What is Trauma? How do I recognise it?

What does it look like? How does it show up in life?
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Trauma is what happens to the inside of you as a result of what happens to you.

Trauma is a word that carries weight. A lot of people would reject the idea that they are suffering from the impacts of trauma until I explain to them what it is?

You can be affected by trauma without being traumatised.

It is possible and likely that you are functioning well. What choice do you have? Life goes on, you are surviving.

You could be working, travelling or studying. You could be dating, married, have children and still be experiencing the impacts of trauma.

It is also possible that you have found ways to deal with it, until now. A road traffic accident, having a baby, a new relationship and even a dental appointment can trigger old trauma injuries. Why? Because trauma is related to feelings of being out of control and your vulnerability.

An indication that things might not be okay is when you check in with how you are feeling about yourself?

Do you like yourself?
Do you blame yourself?
Do you hold shame about yourself?
Do you doubt yourself?

We all do this from time to time, that is okay. However, how long does it take to shift this feeling? Can you shift it or does it turn into self-disgust?

Are you feeling on edge with people, at work, in the home? Are you looking for threats when you go to the shops or visit a bar with friends? Do you shrink from affection or go looking for it anywhere it is available. Does this lead to confusing sex with affection? Do you find committed relationships intolerable? Can you cope with conflict?

If the answer is yes? Then you are likely disconnected from yourself.

Sexual assault, sexual abuse and toxic relationships are destructive as it is often a huge betrayal of connection. Maybe it was someone you trusted, felt safe with, even loved or hoped to love. Perpetrators feed off your need for connection in order to gain access to you at your most vulnerable.

Disordered eating and body image issues are often a result of the experience of unresolved trauma. Trauma is held within the body and therefore a survivor will likely feel a disconnect or even hatred towards their body. A traumatic experience is about being out of control, it is about not knowing if you will survive the event. So often it is a compensatory response to starve the body, to restrict food or to create some control that has been lost. This can then become addictive as too often society rewards dieting and self-control in eating. Another compensatory response is to overcompensate with food, to lose control, eat feelings and make yourself as unattractive as possible.

Trauma feeds off disconnection and is repaired with connection. Loving connection to self, understanding and living by your values, learning to connect to others, building safe and nurturing relationships.

The shadow side needs to be acknowledged, these are the parts we find hard to love because they come from an adaptation of survival. They have been useful, protective, defensive of perceived danger until now. However, they show up they were important at the time. These old ways of being need celebrating not shaming. This can then lead to new ways of being that can shine. It takes work, it is not always easy. It is possible!

Uncover self-compassion,
connection and authenticity with me