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Anxiety and Abandonment Trauma: Recovery From Trauma

Updated: Jun 28

adverse  childhood expereinces

I’ve written several articles on how to recover from the effects of adverse childhood experiences ACEs abandonment and childhood emotional neglect; this goes into

greater detail on how to apply trauma-informed care to your life as well as provides you with additional information on how practicing relapse prevention techniques affect your physical and emotional well-being. These relapse avoidance techniques are not things that can curb your fear of abandonment and self-loss overnight; they take constant practice and incorporating it into your daily routine. Once you master at least a few of these techniques, you can eventually feel the reduction of separation anxiety symptoms.

The Ties That Bind - Trauma-Informed Care, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Separation Anxiety, and the Fear of Abandonment

In Montgomery Alabama, nestled in a quiet outreach The Light of Day Inc., there was a group of educators, counselors, and caregivers who were committed to understanding and addressing the emotional needs of the children in their care. They practiced what was known as "trauma-informed care," a concept that would not only help children like Emma but also transform the way they approached adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care was like a guiding principle for these compassionate individuals. It meant recognizing the prevalence of trauma in society and understanding its impact on individuals. They acknowledged that a child's challenging behavior could often be a response to their traumatic experiences. Instead of punishment, they sought to provide support, empathy, and safety. Trauma-informed care aimed to create an environment where children felt valued and heard, making healing possible.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Emma, a bright and vivacious child, had experienced ACEs that weighed heavily on her young heart. These were traumatic events that occurred before the age of 18, such as abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction. Emma's ACEs included her parents' divorce, emotional neglect, and her mother's substance abuse. These experiences had left her with scars that manifested in various ways, including separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety was like an uninvited guest that had made itself at home in Emma's life. She clung to her mother, fearing that if she ever let go, she would be abandoned. The thought of being alone filled her with an overwhelming sense of dread. This intense fear disrupted her daily life, making school, friendships, and even everyday activities a struggle.

The Fear of Abandonment

For Emma, the fear of abandonment was not just about being physically left behind; it was about the fear of losing herself. Her ACEs had instilled in her a deep-seated belief that she wasn't worthy of love or care. She constantly sought external validation to fill the void within, but it was never enough. She was afraid that if people truly knew her, they would abandon her just like her parents' marriage had dissolved. Emma had lost herself amidst her traumas.

The educators, counselors, and caregivers who practiced trauma-informed care in my outreach The Light of Day Inc. recognized the profound impact of Emma's ACEs and separation anxiety. They knew that healing required more than just addressing her symptoms; it meant rebuilding her sense of self-worth and helping her understand that she was lovable and deserving of care.

In Montgomery Alabama, Emma's journey was a testament to the power of understanding, compassion, and trauma-informed care. It was a place where children's emotional needs were prioritized, and the scars of ACEs could be healed with patience, empathy, and the unwavering belief that no child should ever feel abandoned or lost within themselves.


Is There Hope for Survivors of Trauma

I share this story because people always ask can loved ones recover from trauma? I respond with yes, because I have recovered from abandonment and childhood emotional neglect and walked others through the process of healing and recovering from their unresolved pain from the past.

So, is there hope for survivors of trauma? Yes, there is absolutely hope for survivors of trauma. While the impact of trauma can be profound and long-lasting, many survivors can recover and lead fulfilling lives. Here are some reasons for hope:

  1. Resilience: Humans have an incredible capacity for resilience. With the right support and resources, individuals can learn to adapt and cope with the effects of trauma.

  2. Effective Treatments: There are evidence-based treatments for trauma, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and exposure therapy. These therapies have been shown to help individuals process and heal from trauma.

  3. Supportive Relationships: Having a support system of friends and family can be immensely beneficial. Strong, trusting relationships can provide emotional support and a safe space to talk about one's experiences.

  4. Self-Care: Practicing self-care and stress-reduction techniques can help survivors manage their symptoms. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle can promote healing.

  5. Time: Healing from trauma is a process that takes time. It's essential to be patient with oneself and acknowledge that recovery may have ups and downs.

  6. Post-Traumatic Growth: Some survivors of trauma experience post-traumatic growth. This means that, over time, they may develop greater resilience, empathy, and a deeper appreciation for life, which can lead to positive personal growth.

  7. Professional Help: Seeking support from mental health professionals who specialize in trauma can be instrumental in the recovery process. Therapists can provide the tools and guidance needed to address the impact of trauma.

It's important to remember that everyone's journey to recovery is unique, and there is no fixed timeline for healing. What's crucial is acknowledging the trauma, seeking help when needed, and gradually working through the experience with the support of professionals and loved ones. While the effects of trauma may never completely disappear, survivors can learn to manage and live meaningful, fulfilling lives despite their past experiences. Hope, healing, and growth are indeed possible for survivors of trauma.

Relapse Avoidance Techniques

Once you begin your path of healing you will make mistakes and turn to old habits. When this happens you need to pull from your toolbox of relapse avoidance techniques that you gain from counseling or rehab.

Relapse avoidance techniques are strategies and practices that individuals can use to prevent a return to unhealthy or addictive behaviors, especially when recovering from substance abuse, mental health issues, or other problematic behaviors. These techniques help maintain long-term recovery and resilience. Here are some effective relapse avoidance techniques:

  1. Identify Triggers: Recognize the people, places, situations, or emotions that trigger the desire to engage in the problematic behavior. Understanding your triggers is the first step in avoiding relapse.

  2. Develop Coping Strategies: Instead of turning to the problematic behavior, learn healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. This might include deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, or physical exercise.

