I experienced three consecutive traumas during childhood — the first living alone with my severely depressed and volatile mother whose moods terrified me, the second a long period of violent sexual abuse culminating in my rape at age 9, the third a very open rejection and subsequent abandonment by my father. I’m now 23 and my life is beautiful. I have dealt with most of my issues. But one that won’t leave me alone is that I feel I am stuck with the emotional maturity of a small child. It’s like I stopped developing at some point. I cry literally every day, often at things that most people would find ridiculous. I have so many emotions and I don’t know what to do with them. I am so embarrassed because I frequently find myself fighting back tears in public. I’m not depressed, I am very happy in general, it’s just that my emotional responses are childlike and it only takes the tiniest thing to set me off. I’m constantly struggling not to cry like a silly little girl, I can’t seem to control myself. I can’t really describe the things that upset me, because they are so varied. Is this something I will have to live with forever? Is there a certain type of therapy that you could recommend? My last therapist told me that I was just an incredibly sensitive person and that I’d have to accept this about myself, but I can’t bear the thought of being so emotional forever. I don’t feel that it’s normal. Did my childhood trauma stunt my emotional development? Did I get stuck? Is this fixable?Stuck In Childhood
Stuck In Childhood
Thank you for taking the time to explain the details of your difficult situation. You are a resilient person who is displayed a great deal of courage in coping with events he couldn’t control. Anyone of these conditions would be a lot to handle, I admire your ability to cope with so much.
The conclusions you’ve reached about the possibility of this stunting your growth emotionally are worth discussing with a trauma expert. I highly recommend you find someone in your area with expertise in childhood trauma. The “find help” tab at the top of the page can locate someone nearby.
There are many effective treatments, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). You may want to explore people certified in this modality as well.