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Do You Know How Childhood Trauma Impacts Emotional Intelligence?

Are you an adult who experienced childhood trauma and you find that you just can't make social or professional connections? A part of you may desire to have meaningful relationships instead of superficial associations with other people. The other part may not want to make those type of connections because you may have a conscious or subconscious fear of getting hurt. The pain you experienced caused deeply rooted issues to promote anxiety and depression that hinders you in desiring to make meaningful connections.

These deeply rooted issues involving your ability to make meaningful personal and professional relationships are the basis for evaluating the impact of childhood trauma on emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a social skill that requires you to develop the ability to perceive, understand, manage, and use your emotions in interpersonal and professional relationships. Social scientists link this particular social skill to your ability to make quality decisions, your ability to be resilient when faced with stressful conditions, and the overall quality of your social relationships. Childhood trauma can disrupt the development of EI because trauma impacts brain development and how the brain functions later in life. Brain development usually shuts down during the experience of trauma, affecting your healthy emotional development as a child.

It is important to know that childhood trauma is not a life sentence that should hinder you from becoming emotionally mature enough to develop the social skills you need to create meaningful personal and professional connections. Childhood trauma causes disruption in memory formation that is suppose to occur in the brain, mind, and body. This emotionally charged disruption causes the individual to experience stress, anxiety, or other forms of emotional angst. Through self-reflection, you can work through those issues hindering you from regulating your emotions.

Have you ever been in the situation when you became highly sensitive or enraged over an issue that causes others to say "It's not that serious! You are just overreacting?" Many times this is the result of a disruption of your emotion (affect) regulation that helps you to orient yourself to your environment. Disruption of your emotion regulation means that you can find yourself getting stuck on an issue to the point that you are unable to get over it. Thoughts on the matter and the emotions involving that issue will intensify over a period. You may attempt to regulate yourself to get over the issue with little to no success. You may find that you have a hard time getting over the matter when others were able to get over the issue with ease. The inability to control one's emotions can be linked to trauma and how the brain processes information from the environment. It also demonstrates the impact of the trauma on the development of emotional maturity.

The inability to set boundaries is an example of how disruption of emotion regulation as a child can negatively impact the individual as an adult. Reminders of the trauma can cause increasing amounts of difficulty with emotion regulation. For example, an individual bullied by others as a child may have negative perceptions of people that affects their ability to relate to others. The person may set up defensive walls out of fear that if they were to let others into their emotional realm of influence, they will be pushed around and hurt. They will use defensive tactics such as aggression, arrogance, distance, dependence, or compliance as a means of self-regulation and self-protection in their relationships.

The ability to set healthy internal and external boundaries requires self-reflection that will also enable you to develop healthy personal and professional relationships. Through evaluation of those issues that hinder your emotional maturity, you can learn those areas of emotional and social development that leave you vulnerable to harm in relationships. This knowledge provides you with insight into those boundaries you will need to set for yourself to feel confident and protected from further damage as an adult. Self-evaluation, Self-regulation, and skills development are the key factors necessary for developing the emotional maturity needed to develop healthy personal and professional relationships.

For more information on these topics, check out the Daring You to Be You books: Evaluating Relationships, Evaluating Boundaries, Overcoming the Fear of Failure Through Self-Reflection.

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