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Childhood Trauma

How Childhood Trauma Shapes Adulthood - The Lingering Scar

Childhood trauma is a serious issue that can have profound and lasting effects on an individual's mental health. In Singapore, the Statista Research Department reported approximately 2,100 cases of child abuse investigated in 2021, which is more than four times the number reported in 2015. These alarming statistics highlight the urgent need to address and understand childhood trauma.

Types of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can manifest in various forms, each with unique challenges and consequences. Here are some common types:

1. Neglect

  • Childhood neglect is a form of abuse where a caregiver fails to provide adequate attention, supervision, or resources necessary for a child's healthy development. Ignoring a child’s emotional needs for comfort, affection, and attention and failing to provide basic needs can lead a child to feel unwanted and lonely.​​

2. Physical Violence

  • Physical abuse stemming from a parent's frustration can lead to feelings of insecurity and fear in children.

3. Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual abuse during childhood can result in long-lasting shame and self-blame, severely impacting an individual's self-esteem and mental health.

4. Parents' Divorce or Separation

  • The separation or divorce of parents can create a sense of instability and loss, deeply affecting a child's emotional well-being.

5. Sudden Death of a Close Family Member

  • The unexpected loss of a loved one can be a traumatic event that overwhelms a child with grief and fear.

6. Being Given Up for Adoption

  • Being placed for adoption can lead to feelings of abandonment and questions about self-worth.

7. Bullying in School

  • ​Bullying can cause significant psychological harm, leading to disorders such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Signs of Trauma in Adults

Adults who experienced trauma in childhood often exhibit various signs and symptoms, including:

  • Poor Emotional Regulation: Difficulty managing emotions can lead to unpredictable outbursts or withdrawal.

  • Anxiety, Restlessness, and Fear of Staying Alone: Constant fear and unease, especially when alone, are common.

  • Difficulty Maintaining Relationships: Struggles with trust and intimacy can make forming and sustaining relationships challenging.

  • People-Pleasing Behaviour: Constantly seeking approval and validation from others to feel valued.

  • Low Self-Esteem: Persistent feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt.

  • Social Anxiety: Fear of social situations and being judged by others.

How Does Trauma Affect Mental Health?

​The impact of childhood trauma can be profound and long-lasting. Individuals may experience:

  • Panic Disorder: Recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and a persistent fear of having more.

  • Depression: Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in life.

  • Suicidal Thoughts: In severe cases, individuals may experience thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Reliving the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares, leading to severe anxiety and distress.


Childhood trauma is a critical issue that requires attention and action. Understanding the types of trauma and recognizing the signs in adults can help in providing the necessary support and intervention. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of childhood trauma, seeking professional help from a counsellor or therapist can be a vital step towards healing and recovery.

Care Alliance Counselling offers psychotherapy and counselling specifically designed to help individuals heal from trauma. Contact us for an appointment here.

Care Alliance Counselling - Where Healing Begins

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