Part 1:

complex trauma

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A child being exposed to multiple
or prolonged traumatic events, as well as the impact that being exposed has on
their development. Typically involves sequential/simultaneous exposure to
childhood maltreatment that is chronic and begins in early childhood and occurs
with the primary caregivers.


Exposure to sexual abuse and
domestic violence between parents at the age of 5.

Prolonged neglect and maltreatment
from their mother beginning at the age of 4.

The impacts and effects of complex
trauma is huge – since it is typically with their primary caregivers at an
early age, they may have trouble bonding with them due to the events that are
going on within their family system. The child will likely be in fight or
flight mode a lot of the time because of the constant exposure to stressful
situations that pose immediate danger, and they will likely feel unsafe. The
child likely will be emotionally dysregulated and not know how to handle their

Domestic violence

Actual or threatened physical or
sexual abuse as well as emotional abuse between two adults who have an intimate


A boyfriend who threatens his
girlfriend physically if she does not do what he wants right when he wants it.

A girlfriend who threatens to kill
herself every time her boyfriend does something she does not like or approve of
in an attempt to get him to stop what he is doing.

The impacts and effects of
domestic violence is that the person is generally going to feel very unsafe and
uneasy around their partner. They may feel very alone and feel that no one
knows what is going on with them. They also may feel scared that if they try
leave, the abuse will be heightened and increase in severity, making them less
likely to reach out for help or tell someone. They will likely feel very
stressed a lot of the time.


Happens when a parent/caregiver
doesn’t give the type of care that a child needs according to age, even though
the adult is capable of affording to give the care the child needs or is
offered help to give the care.


A parent not providing a child
with food and water although they have food stamps.


A parent not taking a child to the
hospital for weeks or months  when they
have swollen, broken foot.

Keeping a child away from their
basic needs can be fatal for a child. Not allowing a child food or water for
weeks can result in malnourishment and not giving a child a medicine they are
prescribed and desperately need can impact the child’s health greatly. Not
allowing the child to have basic needs keeps them from climbing up the ladder
of the Hierarchy of Needs – if a child’s basic needs are not met, there is no
way that a child’s psychological and self fulfillment needs are going to be met

Traumatic grief

Happens after a death where the
child sees the experience as traumatic. The symptoms of trauma interfere with
the child’s ability to experience the typical process of grief. The trauma and
grief symptoms are very severe.


A young child’s grandfather
suddenly died of a heart attack, and the child was incredibly close to him. He
is so sad he is unable to look at photos of his grandfather for a long time
because it reminds him of the day his grandpa died.

A child’s mother was killed in a
car accident. The child is inconsolable, doesn’t want to get out of bed, and is
unable to read any books at night time because that’s what her and her mother
did every night and going through the same routine reminds her of her mother,
which in turn brings her back to the day she found out her mother had died.

Traumatic grief interferes with a
child’s ability to function. Constant reminders, even if they are happy
memories, only bring the child back to a terrifying day in their life. Their
severe grief and trauma symptoms make it difficult for them to be happy and
enjoy daily things, making their quality of life go down. Their grief process
is going to be very prolonged and could take years to go through.


Part 2: Healing Neen

Neen experienced all 10 adverse
childhood experiences.

Physical abuse

Verbal abuse

Sexual abuse

Physical neglect

Emotional neglect

Having a family member in jail

Having a parent that is an

Having a family member who is
diagnosed with a mental illness

Mother that is a victim of
domestic violence