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  • Writer's pictureKennedy McLean

5 Signs You May Have Been Raised By A Parent With Unresolved Trauma

1) You felt like you were always walking on eggshells.

Sometimes your parent was really emotionally responsive and able to attend to your needs. They were caring and compassionate, level headed, in control. They may have been able to calm you down, know the right things to say or do to make you feel better. At other times, they may have seemed distant, overwhelmed, easily irritated or even angry. As a child, this may have been confusing. You may not have known what to expect. There may have been times that you reached out for the comfort or support that you wished for and knew your parent was capable of, only to have felt rejected.

2) They dismissed your problems and constantly made comparisons to their own childhood.

Each of us likely has heard some version of “in my day….” But if your parent was always dismissing your concerns or complaints with statements such as: “you don’t know what its like to have it rough” or “when I was growing up we ate what we were given or else,” this is an indicator that they were unable to take in what you were experiencing because their past was getting in the way.

3) They were constantly fearful.

They were afraid of everything. They kept you very close. Taught you that the world was an unsafe place, did not have many friends. They may not have allowed people to come over to your home. You may not have been allowed to sleep over at friends' houses or have your friends over to your house. They may have kept you home from school if they felt that the weather was unsafe, even when school was open. They may not have wanted to go out at night either for example. Looking back, you may notice that certain behaviours were extreme, now that you as an adult have experienced more of the world, but as a child, you may not have been aware.

4) They were abusing substances.

Evidence shows that many individuals with a history of childhood trauma and neglect become addicted to substances and that this has become a way to overcome the pain of their early experiences.

5) You felt responsible for them.

Even though they were the parent. You may have felt that you had to watch out for them or modify your behaviour to take care of them. They may not have asked you to do this but you may have been worried about what would happen if you did not. You may have been put in a role that you were too young to perform. You may have felt burdened, or just told yourself that you were responsible. As an adult, you may have continued into this role, being a caretaker for those around you, likely putting yourself last.

About Kennedy

Kennedy has been working in the field of addiction and mental health for 10 years. She currently runs a virtual private practice treating clients throughout Ontario.   

Kennedy's practice currently focuses on trauma, attachment, couples therapy. Associate therapists work with people of all ages experiencing a wide range of concerns such as stress, depression, anxiety, relationship distress, and grief for example.

Anything written in blog posts are the thoughts of Kennedy. They are intended to offer information that may be interesting or useful for contemplation.


Nothing written is intended to be a substitute for seeking professional help.

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