Lee Barnasson Newsletter – Dec 201511 January 2016
How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence4 July 2016
The Effects of Unresolved Trauma
Many people suffer from the effects of trauma without realising it. Even though a part of you, consciously or unconsciously, may have blocked out what happened, you can still experience the effects.
According to Peter A. Levine, Ph.D., a leading trauma researcher and therapist with over 45 years experience in the field:
“The effects of unresolved trauma can be devastating. It can affect our habits and outlook on life, leading to addictions and poor decision-making. It can take a toll on our family life and interpersonal relationships. It can trigger real physical pain, symptoms, and disease, and it can lead to a range of self-destructive behaviors”.
Recognizing the signs of unresolved trauma can be tricky. Sometimes people who are having difficulties enter therapy without even knowing that they have suffered the trauma that is causing disruptions in their daily lives. The very nature of trauma lends itself to that.
Often, when a person goes through a traumatic event, there is some degree of dissociation and the person essentially “blocks out” all, or part, of the event, so his or her awareness of the trauma isn’t accurate. This can make diagnosis difficult. Even when memories of the trauma are hidden from a person’s awareness, there are signs that will become noticeable in his or her daily life.
These are some of the most common signs that someone is suffering from unresolved trauma:
- Anxiety or panic attacks that occur in what would be considered normal situations
- A feeling of shame; an innate feeling that they are bad, worthless, or without importance
- Suffering from chronic or ongoing depression
- Avoiding people, places, or things that may be related to the traumatic event; this also can include an avoidance of unpleasant emotions
- Flashbacks, nightmares, and body memories related to the traumatic event
- Addiction and eating disorders can be an attempt to escape or numb negative emotions
- Sleeping issues including, trouble going to sleep or staying asleep
- Suffering from feelings of detachment, or feeling “dead inside” This is perhaps the most devastating of the signs, because it creates a feeling of loneliness and isolation.
- Dissociation as a real disconnect in situations and conversations
- Hyper-vigilance, a constant feeling of being on guard
- Suicidal thought or actions
- Uncontrollable anger; acting on it
- Self-harm, cutting, and mutilation
- Not being able to tolerate conflicts
- Unexplained or irrational fears of people, places, or things
If you identify with any, or all, of the signs, then you may want to ask yourself if it’s time to talk with a therapist about your trauma. Is it easier to function as you are, or to work through the pain you have suffered? It’s a question that only you can answer, but rest assured, you are not alone. There are many people who have been traumatized, who have even developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and who are now free from the effects of the past.
And you too can be free from the effects of trauma.
I invite you to call me now on 0411 075 445 for more information on how the Rewind Technique (link) and TRE (link) can help you live a life free from the events of the past.
And if you are interested in more background information on the subject, I highly recommend the following books by Peter Levine and Bessel van der Kolk, both leading trauma specialists:
Peter Levine: Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma and In an Unspoken Voice
Bessel van der Kolk: The Body Keeps the Score