Trauma is not always something that is very noticeable. Extreme forms of it we hear about all the time. The soldier who was exposed to combat, the abusive partner, the sexual assault victim, those are the big ones. Those are trauma with a capital “T.” But we all experience little “t” traumas as a fact of life. The problem becomes when a person is continually exposed to it and the events haunt the person well after the event. Trauma is a natural reaction to experiencing an event that shocks our system enough and alters our life path in a direction that may not serve us well.
Here are a few (but certainly not all) common things to look for with someone suffering from unhealed traumas.
- Having a hair trigger fuse that creates angry outbursts.
- Too much or too little sleep can be a sign of the body holding onto a traumatic event.
- Relationships where one person is holding their current partner accountable for something an ex may have done.
- Having difficulty trusting another person when they haven’t given any evidence in the past that they are not trustworthy.
- Feeling as though simple tasks are much more difficult than they are. A feeling of “I can’t” is often underlying why it’s so hard to get things done.
- Chronic fear of rejection. This wreaks havoc in one’s dating and relationship world. Rejection is something we actually experience as physical pain in the body.
- Being easily distracted from doing tasks one has a desire to do, but for some reason cannot focus on. “Just Do It” isn’t quite that simple if there’s a trauma blocking you.
- Going to great lengths to avoid going a particular place. For kids being bullied there may be a stronger than usual desire to not go to school. Physical illnesses can actually manifest if the trauma is bad enough. It may be more to it than just wanting to play hooky.
- Having a strong aversion to sex and feeling frozen while trying to enjoy it. This goes beyond just having a bad lover.
- Feeling overly cautious and “white-knuckling” the wheel while driving the car. This is not uncommon after a car accident, even if the accident happened years ago.
- Fear of the dentist or doctor’s office after a painful visit. Healing professionals sometimes cause us pain in order to heal. We may “know” that they were not intending to do harm, but our body may feel frozen in fear anyways.
Trauma has less to do with the story than how our body reacts to it. We often get married to our stories as they can all too often seem like they define who were are. The good news is trauma can be healed no matter how long we’ve lived with it. Once the body releases the trauma through working with it in a safe environment, we can more easily change the way we look at our past. It’s important to look at trauma as an injury, and not a reflection on a person’s strength of character.
The real question is, is what happened to me badly screwing up my life and am I sick and tired of being sick and tired of living a lesser life? If the answer is yes, getting healing can help you take back your life so you can live it on your terms.