  3. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to reach out to a support network, which can include friends, family, support groups, or a therapist. Sharing your struggles and feelings can help you stay accountable and receive valuable guidance.

  4. Set Clear Goals: Establish clear and achievable goals for your recovery. Having a sense of purpose and direction can keep you motivated and less likely to relapse.

  5. Create a Relapse Prevention Plan: Develop a detailed plan that outlines what to do in case you experience cravings or urges. Identify specific actions to take, such as calling a friend, attending a support group meeting, or practicing relaxation techniques.

  6. Change Your Environment: If possible, modify your environment to minimize exposure to triggers. This might mean avoiding certain places, ending relationships with people who enable the problematic behavior, or making your living space more conducive to your recovery.

  7. Educate Yourself: Learn more about your condition or addiction. Understanding the science behind it and the potential consequences of relapse can serve as a strong motivator to stay on track.

  8. Regular Self-Check-Ins: Regularly assess your emotional state and progress in recovery. If you notice warning signs of relapse, take action immediately.

  9. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, staying physically active, and practicing good self-care.

  10. Time Management: Develop a structured daily routine to minimize idle time, which can lead to boredom and increased vulnerability to relapse.

  11. Positive Social Connections: Surround yourself with supportive, positive, and healthy individuals who respect and encourage your recovery.

  12. Relapse Tracking: Keep a journal to monitor your cravings, thoughts, and feelings. This can help you identify patterns and triggers.

  13. Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge your successes and celebrate milestones in your recovery. This can boost your self-esteem and motivation.

  14. Stay Mindful: Practice mindfulness to stay present in the moment and avoid dwelling on past mistakes or future worries.

  15. Professional Help: If you're struggling to maintain your recovery, consider seeking professional help from a therapist, counselor, or addiction specialist.

Remember that relapse is a common part of the recovery process, and it doesn't mean failure. If it does occur, use it as an opportunity to learn and strengthen your resolve to stay on the path of recovery. Reaching out for help and implementing these techniques can significantly reduce the risk of relapse and support your long-term recovery goals.

Relapse Prevention Techniques Play a Major Role in Recovery

Relapse prevention techniques play a significant role in positively impacting both your physical and emotional well-being, especially for individuals recovering from addiction, mental health issues, or other problematic behaviors. Here's how these techniques can affect your overall well-being:

Physical Well-Being:

  1. Reduced Health Risks: Relapse prevention techniques help you avoid returning to behaviors that may have had adverse effects on your physical health. For example, if you're recovering from substance abuse, avoiding relapse prevents further damage to your body and reduces the risk of overdose or other health complications.

  2. Improved Sleep: Healthy coping strategies and stress management techniques can lead to better sleep quality. Adequate sleep is crucial for physical health, as it allows the body to repair and rejuvenate itself.

  3. Nutrition and Exercise: Many relapse prevention plans include elements related to nutrition and physical activity. Staying active and maintaining a balanced diet can lead to improved physical fitness, increased energy levels, and overall well-being.

  4. Reduced Physical Stress: The reduction of stress, which is often a trigger for relapse, can lead to decreased physical stress responses like increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. This, in turn, benefits the cardiovascular system and overall physical health.

  5. Medication Adherence: In some cases, adherence to prescribed medications is essential for managing certain conditions. Staying committed to your treatment plan is a key aspect of relapse prevention and supports your physical well-being.

Emotional Well-Being:

  1. Increased Self-Esteem: Successfully implementing relapse prevention techniques boosts your self-esteem. It reinforces the belief that you have control over your actions and can make healthy choices, which is essential for emotional well-being.

  2. Enhanced Emotional Regulation: Many relapse prevention strategies focus on developing healthy coping mechanisms for managing emotions. This leads to improved emotional regulation and a reduced likelihood of reacting impulsively to emotional triggers.

  3. Stress Reduction: Effective stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, deep breathing, and exercise, can significantly reduce the emotional strain that often leads to relapse.

  4. Positive Outlook: As you celebrate milestones in your recovery, you develop a more positive outlook on life. This optimism can have a profound impact on your emotional well-being, helping you stay motivated and hopeful.

  5. Improved Relationships: Building and maintaining positive, healthy relationships with a support network contributes to emotional well-being. The trust, empathy, and understanding of these relationships can provide emotional stability.

  6. Sense of Control: Successful use of relapse prevention techniques reinforces your sense of control over your life and decisions. This sense of empowerment can lead to greater emotional stability and confidence.

  7. Enhanced Self-Awareness: Regular self-assessment and tracking as part of relapse prevention plans foster self-awareness. Recognizing your triggers, emotions, and reactions allows you to make informed choices and adapt your strategies as needed.

  8. Less Guilt and Shame: Avoiding relapse reduces the guilt and shame often associated with returning to unhealthy behaviors. This, in turn, leads to a more positive emotional state.

In summary, relapse prevention techniques have a profound impact on both physical and emotional well-being. They empower individuals in recovery to make healthier choices, manage stress and emotions effectively, and build a supportive network that contributes to overall well-being. By reducing the risk of relapse and promoting a balanced, healthy lifestyle, these techniques help individuals lead more fulfilling and happier lives.



I Can Help in Developing A Plan For Self Care

Do you want help developing a self-care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability in implementing a self-care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self-care routine, and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self-care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.

Dr. Nikki LeToya White
Dr. Nikki LeToya White

About The Author:

Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director, and full-time board-certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC Art Wellness Studio, and Botanica to provide the Metro Atlanta area with counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to the fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include an online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence-based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self-care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In living a life in recovery from sugar addiction. I love my low-sugar balanced lifestyle.

Best Regard

Dr. Nikki LeToya White


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