Trauma can be defined as any experience that is traumatizing, destabilizing, destructive, distressing or hurtful. We experience all kinds of trauma including but not limited to violence, injury and loss. Many of us have unhealed trauma which can impact how we handle our pain and can contribute to our addictive behaviors and issues with our mental and emotional health. How are we affected by trauma?
We can find our trauma so painful that we suppress our most difficult emotions. When we don’t release our emotions, their energy can become blocked within us, creating all kinds of mental and emotional problems. We might experience denial. We might suffer in silence. We might be overly reactive with the people in our lives. We might experience heightened anger and volatility. We might be easily triggered by things people say and do.
Trauma can cause us to isolate ourselves from other people, out of a need to be alone to deal with our pain, and also out of fear that we will be hurt again. It can cause us to mistrust people, even those that care about us. Trauma can cause us to become suspicious of other people’s actions and intentions.
Unresolved trauma can cause us to try to numb our pain with drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, gambling or any other drug of choice or addictive behavior. We often try to escape our pain by self-medicating and by distracting ourselves with other things and people. We bury our pain. All of our coping mechanisms don’t help us to heal; they actually can compound the pain and create even more layers of trauma. This deep pain can cause us to develop all kinds of compulsive, addictive behaviors and negative, toxic thought patterns. We might experience worsened anxiety and depression. We might develop neuroses, complexes and/or phobias.
When we have been traumatized, we often internalize our trauma and become self-destructive. We believe that there is something wrong with us, that we are to blame for what happened to us, that our trauma means we are somehow inadequate and unworthy. We feel undeserving of love. We close ourselves off from love and support because we believe our trauma has damaged us and made us unlovable. Oftentimes we aren’t conscious of these limiting beliefs, and we perpetuate our self-hatred and low self-esteem with more self-destructiveness. We engage in risky and reckless behaviors. We put ourselves in dangerous situations. We have relationships with people who don’t care for or respect us. We allow ourselves to be abused. We abuse ourselves. We might purposefully self-harm or otherwise cause ourselves physical pain.
Trauma can impact us in various ways, many of which can ultimately create more trauma in our lives. One aspect of our recovery is working to recognize the ways in which trauma has affected us.
We are here to support you in your recovery. Call Vista Taos at (575) 586-5078.