Understanding Self Harm, Addictions or Repeated Suicide behaviours in Complex Trauma
By Janina Fisher, Adapted by Claire Hudson-McAuley 2015,
As we know from the work of Bessel van der Kolk, Onno van der Hart, Bruce Perry, and the ACES study, childhood trauma dramatically interferes with the body’s ability to function and regulate itself mentally, emotionally and somatically.
The profound impact of trauma alters perception, thinking, tolerance of uncomfortable emotions, basic bodily functions such as digestion and respiration, hormonal and metabolic processes, immune function, and the expression of genes. Relationships with others and self, trust, the ability to function in everyday life, and even the ability to learn are compromised.
Psychological development is delayed or distorted, and identity formation proceeds along the “fault lines” that result from dissociative defences and compartmentalization. Is it then any wonder that adult survivors of trauma become so remarkably adept at inventing compensatory strategies aimed at survival and self-regulation long before they enter the doors of our offices, hospitals, or clinics?