How Trauma Can Impact You

The word “trauma” often brings to mind war, natural disasters, or other intensely violent experiences that may seem remote to those of us fortunate enough to live in relative safety. But trauma is a much farther reaching phenomenon than we might think. A study on Adverse Childhood Experiences found that nearly 64% of individuals in the US had experienced at least one qualifying event, which includes exposure to violence and having family members with physical, mental, and/or substance use issues that impact bonding.

While traumatic events are incredibly common, many factors affect how that trauma gets processed, and how it will impact you through your life. Having a supportive social environment, medical, educational, and financial resources are all protective factors that can have a positive impact. When these resources are running low, and daily stressors are subsequently running high, trauma can manifest in multiple ways.

You may be experiencing negative impacts of trauma if:

  • You feel on edge around people, places and things that remind you of a painful experience
  • You have difficulty trusting people or asking for help
  • You actively avoid places that remind you a painful experience
  • You have experienced abuse, rejection, or criticism from primary caregivers
  • You have experienced racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, or other prejudice
  • If you’ve had negative religious experiences based on some aspect of your identity

Getting Support

Addressing the impact of trauma can take many different forms, and no one path is right or works for everyone. It can be useful to think of trauma as an event that disrupts our ability to feel connected and safe in our relationships. By examining the barriers that keep us from connection, we can learn how to re-establish a sense of belonging.

Approaches that can help:

  • Neurobiological treatments – Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing; Somatic Experiencing; Polyvagal approaches, biofeedback
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Healing practices that align with your racial and/or ethnic identities 
  • Internal Family Systems

Learn More

Here are some great resources for continued learning:

What Happened to You

Trauma and Recovery

When Things Fall Apart

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