One thing that child abuse and/or neglect can do is stop someone from developing in the right way. The years will then pass and there will come a point in time when they will look like an adult, but that can be as far as it will go.

Behind their appearance can be someone who feels more like a child. They can then play the role of an adult, having a number of adult responsibilities, yet their life can be one big struggle.

On The Inside

If it was possible to look inside them and to get an idea of how they experience life, it would soon become clear that their outer appearance doesn’t match up with what is taking place internally. On the inside, this person can spend a lot of time feeling hopeless, helpless, powerless and fearful.

So instead of being used to feeling at peace, they can be used to feeling overwhelmed. One reason why they can be used to experiencing life in this way can be because they didn’t develop the ability to handle their own emotions as a child.

Weighed Down

The time in their life when they needed other people to be there for them so that they could handle their emotions, may have been a time when no one was there for them. Or if there were people there, these people may have typically caused them to experience a lot of pain.

They wouldn’t have been equipped to deal with this pain but there wouldn’t have been anything that they could do about it. This would have most likely had an impact on their brain and it would have loaded them up with trauma.

A Traumatised State

The trauma that they carry is the other reason why they can be used to experiencing life in this way. This trauma can have an effect on every part of their being, making their life a lot harder than it needs to be.
For example, one thing that this trauma can do is hijack their brain and body, causing them to be stuck in survival mode. The part of them that is there to keep them alive will then be hyperactive.

In Control

Ideally, this part of them would make itself known whenever their survival could be at risk. However, when someone is stuck in survival mode, this part of them will have completely taken over.

As a result of this, it won’t be possible for them to think clearly or to be emotionally settled. Experiencing life in this way is going to cause them to experience a fair amount of stress and make it hard for them to live a ‘normal’ life.

Keeping it together

Nevertheless, even if this part of ones being is more active than it should be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will always be on edge. What they may do is live life in a certain way, with this being a way that allows them to keep this part of them under control.

If they were to change their life, they could find that this part of them ends up being out of control. The life that they lead might not be fulfilling but it could be seen as the only way for them to stop themselves from being overwhelmed by fear and to ensure their survival.

The Foundations

In addition to the effect that trauma is having on them, there will be the effect that their beliefs are having on them. There will be a number of beliefs that they developed during their early years.

And even though these are just beliefs, they can be seen as the truth now that they are an adult. How they feel, the thoughts that they have, how other people treat them, and how they perceive the world can be defined by these beliefs.

Staying Alive

Based on what they experienced as a child, they may have some, if not all, of the following beliefs:

·That they can only survive if they please others
·That they can only survive if they stay small
·That they can only survive if they are not seen or heard
·That they can only survive if they hide who they are
·That they can only survive if they say ‘yes’ and allow others to walk over them
·That they can only survive if they ignore their own needs
·That they can only survive if they ignore their own feelings.
·That they can only survive if they keep people at a distance
·That they can only survive if they stay out of their body
·That they can only survive if they don’t trust others


When they were a child there is the chance that each of these beliefs were true, meaning that they wouldn’t have just been something that they believed. Nonetheless, now that they are no longer a child or living in an environment like this, these beliefs are likely to make it even harder for them to survive, let alone thrive.

One can keep themselves at a certain level, not allowing themselves to grow and expand. What helped them to survive at one point in time will be what is making it even harder for them to survive at another.


If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist, healer and/or a support group.

Author's Bio: 

Teacher, prolific writer, author, and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over two thousand, three hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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