Over the years of helping hundreds of women heal their heart wounds, there is one thing I observe time and time again:
Emotional trauma is the common thread that keeps clients stuck.
What is emotional trauma?
It’s what you experience when your emotional needs are neglected.
Maybe your emotions are dismissed, or your feelings are disregarded and disqualified. Whatever you feel is treated as unimportant by those closest to you, or belittled, or made to be shameful or wrong. You may even be told you’re exaggerating.
Emotional trauma isn’t harmless. It’s a form of abuse, even though it is often dismissed by friends, family, and sometimes even healers, therapists and psychologists.
That’s because it’s not obvious like physical trauma. Emotional wounds are invisible. They’re subjective, because it’s your words and emotions against theirs. No wonder emotional trauma can go undetected for years.
Yet it has profound negative effects, affecting love and relationships, money, career, and even physical health. It can destroy your self-esteem, leaving you feeling like there’s something wrong with you.
These deep wounds can be difficult to heal, because they include emotional hurt, pain, and invalidation, same as physical abuse.
How do you know if you’ve suffered emotional trauma, if it’s invisible and not always obvious?
See if you can relate to any of these 3 symptoms.
1. You Are a People Pleaser
You unconsciously want to be acknowledged. You say and do things to be pleasing to anyone who comes your way, often to your detriment.
Your actions, behaviors, and decisions are influenced by a need to be liked and accepted. You may even neglect your own personal needs to put other people’s needs first, constantly going out of your own way for others.
You were actually programmed to do this. It stems from emotional neglect and invalidation as a child. The trauma of not being seen or acknowledged emotionally is what keeps your wounded child constantly looking for someone to “see” you and validate you. You are trying to compensate for not getting what you needed back then by seeking validation from others now.
And that is the trap.
Whether it is at work, among friends, or in relationships, you must approve of yourself. It’s an inside job.
2. You Constantly Doubt Yourself
Sometimes, this tendency to doubt yourself comes from being doubted by others. Your self-esteem can get chipped away, word by word.
It’s not true that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Words are extremely powerful. They can break your heart.
What you hear about yourself as a child gets imprinted in your psyche, since your subconscious is still in process of development.
Verbal insults, in particular, can become internalized as a negative voice inside your head. As you become an adult, you have an “inner critic” who is constantly working against you, putting you down, and saying horrible thoughts about you. You can’t escape, because that voice is inside your head.
But it’s not yours. It’s what others made you believe about yourself.
To quieten this voice takes dedication, persistence and patience. You will have to constantly remind yourself that these are not your thoughts. You will have to reprogram your subconscious mind with positive and healthy thoughts about who you are and what you’re capable of.
Know that you are enough. Start your positive affirmations to wire that beautiful mind of yours for success, health, wealth and happiness. You are worthy.
3. You Are Highly Triggered
Do you react intensely to certain things?
When you react on a visceral level to certain people or situations, overcome by emotion, you may be experiencing an emotional flashback.
This is different from normal, healthy reactions in which you respond negatively because you’ve been betrayed or had your boundaries violated.
An emotional flashback is an over-the-top reaction. It’s explosive and dramatic. It’s almost like the emotion takes over you. And sometimes the trigger was something minor. Afterwards, you can see that you overreacted. Yet your body responded as if you were under attack by a threat of some sort, even though there was actually none.
The overreaction stems from an unhealed emotional wound from the past, which is charged with energy. So when a present situation touches or even scratches the surface of that wound, it makes you feel similar to when it was created. BOOM! You explode in rage, anger, and drama. All those old emotions rise to the surface.
You may be completely unaware of the link to your past. You just feel a sense of injustice, that what happened wasn’t not fair and you were a victim.
Start noticing what triggers you. Write down your triggers and ask yourself how they make you feel. Get clear on the actual emotion. Trace the emotion as far back as you can to see if you can track down the cause.
If it happens again, do your best to see that you are reacting to the past and not to the present. Bring yourself and your awareness back into the now. Breathe. Be conscious. Stay present.
These are just a few of the signs of emotional trauma. There are many others, including paranoia, depression, social withdrawal and isolation, lack of boundaries, an inability to say no, being emotionally dependent or co-dependent, as well as over intellectualizing.
If you think you have some or any of the above, get in touch. I would love to support you on your transformational journey!
Want to learn more?
Watch Melany’s interview with Your Brilliance where she talks about the warning signs of a toxic relationship with a narcissist.