Childhood Trauma Left Me Anxious for 17 Years

July 14, 2023 Guest Author

When I sit down to think about it, I often trace my anxiety back to James Parker. James Parker caused childhood trauma that left me anxious for years.

James Parker was not the best kid. He smoked weed, got in fights, and stole from others. And, oh yeah, James was my cousin. I remember feeling afraid of James every time I saw him, which was most weekends growing up. Was he going to punch me, embarrass me, or ignore me altogether? There was no way to know for sure, which made me all the more anxious.

Understanding How Childhood Trauma Was the Root of My Social Anxiety

I experience social anxiety, thanks to childhood trauma, on a daily basis. I feel afraid to do normal things in public, like walk, ask for directions, and order food. Naturally, I try to do something about this anxiety, which for me is meditation. And every once in a while, during meditation, I’ll get a long-forgotten memory of childhood trauma involving my cousin. There was that time I thought he was going to drown me in the pool. And the times he would punch me for no reason. And then there are all those times I got the sense that he simply didn’t want me around.

Something about James just made me feel anxious. He was unpredictable. He was even nice at times, which made his meanness seem even scarier.

Anxiety from Childhood Trauma into Adulthood

Nowadays, I get anxious when I’m meeting new people. There’s a fear that they’ll be mean to me or even hit me without warning, just like James.

James was a year older than me and easily overpowered me. He got a natural workout -- hopping walls, running from the cops, doing pullups in juvenile hall.

It’s wild that this hasn’t dawned on me before. I was constantly in fight-or-flight around James. He was the natural leader and could ostracize me at any moment. And I had no way to stop him if he wanted to. This helps explain my worry about being kicked out of the group today.


I understand this now on a deeper level. It was the constant anxiety and childhood trauma around James that helps explain why my anxiety is so persistent today, 17 years after spending so much time with him. Would I be different, perhaps less anxious and more confident, if I had never spent time with him?

I’m happy to be understanding this, even if it feels long overdue. I’m ready to peel each layer of this anxiety back, layer by layer, with the help of meditation and my therapist. Then, maybe one day, I’ll be free of the social anxiety caused by my childhood trauma.

This post was written by:

Brandon Grill is a copywriter for mental health professionals. When he’s not writing websites and blogs, he enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with his niece and two nephews. To learn more about Brandon, visit him here.

APA Reference
Author, G. (2023, July 14). Childhood Trauma Left Me Anxious for 17 Years, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Guest Author

July, 16 2023 at 4:02 am

This is so relevant. Your insight about the "unpredictable" aspect of James, and how it left you feeling more a anxious not knowing how he might harm or affect you. I believe that his prevalent unvertainty is most definitely a contributing factor in how we develop. Kudos to you for reaching the root of your struggles. You are "on the mend" for sure!

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