Childhood developmental trauma and autobiographical writing

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Blog Post D3: Theory of trauma and childhood brain development

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

1st July 2021

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Daniel O’Beeve’s Development Trauma, and the long road to recovery

A case study in recovery from childhood trauma

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2021

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Introduction

brick-man-image2Traumatic experience in childhood is very real. The idea that children forget their serious adversities, and are unharmed by them, is false.  The very fact of being traumatized in early childhood – by parental neglect, aggression, abandonment, or even serious communication mis-attunement – leaves its mark on the right hemisphere of the child’s brain, in the form of deficits in the development of their social and emotional intelligence. (Dr Allan Schore, 2015)[1], [2].

It takes a long time, and a lot of effort, to undo the damage of early childhood trauma; and most people never succeed in doing the work that is needed to get them onto a normal road of development and reasonable adult functioning.

One of the best ways to work on early childhood trauma is to write your own autobiography (Goswami, 2020[3]) – preferably in a somewhat fictionalized form, to allow some distance from the pain, so that it can be digested without re-traumatizing yourself.

One of the ways that I have processed my own childhood trauma is to write the fictionalized autobiography of my alter ego, Daniel O’Beeve.

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Metal_Dog__Long_Roa_Cover_for_KindleDaniel O’Beeve was traumatized by parents who knew nothing about love. Parents who did not love each other, and saw their children as burdens; who had to have the fear of God beaten into them. Parents who lost their farm and had to move to the city to eke out a living on poverty wages, living among people who considered them second class citizens.

Trauma was piled on trauma when he was emotionally abandoned by his mother at the age of eighteen months; and again when he went to school and found he was an alien, unwelcome by his city-born peers. Furthermore, he had had his ‘fierceness switch’ turned off by his brutalizing parents, and so he could not defend himself physically.

Eighteen years later he managed to stumble into psychoanalysis, and related therapies, which patched him up for a return to the odyssey of trying to find out who he was, and where he might belong.

For more, please go to Daniel O’Beeve’s autobiography.***

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

Director of Publishing

The Institute for E-CENT

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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[1] Schore, A.N. (2015) Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development. London: Routledge.

[2] Van der Kolk, B., Mark Greenberg, Helene Boyd, John Krystal, (1985) ‘Inescapable shock, neurotransmitters, and addiction to trauma: Toward a psychobiology of post-traumatic stress’. Biological Psychiatry, Vol.20, Issue 3, 1985, Pages 314-325,

[3] Goswami, U. (2020). ‘How to heal through life writing: Learning to write about trauma helps you to process the painful experience, and gives you the life skills to overcome it’. Psyche/Aeon Magazine. Online: https://psyche.co/guides/to-start-to-heal-from-trauma-in-your-life-write-about-it