Trauma is an experience that can profoundly impact our physical and mental health, relationships, and sense of self. The impact of trauma can vary significantly from person to person, depending on the nature of the trauma, our individual coping mechanisms, and our support systems. All of us, at one point or another, have faced events that shake us to our very core. The echoes of these events can linger, impacting our health, relationships, and how we view ourselves. The depth of the wound and the strength of our recovery often stem from our personal resilience and the support we have.
The Nature of Core Trauma
Core trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that can negatively affect an individual’s physical and mental health. Trauma can stem from physical, mental, or sexual abuse, a car accident, the death of a loved one, being yelled at or insulted, war, life-threatening situations, or living through a natural disaster. These types of traumas can leave scars, both visible and hidden.
The natural defenses of our body work to shield us. During traumatic events, stress hormones are our body’s frontline defense. But sometimes, when the weight of the trauma is too heavy or when we stand alone, our defenses falter.
Our bodies have a natural way of protecting us when we experience a traumatic event. Our bodies release stress hormones that help us to cope with the experience, putting us in a fight or flight mode.
If the depth of our core trauma is too intense or lacks sufficient support, we might struggle to thoroughly understand and cope with the experience. This could result in the onset of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various other mental health issues.
Suppression, Repression, and Dissociation
Our bodies cope with trauma in three main ways: suppression, repression, and dissociation.
- Suppression is the deliberate act of forgetting a traumatic event, usually a conscious process. We choose to ignore the trauma and take away its power. Suppressed memories can often be triggered by emotional or environmental cues, which can lead to flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD.
- Repression is the subconscious act of forgetting a traumatic event. This is a more common coping mechanism than suppression, often used by children who have experienced trauma. Repressed memories are usually not accessible to the conscious mind and can only be accessed through therapy or other forms of treatment.
- Dissociation is a mental escape route that can occur during or after a traumatic event. Dissociation can manifest in various ways, including feeling detached from oneself, the environment, or reality. Dissociation can be a helpful coping mechanism in the short term, but it can also lead to long-term problems if it is not addressed.
Identifying Core Wounding
Core wounding is the deep emotional pain that results from trauma. Core wounds can be challenging to identify and heal, but they are essential to address to achieve true healing.
There are many different ways to identify core wounds. One way is to look for patterns in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For example, if we find ourselves constantly feeling anxious or depressed or if we have difficulty trusting others, these may be signs of core wounding.
Another way to identify core wounds is to pay attention to our triggers. Our triggers are the things that remind us of our trauma and cause us to feel emotional pain. When we become aware of our triggers, write them down, identify the discomfort they cause, and learn how to manage them healthily. In another post, I will offer ideas on what worked for me to handle emotional triggers.
The Phenomenon of Frozen Wounds
Frozen wounds are emotional wounds that have been “stuck” in time. They are often the result of trauma that has not been fully processed or healed. Frozen wounds can manifest in various ways, including physical and emotional pain, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems.
It is essential to address frozen wounds to achieve true healing. This may involve therapy, journaling, or other forms of self-care.
Delving into Deep Trauma
Deep trauma leaves a profound psychological imprint, usually caused by physical, mental, or sexual abuse, war, or natural disasters. Deep trauma can devastate our lives, and recovery can take longer and be challenging to heal. My healing journey took many years, but the process went smoother once I identified my core wounding and emotional triggers.
If you have experienced deep trauma, seeking professional help, talking to a life coach, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or practicing self-awareness may be worth it. There are many effective treatments out there. Finding the one that works for you, but remember, you do not have to go through this alone.
Affirmative Points for Trauma Survivors
- You are not alone. Many people have experienced trauma, and there is help available.
- It is not your fault. You did not deserve to be traumatized.
- You are not broken. You are a strong and resilient person.
- You can heal. With time and support, you can recover from trauma and live a whole and happy life.
Intergenerational trauma is the transmission of trauma from one generation to the next. This can happen through direct or indirect exposure to trauma, such as witnessing the abuse of a loved one.
Intergenerational trauma can have a profound impact on families and communities. It can lead to problems such as addiction, violence, and mental health problems.
It is important to be aware of intergenerational trauma and seek help if you or someone you know is affected. Do not be silent because sometimes trauma echoes across generations, whether directly experienced or seen through the eyes of loved ones.
The ripple effects can manifest in families as addiction, violence, or mental afflictions. Recognizing these patterns and talking to someone you trust can break this chain.
Path to Healing
The path to healing from trauma is different for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, some general steps can be helpful.
- Self-awareness: The first step is to become aware of your trauma and its impact on your life. This may involve talking to a therapist, journaling, or other forms of self-reflection.
- Seek help: If you struggle to cope with your trauma alone, talk with someone, like a trusted friend or pastor, or even seek professional help. Many effective treatments are available for trauma, including therapy, medication, and local support groups.
- Be patient: Healing from trauma takes time and effort. Please be patient with yourself and allow yourself to heal at your own pace.
Trauma can profoundly impact our lives, but it is possible to heal. We can learn to live full and happy lives by taking steps to address our trauma.
Here are some additional tips for healing from trauma:
- Connect with others: Connecting with other people who have experienced trauma can be helpful. This can provide you with support and understanding.
- Practice self-care: Find techniques to take care of yourself physically and mentally. This includes eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, praying, or meditating.
- Set boundaries: Set boundaries with yourself and others. This can help you protect yourself from triggers and from being re-traumatized.
- Find meaning: Finding meaning in your trauma can help you move on from it. This may involve talking to a therapist, journaling, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, mindfulness, or engaging in creative activities.
Finding a healing path from trauma is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs along the way. However, if you are willing to put in the work, you can heal and reclaim your life.
*Disclaimer: I am neither a therapist nor claim to be one. I am using my own personal experiences from past trauma and sharing my thoughts