Trauma isn’t always what you think it is! – Part 1 of 3

“There are people who have gone through worse than I have.”

“I just got on with it.”

“No use worrying about it.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“They did the best they could.”

Have you said these words? I know I’ve used some of them in the past!

Most people think of trauma as a catastrophic event such as cyclones, tidal waves, earthquakes, murders, suicide, terrible traffic accidents, wars and the like.

They don’t consider surviving their family, living with avoidant parents, violent family life (unless someone is being physically abused), death of a parent, addictions of parents or depression in parents as traumatic. This is not about blaming parents…I am one….I am a grandmother…and I get it. I am the product of a violent home and didn’t realise until my late 40’s that I had unresolved trauma.

Then what about our school or religious experiences!!!! How many people do you know that still have issues around learning and don’t consider themselves intelligent? Speaking as a former Catholic, how many years does it take to free oneself from feelings of ingrained guilt and poor relationship to your body from religious teachings?

I see it and hear it all the time….minimising of our experience. An example of what that means is:

A child may have suffered the loss of a father at a young age, their mother is unavailable to them because of her own deep and unexpressed grief. The child then has not only lost the father, they have also lost the mother and has no idea their experience is traumatic and unresolved. It becomes normalised. They adjust to survive their circumstances.

An example of how quickly little ones can start to feel destabilised is shown in the Still face experiment. It is difficult to watch and it really gets across how important it is to child development to have sound attachment and engagement to the mother or significant carer.

How might this unresolved trauma look in adult life?

It might show up in your relationships as:

  • an inability to trust a man will stay;
  • inability to stay in a relationship;
  • unavailable to your own children;
  • feeling disconnected from yourself and others;
  • not feeling like you really belong anywhere;
  • lack of purpose and meaning in your life; or
  • all of the above plus more!

What do I mean by unavailable?

It doesn’t mean that your aren’t there doing things for the children. It means that you are unable to truly connect with them. It’s like a part of you is not available to anyone including yourself. It died at the same time as the trauma.

Great, so the dead-ness inside has been highlighted, now what?

The good news is that you can heal and recover from these unresolved traumatic experiences. Peter Levine says it so beautifully, “Trauma is a fact of life, it does not, however, have to be a life sentence.”

If you or someone you know fits these descriptions please share this article with them. Help them to know there is hope.

In part 2, I will discuss how unresolved trauma might manifest physically. If you would like to explore the possibility of your own unresolved trauma you can apply for a FREE 30 minute Insight Session with me.


Author: Linda Conyard

Linda Conyard is the Host and Producer of The Truth About Trauma TV, Director of Phoenix Rising Foundation, Author, Speaker and Trauma Specialist. She has gained a wealth of knowledge through her vast studies. Her mission is to eliminate unnecessary trauma through education and training in Trauma-Informed Care and Practice. She wants to see this education becoming part of all our major systems. Linda is a Mentor and Coach to female entrepreneurs who want to uncover what is at the core of their underwhelming business results. She is passionate about women having the financial freedom to make choices that are perfect for them.

8 thoughts on “Trauma isn’t always what you think it is! – Part 1 of 3”

  1. Meeting you last year was a light bulb moment for me. Even though I had already done a lot of work on releasing a trauma that had resulted in a physical illness, the discovery of how deep trauma gets into our systems while speaking with you changed everything for me. I had also wondered if my reaction to my trauma was a bit over the top as it didn’t seem as bad as what other people go through, but reading this had made me realise that my experience was in fact traumatic, my reaction was genuine and it’s not to be belittled. Releasing my trauma has changed my life. My body has healed from an incurable disease. Life is good 😀

    1. Hey Kathryn, It’s wonderful to see how you are just flying. It’s amazing how once we see it and name it, the power it holds over us really lessens. It was wonderful to meet you last year and I look forward to what you bring next. Life is good 🙂 xx

  2. Linda, until I met you I had no idea I was suffering from unresolved trauma. It came as a shock as I believed ‘trauma’ to be any one of those you listed above, car accidents, natural disasters etc.

    Having my ‘condition’ named was a huge relief for me and was a major step forward in my recovery, as it gave me something to work with. I was able to ‘see’ how the trauma had impacted on my life and with your guidance I have since learned how to process what is happening in my body.

    Since working with you I have stepped forward in ways I never imagined! I have named my trauma, claimed it, tamed it, and I’ve now moved away from that painful existence. I’m hungry for knowledge and new adventures.

    This is an excellent article and I look forward to Part 2.

  3. Thanks for spreading the word on this. as a therapeutic yoga teacher with trauma sensitive training, I now approach every student as a having experienced trauma…as it’s a part living and navigating through life.


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