Most of us consider a “traumatic” event to be something we hear about in the news – or those terrible things that happen to other people. We reserve the use of the word “trauma” for the experiences of war veterans or survivors of natural catastrophes or terrorist attacks.
But trauma comes in many forms. Are you living a trauma-impacted life, without knowing it?
Is that even possible? – you might ask yourself. Yes, here’s how:
In therapy, we often ask questions about your history growing up, family life, important relationships, etc. We’ll ask if there was any abuse. We’ll ask about history of traumatic incidents. And many people say something like, “No, my childhood was normal.” Or, “My childhood was great.”
But as we get to know each other better, build trust and talk further, very often it turns out that there are significant incidents (in childhood and in adulthood) that have negatively shaped your view of yourself and your view of others.
And sometimes, these events are most accurately defined as “traumatic.” Interestingly, even though these events are carried with us for years, impacting how we show up and do life, impacting our daily choices and behaviors, our sleep, our health, and the quality of our relationships – instead of giving proper attention to the event(s) and moving towards healing, we just chalk it up as a thing that happened, that we don’t want to let define us.
But if we’re not naming it accurately and working through it – instead of walking in healthy freedom, we’re actually limiting our capacity for health and freedom.
In part two, we’ll look at common reasons we have a hard time accurately naming certain negative life experiences. In subsequent parts, we’ll talk more specifically about one option for resolving trauma – besides talk therapy or medication.
Written by: Mindy Pierce