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The misunderstanding about trauma

Updated: Mar 20

What is trauma? How failing to understand what is trauma keeps us stuck with mental and physical health issues resulting from it.

The most significant blocks to recover from CPTSD entirely are denial and victimhood originating from failing to understand what is trauma.

If we want to recover from CPTSD or support a close one who is suffering from it, we must take time and try to understand this definition of trauma by Dr Gabor Maté.

Understanding this is crucial because you must know that you suffer from trauma to heal from trauma.

And more often than not, we suffer from trauma without even knowing it.

That starts with the error in the mainstream approach to trauma that makes us dismiss our trauma and enables denial about it.

The mistake is to see trauma as something that happened to us, the abuse, violence or shock we experienced. If we follow this logic, when we don't recall what happened, then nothing happened, so there is no trauma. And nothing to heal. We have missed the root cause of our disorders.

While having little to no memories about our childhood is the first confirmation that there was trauma.

The truth is that when traumatising events take place and trauma happens within us as a result very often brain protects us and keeps the memory of trauma implicit.

That is when body knows, but not the mind.

In cases of complex and severe trauma we have no direct recollection of the traumatising event if we have survived it "thanks to" our Autonomic Nervous System getting us into freeze state, when fight or flight was not a viable option.

That is the case of pre-natal trauma, birth and early childhood trauma (emotional, physical and sexual); as well some times adult trauma and of course the transgenerational trauma (inherited up to the 4th generation, proved by numerous scientific studies in the field of neuroepigenetics).

When you suffer from trauma and have no knowledge or recollection of the traumatising event you start believing that something is wrong with you, with your brain and with your body. And then you give into mainstream diagnosis like depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline. That is when psychosomatic and autoimmune disorders start to appear and that is how we can tell that there is underlying unresolved trauma.

As well trauma is often caused not by something that happened to us but by something that should have happened but did not happen. Like it is in case of neglect, emotional abuse and proximal abandonment.

So my point is: one needs to know that there is a case of unresolved trauma to be able to heal.

And when we mistake the traumatising event for trauma we get mislead from even knowing that what we suffer from is trauma, because we believe: nothing happened so there is no trauma.

The denial is natural, it is a part of survival mechanisms because looking at your own trauma if it is severe can be overwhelming, painful and life threatening to psyche. That is where a professional trauma worker is needed to make this process gentle and safe, and to avoid retraumatization.

Not looking at our trauma ends up causing greater and greater suffering within us and as well around us.

Hurt people hurt people, or in other words, we subconsciously project and act out the trauma that we don’t own and haven't healed.

When we act out trauma response, it is unconscious; it is from the shadow, from what is unknown and unowned.

Trauma response is our subconscious mind taking automatic action to ensure our survival.

The survival mechanism is formed by this flawed logic subconsciously: when triggered, we will survive if we do the same thing that made us survive the traumatic experience.

However, what made us survive back then acted out today where there is no real threat is harmful to us and others.

Those are mechanics of the trauma programming. As a result of trauma, we behave in ways that are harmful to ourselves despite our best intentions and some abuse others while being entirely unconscious of their abusive actions.

That was just one part of the story. And now the second part:

What is in common between all people suffering from unresolved trauma?

The victimhood.

Victimised by the disease. Victimised by others, by the situation, the life and self.

It is impossible to heal when you are victimised: disempowered, helpless and unable to take responsibility for how you experience the present moment.

Focusing on what happened to you instead of what happens inside of you and what you can do now will keep you victimised and unable to heal.

Understanding that trauma is not what happened to you but inside you due to something that happened with you is crucial to trauma recovery.

It is empowering because you can not change what happened to you, but you can change what is happening within you and what belongs to you now.

This understanding is that point where we shift from blaming ourselves and others into taking responsibility for our present moment and becoming able to take empowered action to change what belongs to us and to transform our lives.

That is the essential step out of victimhood.

To heal from trauma, we need to be out of denial and out of victimhood, which starts to happen when we understand this definition of trauma by Dr Gabor Maté.

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