, and that we were somehow ‘arrogant’ if we were achieving high. Perhaps our parents were too limited in their worldview to comprehend our gifts, and deep down we carry a ‘survivor guilt’ that says if we achieve more than others or outgrow our family, we are betraying them. Even only subconsciously, we become frightened of our power.

Expecting little of ourselves and others may make sense when we were little people who live under the mercy of unpredictable and explosive caregivers, but no longer serve us if we wish to step into a more prominent place and to live fully.

Want to know more about how toxic family dynamics work? Read Six Kinds of Emotional Abuse by Narcissistic Parents

Specific Healing Goals

The bouncing back process for developmental trauma is different to the therapy for simple PTSD, general depression or anxiety.

Because of the complicated issues around a personal sense of safety and stability, being exposed to traumatic materials before you are ready can lead to re-traumatization, and reinforce the cycle of hopelessness. Themes such as safety, mourning, and reconnection are some of the key themes specific to this process. 

The following are some of the healing goals that are essential:

  • Locating or developing an internal sense of safety.
  • Building connection with self, the body, and emotions- through mindfulness and other mind-body techniques.
  • Expanding the ‘window of tolerance’ for various emotions, so you are not constantly in either state of hyper-arousal (acute stress, rage, tension, and panic) or under-arousal (dissociating, disconnecting, feeling empty and depressed).
  • Finding ways to cope when feeling overwhelmed, without resorting to avoidance or compensatory behaviors (overeating, overspending, and other impulsive habits).
  • Learning to experience connection with others as enriching rather than tiring or threatening.
  • Becoming aware of and finding ways to preserve your energetic boundaries.
  • Neurologically regulating the nervous system in order to cope with day-to-day stressors and triggers.
  • Lessening the impact of your internalized shame, and the voice of the inner critic.

Want to know more about how you can heal from toxic family dynamics? Read 4 Steps to Recovery After Childhood Emotional Neglect

Visit Imi Lo’s website Eggshell Therapy for more such informative articles.

Written By Imi Lo
Originally Appeared In Eggshell Therapy

Such is the pain of growing up amongst toxic family dynamics, and childhood trauma, that it becomes exceptionally difficult to move on from it even in your adulthood. It might be difficult, but not impossible. Toxic family dynamics can definitely take some time to recover from, but if you take it one step at a time, you will be able to overcome all the pain and hurt that you experienced. Give yourself that time, and love to make sure that you achieve that.

If you want to know more about toxic family dynamics, then check this video out below:

Toxic Family Cause CPTSD Emotionally Intense Children Pin

Imi Lo

Imi Lo is a consultant for emotionally intense and highly sensitive people. She is the author of Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity, available in multiple languages, and The Gift of Intensity. Imi is the founder of Eggshell Therapy and Coaching, working with intense people from around the world. Imi has practiced as a social worker and therapist in London (U.K). She has trained in mental health, psychotherapy, art therapy, philosophical counseling, and mindfulness-based modalities. She works holistically, combining psychological insights with Eastern and Western philosophies such as Buddhism. Imi’s credentials include a Master in Mental Health, Master of Buddhist Studies, Graduate Diploma in Psychology, Bachelor of Social Science in Social Work, Certificate in Logic-based Therapy, and an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Psychotherapy. She has received multiple scholarships and awards including the Endeavour Award by the Australian Government. She has been consulted by and appeared in publications such as The Psychologies Magazine, The Telegraph, Marie Claire,and The Daily Mail.View Author posts

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Developing anxiety due to trauma is a normal response to the pain you suffer. Experiencing trauma can lead you to exhibit several anxious responses; read on to know more about these 10 anxious behaviors that are actually trauma responses.

Key Points:

Viewing anxious behaviors through a trauma-informed lens teaches us that there is usually a reason for them. Developing an understanding of our anxious behaviors can show us that there is nothing "wrong" with us. Learning not to take things personally can help us understand loved ones with the same traits. While having one or two of these behaviors is probably normal, if you find you can relate to most or all of them, they might point to anxiety.