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20 Signs of Unresolved Trauma

Below is an interesting article by a trauma therapist who lists some potential signs/symptoms of unresolved trauma. It can be hard to recognize and accept the prevalence of these symptoms in our own lives or to know where they came from. This article may help shed some light on how unresolved trauma can impact some of us.

After recognizing many of these symptoms/signs in my own life, I knew I had to decide whether or not dealing with pain from my past would be worth the trouble. I didn’t know if it would be and knew it wouldn’t be a quick and easy process.

This article reminded me of some of the questions I asked myself and thoughts I pondered:

Is it harder to face how you were abused and who abused you? Or is it harder to live a life full of depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, troubled relationships, extreme fears, physical pain, and addictions?

Running from your trauma history will not help you feel better. In the short-run, you might not have to face the issues, but the cost in the long-run of unresolved trauma weighs more heavily than you might suspect.

Your life can be better than it is.

I ended up putting it off until I could no longer function and had to tap out (Symptoms 50 vs Ben -20).

Finally, I decided it would be worth the risk of experiencing the intense, and hopefully short-term pain of processing my past in order to lessen the occurrence of disabling symptoms in my life. With more and more time behind me, I have to admit it’s the best/hardest decision I have ever made.

What a terrifying yet incredibly brave step for anyone to take. Annaka and I wish we could be there to support more individuals who embark on this journey. We know how tough it is.

To those of you suffering from these types of symptoms, please consider seeking professional help. Also, know that you deserve a better quality of life, even if a better one seems impossible. Lastly, remember to be patient with the process. Healing takes time.

To those of you who are already on your journey and may feel like giving up, keep going! It’s worth it.

-Ben

P.S. Stay tuned. We’re working on more posts to share with you. Thanks for reading.

20 Signs of Unresolved Trauma

Many people enter the therapy process with minimal awareness of their trauma history. When the trauma survivors are dissociative, they have the ability to block out an awareness of their trauma. They may know that their family had problems, or that their family was dysfunctional, etc, but they may believe they were never abused.

However, blocking out conscious awareness of trauma does not mean that the survivors have no effects of that trauma. Using denial and dissociative skills does not mean that the abuse did not happen. Denial means that the person simply is refusing to acknowledge or accept the fact that they were traumatized. They are pretending they were not hurt, when they were actually hurt very badly.

Even if the memories of abuse are hidden from the survivor’s awareness, blocked trauma / unresolved trauma creates very noticeable and obvious symptoms that can be easily seen in their every day lives.

People will enter therapy aware of some of the following symptoms, but they may not realize these complications are suggestive of unresolved trauma issues:

1. Addictive behaviors – excessively turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling as a way to push difficult emotions and upsetting trauma content further away.

2. An inability to tolerate conflicts with others – having a fear of conflict, running from conflict, avoiding conflict, maintaining skewed perceptions of conflict

3. An inability to tolerate intense feelings, preferring to avoid feeling by any number of ways

4. An innate belief that they are bad, worthless, without value or importance

5. Black and white thinking, all or nothing thinking, even if this approach ends up harming themselves

6. Chronic and repeated suicidal thoughts and feelings

7. Disorganized attachment patterns – having a variety of short but intense relationships, refusing to have any relationships, dysfunctional relationships, frequent love/hate relationships

8. Dissociation, spacing out, losing time, missing time, feeling like you are two completely different people (or more than two)

9. Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, obesity, etc

10. Excessive sense of self-blame – taking on inappropriate responsibility as if everything is their fault, making excessive apologies

11. Inappropriate attachments to mother figures or father figures, even with dysfunctional or unhealthy people

12. Intense anxiety and repeated panic attacks

13. Intrusive thoughts, upsetting visual images, flashbacks, body memories / unexplained body pain, or distressing nightmares

14. Ongoing, chronic depression

15. Repeatedly acting from a victim role in current day relationships

16. Repeatedly taking on the rescuer role, even when inappropriate to do so

17. Self-harm, self-mutilation, self-injury, self-destruction

18. Suicidal actions and behaviors, failed attempts to suicide

19. Taking the perpetrator role / angry aggressor in relationships

20. Unexplained but intense fears of people, places, things

These same symptoms can be applied for survivors already working in therapy. Attending regular therapy does not mean the clients have resolved their trauma issues or that they are even working in that general direction. Many therapy clients will continue to deny, dissociate, and refuse to look at their trauma even if they are aware of their daily struggles.

If you are experiencing a number of the symptoms listed above, ask yourself if you are truly ready to address your trauma issues, or if you find it more comfortable to continue living with these struggles.

Is it harder to face how you were abused and who abused you? Or is it harder to live a life full of depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, troubled relationships, extreme fears, physical pain, and addictions?

Running from your trauma history will not help you feel better. In the short-run, you might not have to face the issues, but the cost in the long-run of unresolved trauma weighs more heavily than you might suspect.

Your life can be better than it is.

Be brave – face your trauma issues!

By:

Kathy Broady MSW

Fire

Comments

  1. We’re so glad you like the information. The source is both mentioned and linked in the post. I hope that helps.

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