A traumatic event is one in which a person experiences, witnesses, or is confronted with an actual or threatened death, serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of self or another. Prolonged exposure to repetitive or severe events such as child abuse is likely to cause the most severe and lasting effects.
Interpersonal violence tends to be more traumatic than natural disasters because it is more disruptive to our sense of trust and attachment, and it is typically experienced as intentional rather than as "an act of nature”. Trauma can also occur from neglect or abuse from significant others, particularly if the children are small.
Trauma overwhelms our coping capacity and affects the whole self. It results in symptoms that are:
The earlier the trauma, the more severe the symptoms.
Early intervention is almost always the key to recovery.
Trauma survivors who do not verbally process the trauma are much slower to recover. "Talking about the trauma endlessly" is called "getting better."
The opposite of neglect is attentiveness, attachment and attunement.
When we avoid processing the pain of trauma, we guarantee more pain in the future.
We are a nation of unhealed trauma survivors. Unprocessed trauma "comes out" in a variety of ways:
• abuse of others
• emotional neglect of self and others
• repressed anger
• bullying others
One reason that people seek out opportunities to "tell you about their trauma" is that they never fully processed their trauma and got better.
Although sometimes less visible, early childhood trauma can be much worse than some adult trauma.
If you enjoyed a secure emotional attachment early in life, the effect of later trauma can be less than it ordinarily would have been.
Our need to give and to receive love and affection appears to be our greatest need. We clearly have an in-born need for connections with others. In a sense, we are like the many animals that travel in herds or packs, that is, we need connections with others.
The most powerful antidote to severe addictions is making strong interpersonal connections with others.
When individuals are abused early in life and are not allowed to process and talk about the abuse, much later in life, they are more likely to attribute negative intentions to others A LOT!
The Dalai Lama has said often that:
"In order to make others happy, Practice compassion.
In order to be happy yourself, Practice compassion."
A woman who uses drugs in order to manage pain of trauma, dramatically increases her risk level of sexual assault in the future. Sexual addiction, to many researchers, is in fact an attempt to reduce the tension and others symptoms of trauma.
An individual may experience trauma generally when her or his resources are overwhelmed. Immediately after a traumatic event, the individual may need a silent listener who can help the survivor focus on the now. It is NOT the time for others to share their stories.
TRAUMA: A normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
The trauma response is "survival mode." If untreated, the effects of the trauma can invade our lives. Trauma is not so much an event, but the body's response to an event. Generally, we hold the "rage response" in our jaws.
The individual who has alexithymia or intimacy anorexia has a more difficult time processing the trauma, since the alexithymic person "has no words for feelings" and cannot label feelings correctly.
A traumatic memory is one that has not yet been processed; it is dysfunctionally stored and causes the dysfunction.
After the "9/11" event, many people seem to have been traumatized, not by the event itself, but by the 24/7 news cycle that ran throughout the day and evening. Their symptoms were no less real. This is sometimes known as secondary traumatization.
Those who have experienced early trauma have shown an inability to make commitments, to easily disconnect from others, and to have a limited ability to make interpersonal connections with others.
Childhood trauma has been found to reduce life span by twenty years. Being morbidly obese has been found to be highly related to one's having experienced early trauma.
Twenty-eight per cent of women acknowledge early childhood sexual abuse. Seventeen per cent of men acknowledge early childhood abuse.
Early trauma predicts not one, but clusters of symptoms.
Early trauma makes it difficult for the individual to regulate impulsivity.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Individuals with high levels of stress are generally seen as having high levels of cortisol.
Rage is sometimes known as "helpless fear." (Saer)
When an individual has survived long term and repeated trauma, the first question to ask is, "How did you survive?"