10 Signs You May Be Suffering from Unresolved Trauma
Things happen to us. It’s just the way of life.
From the moment you are born into this world until the very second in which you are now reading this sentence, life is full of experiences. Every day brings something new.
Whilst there is certainly no shortage of beauty in this world, it’s safe to say that at one point or another, we will all experience things that we wish could be erased from our life, mind and memory. Life changes such as losing a job you loved, moving homes, relationship problems, heartache, financial troubles, work stress or conflict can sometimes be just too much to bear.
When you don’t have a healthy way of dealing with your trauma, you put yourself at risk of repressing your negative emotions by pretending that everything is okay when it really isn’t.
It can be difficult to recognize unresolved trauma on the surface. It’s not uncommon to minimize the effect that traumatic experiences have on us. We like to say to ourselves: “It’s nothing. I’ll be alright”. Many of us don’t like asking for help because we are too proud or perhaps too embarrassed. But no matter how hard you try to block things from your awareness, the trauma lives within you and often reveals itself in more unpleasant and unexpected ways.
I have witnessed many clients walk into my office with a wide range of complaints and, many times, we have been able to work together to identify a traumatic experience that led to their current struggles. Based on that experience, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of…
10 Signs You May Be Suffering from Unresolved TraumaBy writing this list, it is my sincere hope that you will learn to answer some of the questions you’ve been asking yourself. Are you ready? Here we go.
Your Self-Esteem Is LowIt’s very common for people to experience low self-esteem when they have experienced previous trauma. Early abuse, neglect and feelings of abandonment all lead us to believe that we are not worthy of love, success or even friendship. You may find it hard to value yourself because, deep down, you don’t believe that you deserve anything that is positive or special.
It’s Difficult To Ask For HelpIf you’ve experienced what we call “attachment trauma” (or any other relational trauma), you are likely to struggle reaching out for help. You may suffer in silence because you are too afraid to reach out. You fear being rejected, ridiculed, or seen as weak. Deep down, you believe that no one really cares about your problems, causing you to bottle everything up until it explodes. Talking about the struggles you’ve been through makes you feel really uncomfortable.
You Need To Plan For EverythingIf you feel a strong, overwhelming need to maintain control, this most likely stems from a traumatic experience that left you feeling helpless and vulnerable. You tend to micromanage everything and make plans for everything, regardless of how far away they may be. You plan every hour of your day and you feel frustrated whenever things don’t go the way you expected. If you are in an intimate relationship, controlling and micromanaging your partner puts a significant strain on your relationship. You have a deeply rooted distrust in yourself and the world in general.
You Resist Positive ChangeYou tend to experience difficulties allowing yourself to accept any positive change. Deep down, you feel as though you don’t deserve to be happy. Whenever something good appears in your life, your first reaction is to question it and be suspicious of it. Whenever you allow yourself to celebrate your own success, feelings of shame and guilt overwhelm you. It’s almost as though you feel more comfortable being hurt, rejected or abandoned than being loved and taken care of.
You Fear SuccessHave you ever felt as though you were holding yourself back from something you really wanted, not because you were afraid you might not get it, but because you feared what would happen when you did? Do you feel more comfortable staying unnoticed, and “under the radar?” Sabotaging your own chances of success is another way that repressed trauma manifests in your life. Early traumatic events such as being abandoned or losing a loved one can cause a significant fear of success for many individuals.
You Fear FailureIt is normal to fear failure from time to time. But when that fear of failure begins to outweigh your motivation to succeed, you risk missing out on opportunities by suppressing your own creativity and ambition. This also leads to insecurity and perfectionism. You are potentially holding onto a negative belief about yourself that was instilled in you by an unresolved trauma. If this feels like the case for you, you are being held back from moving forward in life.
You Have Difficulty ConcentratingTrauma can have many damaging psychological effects and it’s not uncommon for victims to experience difficulties concentrating. In fact, memory and concentration problems are common symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a lot like having a faulty wire in your brain. If you have trouble staying focused during the day and find it hard to follow your train of thought, it might just be that your mind is crying out for help and asking you to work through your past traumas to achieve relief.
You Often “Flip Your Lid”Do you often lash out at others when experiencing intense emotions? Do you push your loved ones away and isolate yourself when you have to deal with a problem? If you are suffering from an unresolved trauma, it is easy to end up hurting both yourself and others around you. You may feel overly sensitive and angrier than usual. You may break things, lose your temper and may even resort to self-harm.
You Have Unexplained SymptomsHave you been experiencing any unexplained pains recently? Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Perhaps you’ve lost your appetite? Research has shown that many unexplained psychological or physical symptoms can be the result of a lingering psychological trauma and the ongoing stress that is related to it. If your doctor cannot find the reason behind your symptoms, it may be time to speak with a Mental Health Professional.
You Struggle With Depression, Anxiety Or Personality DisorderThe final point, but undoubtedly one of the most important, is that trauma is often misdiagnosed with other disorders. It’s possible that you may end up being treated for what could be considered the effects of trauma, rather than its causes. It’s important to keep in mind that anxiety, depression, dissociation/depersonalization, panic attacks, frequent flashbacks, nightmares and emotional distress are all commonly found in patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Nobody is immune to trauma. Trauma can affect us all.
If you’ve been through a difficult experience that “keeps you awake at night”, it is important that you reach out for help. In order to move forward in life and find the peace that you’ve been longing for, you must first take steps towards healing in a positive and healthy manner.
I genuinely believe that the most important part of the healing process is getting to the root of the problem. By creating a narrative about what has happened to you, you are providing yourself with the opportunity to resolve your trauma and feel truly alive again. If you are ready for a future different from your past, please get in touch with me today. I would be honored to guide you through this process and hope to hear from you soon.
Until next time,