Can You be Happy After a Traumatic Childhood?

· August 23, 2018

Not everyone has had a happy childhood. Unfortunately, some people have had difficult experiences in life, and sometimes, they leave a deep scar that’s capable of influencing diverse areas in their lives. During infancy, they weave a part of the fabric of your psychological lives. Because of this, people often ask if they can be happy after a traumatic childhood.

This isn’t a guess, but a verified fact. It’s very difficult to be happy after having lived through a traumatic childhood – but it isn’t impossible. This is because, during your first few years of life, people are particularly susceptible to emotions. Just like we mentioned earlier, your experiences scar you. Both positive and negative experiences leave a permanent emotional stamp in your life.

“Man’s true homeland is childhood.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke-


Children are highly vulnerable. They depend on the adults and the primary environment around them. They can’t rely on their physical or psychological resources to understand or process their life. It’s easy for them to exaggerate or distort situations, and can quickly feel sad or beaten up by their circumstances.

A traumatized child sitting in a field.

The effects of a traumatic childhood

The different forms of abuse or mistreatment leave impressions that have huge consequences on the child. This is something that people can’t deny. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to be happy after having lived through a traumatic childhood. It does, however, imply that it’s going to be a hard situation to overcome.

Childhood trauma translates into adults who have difficulty finding peace of mind. In adulthood, these people struggle with self-love and self-esteem. Sometimes, this means that those people find it impossible to love – or to be loved in return. Also, it’s possible that it can be a struggle to express emotions in general, or even be aware of emotional pain on a conscious level.

It’s also common to feel a sensation of discomfort, disillusion, or sadnessAgainst this backdrop, it’s difficult to create and maintain a positive attitude. After everything you’ve already gone through, you have to fight against it all to find happiness.

How can you be happy after a traumatic childhood?

It’s possible that those scars from your past won’t ever fully heal. The good thing is that, despite those traumatic echoes from your childhood, it’s possible to be happy. You have to work at it, which makes a lot of people uncomfortable. In fact, overcoming painful pasts makes people more evolved, sensible, and constructive.

Adult with difficult relationship.

There are a few things you can do to achieve happiness after having lived through a traumatic childhood:

  • Learn about the effects of trauma. It helps a lot to become informed. Through respectable resources, find out about the nature and consequences of childhood trauma. All of that information will bring you clarity and help you understand what you’re feeling.
  • Be safe and protect yourself. It’s very common for people who’ve had a difficult childhood to downplay the importance of self-care and self-protection. Don’t let this happen. Take care of yourself, physically as well as mentally and socially. Treat yourself as someone who needs protecting.
  • Cultivate healthy friendships. Carrying a traumatic event with you all the time often leads to difficulty in relating to other people. Fight this instinct. Cultivate friendships and give them an important place in your life. Don’t isolate yourself.
  • Distance yourself from toxic people. You don’t have to tolerate people that make you feel bad or make you doubt your self-worth. Walk away as soon as someone like that appears in your life.
  • Recognize and reinterpret your past. Avoiding thinking about what happened to you in the past doesn’t help you move on. It’s the exact opposite. The best thing for you to do is to go over everything that happened while trying to maintain an accepting and understanding attitude.

Overcoming your past

In those cases of childhood trauma, it’s recommended that you seek professional helpNo matter how strong or smart you think you are, there’s nothing more effective than therapy. Having the support of a third-party professional facilitates the path to inner harmony.

Having a difficult childhood gives you a different perspective towards life. That perspective can either be positive or negative. Everything depends on the way that you deal with it.

Woman overcoming childhood trauma.

It’s not easy to find the necessary motivation to try to heal the scars of a painful past. Nevertheless, it’s totally worth it because it can help you grow as a person and achieve well-being.