Have you ever found yourself engaging in habits or behaviors which you can’t even understand why you’re doing them? Or you find yourself overreacting to small situations that later on you even tell yourself that those situations don’t necessitate that kind of reaction. For example, you might get so angry at some small matter and later on you wonder why you’re so angry? If you feel some of those experiences in your present life, then it probably means you are living with unresolved trauma. Simply put, trauma is a response to a deeply disturbing or painful experience that overwhelms someone’s ability to cope, leads to feelings of powerlessness & confusion, weakens their sense of self and their capacity to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.
There are no objective criteria to evaluate which experience will cause post-trauma symptoms and each one of us will have very different reactions to the same kind of event. That’s why trauma is not defined by the enormity of the event but by the response to the trigger (i.e. how we process those emotions). Trauma is trauma and we don’t have to compare our traumatic events for it to be valid. Most times, we may try to ignore, water down or forget our past experiences and even invalidate ourselves with thoughts like, “I’m sure my childhood wasn’t that bad like everyone else’s”, “I should be lucky that I made it through” or “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” As long as you’re feeling something is off or doesn’t make sense in your present life, then that’s enough and you should find a way to address it. Some effects of trauma are clearly visible while some can be so hidden only for them to manifest in our daily lives in ways that seem unnatural. The fact that we cannot see a wound doesn’t mean that it’s not there or it’s not affecting the way we live our lives presently. Unresolved childhood trauma can impact the way our bodies function and if left unaddressed the effects can be fatal. In this article, I am going to share with you some hidden symptoms of unresolved trauma.
Hidden Signs of Unresolved Childhood Trauma
1. Difficulty Building Healthy Relationships with Others
Have you ever felt like you’re always attract unhealthy relationships in your life and you can’t even figure out why it’s happening to you? The relationships you always find yourself in are places where people use you for their own needs. You might even know they’re toxic but you just can’t help it. You may even experience some feel of excitement being in these chaotic relationships. At times you may find yourself in a healthy relationship but you will feel that it’s so boring and you will always find a way to sabotage it. That simply means that you have attachment issues stemming from your childhood upbringing. So, you will be seeking relationship that reinforce your trauma bonds (intense attachment) instead of a healthy kind of attachment. When you’re carrying unresolved trauma, you will have this deep fear of abandonment, insecurity and rejection. You will also find yourself being easily attached or swayed even when you know someone is taking you for a ride.
2. Extreme Reaction to Small Things
Have you ever felt that you always blow out of proportion every small situation in your life? For example, you might have misplaced something small like the TV remote in your living room but you become so furious or extremely panic about it. The effect of the situation might be so minimal in your present life but you make a huge deal out of it. These emotional reactions are symptoms of unresolved trauma as it really means that those emotions are lurking in there just waiting for any situation for them to be unleashed. Overreacting to small things simple means that those stuck emotions deep within you are getting an opportunity to reveal themselves.
3. Inability to Cope with Day-to-Day Activities in a Healthy Way
Our daily lives will have some bit of stress to it. Examples of daily stressors are things like having many tasks to do, concerns about your job or family, misplacing things, traffic or just anything which makes your life a bit hard. Most people will find a way to overcome these daily hassles without much effort. But some will have great difficulty coping with these simple daily activities in a healthy way, they may resort to daily drinking, running away from them or lashing out at others. This can be normalized but it’s also a clear sign that there are some issues we haven’t fully addressed in ourselves. Unresolved trauma can manifest as that feeling of being too unsure of ourselves to even tackle some simple uncomfortable situations. It’s more of you find yourself concluding that you can’t do it without even giving it a try.
4. Deep-Seated Belief That You’re Bad/Wrong
Another hidden symptom of unresolved trauma is just having this deep feeling that you’re a bad person even without a clear basis on how you arrived at that conclusion. You always feel that you’re always fault or even think that you’re cursed because of everything happening in your life. The root of this is mostly because you were mistreated, rejected or abandoned as a child which implanted this belief that, “You deserved it or you’re a bad.” Self-blame is a common survival response as it’s too devastating to blame your caregiver who you depended on to provide for your childhood needs. What reinforces this core belief is that you will view the normal mistakes you will be making in your life as you grow up as evidence of your badness or of your curse. As an adult, something might be happening in your life which is even out of your control but you will just feel that it’s always happening to you because you’re a bad person. It’s just that subconscious belief that we’re unworthy of anything good.
5. Unexplained Physical Symptoms
Trauma can affect our physical health in various ways as the body keeps the score of our past distressing experiences. One common response to a traumatic event is numbing our feelings as it provides a temporary relief after that painful experience. Signs of unresolved trauma can manifest through physical conditions (somatic conditions) that can’t be fully explained by a medical condition. This is because our brains can process emotions through our physical body and we might still be carrying those emotions with us in our present life. Some of the common physical symptoms are chronic fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, digestion issues, high blood pressure or frequent migraines.
6. Strange Uneasiness in Certain Places/Events or with Some People
Have you ever found yourself feeling so uncomfortable or fearful when you visit some place or when you interact with some people and you cannot even give a clear reason why? This is probably a sign of unhealed trauma as those situations are triggering some deep fear within you causing you to go into fight or flight mode. When we are faced with situations which remind us of our past painful experiences, our brain and our bodies may react in the same way we reacted to them when we faced those situations in the past. That’s why sometimes you might feel something feels off without even any sight of immediate danger.
Understanding the signs of unresolved childhood trauma in adulthood is one of the key steps toward recovery. It may be of course be hard to identify if the root of your current undesirable behavior is a past traumatic event, that’s why the first place to start is to look keenly at some of our present behaviors and open up instead of suffering in silence. As a rule of the thumb, if you find yourself constantly engaging in some undesirable behavior or actions and you just can’t stop yourself from doing them, then it probably means there’s something deep within you which need to be addressed. Although you may not be fully aware of it, you may be subconsciously reacting to past experiences your body has locked away inside of you.
Some of the reasons why we may avoid seeking help for trauma is we may feel guilty or we may be afraid of opening the Pandora's box. It’s okay to feel that way as there’s safety and comfort in repressing all kinds of things within us especially when we feel that we’re not strong enough to deal with them. However, one thing we need to note is that it’s important to take necessary steps to process those emotions. Trauma can be safely released with proper help and effective healing modality. Getting proper help with processing your trauma will unburden you from the emotional baggage which prevent you from living life more presently. In fact, the main challenge of trauma healing is not dealing with the past but enhancing the quality of your current life without the past having a huge effect on it.
Note from the Author
If you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from this cycle of abuse in 2 months or Less, you can book a call with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment!