Understanding Trauma

Understanding Trauma

Traumatic events and experiences are subjective. Subjectively, some individuals are more vulnerable or susceptible to stress than others who are more resilient or resistant.

How are traumatic occurrence affects an individual depends on many factors, including characteristics of the individual, the type and characteristics of the events or occurrence, developmental processes comma the meaning of the trauma. Additionally, an individual’s response to trauma can depend on how the trauma is handled , or whether the trauma is public versus private and the degree of support that was available at the time. In this way, the impact of the very same traumatic experience can be a highly individual experience that can differ substantially, even in the same family. These individual differences are important to appreciate and understand as they undergird the healing process.

Trauma is an event that stimulates emotions but the release of that emotion is blocked. The expression of feeling is hampered, denied or minimized in some manner ~ We decide or are told it is not okay to feel ~

As a Child:

  • Child abuse
  • Neglect
  • Witnessing violence
  • Disrupted attachment

As an Adult:

  • Violence
  • Accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • War
  • Sudden unexpected loss eg: Death, Sudden break up from a long relationship

Types of Trauma:

  • Single incident trauma: one time situation
  • Complex or Repetitive trauma: ongoing and can involve other issues > abuses
  • Development trauma: Affecting learning capabilities > brain injuries
  • Intergenerational Trauma: Trauma passed down through the generations > family of origin
  • Historical Trauma: Residential school, reserves

Trauma Cuts us off from:

  • Belief in self
  • Intimacy
  • Trust
  • Community
  • Ourselves
  • Self-worth
  • Our emotions

What Trauma does:

Wounding of emotions, spirit, will to live, belief about self, belief about the world and sense of security.

  • Wounds our spirit
  • Makes us feel that the world isn’t safe now
  • The belief about self is the shame and the child blames themselves
  • The world isn’t safe now, people are mean and cruel now
  • Impacts our sense of security = isolate, anger, becomes hyper-vigilant
  • Impact of trauma is that past normal ways of thinking, feeling and handling stress don’t work anymore

Trauma is a process of de-personalization.

  • A stripping away of person hood, individuality, humanity and it is especially strong when the event is senseless or preventable
  • And the child learns: DON’T TALK > DON’T TRUST > DON’T FEEL

Acting out behaviors of Trauma Survivors:

  • Addictions
  • Violence
  • Frequent bursts of anger/rage
  • Isolation
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Self-Mutilation
  • Workaholism and Perfectionism
  • Control at all costs
  • Helplessness
  • Highly defensive behaviors
  • Lateral violence
  • Abusive behaviors
  • Shopping – over spending
  • High risk behaviors
  • Blaming others for what goes on in their lives
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Eating disorders

What every trauma survivor needs to know:

            Your reactions and response to trauma maybe quite complicated and are affected by your experiences, you’re coping and life skills at the time, Accessibility of close supports, or immediate family and / or healers as well of how your community may have responded. Regardless of all those factors, you need to know:

  • It wasn’t your fault
  • What you experienced may not be normal but YOUR REACTION AND YOU ARE
  • You did the best you could at that age or time
  • You survived
  • You have strengths, courage and are resilient
  • Recovery and Healing is possible

How you can heal:

  • Validate the trauma, experience, loss and effects
  • Respect Your Defenses
  • Honour your strength, courage and resiliency
  • Develop your own goals
  • Challenge the rules of >No Talk, No Trust, No Feel<
  • Share your story ~ With intent to release feelings, not to relive experiences
  • Release Shame (sometimes it’s not even ours to begin with)
  • Rebuild relationships ~ Make connections
  • Allow time to heal ~ explore your choices for future
  • Continue to reach out and ask for help as needed
  • Cultural Ceremonies ~ return to rituals and celebrations

Published by Nathan Findlay

Avid Blogger, I have a dream to help others. Addiction is the direct result of Trauma and Recovery is possible.

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