Is this you? “If nothing was wrong in my childhood, what’s wrong with me today?

Common Characteristics of Chronic Covert Trauma Survivors

Your family growing up looked pretty good — no alcoholism, no incest, no physical violence. It’s never occurred to you to use the term “trauma” to apply to your childhood experiences.

But yet, some of these difficulties trouble you today:

  • unsatisfied or lonely in relationships; sensitive to invalidation and abandonment,
  • wishing for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life,
  • physical problems including fatigue or pain
  • bothered by reliance on food, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, pain medications, internet, tv, coffee, colas, shopping,
  • lack of spontaneity, zest and a sense of joy and fun,
  • hard on yourself or alternately harsh and permissive,
  • self-hate, even self-loathing, depression, irritability, anxiety or extreme fatigue come “out of the blue” and “for no reason”
  • confusion about what is “really” bothering you and why,
  • shame and guilt around being “silly” or “oversensitive” or “making a mountain out of a molehill”

You may also have some of these Chronic Covert Trauma surivor strengths:

  • compassion for those who suffer
  • empathetic, very sensitive to the needs of others
  • responsible, dependable, reliable
  • helpful, cooperative
  • able to put things aside and function “if necessary” and you often feel it’s necessary
  • capacity to keep on functioning while feeling distressed.
  • skillful in acting cheerful, even if you feel lousy on the inside.
  • self-reliant, capable of finding ways of getting what’s needed or of doing without.
  • skilled at redirecting your attention away from inner states that would interfere with responsibilities and functioning in the outer world.
  • do not burden others with your difficulties

If you have even a few of these characteristics, you might benefit from exploring the possibility that Chronic Covert Trauma, especially non-material Chronic Covert Trauma in your childhood relationships, is a factor in your life today.

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7 thoughts on “Is this you? “If nothing was wrong in my childhood, what’s wrong with me today?

  1. Wow. This is me! I have never heard it explained like this before.
    Is there a bog or something that i can follow so that i don’t miss anything you post?

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    • Thanks for letting me (and us other readers) know you can resonate with this. Part of what makes healing so challenging is feeling alone, so you’re helping with the healing. Thanks in large part to your share, I just posted to the blog on this site. I have a book-in-progress on this subject, if I can overcome all the technical difficulties in getting it out there. I am just learning how to blog and use social media. Now I will post more! And you can follow me. Yay!

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  2. Thank you! As an adult child of a Borderline/Narcissistic Mother, I find comfort in the label chronic covert trauma. Your list of ‘Difficulties’ described me quite well, but what I found surprising and most helpful was the list of CCT strengths. I never, truly considered myself to many strengths. Your list has allowed me to view some of my qualities differently. Thank you! I hope you continue you write and speak about this important issue.

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    • As an adult child of a borderline/narcissistic mother, you definitely have the past history and present scars of non-physical CCT. I’m glad my list helped you to recognize that you also have strengths. I think growing up with a mother who doesn’t have much attention for us trains us not to give attention to ourselves…and to use our strengths to serve her. What would happen if we brought our empathy, compassion, resourcefulness and so forth home to ourselves? As kids, we would probably have suffered more, but as adults, we can prosper. Thanks for commenting. Your comments give me the encouragement to post more.

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