More about Trauma

Trauma results from exposure to painful events such as physical and emotional abuse or neglect; sexual abuse and assault; dysfunctional families of origin, including chaotic home environments, difficult or unmarked transitions, mental illness in the family, or drug and alcohol addicted family members; as well as exposure to community violence or war. “Complex trauma” refers to multiple and repetitive exposure to these kinds of events, typically from an early age.


Trauma is, unfortunately, pervasive in modern life across cultures and socioeconomic classes. However, what heavily determines one’s response to traumatic events is the level of support that is present during and after the event occurs. People who have been through traumatic experiences with insufficient support can exhibit varied symptoms, including a cluster of symptoms known as the diagnosis “PTSD” (post-traumatic stress disorder):


Feelings of depression, hopelessness, despair

Helplessness, powerlessness


Chronic worry or persistent anxiety

Anger and irritability

Emotional dysregulation, volatility and overwhelm

Panic attacks

Memory difficulties

Feeling “shut down” or emotionless



Various physical symptoms such as chronic headaches, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.


People who have experienced trauma may also exhibit particular emotional and behavioral patterns with or without classic PTSD symptoms, such as:


Self-sabotaging behaviors

Obsessive self-critique and unrealistic demands for perfection

Hyper-responsibility and/or caretaking

Low self esteem, self-doubt, feeling unworthy

Difficulty sensing oneself and emotions

Trouble creating and maintaining healthy boundaries

Pervasive feelings of shame and guilt

Sex, love, alcohol and drug addiction

Abusive or codependent relationships

Challenges with constructive methods of communication