Trauma and its impact on our lives.


What is mean trauma?

Trauma – as the name suggests, it is a traumatic experience or event in our life that has had a negative impact on the way we behave and perceive reality. Painful experiences mainly relate to accidents, natural disasters or being deliberately injured by other people. The trauma can be experienced personally or witnessed by it. Trauma can come at any age and there are no limits to this, such experiences can occur once in our lives or recur in what is known as a recurrent trauma.  

Despite drastic and unwanted events in our existence, we will not always react adequately to the assumed pattern. Namely, our behaviors will differ from each other, despite the fact that we have experienced something similar, or we have had the same experience, our reactions will undoubtedly be different from each other, some of us will react with anger and aggression, others with anger and withdrawal. There is no one pattern of behavior for a given situation, and a given event will affect each of us differently, some cope immediately, while others need more time to react to a given bitterness.

Recognize trauma.

The passage of time is significant for convalescence, but it may happen that the recovery period is prolonged by wrong diagnosis or classification, for example, agoraphobia is confused with PTSD as described in the previous article, or simply the individual’s lack of ability to work on themselves after a difficult experience. Of course, it is not the victim’s fault here, but a matter of cognitive patterns and the environment in which we find ourselves during development. What is known is that trauma can have a so-called “domino effect”, i.e. one situation will trigger another. 

And so, for example, when we start the so-called analysis of what happened or the mind unexpectedly reminds us of a given event, be it sound or smell, then subsequent reflexes and behavior of the body appear in order to suppress the given reactions to the stress factor. Anxiety and fear are inherent in such events. As well as somatic behaviors or induced reactions to the body through our own mind to protect. A somatic example here can be the feeling of itching when we talk about ants or mosquitoes, where they are not really there. There can be many more such examples of psychosomatic disorders, which leads to the development of a somatic disease through the constant perception of oneself as a sick person or with some ailment which is physically absent. 

Another aspect of our domino effect may be avoidance or withdrawal by a given individual, many people who are traumatized will consciously or unconsciously avoid places, situations or people directly or indirectly related to a given event. For example, a student who is humiliated in school can learn defense patterns to avoid future disappointments, i.e. the school and other buildings related to the institution, teachers or other authorities in general, given students or people resembling traumatic events. 

Also, there may be avoidance or reluctance to continue learning or other personal development, whether at work where we will no longer be climbing the ladder to get a promotion or better salary, such an entity will be satisfied with basic employment and functioning around basic needs. Although such behavior is not always the denominator of the experienced trauma, just like the developmental situation, it may have consequences contrary to those described. So a traumatized person will strive to gain power or the need to work in uniformed or emergency services. Dissociation may also appear, which significantly hinders the perception of the outside world and the correct recognition of oneself, i.e. maintaining proper communication with one’s own body. An example of a dissociative is being frozen or getting lost in unrecognizable thoughts. (no contact with reality, including the feeling of separation from the body). We also see the diversity of the mind and the reactions of our body caused by trauma in human life.  

As for the other emotional and physical aspects of our body, undoubtedly there may be a sleep disturbance followed by irritability and problems with concentration. Nightmares caused by traumatic events such as stigmatization, when the victim of an event is blamed and embedded by society, or when guilt is created from previously learned patterns. This could be blaming the driver for a fatal accident or the parents for offenses committed by infused children. 

The following depressive states will be familiar in such a situation as the intensification of withdrawal and hopelessness, including associated head, back and abdominal pain. Some people may experience bedwetting, regardless of age.  Nausea and appetite disorders will also appear. However, not in every case

Difficulty in trauma

The topic of the tragedy in human life is very extensive and it is not easy to verify or describe it in a short article, and it is not easy to help victims without first getting to know the matter of such a person or at least trying to understand what a given person has experienced. If we want to help, let’s learn to listen without judging, let’s not force the person to tell us what happened, or what he / she is going through at a given moment, and we do not expect the victim to suddenly change his / her behavior. Often time is needed to process what has happened and what is here and now. People after traumatic experiences undoubtedly may need support, but let them decide when and how we can help, of course remembering about ourselves and our own needs, so as not to immerse ourselves in helping others at our own expense. There may be times when the mind may be manipulated and expect eternal help and support because of these experiences. Fortunately, it often happens that as people we have a lot of empathy and understanding for others and we are able to complement each other in giving and receiving the values ​​we need in mutual strengthening and our own pursuit of development. 

Published by Marcin Bogucki

Counselling & Psychotherapy for both English and Polish speakers.

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