Are thoughts about past traumas intruding into your daily life? Are you being held back by experiences that are hard to talk about?
Although traumatic events are extremely common experiences that many people go through at some time or another, many people choose to live with the effects of their traumas rather than getting the help they need.
Whether you’re wanting to move forward in your life and get close to others but find yourself holding back, or you find yourself doing and feeling things that you can’t seem to help- like sabotaging yourself when you start to feel happy or successful, overanalyzing small details over and over again, or feeling numb and disconnected even as you go through the motions of your daily activities- unresolved traumatic experiences may be at the root of the problem. You may also feel confused about your relationships, wondering if they are healthy or unhealthy or why you can’t seem to move past situations that keep you stuck and unhappy. Trauma often leads people to pretend that everything’s okay even as they worry that something is really wrong.
Fears about trusting others and getting hurt again can make it hard to seek help and to get an outside perspective on what’s normal and what isn’t. Holding emotions and fears inside all the time can lead to feelings of tension in the body, sleep problems, or feeling like you’re going to explode. You might wish that you could just forget about the past and put the pain behind you and perhaps you’ve even tried to do this on your own.
It’s normal to have questions and fears about seeking help when you’ve been hurt, manipulated, or betrayed in the past.
You may wonder whether you’re going to have to talk about and relive painful memories in therapy, or you may be concerned about not knowing which feelings are going to come up or how it will feel to share things that you’re used to keeping inside. One of the important parts of trauma therapy is pacing; this means that you will always be able to decide when and if you want to talk about your trauma so that you won’t have to feel overwhelmed or out of control during the therapy process. It’s also normal to question yourself and wonder whether you’re “making a bigger deal of things than they are” or overreacting to things that have happened in your life. If you grew up in an invalidating environment or if people dismissed your reports of the trauma, you may have difficulty trusting your own perceptions and you may even wonder at times if you are crazy or if there is something wrong with your mind.
Therapy for trauma is very effective.
Therapy can help you process traumatic memories, but also involves so much more, because people who have experienced trauma have beliefs about themselves and others that can be very limiting (for example, feelings of shame can lead you to believe that you are bad or unworthy; beliefs about others being unsafe or untrustworthy are common as well). Learning to take healthy risks in relationships and how to figure out the difference between safe relationships (in which it makes sense to let down your guard) versus manipulative or exploitative relationships (where it’s healthy to be cautious/guarded), is an important part of the therapy process that can help you protect yourself without becoming too disconnected from others or restricted in your life. Trauma therapy can also help you process past memories so that you no longer feel like you’re reliving them all the time (or living in fear of being traumatized again). Therapy can also help you become more secure about trusting your instincts and reactions so that you no longer doubt yourself as much or wonder if you’re overreacting to things.
If you’re still not sure if are ready to seek treatment or not, you may want to download my Trauma Belief Checklist about which trauma-based fears and beliefs are holding you back the most in your life. Starting to notice how trauma has affected you can help you begin the process of figuring out what you need to do to heal. When you do feel ready to come for help, I’m here for you with a safe, non-judgmental space for you to begin your healing journey.