There are many ways that people can experience trauma that haunts them. For some, trauma may result from a single dramatic event, while for others it may have a more subtle origin from long-term mistreatment as a child. Whatever the root cause, the result is every bit as damaging to our minds and bodies.
Trauma does not heal on its own – without help and guidance trauma will continue to worsen, fester, and amplify slowly over time.
The effects of unhealed and unresolved trauma can destroy our mental and physical health, and worse, continue to propagate throughout generations as unhealthy coping behaviors are passed down from parent to child.
According to Harvard Medical School’s editorial “Past trauma may haunt your future health”, here are just a few of the ways that unhealed trauma can negatively impact your life:
Violently Acting Out
Sometimes when we are holding onto things from our past that hurt us, we develop hypersensitivities to things that normally would not bother us. We may become easily angered and lash out at those around us for perceived slights, whether real or imagined. Most often these people are our friends and family, the very people who we should look to for support and healing.
This type of behavior can be learned by children from parents who are holding onto their own traumas which are then passed from one generation to the next. Multi-generational abuse and violence is difficult to break, but it can be done with the help of a therapist and some self-compassion.
Development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD can result from any event that the individual interprets as being excessively distressing. Unresolved trauma of this sort will manifest as a state of constant anxiety, frequent nightmares, outbursts of anger, and emotional numbness.
Sometimes reminders of the trauma can trigger these events, but all too often the person who is suffering is not even aware that they have PTSD – tragically they may be holding onto the false belief that something is wrong with them, that THEY are the cause of their own suffering.
While there is a certain uncomfortable truth to that (although it is not because of anything they have done wrong), the pain is propagated by an inability to recognize that they need help. They need to learn how to heal.
One unhealthy way to cope with the pain of persistent trauma is self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or illicit substances. To numb the pain felt by trauma sufferers, a dependency mindset is solidified with the use of chemicals that temporarily provide a brief respite from constant emotional agony.
Physical Health Deterioration
As we discussed in a previous article “How Long-Term Stress Will Make You Sick”, there are very real physical manifestations that will adversely affect your physical as well as your mental health. Make sure to visit the link to that article to read more.
Do you have any traumas that you are holding onto? Perhaps you would like to share your story?
Leave a comment on any of our articles and tell us!