Any trauma in your life can be a disrupting influence because of the mental distress it can create. However, there are two separate types of trauma: regular trauma and complex trauma, and it’s essential to know the differences between them.
Complex trauma is trauma that is experienced repeatedly – mostly over an extended period.
Traditional trauma is usually experienced as a one-time event, such as a car accident or severe injury. Complex trauma, on the other hand, is a repeated experience such as child abuse or domestic violence.
Due to the varying nature of complex trauma, treatment usually requires more involved and sequenced sessions focusing on each of the different symptoms that can manifest as a result.
Fortunately, professional medical practitioners can provide treatment to reduce the severity of your symptoms, but there are also things you can do to help yourself.
Repeated trauma in your life can create vivid flashbacks when your mind is drawn into revisiting those moments. A flashback can be a graphic, terrifying event, and it’s easy to become afraid and anxious about future flashbacks.
When you feel the onset of overwhelm, focus on the moment and let any thoughts come as they may, but don’t get absorbed by them. You can maintain control by shifting your focus elsewhere, such as your breathing, and taking in your surroundings.
When you master the art of mindfulness, you can keep your thoughts anchored in the present and deny the crippling visions of the past from having any power over you.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
A lot of your therapy will focus on identifying your triggers and working through your emotions. However, learning how to recognize your feelings on your own, seeing them for what they are, and then letting them go is empowering and healing.
A common strategy for people with complex trauma is to push down their feelings or mask them. It’s not a lasting solution, and most often, their problems will resurface at a later date and be more intense.
When you feel like screaming, yelling, or crying, let it all out. Dealing with your feelings on your terms is more freeing than bottling them up, which is only storing them up for even more explosive emotional turmoil later down the road.
Stop Judging Yourself
Domestic and child abuse perpetrated over a long time can have lasting effects that make you feel unlovable and unworthy and without self-esteem. Judging yourself in this way leads to a perpetual state of internal conflict.
A good example is when you are feeling sad. Complex trauma will trigger an internal dialogue that will tell you sadness equates to weakness.
Internal conflicts always make themselves painfully obvious and can be rough, but in the end, you are the one who decides the type of person you are. When negative self-talk surfaces, fight back against the years of conditioning brought on by your trauma and focus on your self-worth.
It’s not always easy to struggle against self-defeating talk brought on by years of abusive conditioning, and you may need some help from your therapist. However, practicing every day will serve to strengthen your resolve and will make each day a little easier than the last.
It’s not uncommon for complex trauma victims to feel isolated, which is usually self-inflicted because of feelings of shame and embarrassment, and the idea that no one else has gone through it, so how could they understand.
Because of the extended timeframe of abuse complex trauma victims go through, these feelings can have long tendrils embedded deep into the psyche. Working through them on your own may not be the best way forward. A helping hand from a professional will help you unlock the shackles of your trauma so you can start living a freer, more fulfilling life.
Find out more about getting professional support for your complex trauma recovery here: Trauma Treatment