WHAT IS TRAUMA?
Trauma is any event or experience that overwhelms an individual’s emotional and relational capacity to process the experience. Relational capacity refers to our ability to continue interacting with God and others under increasingly difficult circumstances. Emotional capacity refers to our ability to process the emotions we feel under increasingly difficult circumstances. An event or experience becomes traumatic when it overwhelms our brains’ relational and emotional circuitry.
There are three main types of trauma: Acute, Chronic, or Complex
Acute trauma results from a single incident.
Chronic trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse.
Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature
When that circuitry is overwhelmed, our brains lose the ability to interact with God and others in ways that are lifegiving. When we are emotionally overwhelmed, negative feelings become so strong that they diminish our sense of self and “who I am”. When our emotional and relational circuits are overwhelmed our brains becomes preoccupied with survival and tends to hide, fight, or freeze.
Trauma A and Trauma B
There are two types of trauma. Trauma Type A refers to the absence of the good and necessary things needed to grow a healthy, stable identity. Type A traumas are the things that keep us from growing strong emotional and relational capacity. Type A traumas include things like: neglect, malnutrition, sickness/disease, lack of affection, etc.
What is Type B Trauma
Type B trauma results from specific traumatic events, such as physical, sexual, or verbal abuse; war; bullying, assault; a car accident; or a near-death experience—both when they are experienced or witnessed.
Bad things that happen to us do not always produce trauma, if a person has the strength to experience the pain they suffer but without being traumatized. What traumatizes a poorly grown brain is often handled by a well-developed control center in another person’s mind. The stronger mind will be able to quiet itself, stay in relationship and act like him or herself in the face of the pain levels. Suffering well is the alternative to being traumatized that comes as we grow our capacities.
What is the difference between Type A and Type B Trauma?
The difference between these two types of trauma is that Type B category events may not always result in trauma, depending on the strength of a person’s emotional and psychological development, particularly in early childhood.
Complex PTSD or Developmental Trauma
Developmental trauma, or Complex PTSD, results from a series of repeated, often ‘invisible’ childhood experiences of maltreatment, abuse, neglect, and situations in which the child has little or no control or any perceived hope to escape. Growing up in an environment full of unpredictability, danger, parental inconsistencies or emotional abandonment, these individuals are left with ’hidden traumas’ that disrupts not only their psychological but also neurological and emotional development.
Your trauma will not be resolved by reliving (reenacting physically and emotionally) the traumatic experience. By itself, abreacting only gives me another chance to go through the terrible experience. To be resolved the partner or person suffering form trauma must achieve a mutual state of mind with another person in the midst of the experience that will lead her to act like herself (maintaining a relationship), quieting together and then find meaning for her in the experience by discovering how God sees her at that moment.
"Being able to feel safe with other people
is probably the single most important aspect of mental health;
safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives."
B. van der Kolk
If you want to heal from trauma in your life, and want to discover how your body can never lie but always knows the truth of what happened to you, contact me to help you.
Click on the link below to jump to the PTSD page and do the test to determine if you have PTSD