Blog post 3 – 6th August 2021
Updated on 23rd November 2022
Do you need to dig up your childhood history, to resolve some current intractable problem(s)?
By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
Many people do not yet know that early childhood traumatic experiences – and that could just mean having a depressed mother who could not give you the face-to-face interaction and attention that you needed for your cognitive and emotive growth and development – predisposes them to being vulnerable to adult-onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Yes! It’s true. Most people who become traumatized by adult problems, like rape, mugging, house fires, plane or train crashes, are actually predisposed to having extreme reactions to highly stressful experiences, because they lack the resilience that comes from having a secure attachment to mother (and father) during their formative years. Many of us have been abused or neglected in childhood; and physical and emotional abuse of young children are all too widespread, even today.
I have written about these kinds of connections, between childhood trauma and adult problems, and how to resolve such problems, in my book: Transforming Traumatic Dragons: How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach. Revised, expanded and updated: August 2021.
My own trauma journey
I got into helping trauma clients, using strategies I had used to rescue myself from the damage of early childhood developmental trauma.
Long before I got down to writing about the trauma problems of other people, I had to work on my own childhood trauma damage.
One of the ways that I did that was to write my own autobiographical stories about my origins and my ‘relationships’.
Beginning with my story of origins, and moving on to my story of relationship problems, I eventually found my way into attachment theory and the work of Dr Allan Schore on the traumatizing experience of disruption of early attachment bonds between mother and baby.
One of the main ways I did this work was to create an ‘alter ego’ – who I called Daniel O’Beeve. I then put Daniel into those situations through which I have lived, and which I could dredge up from my memory banks; and I observed how he got on – from the ‘outside’ – (objectification!). I then retrieved a lot of my old traumatic nightmares, and rewrote them in a literary style.
And then I created a set of ‘alien psychologists’ who could observe Daniel’s journey, through a “wormhole in space-time”, and to make comments about how to understand what is going on in his life, in a way that Daniel and I could never have commented! (Clearly this has to be called “a fictionalized autobiographical story”; and none of the characters in this story should be confused with any real individual, living or dead!)
I published all of that work in a book called Metal Dog – Long Road Home, which is now out of print.This book has been replaced by a more accessible, shorter book titled The Disconnected Heart of Daniel O.
And this is the Amazon description of that book:
This book is about one man’s journey away from his homeland and his emotionally barren family and priest-dominated culture, to a place where he might find love, acceptance and personal liberation.
The author describes the traumatic events of his childhood, and the bleakness of life in Ireland at a time when the Catholic religion dominated the culture; and in a context where he and his family were country immigrants into an excluding city culture.
Much of his early childhood was repressed out of his conscious awareness, but his life did not work, in school, or as a teenager, because of the unconscious forces that made it difficult for him to relate to others, especially to girls.
In order to try to reconstruct his childhood, he uses a number of ingenious strategies, chief among them being:
– the creation of an alter ego (Daniel) who he follows through a kind of fictional life (based on scanty scraps of memories and family stories), to see how he responds to typical life events;
– the creation of certain archetypes, such as the little white goat; the little blue bear; a team of alien psychologists from another galaxy, who observe Daniel’s life, and discuss the psychological significance of certain developments.
– the development of a self-analysis, using various psycho-therapeutic ideas, insights and principles;
– and an account of the various therapy processes that he used, over many years to heal his heart and mind.
These strategies enabled him to re-experience and fully complete the previously non-conscious emotional wounds that had been hampering his personal development and his emotional and creative self-expression.
He shares all of this information with the reader so that they too can complete any unfinished business from childhood which may be hampering their social or emotional performance in the world.
He also writes about his dreams and reveries, which contain various archetypal messages about the terrible suffering of his ancestors, which was passed down to his parents, and from them to him.
This is the story of that journey of digging up his childhood history and mythology, so he can digest it and understand it and draw its sting; and it is followed by advice about what you can do to heal your own early childhood emotional trauma; and to grow to the full capacity of your innate potential.
This book is written from the heart; woven out of metaphorical language of multi-faceted images; and haunting emotional scenarios.
For more information, and a substantial extract from this book, please click this link: https://abc-bookstore.com/childhood-developmental-trauma-autobiography/
Would you like me to help you to process your childhood traumatic experiences? If so, please take a look at my page about myself and my main services, here: About Dr Jim Byrne.***
If you keep trying to clean up the mess in your life – especially your relationship life – (but you keep finding that nothing seems to change for the better) – then it might be a good idea to
– consider the possibility that you were traumatized in early childhood;
– and get down to working on those experiences, so you can “rewire your right brain” for a happier life!
I hope this information helps.
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy
ABC Counselling and Psychotherapy Services
 Rass, E. (2018). The Allan Schore Reader: Setting the course of development. London: Routledge.
Schore, A.N. (2012). ‘On the same wavelength: How our emotional brain is shaped by human relationships. Excerpts from the interview with Daniela F. Sieff (2012)’. In Rass, Eva (2018). The Allan Schore Reader: Setting the course of development. London: Routledge. Pages 20-27.
Schore, A.N. (2015). Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development. London: Routledge.