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What is Hidden or Forgotten Trauma? 8 Symptoms of Trauma

Our life is shaped by our experiences, conditioning, and memories. Among these can be hidden traumas, distressing experiences that have burrowed into our subconscious, affecting our coping abilities, sense of self, and our emotional and physical well-being. The journey through hidden trauma towards healing is not just about uncovering these experiences but understanding their side-effects and working through them to find freedom and a renewed sense of self.

The Many Faces of Hidden Trauma

Hidden trauma can manifest in various forms, each carrying its unique challenges and paths to healing:

Dismissed Trauma:

Often minimized or overlooked, this type of trauma diminishes one's feelings of validity and worth. An individual with dismissed trauma may struggle with self-esteem and constantly seek validation from others. They might downplay their own feelings and experiences, feeling unworthy of attention or care. This can lead to a pattern of staying in unhealthy situations or relationships because they've internalized the belief that their feelings and experiences are not significant enough to warrant change.

Childhood Emotional Neglect:

A form of hidden trauma where emotional needs are unmet during crucial developmental stages. Someone who experienced CEN may have difficulty identifying and expressing their emotions as adults. They might appear overly independent to the point of isolation, struggling with intimacy and vulnerability in relationships. This person could also have an undefined sense of self, feeling empty or hollow, as their emotional needs were consistently unacknowledged or ignored during critical developmental stages.

Undetected PTSD:

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that go unrecognized, further exacerbating feelings of helplessness. Individuals with undetected PTSD might exhibit heightened responses to stress or specific triggers that seem disproportionate to the situation at hand. They could have recurring nightmares or flashbacks, experience severe anxiety and panic attacks, or engage in avoidance behaviors to steer clear of reminders of the trauma. Despite these symptoms, they might not connect their experiences to PTSD, attributing them to personal flaws or weaknesses instead.

Authoritarian Wound:

Growing up under strict, unyielding authority can leave a person with a deep fear of making mistakes or stepping out of line. They may exhibit perfectionist tendencies, have a heightened fear of authority figures, or struggle with decision-making, preferring to defer to others' judgments. This individual might also have a rigid view of the world, where things are seen in black and white, right and wrong, with little room for nuance.

Uninvolved Parenting:

The absence of emotional support and guidance, leading to a myriad of relationship problems and self-esteem issues. The effects of uninvolved parenting might manifest as difficulties in forming close, trusting relationships. This person may have abandonment issues, fearing that others will not stay or support them emotionally. They might also show a lack of self-regulation skills, having never learned how to manage emotions effectively, leading to impulsive behaviors or difficulty coping with stress.

Unhealed Core Wound:

Deep-seated traumas that serve as the root cause of various emotional and behavioral issues. An unhealed core wound can lead to pervasive patterns of self-sabotage, low self-worth, and chronic dissatisfaction with life. This individual might repeatedly find themselves in situations that reinforce their deepest fears or negative beliefs about themselves, unable to break free from cycles of behavior that lead to emotional pain or unfulfillment.

Multigenerational Trauma:

Traumatic experiences passed down, affecting the emotional landscape of families across generations. Generational trauma can surface as inherited fears, anxieties, or behavioral patterns that seem to have no direct cause in the individual's own life. They might observe patterns of substance abuse, domestic violence, or emotional dysfunction in their family history, feeling an inexplicable pull towards similar behaviors or struggles. This trauma can also lead to a sense of fatalism or the belief that they cannot escape their family's legacy of pain. 

The Path to Healing Trauma: 

Recognizing the Side-Effects and Symptoms of HIddne or Forgotten Trauma: 

The side-effects of hidden trauma are diverse and can pervasively influence one's life. Recognizing these symptoms is the first step towards healing. They include, but are not limited to: 

1. Low quality or abusive relationships at home, work, family, or friend group. 

2. Disregard for the well-being of your body: eating disorders, promiscuity, medical neglect, addiction, self harm, excessive screen time, lack of exercise, poor diet, 

3. Dichotomous or Black and White thinking. An inability to see that multiple things can exist at the same time. Ridged thinking. 

4. Ability to tolerate more than is deserved. 

5. Shame, dishonesty, hiding self, or inability to be authentic. 

6. Blame self or others. Negative self talk, persistent frustration, believing you are a victim. 

7. Attraction to unavailable  partner and inability to expense true intimacy. 

8. Distrust in others and self.

9. Chronic anxiety, despair, and/or depression. 

Engaging in Inner Work for Freedom

Healing from hidden trauma requires engaging in inner work — a dedicated effort to confront and work through the emotional and physical effects of trauma. This process involves identifying the source of distress, understanding its impact on your life, and self awareness. Inner work is a path to freedom, offering a way out of the cycle of despair and into a life of greater fulfillment and emotional well-being.

Navigating the Healing Process

Healing from trauma is a deeply personal and often challenging journey. It necessitates patience, compassion, and the support of professionals who can guide you through the complexities of your experiences. Therapy, support groups, and self-care practices are essential components of the healing process, providing the tools and resources needed to navigate the path to recovery. The journey through hidden trauma to healing is about more than just overcoming the past; it's about reclaiming your life and discovering a future filled with hope, resilience, and a deeper understanding of yourself. It is from our deepest suffering that we find pivotal points in life that launch us into enlightenment and growth. For those looking to embark on this journey, remember, you are not alone. Resources and support are available to help you through this process. Engaging in this inner work can lead to a profound sense of freedom and a renewed ability to experience the full range of emotions and connections that life has to offer. 

As always, it is such a meaningful experience to sit with clients as they heal wounds, find clarity, develop into wholeness. Call me to set up an appointment and begin your journey.