The impact of Trauma
Trauma is often expected to hit with a big bang, causing obvious destruction with visible effects. The reality however can be so very different. The effects can be subtle, causing invisible damage and destruction to the person. What I mean when I talk about trauma, is an event that is deemed traumatic due to the resulting powerful emotional impact. This emotional impact of a trauma varies from person to person. Even when one or more people witness the same event, it’s not uncommon for them to be emotionally impacted in different ways.
For example: Two children, both bullied at school by the same bully, may feel very differently about the bullying. One may be devastated, feel guilt and shame, and can’t understand why it happened to them. They may overwhelmed with low self esteem, not able to make friendships and find it difficult to keep a job in adulthood. The other person feels sorry for the bully and can rationalise that she was hurting herself. They don’t allow the bullying to impact their life and live a happy, productive life.
No one has control over the emotional impact.
When you begin to understand how you have been impacted, you can choose what to do about it. There is no right or wrong way to be affected by an event. Often we have long practiced comparing our trauma with others, believing our event to be far less significant than someone else’s. But this is a narrow point of view, as it is the emotional impact that causes the turmoil. In each situation, the emotional impact on the person is incomparable. They are different people and neither one can control the emotional impact from their situation.
For example – a person might assume that being diagnosed with cancer is worse than going through a divorce and losing the love of your life. Taking into consideration personality, perception, attitude, mindset, self esteem, this may not be true. Add into that the relationship with your partner, the type of cancer, your understanding of the situation, preparedness, emotional connections and many more variables. The person going through the divorce was totally in love with his partner, and did not see the request for divorce coming. He feels completely out of control and bereft. The person diagnosed with cancer, feels she has all the information and support she needs to successfully beat cancer. She feels her chances of beating it are high and is ready for the fight.
Trauma doesn’t care about time
Trauma is associated with unexpressed emotions of any event. Powerful emotions that we experience can become more intense over time. Guilt, shame and anger often growing in size the further away we get from the event. Trauma is more likely to transcend time, than disappear the further away from the event you get. One particularly powerful thought is ‘I should be over this by now’. It is often reflected in people’s actions when we talk about a tramatic event from years ago. So we stop talking about it, and internalise the turmoil.
“Give it time”
These words are meant to offer comfort after a loss or life changing event. Words that promise the pain and hurt will lessen and maybe disappear altogether in time. Society often sets unofficial time limits on how long we can show the effect of loss or life changes. Generally, people are not truly sympathetic to long term grief. We learn to disguise, pretend, and ignore the hurt. We bury the pain so we don’t make other people feel uncomfortable.
Trauma isn’t always an instant big hit. Sometimes it buries itself deep down in the recesses of our body and mind. Its camouflaged by the fight to maintain some control of the overwhelming unexpressed emotions. Trauma is intermittent because its emotionally gentle at times and overbearing at others. It slowly takes control of your mind and body, until you don’t remember the person you were. Time is a feeder. Our thoughts and expectations encourage powerful emotions to grow in power, and overwhelm us.
Self Knowledge is a Superpower
In conclusion, being unaware of your internal process allows it to continue. Here the motto ‘Self knowledge is a super power’ applies. You understand more about yourself. You are better able to make different decisions, and look after yourself.
- Recognise the unique way you are emotionally impacted by the event. The sooner, the better.
- No event is insignificant if it leaves you with powerful emotions.
- Be kind to yourself, whatever you are feeling is ok.
- You have a choice what you do about it.
- Find the best way for you to express your emotions – this could be therapy, journaling or talking to trusted friends.
Work on your superpower
I offer private coaching sessions online, which can help with emotional expression. EmotionMind Dynamic is a six session programme designed to facilitate holistic personal development, based on the motto ‘Self Knowledge is a Super Power®’.
Each section features units which encourage you in becoming active and engaged in their own life. Each section’s units provide resources that further develop self knowledge. You will challenge your perceptions, increase your self awareness, boost your confidence and self esteem – all the while improving your mental health. You’ll be developing Life skills too – self reflection, self analysis, problem solving, evaluation. As you progress through the programme you will feel empowered to set goals for your future, and confidently take actions that lead to your new version of you.
I actively use her coaching method every day to help me take back control of my anxiety and she has helped me take the right steps to find out who I am. I can’t thank Hayley enough for all the tools she has given me, listening to me, helping me click the restart button on my life and most importantly she has taught me to love myself again.