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What Does Trauma Look Like?

In order to adequately explain how much I was limiting my life and to convey the numerous ways in which I was allowing myself to accept less because it's what I felt I deserved, I need to talk to you about trauma.

Merriam-Webster offers some interesting insight into trauma: "Trauma is the Greek word for "wound". Although the Greeks used the term only for physical injuries, nowadays, trauma is just as likely to refer to emotional wounds. We now know that a traumatic event can leave psychological symptoms long after any physical injuries have healed. The psychological reaction to emotional trauma now has an established name: post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It usually occurs after an extremely stressful event, such as wartime combat, a natural disaster, or sexual or physical abuse; its symptoms include depression, anxiety, flashbacks, and recurring nightmares."

Fear, depression, anxiety, nightmares – these are the trauma symptoms that most of us call to mind – but how many of us have actually spent time considering what trauma ACTUALLY looks like in our own lives? How it can directly impact the choices and decisions we make or the way that we think about ourselves, our environment, etc.

Trauma doesn't always stem from a 'memorable' or 'major' event in our lives. As the quote above suggests, it's not always something that has happened TO US that can cause trauma in our lives, but rather the absence of something – love, connection, belonging.

I want to talk about how trauma can show up for us – some you may have never even realized were trauma-adjacent responses!

Trauma can appear in any one of, or a combination of, the following:

- Procrastination

- Resistance

- Trouble focusing (brain fog)

- Not feeling good enough

- Fear of failure

- Trouble asking for help

- Scattered thoughts

- A need to plan for everything

- Fear of success

Too often, our subconscious mind – having ingrained a trauma within us that we may not even know is there – manifests itself in the way we approach everyday challenges.

For example, fear of failure may lead to procrastination – the longing to "delay the inevitable," which is an assumed downfall from whatever activity, project, or action you are preparing to take. But where did that fear of failure come from? To reiterate a point I shared a few months ago when I discussed the process of uncovering bias: between birth and age seven, our subconscious mind works like a sponge, absorbing everything around us – because we haven't developed our critical faculty yet – the element of our brain that makes us question or challenge things critically.

From this, we can determine that while you may be consciously unaware of the reason for your fear of failure, there is a good chance that something someone said, or did, or didn't say, or didn't do for you during your crucial formative years resulted in a trauma response to performing. The same can be applied to a fear of success, trouble asking for help, the need to 'plan' for everything, etc.

It is so important to me to speak with individuals about the way their subconscious mind can act as an inhibitor for growth as too often we assume anyone dealing with trauma knows precisely what caused it and what has occurred for them as a result.

This is simply not true and certainly not always the case. My rape left me feeling ‘damaged’– I use that word cautiously because I know now its weight and impact. When we reconnect next week, I'm going to share with you the very real and extremely personal story about my 'catalyst for change' moment.

And while I am eager to share that story with you, it is not without the knowledge that this misconception of trauma more often than not comes at a cost for so many people. The cost of not doing the work to free yourself from these limiting beliefs and actions because you don't even know what it is that is holding you back in the first place.

I can help; it's what I'm passionate about! By working through the paradigms, your subconscious mind has created, I can help you move beyond your limiting beliefs to the next level of you!

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