Common signs of past or present emotional trauma

Emotional Trauma Healing: Restoring the Mind

Life isn’t easy at times, I understand that. But if you find yourself feeling weary of people and finding your own emotions challenging, it may be due to past emotional trauma.

It is important to note that this article alone cannot resolve your past trauma. The size and scope of your hurt and pain cannot be generalized in an article. However, as a life coach specializing in trauma and addictions, I want to provide you with resources to educate you about how past emotional trauma has impacted you then and now.

First, let’s define trauma.

What is emotional trauma?

But before we discuss the process of trauma healing, it is important to define and explain trauma. Trauma is an acute or chronic set of events where you are able to talk about the feelings but not events OR talk about the events but not feelings.

Moreover, trauma is not just limited to abuse, it includes indirect violence (e.x. watching acts of violence), chronic stress, sexual objectivization, enmeshment or neglect.

Trauma impacts everyone differently, in different ways. A brief flashback may trigger a brief painful memory for you. For others, it could launch into a full-scale panic attack.

If you don’t deal with the pain caused by your past experiences, it can affect all aspects of your life. Not sure if you or someone you know is going through this? We will talk about common signs of trauma soon.

Symptoms of emotional trauma 

Trauma-related symptoms do not come in a one-size-fits-all box. Carefully review the list below. You may or may not relate to all of the common trauma-related symptoms:

  • Suspicious & untrusting
  • Negative & pessimistic
  • Addicted to self-harm, sex, substances, work, dangerous activities, people or things 
  • Self-sabotaging
  • Compulsive
  • Scattered & distracted
  • Demotivated & drained of energy
  • Judgmental of yourself & others
  • High pain tolerance
  • Constantly apologizing
  • Unable to express, recognize or process ones emotions 
  • Struggle with insecurities 
  • Hypersensitive
  • Unable to be vulnerable with others – includes fear of being touched
Next, let’s talk about your choice of words and language and why it is important in the context of trauma healing work.
Common signs of past or present emotional trauma

Why language matters

Have you ever wondered why language is essential for emotional trauma healing? It might seem straightforward to think that when you’re hurt, that’s the end of the story. As an expert trauma and addictions coach, I am acutely aware of the profound impact that words can have on one’s healing journey.

But let’s consider a different perspective.

Visit to the doctor 

Imagine you’re feeling unwell and need to visit a doctor. For a moment, let’s switch roles—I’ll be you, and you can play the doctor.

You: “I am sick.”

Doctor: “Alright, what seems to be happening?”

You: “My body aches.”

Doctor: “Where does it hurt?”

You: “I just feel bad all over.”

Doctor: “How long have you been feeling this way?”

You: “I’m not sure… I can’t remember.”

Now, think about it. Could you as the doctor accurately diagnose the condition? Would any prescribed treatment be effective?

Just like in healthcare, when it comes to trauma work, language plays a crucial role. 

Without the right words to explain what happened, it becomes challenging to properly treat and heal emotional pain.

In the next section, we will discuss one path you can take towards healing from emotional trauma.

The process of healing from emotional trauma 

Healing is a two-fold process of acceptance:

1. The past as it was, not as you would have liked it to be.

2. Of yourself as an imperfection human being

Now, let’s delve into why this is the case.

Accepting the past as it was, not as you would have liked it to be.

Famed psychologist Carl Jung once said, “If you don’t make the unconscious conscious, you will keep repeating the same patterns and conclude it is fate.” This statement is so true on multiple levels. Your mind is geared towards patterns, which makes sense because your body is trained to do things efficiently, allowing you to expend less energy. 
Wired to enjoy emotional pain 
Now, let’s think of it in another way. Imagine growing up in a scary and terrifying childhood where one or more of your family members were emotionally disabled, and you lacked emotional and/or psychological safety. To make sense of the existence called your childhood, you had to rationalize the bizarre things around you. Furthermore, your body was constantly being pumped with stress hormones to help cope with the stressful events. 
 
Your mind was being wired neurobiologically to expect painful feelings as a normal state of affairs. 
 
A soap opera lifestyle 
 
As a child, I found myself hooked on watching soap operas like “Young and the Restless.” Each and every episode had miscommunication, drama, and conflict. There were rarely moments of peace because peace and calm aren’t entertaining to watch. 
 
Anyway, you may be living a soap opera-like existence now, feuding with your family members, having stressful interactions with team members, and not knowing how to pay your bills. And if you’re honest with yourself, your present stressful circumstances may feel “normal” to you. 

Just because it is normal or familiar, doesn’t make it healthy 

 
However, just because something is normal doesn’t make it safe or healthy. If you want to live a happy and productive life, it’s time to be honest about what really happened as a child or during the traumatic incident(s). 
 
Stop trying to minimize the pain or rationalize your or others’ behavior. Take off your rose-colored glasses and see the situation for what it really was. 
 
Here are some questions to help you: 
 
– What did you do to cope with those painful feelings? 
– How did people around you respond to you during that time? 
– Why was it stressful to you? Be specific.
 
Next, let’s discuss accepting yourself as an imperfect human being.

Accepting the imperfections within yourself.

When I was a younger woman, I was called Ms. D, and this was not a term of endearment. I wanted to have things done my way and in my style. 

As I reflect on my personal and professional environments, I realize that this mindset of trying to control people and outcomes only brought me chaos and confusion. I attracted people who wanted to be my doormat or people who were way more aggressive than me, and both scenarios sucked. On top of that, I suffered from anxiety, insomnia and a serious addiction to sugar. Drinking one or more glasses of wine a day was the only thing that made me comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Why do you fear imperfection? 

The reason you fear imperfection is that you do not want someone to criticize your already low and fragile ego. That’s why you may feel threatened by anything or anyone that could provide you with any type of feedback, constructive or not.

If you want to heal, this pattern must change. Yes, if you want to heal from your trauma, it’s time for you to confront the inner demons within you. And I know you’re beautiful, sexy, and wonderful, but there are parts of you that need to be inspected and cleaned up. Here are some questions to think about: 

– Where are you judgmental and critical?

– Do you fear constructive criticism, even from helpful and supportive people?

– Have you found yourself isolating yourself among yes-men or yes-women? When did this start?

Final Thoughts

Healing from trauma is a complex issue that cannot be resolved in just one article. Depending on the severity, frequency, and impact of the trauma, it may take several years of hard work on your part to identify and prevent it from disrupting your goals and ambitions. However, you can learn steps right now to recognize how your past is affecting you at present, so you can avoid destructive relationships now and in the future.

What are you currently doing to heal from trauma? I would love to hear about your experiences communicating your past traumatic issues with a coach, counselor, or therapist. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or share your thoughts on X/Twitter.

Get the help you deserve

Remember, there is assistance available to help you express and overcome your past pain.

If you’re looking for a way to effectively communicate your experiences and live a happier life, don’t hesitate to seek help and work with me.

Nevertheless, if you’re coping with intense fear, pain, and shame most days, consider seeking guidance from a trained therapist with expertise in trauma work. Regardless of where you are in your healing journey, I want you to get the appropriate support.

Delve deeper: Click here to listen to this podcast episode on trauma or press the play button below.

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE

The information in this article is for informational purposes only. No material in this article or website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read from me or anyone else online.

Also, this article is not designed to diagnose or treat you or anyone with a suspected mental health illness. Please, if you need help, seek appropriate help from a lawyer, health care provider or law enforcement officer.

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