The most frequent question I get is “What is trauma?” The next most common question I get (after I explain trauma) is “So… does everyone have trauma?”
The answer I give is “Most likely, yes. But not everyone needs to resolve their trauma.”
Tune into this episode to find out why I say this and if you should actually take action to resolve your trauma or not.
Full Show Notes
Does everyone have trauma? This is a question I get a lot. Pretty much anytime I talk about how I define trauma.
What is Trauma?
Remember trauma is any unresolved autonomic nervous system response. It often looks like emotion that we never got to process. Maybe there wasn’t time or there wasn’t support to be able to process it.
There’s a reason why certain emotions or experiences become trauma. Because they are too overwhelming for us to handle on our own. So our body wisely shuts it down preventing our own pain and death.
Remember also, trauma is not what happens on the outside of us, but what happens on the inside. And when we don’t have enough support or resources on the inside, the energy of the painful emotions (the inner experience) has to go somewhere. It gets packaged up (so to speak) and put away. That is basically the freeze response.
So. Does everyone have trauma?
Most likely, yes. It’s very likely that every person on earth has experienced some form of trauma. Because we have all experienced something scary and overwhelming to us.
But does that mean everyone should resolve their trauma?
Just like everything else in life, we should take action based off of where we want to go.
Let’s use an example of a road trip. I live in Denver. If I want to go visit family in Atlanta, there are several ways to get there. Maybe I decide to see many sites along the way, but only if they are truly along the way; Perhaps I set a criteria that any activity I want to check out can’t be more than 30 minutes out of the way, otherwise I skip it. Essentially every time I get in the car, I will be getting closer to Atlanta, UNLESS I decide on purpose with intention that I want to check out a site that is further out of the way than 30 minutes.
You can see how in this road trip analogy, if we allow ourselves to go wherever we want without the destination, we could literally end up anywhere.
So, bringing this back to whether everyone should resolve their trauma: Your body is really good at taking care of you. You may not need to resolve it for yourself. If you feel like your life is pretty good, your relationships are solid, you’re reaching your goals, etc.
BUT if you have goal or something in your life that is missing, and you realize that trauma is the thing getting in the way, then you might want to resolve it in order to get to where you want to go.
The truth is, there are so many people with trauma, with, maybe what we would call terrible lives, who are fine. They don’t want to make the effort or spend the energy to create better lives. Trauma resolution would not be for them!
Resolved trauma is for people who have a destination they want to get to, and also have an obstacle that they haven’t been able to figure out yet. It is likely, that if external solutions haven’t helped yet, it’s really an internal solution that is needed.
When Trauma Could be the Obstacle
There are two types of internal problems: 1. How you think 2. How you feel. (But they are really both feeling problems- more episodes on this to come.)
How would you know if trauma specifically is the answer?
If mindset work doesn’t work, and it does for plenty of people, then nervous system regulation and trauma work is probably what is needed.
OR if you experience Chronic stress, overwhelm, burnout. These are some clues. These are all CHRONIC symptoms that point toward a lack of resources or support.
Also if you struggle with some kind of addiction or perfectionism— these are things that we see on the outside— nervous system and trauma work is highly likely something that will help. This is because perfectionism and addiction point toward something missing in our identities, more about the developmental traumas.
Does everyone have trauma? Probably.
Does everyone need to fix their trauma? Nope.
- What is your destination? Where would you like to go or who would you like to be?
- Does it feel like unresolved emotion is getting in the way? Why or why not?
If you listened to this podcast episode and thought that trauma might be the obstacle in your life, come join me in my somatic based group coaching experience, Presence. We will create a safe and courageous space, practice regulation and co-regulation, learn somatic tools, and increase our presence together in order to overcome the most pressing struggles in life. This is a one year membership with a monthly payment option, but if you pay in full for this first year by 3/31/23, you become a founding member and get into the membership for LIFE! If you have questions, I’m happy to get on a free call with you. Schedule here.