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What is Trauma

What is Trauma

AKA – when your past keeps showing up uninvited

The original OG definition of trauma would include the tragic event everyone knows about, the awful thing in college that you aren’t sure was consensual, the childhood that you can’t remember – those are all what I call big T traumas.

The second definition is the stuff that sucks but you can’t put a serious label on it. The sibling that hated your guts for just breathing in their space. The family that seemed disinterested in you. That nickname you were given in school. These are definitions of what I call little t traumas.

The third definition is about trauma imposed by a system or our broken world. Think patriarchy, homophobia, all the isms. You know when you experience it, those in your tribe can feel it happening from across the room. Others that don’t have the same experiences look at you like you are looney, or worse tell you to work around it, that there is nothing you can do. It can be a slow drip or a tsunami, creating an invisible injury informing all you see, do and think. Outsiders just see the anger, tears or shut down once it happens AGAIN. These are examples of what I call Trauma 2.0, it has been happening forever but are finally coming into focus in our culture.  I am no going to ask you to get over or accept our broken world – rather,  I am going to help you take the truths you know to create the future you want. 

All three are joy leeches and we need to unplug their power.

Trauma can show up in one’s current life like this…

Even when you aren’t trying to think about the memories, they still show up unannounced.  You can be singing with your kids in the car, having a great time with friend then boom here they are like it or not.  You are surprised they STILL bother you after all these years – shouldn’t you be over it?  Why can’t you just move on?

Sometimes you space out and have no idea why then feel guilty for not being present.  Your life feels like you are watching it, not living it.

You stay busy because you do not like where your mind goes when you stand still – it can be a memory, a negative thought about yourself that seems like an omen, the way you respond when cornered that you would prefer wouldn’t show up.  Sometimes you have an awful feeling in your stomach and freeze for no reason.


Struggles like the ones above are often why clients come into my office.  Sometimes we utilize traditional talk therapy to treat symptoms, other times EMDR is more appropriate.  What’s EMDR you say?  It’s an intervention that was created specifically for trauma.  It turns down the intensity of the responses we have to trauma.  You can hit the EMDR tab to learn more. 

What looks different after treatment?  You will no longer feel haunted or overwhelmed by their symptoms.  You will know deep within your bones the memories of your past are not your present.  Your self-worth will be solid, and you will no longer worry about your ability to cope in the future.  There is space for new interests and plans.  You will move on with your life.