Trauma is not something that we like to think about , let alone talk about. Trauma itself is also commonly misunderstood leaving individuals who are affected by it to feel stigmatized, alone and not receive the assistance they need. In order to better help people with trauma we must understand that their reactions are normal responses to abnormal situations. It is also important for us to ask, “What happened to you?” rather than “What is wrong with you”? Below are examples of the effects of trauma on peoples lives that you may not know about.
Chronic trauma can change your personality- People who experience prolonged and repeated trauma over a period of time can feel like they have “lost themselves.” This feeling is more intense then someone with a single event trauma. For the chronic trauma survivor they might even feel that they have “no sense of self” at all. Many survivors feel that their personality has been permanently changed by their experience and will refer to themselves as a “different person” than they used to be.
Trauma can change your body- Chronically traumatized people no longer have any baseline state of physical calm or comfort . Instead, they experience the hyper arousal symptoms of being anxious and agitated. Over a period of time people might even feel as if their bodies have “turned against them.” It is not uncommon for traumatized individuals to experience a variety of somatic complaints such as; tension headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, abdominal pain, body aches and pain as well as other unexplained illnesses.
Domestic violence survivors experience similar psychological trauma to those in concentration camps- Studies shows a common theme between coercive methods of power and control whether you are in a domestic violence situation, a hostage, political prisoner or a survivor of concentration camp. Psychological domination that domestic violence survivors experience is dehumanizing. Processing the emotions of unexpressed rage is a key component to healing.
Mourning is imperative in the healing process of trauma- After a traumatic life event it is important for a person to mourn. Our society has rituals for mourning as part of a bereavement process when we lose someone we love but we don’t have customs or rituals for recognizing the mourning that takes place after trauma. Research shows that in the absence of mourning after trauma a person’s chance for developing severe and chronic depression symptoms is extremely high.
EMDR therapy is a highly effective and a researched based treatment for men and women who have experienced trauma. The therapists at Vancouver EMDR Therapy enjoy working with people who have experienced trauma and can help you!
Call today for a appointment. Call Angi Smith, LMHC at 503-314-9337.