Tag Archives: traumatized

When Trauma Affects You Long After The Events Are Over

One very important thing I’ve learned about experiencing repeated traumas is something that’s never discussed.  It’s about how when you go through trauma after trauma, you don’t have the time to heal, so eventually it resurfaces, & often many years after the fact.  This is absolutely NORMAL!  Yet, many people tell those experiencing this that something is wrong with them, they’re living in the past or they need to get over it because that was such a long time ago.

If you’re going through this, this information is for you.

When you’re in a situation where you experience repeated traumas, your mind has no choice but to kick in to survival mode.  Survival mode is when you are faced with not knowing what will set an abuser off, so you become hyper-vigilant.  This means you become extremely aware of your surroundings & the emotional state of those around you in an attempt to prevent any abuse before it starts.  This takes over your awareness of your own needs, wants & feelings.  Survival mode is a very helpful way of thinking that helps you to survive traumatic situations.

Once the relationship with your abuser ends, that doesn’t mean survival mode is over & you automatically return to normal.  Survival mode usually continues for quite some time after the abuse is over.  It can last a few weeks, months or even years.  Eventually though, it does stop or at the very least, lets up a great deal.  As great as that is, it doesn’t mean you are ok.

After survival mode ends, it’s as if your brain decides that now is the time to deal with the trauma & it forces you to do this.  This is often when you start having nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts & memories. 

This time can be incredibly painful.  It can make you feel like you’re crazy.  After all, the abuse is done, you survived, so why now after all this time are you having these nightmares, flashbacks, etc.?  There are three reasons for this.

Reason #1: when you were in the abusive situation, there wasn’t time to process your trauma & survive.  Trauma happened over & over.  You didn’t have sufficient time to process one trauma when another happened, then another & another. 

Reason #2: surviving the situation is top priority during abusive relationships.  All of your focus had to be on surviving, not how you felt about that.

Reason #3: emotions demand to be felt.  If they can’t be felt at the time, they don’t simply vanish.  They wait until a time that the environment feels safe to manifest.  If you don’t deal with them in a healthy way, they’ll still manifest somehow.

If it’s been a while since the last trauma, yet suddenly you’re faced with a flood of emotions & pain related to it, I want to assure you that you’re not crazy.  You are in fact quite normal!  Your response is normal to a very abnormal situation.  I firmly believe that people who don’t react this way to situations like this are the ones with the problems.  How can a person not be affected by trauma?!  That is what is abnormal!  Being damaged by trauma is very normal.

Rather than ignoring the emotions, nightmares, etc. you’re experiencing, it’s time to deal with them.  Ignoring them only makes things worse.  It’s much like having a stomach bug.  As yukky as vomiting is, if you can, it helps you to get better.  If you don’t, the bug has to go through your system & drags out how long it takes you to get better.  Dealing with what you’re experiencing is yukky too but it really will help you heal.  So pray, journal, talk to someone safe… do whatever helps you to process your pain.  You will survive this & you will be ok!


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

A Message For Trauma Survivors

Those who survive trauma suffer a great deal beyond the traumatic events they endured.  They also struggle with anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & more.  Experiencing trauma changes how your brain works & how you think.  Because of this, today I want to remind those of you who survived trauma of some important things.

You are strong.  I know, you don’t feel that way but you are.  Even if you have some serious struggles with your mental health, you’re strong.  You survived what easily could have killed another person.  Yes, you have some damage from that but you still survived.  That is proof that you are strong!

You are valuable.  Abusers do love to convince their victims that they are useless wastes of space don’t they?  The fact is though that they only say this because it keeps their victims down & easier to control, not because they believe it.  In fact, if they work hard to convince you that you have no value, it only goes to show that they know you are valuable.  If they believed you truly to be worthless, why would they work so hard to convince you that you are worthless?

You are not to blame for the abuse.  I don’t care what your abuser said, you are not to blame for anything they did.  You never made that person hurt you.  Nothing anyone says or does can force another person to abuse them.  Get mad, sure.  Maybe even hit someone in extreme cases.  But, ongoing abuse is the result of the decision to abuse someone over & over again.  That decision is the sole responsibility of abusers.

You didn’t deserve the abuse.  Again, I don’t care what your abuser said.  Nothing you did means you deserved whatever your abuser did to you.  They chose to abuse because of something very fundamentally wrong with them, not because of anything you did.

If your abuser was someone you fell in love with, that isn’t a reason for you to feel stupid or be ashamed of yourself.  Abusers aren’t horrible all of the time.  If they were, they’d be easy to spot & avoid.  Abusers often portray themselves as just what their victim wants in a mate, which is why good people fall in love with them every day.

You are allowed to talk about what he or she did to you.  Abusers love their victims to stay quiet & will not hesitate to use anything in their power to make that happen.  They don’t want anyone to know what they have done or are doing because that might mean someone would think badly of them, give them consequences for their behavior or even stop them from abusing their victims.  The truth though is that this isn’t just their story.  It’s yours too, which means you have every right to discuss it as much or as little as you want.  If they want you to talk about them in a good way, they shouldn’t have abused you!  Don’t forget too that discussing it isn’t trying to ruin their reputation.  It’s simply telling what happened to you.

Your wants & needs are valid.  Your desire to be treated with basic common decency is valid.  Normal, even.  Your wants & needs don’t mean you’re “high maintenance”, needy or impossible to please.

Your emotions are also valid.  Just because your abuser said you are over sensitive, overreacting or can’t take a joke doesn’t mean these things are true.  Your anger & hurt over their behavior are valid, & perfectly normal under the circumstances.

It’s perfectly ok to take days off.  So many abusers convince their victims that they’re lazy, & that often sticks around long after the abuse is over.  I struggle with this myself, so I want to tell you what I tell myself.  There is nothing wrong with taking days off.  It doesn’t mean you’re lazy.  It means you’re human & need some rest.  Healing from abuse & living with the mental & emotional struggles are a lot of work!  Rest is essential anyway but especially when you’re trying to heal.

I hope this post helps you to remember these important points.  I wish you the best!


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism