This is a fantastic article by Marylene Cloitre, PhD of the New York University Child Study Center from the the Trauma Stress Points site. I really enjoyed this writing and found myself and the understanding I have developed about Complex PTSD reflected in it. My study of Ericksonian development theory has led me to look at childhood and its foundation for development of emotional, relational, self-regulatory and self-image imprints into adulthood. This paper helps explain the impact of early recurrent traumas and chronic stress on psychological development.
“There are over two decades of research indicating that childhood maltreatment (including sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse/neglect) undermines the development of these critical skills. Compared to children who have not experienced maltreatment, abused children are reported to have diminished emotional self-awareness, difficulty modulating excitement in emotionally arousing situations, and difficulty recovering from episodes of upset or mood lability. Under circumstances of conflict, maltreated children are likely to respond with reactive aggression or to isolate themselves and withdraw. They are less likely to initiate social engagement with adults and with their peers. They expect little help under stressful circumstances, and tend to interpret the ambiguous or even supportive efforts of others as hostile.”