Is emotional pain interfering with who you want to be?
Often the answer is yes!
If you have intense trauma issues, you’re probably keenly aware of them. But, what about all the small everyday moments that were filled with too much pain, especially when you were a child—those times when you were overwhelmed by a strong emotion like disappointment, fear or shame.
Often we don’t have enough support, either on the inside of from others, to stay present to our full reaction. When this happens, we may feel our best choice is to shut down or numb out our feelings. Perhaps you even coped by leaving your body.
Disconnecting may actually have helped you survive. It did so by keeping unbearable feelings and sensations at bay, but it didn’t help you to release your traumatic reactions. The residue from painful experiences such as these lives on inside your body, heart, mind and spirit.
Your survival coping strategies deserve your gratitude and respect. But, they should not run your life today.
When we free ourselves from the imprint of past trauma, we can invite far greater closeness, aliveness and possibility into our lives.
Wondering if unresolved trauma may be holding you back? See if any of these sound familiar.
10 Signs of Unconscious Traumatic Stress
1 joy eludes you
You want to feel light-hearted and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. But, it’s has been a long time since you naturally felt alive. You want a life that is less rushed and more vibrant and joyful.
2 Mini-addictions fill you up without fulfilling you
Do you have lots of small guilty habits? Maybe it’s nighttime snacking. Or, perhaps you go on a Netflix or online shopping binge. Small addictive habits that seem harmless enough, but that can add up and become toxic. Perhaps being present feels too hard.
3 Your mind is never truly quiet
Your mind likes to feel in control. The trouble is when you focus on making the “right” decision, you may bypass your intuition. The struggle to keep yourself safe isn’t allowing you to listen for an inner answer. Maybe your mind has even hijacked your heart.
4 You can’t hit your internal reset button
Do you often fantasize about having more downtime? But, when you get a true break, it only offers momentary relief, not rejuvenation. No matter what you do, your nervous system never reaches a state of full relaxation. The ongoing tension just beneath the surface is leaving you feeling drained and anxious.
5 Trust doesn’t come easily
You want a life filled with love and companionship. You may even envision a lasting relationship that is truly mutual and collaborative. Underneath your heart’s desires, however, is a struggle to trust and a fear of being vulnerable that leaves your dreams unfulfilled.
6 Your self-talk undermines you
On the outside you’re warm, positive and supportive. On the inside, it’s a different story. A harsh voice is constantly pushing or berating you. Perhaps your self-talk reminds you of someone.
7 Caring for others always comes first
You care about positively affecting the world and helping feels like second nature to you. Ignoring your own needs, you secretly long for someone else to put you first, hoping that person will care for you in a way that you never received.
8 Your potential lies in the shadow
You’re always busy, but not aligned with who you are. Your life may feel like an endless series of to do lists. You want a more intentional approach to your life and a way to move through doubt, distraction or self-sabotage, but you don’t know how to achieve it.
9 Life feels like a struggle
People around you seem to be effortlessly happy. You put in a huge amount of effort and still feel like you’re barely growing. To move with grace, you may need to awaken your heart and spirit to complement your efforts.
10 You feel like a fraud
Compliments can’t penetrate your heart, even when you know they’re genuine. A part of you simply never feels good enough. You can’t feel your inherent worth and open your heart to receiving.
The Power of Making Your Trauma Conscious
If you recognize any of these 10 signs of unresolved trauma in yourself, you’re in good company. We all struggle at times to make sense of why we’re feeling stuck or held back.
Unresolved trauma can often be the culprit behind a lack of self-esteem, loneliness, addiction, exhaustion or feeling off track in life.
Once you make the cause and effects of traumatic stress visible, you’re ready for the next step – trauma resolution.
I use Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT) a strongly effective method for helping women to release painful experiences and create lasting change. AIT is an incredibly powerful heart-based approach to trauma resolution.
Ready to Take a Next Step?
If you're looking for a way to begin healing, I invite you to set up a free initial consultation. Just click on this link to schedule your 15-minute consultation.
Lisa Bowker, MSW is a psychotherapist in Providence, RI who helps women release the past so that they can feel joyfully alive and deeply connected with their purposes and their loved ones.