Sometimes the only thing one can do in life is find the best way to survive.

Anyway you can make it through, take it.

And it all starts in childhood.

Childhood trauma is where it all begins.

We have to take on a lot as a kid and in order to do that we have to find ways to keep going.

And some of those ways maybe aren't the healthiest.

That's why when we're older we have to face the demons.

RedditorGreggOfChaoticOrderwanted to hear about the lingering effects of childhood. They asked:

"What is a childhood coping method you unknowingly developed only to realize later that it wasn't normal?"

Thumbsucking. I sucked my thumb until 13. Not great for the alignment of my mouth.


"I learned to lie rather convincingly. I was petrified of getting in trouble for the smallest things that I learned to hide quite a bit. I had such high anxiety as a kid."


"For the same reason, I’m scary good at lying… to the point I will halfway believe the lie myself. It’s not a trait I’m proud of, but it is useful at times."


Hungry Hungry

"Eating too fast. I remember noticing this even as a child still. I was always done first. And I never out grew it. Neglect and abandonment issues."


"I do this too and I don’t really know why… People comment on it all the time but I don’t really know how to stop doing it. As soon as I start eating it’s like a black out or something and I don’t come back to reality until the food is gone."



"Cleaning or doing things behind the scenes for my family so they're always happy, life goes smoothly and my life is serene. The latter isn't the case unfortunately, I'm exhausted and always on edge."


"SAME. My mom was a huge neat freak to the point of abuse and as an adult, i can not handle a messy home. it's not normally a 'problem' until I'm really stressed by outside factors and find myself vacuuming the couch/cleaning the fridge/etc at like 2am."


Too Much

"Saying I am sorry all the time."


"My friend did this. It was irritating to me at the time, but looking back, she had a lot of stress on her shoulders even in high-school. She lived with her grandma because her mother was a hoarder and a two-faced woman."



"My husband used to get really annoyed when I would apologize too much. He said that if I apologize as much as I did it would make the word meaningless. As he learned more about my trauma he wouldn't get annoyed anymore. Also helps that I don't do it AS much now, but I still do sometimes."


Man, being a kid is rough. We carry way too much with us.

In the Wardrobe

"Hiding in the closet."


"I used to hide in a big wardrobe when my step mom would come looking for me. Also hid/slept in the trunk of my car to avoid her and ditch college classes. I still get that urge to hide myself away places and just feel comforted at being able to be left alone. It's really nice to see other people have the same coping devices even if it's not great we had to have them in the first place."


an actual thing...

"Dissociation and maladaptive daydreaming (I just learned that's an actual thing with a name)."


"This is so relatable to me. I’ve always done this for one reason or another. Now a days I work extremely long shifts and find myself placing myself out of my body as much as possible."

"My home life has gotten bad so I’ve been doing it at home recently too. I feel like the problem with this is i’ve slowly normalized not living my own life to the point where I can work like a robot for 14 hours a day and it doesn’t affect me at all, but I’m never really happy."



"I’d pull out my eyelashes."


"Eyebrows and eyelashes here. Reading through all of these responses makes me realize how messed up I really am. Your response makes me realize that I do it out of nervousness."


The Tone

"Making my voice as monotone as possible to prevent people (my parents) from picking up on any tiny hint of emotion. My parents would lose their sh*t if I had 'a tone' or sounded upset in any way. It's taken years and years of practice to regain some emotion in my voice again."


No Resolutions

"I can’t have an aspiration or a dream because I don’t want to disappoint myself. Like, I can’t even say that I am gonna get a good grade on a specific subject out loud, cause I am scared I will disappoint myself. Same thing with other things in life, when I apply for a specific college I will just do it and ignore it until I get a result, because I don’t wanna get my hopes up and end up not getting accepted."

"I can’t even have a New Years Resolution cause somehow I think I would fail and I would rather already expect that than get my hopes up and fail. I am scared of being disappointed in myself."



"Escaping into my head. I don't do it much anymore, but as a kid and teen I lived there. I can also walk into a room and sense immediately if something is about to go down, and spot dodgy people on the street from a block away. my wife on the other hand is completely oblivious."


"What's a confrontation?

"Shutting down when faced with confrontation."


"What's a confrontation?"

"For me, this was a part of learned helplessness. I realized early on that there was no point trying to reason with my mother. I'd just say whatever I thought would shut her up. This also made me internalize the idea that getting angry was always irrational & no one who got angry had a valid point. She literally never did & filled her crap over nothing. I had to un-learn a lot in therapy."


authority figures are jerks...

"Assume anytime someone in a position of authority wants to talk to me, it's bad news and I've done something wrong (even if I can't remember doing anything potentially bad)."


"I feel you. I think the same because most authority figures do want to talk to us when its bad or done something wrong even though not always. But my experience most authority figures are jerks simply because they were mistreated by authority figures and continue the vicious cycle."



"Listening for the smallest sounds. Before I was old enough and had enough money to move out, when I was a teen I could hear the faint sound of the garage door opening because it would always squeak when it opens, and then I would bolt upstairs to my room because the garage opening meant that my mom was home. I can distinguish her footsteps easily. I developed a hypersensitivity to sound because of her."


flipping a switch...

"Blocking out all background noise to avoid emotional damage from whatever’s going on."


"I know that... it's like flipping a switch. It's most noticeable to myself when I'm watching a movie and a scene comes on that triggers some kind of memory and so you mentally switch from being in-tune with the movie to staring at the box on the wall while the pictures on it move. Completely removes all emotion."



"Trying to think/mentally prepare myself for every possible horrible thing that could happen to me, so that if it did, I wouldn’t be blindsided. It didn’t work I want to add that my mother died in a freak accident when I was a boy and I was blindsided."

"My coping mechanism was to prepare for situations where a friend or family member is killed out of the blue etc, so I wouldn’t be caught off guard again. It caused me severe stress and the inability to relax ever. I am older now and therapy has done wonders for me."


speaking poorly...

"Listening closely to what's going on in my apartment or the people I know around me to hear if anyone is upset or talking about me or yelling or fighting."


"This is one I still have to actively fight. It caused me so much anxiety growing up hearing people talking in the house and assuming they were speaking poorly of me. I would waste hours in the dark and quiet listening and waiting till it was safe to emerge and not be seen. I still listen for people out and about at work so I can move around without having to have an awaked encounter."


caught off guard again...

"Trying to think/mentally prepare myself for every possible horrible thing that could happen to me, so that if it did, I wouldn’t be blindsided. It didn’t work I want to add that my mother died in a freak accident when I was a boy and I was blindsided."

"My coping mechanism was to prepare for situations where a friend or family member is killed out of the blue etc so I wouldn’t be caught off guard again. It caused me severe stress and the inability to relax ever. I am older now and therapy has done wonders for me."


"not care"

"Shutting down emotional responses and forcing myself to 'not care' about any perceived loss. Apparently it made it pretty annoying to discipline me because I would suddenly stop caring about anything that was threatened to be taken away. Nobody really taught me how to properly cope with loss when it started happening and I guess my response was emotional repression."



"Looking for signs, such as microexpressions, about what kind of a mood the other one is in. My therapist told me not all people do this, and I do it a lot. He also told me I developed it because I was always on the lookout on the mood of my often angry, drunken stepdad."


"I developed a reflex where I apologize and ask if they are angry at me. I have a hard time telling how people are feeling unless they tell me. Apparently that just ended up with me being the sorriest sack of crap they'd ever seen."


Facing the past is hard. We can do it. You're not alone.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

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