Trauma Permanently Changes Us

Trauma never really goes away. We can never entirely escape its effects. It remains a hole in the pit of our being. A deep dark hole that is scary and unknown.

We can grow some pretty flowers all around the hole, and landscape the garden so it looks beautiful. We can hang pretty lights which glow and sparkle in the night. Or place some scented candles on the ivy-covered walls.

And, yes, it looks amazing. What a great job we have done. What a huge transformation of a devastated area.   

But the problem is the hole.

For that hole is still there.

And that hole can create problems. In an instant. If it’s rumbled.

It’s a bit like molten lava that is lodged in a volcano. It may not be expelled from the interior for years.   Then all of a sudden – often unexpectedly – it erupts and causes havoc, as it spews its toxic waste.

And the only way to minimize the impact of a trauma is to accept that it has happened, and our life is not the same. We need to work on integrating all the mess, and all the losses. A task which feels unending – for we’re changed in lasting ways.

“Trauma permanently changes us. We might move through the different stages of grief, but the reality is the damage is so deep that we’re left with a new normal. We are different now.”

23 thoughts on “Trauma Permanently Changes Us

  1. Yes trauma changes us permanently. I will never be the same person for example as I was a month, six months, a year ago, several years ago. My life’s a mess right now. I’m a mess right now. But I’m hopeful that it won’t always be this way. And I think somehow this mess of a human being can turn out to be a much more beautiful resilient work of art of a person in the end not in spite of the holes but because of them. Your blog is so super cool. Have a great weekend and thank you for what you do🙏🤍

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  2. Denial can be dangerous. “I’m fine…really,” becomes a smoke screen obscuring our true reality from others.

    “I’m a survivor…really.” I’ve encountered significant life trauma and continue to lead a meaningful life. THAT’S what the world need to see and hear!

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  3. Perfect analogy, DLH. I remember that after trying counseling for some time, trying to find a fit for me, I finally ended up with a wonderful psychologist who realised that a) CBT was not working for me, b) I was not depressed, but traumatized, with a side of complicated grief, and c) introduced me to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The hole is there. I isn’t ever going to go away, now let’s try to pretty that hole up, accept it, recognise that it will always be there, accept that it will always have the potential to cause pain, and to be kinder to myself when it does.

    He also realiised within two sessions that my distress was not “all in my head.” Roger has ne totally believing there was something terribly wrong with me, that I was “still’ so hurt and struggling. This guy identified that Roger’s actions were not supportive, but gaslighting.

    And then discovered that Roger had slept with Leanne again, two years after their 18 month long affair was “over.” He just sat back, took a deep breath, and said, “you’re in trauma, because this guy has gaslit you for years, and you want to believe him, that it was a mistake, but your gut, your instincts, were on the money. You are having a perfectly normal and sane reaction to all of this.”

    That finally allowed me to stop beating myself up about “overreacting” and accepting my heartache waa real, and even justifiable.

    Thank you, DLH. You’ve inspired another post xxx

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  4. That sounds like a very skilled and knowledgeable psychologist. CBT doesn’t work for everything. It has its uses but isn’t a cure-all. In fact, many of the specialists in the trauma field would say it isn’t effective for trauma. From what I know of your situation, I would say you had been experiencing gaslighting for years, were traumatized and are now living with symptoms of PTSD. A very difficult road to be on …
    Thanks for sharing here from your personal experience. It normalizes trauma reactions for others who are in a similar situation. x

    Liked by 2 people

    • ❤❤❤ yes, I had been by that stage. Later, after he cheated again and discarded me, I got some more specialised trauma therapy, and finally fully acknowledged that my 20 year old brain had literally been wired by him, wielding all the power in the relationship. Subtle, love bombing manipulation to enhance his life xxx

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  5. I think for some people, depending on what their person trauma may be, no therapy or pretty much anything will help. With my complicated grief and the trauma of my oldest’s death and circumstances….I’ll have to learn my own coping mechanisms because this is my nightmare that will never go away.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You have experienced one of the worst traumas imaginable. My guess is, there aren’t many people who can truly empathized with all the repercussions and the complicated grief you have had to live with.
      As you so rightly say, we all need to learn what will work for us … and what works for each of us is different and unique. There are certain things we all likely to benefit from … but even those need to be tweaked so they help us personally.
      There are no simple solutions, and no standard ways forward. Thanks Aimee 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. thank you for this. there are so many forces in society that would rather this reality not those who try to be real about trauma often get hurt and misled.. it needs to be more widely recognised.. i have only noticed lately this self deception that one day I will be all healed.. that is not the way of trauma.. the scars remain and its how we use them and how much self compassion we can genuinely generate that seems to mark how we will fair in trauma’s tangled mixed up aftermath.. thanks again for being here and being such a sane and grounded voice

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  7. Thanks for sharing this discussion. One of my family members is dealing with the trauma and grief from the sudden death of a spouse. This post helps me to better appreciate her challenging journey ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Accepting this truth has brought me the healing that I could not experience until I accepted the fact that the hole is still there; there’s nothing wrong with me because I’m not “over it”. God has been showing me this in various ways over the last month or so. This post is one of those ways. Thank you for the clarity. Many Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We wish the hole wasn’t there … And I think sometimes we’re encouraged to believe we can experience total healing – as if whatever happened had never happened. I wish that was true. However, I’m not sure it is what the majority of us experience. There can be deep healing. Absolutely. Major healing. But usually there are still those twinges – stirred by longings and memories. They fade and become less potent. But I’m not sure they ever totally disappear.

      Liked by 1 person

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