All people have special behavior. Sometimes they may seem strange to an outside observer. While many behaviors are purely human, they can sometimes be triggered by anxiety.
Some of the stereotypical signs of anxiety include nervousness, fear of public speaking, or fear of being in a crowd. But many forms of anxiety are not so obvious. Many anxiety behaviors can be linked to some childhood trauma. Research has shown a link between childhood trauma and many symptoms of anxiety.
Many childhood trauma survivors fear being put in a situation they cannot get out of, and this can lead to a range of avoidant behaviors. The traumatized brain wants to avoid any experience that reminds us of a time when we couldn’t avoid worry.
Below are the 10 most common behaviors:
1. Do not answer calls or avoid calls. It doesn’t even seem strange these days. For someone who doesn’t have social anxiety, answering the phone can seem like a simple task, but avoiding it can be just plain lazy. However, what separates this from laziness or normal avoidance is the surge of adrenaline and cortisol that follows someone with a history of trauma. While simply ordering food or confirming a grocery list with a partner can be a neutral experience, answering a sudden phone call creates fear and fear that answering the phone might lead to an unpleasant, unexpected conversation. It reminds you of a time when your privacy or boundaries were violated.
2. Being withdrawn or silent during group activities or on social media. If this seems like an obvious social anxiety, sometimes it is. Many forms of social anxiety can be the result of growing up in a chaotic environment. As a result, trauma survivors sometimes experience overstimulation in social settings. Situations that require a high level of dedication can be exhausting and it may seem like there is no way to get a mental break.
3. Get nervous when someone sits too close to you. It’s so common that there are memes based on the humor of this shared experience. Having a stranger sitting next to you, such as in a movie theater, can make you not focus on the movie due to the hyper-awareness of being close to the other person. When we grow up in an environment where our boundaries are violated, we have a heightened sense of awareness of other people and our position in a crowd or in a room. Therefore, having a large personal bubble becomes necessary to maintain inner comfort.
4. The need to sit in certain places or areas while visiting a restaurant or social events. Many trauma survivors report that they prefer to sit with their back against a wall rather than a door or space. Due to their constant state of heightened alertness, their nervous system keeps them “ready” for any perceived threat, even an illogical one. Sitting where they can watch the room and everything inside, it seems that this nervous tension even for a moment calms down.
5. Excessive eating or drinking. Trauma survivors develop ways of self-soothing, often in the form of indulging in or avoiding food or substances. In recent decades, the healthcare industry has come to better understand the connection between trauma and anxiety about eating or drinking.
6. Someone unexpectedly/uninvited knocks on your door.b. Often this heightened sense of paranoia and anxiety stems from childhood experiences of not being able to “escape.”
7. Constantly apologizing, even for things that are not your (or anyone else’s) fault.. When we are constantly criticized or constantly made to feel that we are to blame for everything, we develop a strong sense of shame. This manifests itself in a constant need to over-apologize, even if you have done nothing wrong. It is often the result of emotional abuse or neglect in childhood.
8. The presence of an additional reflex of irritability. When the nervous system is permanently disturbed, there is usually an overreaction to noises or stimuli that others may not notice or worry about.
9. You don’t want people in your house because you can’t control when they leave. This is often due to the inability to control your safe space, for example. grew up in a home where boundaries were blurred and privacy violated.
10. Feel more comfortable with some people than with others. Growing up in an environment where adults are not always safe and secure makes many people worry about younger people. Survivors of childhood trauma have an additional sense of who we feel comfortable with or “safe” with.