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The Trauma we All Have But Don’t Recognize

Written by: Kim Wilkinson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

When most people hear the word Trauma, they often think of First Responders and/or people who have suffered a violent act such as physical or sexual abuse. Trauma is the response to an event that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope.


Trauma is resistance to Grief. I will explain this more later.


Our earliest experience of trauma can happen in the womb and often, for most of us, trauma is experienced in our first year of life. If a woman has a significant amount of stress during pregnancy or experiences trauma herself, those traumatic emotions can be felt by the baby. If the actual birth has complications, the baby can experience trauma. Just because we can’t remember something doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us.


If our basic human needs such as the need to feel safe, the need to be loved, the need to be heard and the need to belong are NOT being met, we can experience trauma.


How many times have we heard “if baby has been fed, and baby has been changed, let baby cry.” If you are a parent, guaranteed you have done this, I did. We only know what we know. What we know we have learned from what we have been taught and from our experiences. If I knew 20 years ago what I know now, I would have parented much differently, and I likely would have been able to handle my own trauma better.


The experiences a child has in his/her first three years of life and whether or not those basic needs are met impacts the child’s brain development and also determines their ability to cope and self-soothe later on in life. These first three years are so much more important and crucial than we realize.


As parent’s our intentions are good. However, most of us can barely manage our own stress and traumas, so what do you think we are teaching our children? It is no wonder there are so many concerns regarding mental health and addictions. We have created many of these problems unconsciously. This is known as GENERATIONAL TRAUMA.


Most of us don’t remember our first three years of life, so of course, we are not going to remember this trauma, but I can tell you it is very real, and it lies deep within. Today’s triggers can take us back to those initial unpleasant experiences where we didn’t feel safe, loved heard or that we belonged. This reflects in our current behaviors such as anxiety, depression, anger, etc.


A child being left to cry can experience feelings of abandonment, feelings of being unloved, not worthy, not belonging.


When a child cries or throws a “temper tantrum” they are trying to communicate how they feel emotionally. This “behavior” is the only way they know how to communicate their emotions at that age. We tend to view it as bad behavior and at times will punish them for this. Whether it is a time out, being sent to their room, or scolded, the underlying message being sent is that they are not entitled to be heard, that their feelings don’t matter and/or to grieve alone.


Grief. This is another word very misunderstood. When most people hear the word grief they think of death. While this is very true, grief is something we experience with any loss and/or change in familiar patterns of behavior. Losing a pet, your job, your health, your home, a relationship, losing the feeling of being safe, loss of connection (covid is a great example of this), loss of feeling in control, these are a few of the many situations in life that can cause GRIEF.


Most of us are actually taught to avoid and distract from feeling grief. We are told and taught, “suck it up,” “don’t cry or don’t feel bad,” “just give it time,” “keep yourself busy,” and to basically just do anything other than feel the pain or discomfort of whatever we are going through. We eat, drink, shop, work, gamble, binge Netflix, or actively use substances to avoid dealing with the pain, the grief.

This is what can lead to addiction. This suffering is a result of unresolved grief that has created trauma.


When we don’t deal with the grief, all of that emotional energy is stored within, creating chaos in the body. This is Trauma, resistance to grief. We get triggered, and we continue to go to our distraction tool and end up stuck in suffering. That stored emotional energy eventually shows up physically in the body as illness and/or disease.


Anxiety, depression, extreme anger, exhaustion, constant judgment, isolation and dissociation are symptoms of UNRESOLVED GRIEF, also known as TRAUMA.


Our behaviors (especially those viewed as unhealthy, negative or unethical) are trauma responses. These often roots back to our basic human needs not being met or from not properly dealing with the grief caused by an overwhelming emotional experience. We have these trauma responses because whatever has triggered us has caused us to not feel safe or not feel loved or heard or that we belong. It takes us back to the initial pain from experience and we re-live the experience. This cycle drives us deeper into our trauma, deeper into suffering.


Again, we only know what we know and without this awareness, we continue to stay stuck in our trauma, without any healing or coping mechanisms and continue to teach this perception and these behaviors generation after generation. We do this because it is all we know. In our minds, in our belief systems, this is how we deal with life. There is a much better way.


We can find healing. We can find freedom. We can find joy. Yes, we will continue to be triggered, yes, we will have more unpleasant experiences, but we can learn to better manage them and move through them and not stay stuck in a place of suffering.


I am hoping by now you have a different awareness, a different perspective and perhaps you can even see that you have some trauma, some unresolved grief that you were not aware of.


I have had many clients initially tell me they haven’t had any/or much trauma or grief and soon after working together, they come back to me with a long list of experiences that they realize have created unresolved grief and trauma.


When a person can learn to recognize this and can work through the specific actions to find completeness to the pain, to ensure their basic needs are met, to let go of the emotional energy that has been stored, not only do they heal, but they also transform. Their overall health improves, their relationships with family and friends improve, they find peace and even joy.


It is time to break the cycle of generational trauma. Things are going to happen. We are going to experience losses. We are going to have struggles in relationships, in our careers and with health. We are even going to have to deal with death at some point, even if it is someone who has reached the end of a long life. We may even experience violence. We can’t avoid these things, but we can learn to manage them better. We can learn to better educate and support our children. We can start to break the cycle of generational trauma and even reduce the risk of mental health and addiction concerns.


To learn more about Trauma and Healing, get instant access to my FREE 1hr Trauma webinar


To learn more about online programs and workshops for mental and emotional health (including parent programs and workshops) visit https://linktr.ee/mom.calm


Kim Wilkinson


For FREE resources and additional supports for managing Mental and Emotional Health, please click here and visit my page.


For more information on the Grief Recovery Program, visit my website or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


 

Kim Wilkinson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kim Wilkinson is an expert in Emotional Health and in helping people to move from SUFFERING to EMPOWERMENT. Through her own family struggles with Mental Health, PTSD, Addiction, and Traumas, including losing her 22-year-old son to overdose, Kim found healing, recovery, and transformation. Most of all, through this journey, what Kim found was purpose and a passion for helping others. Kim's approach with clients is one of compassion, non-judgment, and patience. She knows firsthand how applying specific tools and techniques can bring healing and recovery and bring abundance and success in all areas of life.


Kim continues to work a few days a week at the Addiction Treatment Centre that her son attended. However, most of her time is focused on supporting people through Grief Recovery (online and in-person).


A message from Kim "The whole world is grieving right now, and we all have unresolved grief. It's time to learn how to take care of our Emotional Health and break the cycle of Mental Health concerns and find an end to our suffering."

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