People often tell me, “I should figure out my trauma, someday.” So in this episode I’m identifying 5 obstacles to doing so and my recommendations for each one. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to figure out your trauma if you don’t want to. Included in this episode is an exercise to help you with managing priorities.
Hi, how are you today? How are you feeling? What is up in your life? My kids went back to school. It’s still incredibly hot and I want to talk about the things that get in our way from actually figuring out our trauma so to speak.
Obviously, I’m a trauma coach, and I could talk all day about trauma, and I often hear in conversations with new people that I meet, when they find out what I do, they’ll say something like, “Hmm, yeah, I should probably figure out my trauma sometime.” And so it just got me thinking about what does get in the way of us, “figuring out our trauma.” And I thought I would do this episode. And I’m just going to outline five things that I think are very common reasons why people don’t take the steps to figure out their trauma. And for each reason, I’m going to give you my suggestion.
So before we start on that, I wanted to just be very clear about who this episode is for. Obviously, there are some people out there who have PTSD symptoms or maybe chronic pain or chronic illness, or they just know that they have trauma and they are working on it, or they’ve consciously decided they don’t want to work on it. My podcast probably isn’t for you.
And then there’s people on the other end of the spectrum who have no idea that they have trauma and how it’s affecting their lives and they don’t care and it’s completely off their radar. It’s also probably not for those people. We’re really talking to people who have an inkling that there’s something deeper or more going on for them.
They might even say, “no, yes, I have trauma. I have had traumatic experiences in my life and I know they’re affecting me, but I’m not ready to figure it out yet.” Those are really more of the people that I am talking to today. People that have some amount of awareness, but for whatever reason, probably for some of the reasons we’ll talk about today, they haven’t taken the steps or any action to resolve the trauma.
And just as a recap, I’ve mentioned some of these before, but one of the reasons is because we don’t know that we even have trauma. So if you’re a person who thinks, well, maybe I do, and you’re interested in resolving it. It’s trauma if the response doesn’t match the situation. So if your kid spills water on the floor and you just fly off the handle, that’s not an appropriate response for that type of situation.
So there’s probably something more going on. It’s trauma if If willpower doesn’t work, it’s trauma. If mindset doesn’t work, it’s trauma. If you can’t get yourself to fill in the blank, right? It’s this, this concept of like, almost like you are working against yourself. It’s trauma. If you constantly feel anxiety, anger, sadness, sluggishness, not enough energy.
These are things that are meant to be temporary. So if they are constants in your life. There’s probably something else going on. It’s trauma if life is too much, too fast, and you don’t feel like you have the resources to handle it. And this one might be a little bold, but it’s trauma if you don’t feel like you can be yourself, or if you don’t know who yourself is, I think that is rooted in trauma.
Okay. So let’s hop into the five reasons that I think most people don’t figure out their trauma.
The first one is that for some reason, trauma has this reputation that we’re going to have to go talk about the past and what happened, and it’s going to bring up all these emotions and people don’t want to do that. Of course you don’t want to face your past when it felt so awful, right? Like anything that is traumatic doesn’t feel good and it feels overwhelming and like, Oh, I don’t want to revisit that. So I just want to tell you that you don’t have to.
And there’s a couple of different sort of levels of this. There’s you don’t have to figure out your trauma in the first place. If you don’t want to, nobody is going to make you most of the time. My clients come to me because they see things in their life that they don’t want, they want to change, but if you’re pretty happy with the way your life is going and you know you have trauma, but you’re just like, I don’t want to figure it out. That’s okay.
I have said it before and I will continue to say that you don’t have to figure it out. And you also don’t have to retell the stories of your past. You don’t have to tell what happened and how it happened and how you felt in the moment and all of that. Your body in the present. Is the map. You don’t have to tell the story at all.
And a very good trauma informed practitioner will never make you do anything you don’t want to do. So if they make a recommendation, like sometimes I’ll ask my clients things like, how would it feel to stand up and pace around right now instead of sitting in the chair? And sometimes they say, no, I don’t want to do that. And so I’m like, great, don’t do it. Then what you want, what feels good to you is always the most important thing.
So if you decide to do therapy or hire a coach or work with an energy worker, whatever it is, whatever modality you want to start with, just know that you always have agency. You can always say, you know what? This doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel comfortable doing this. And a good practitioner will be able to work with you in a way that feels right to you. So that’s the first thing, the fear of facing the past. You don’t have to, you don’t have to, you don’t have to tell the stories.
Your current sensations and whatever’s happening in your body will be enough information. And the second reason is because we’re busy. We’re a busy people. We have full lives. We have lots of priorities. We have a lot of things that we have to, or want to get done. And so figuring out your trauma might not be at the top of that list, and I think that’s totally fine.
I do just want to say that sometimes there’s a difference between something that is important and something that is urgent. And most of the time in our culture, here in the United States at least, we tend to hop from one urgent situation to the other. And… Sometimes we need to take a step back, even if there are fires still burning in our lives and figure out what our priorities are figuring out your trauma might not be one of them, but I’m guessing if you’re listening to this podcast, there’s a part of you that does want to make it a priority.
And so here is my recommendation. If you feel like your life is too busy and you just can’t possibly add another thing in. I recommend that you take out a piece of paper and a pen and you write out all the things that are priorities to you. And even to make this a little bit more fun, take note cards or slips of paper.
And put one priority on each separate piece of paper and then put them in order. So the reason why I like using note cards or slips of paper is because it’s really easy to shift things around and think, okay, I’ve got this priority here. Like, yes, my kids are a priority above my husband say. And you look at that and you’re like, wait, is that true?
Or should my husband be a higher priority? And then you can switch them around and kind of try it on and see how it feels. And then once you have them. Mostly in order. And of course that order can always change. Take a really hard look at the bottom of your priority list. So if you have like 50 priorities, that is just not sustainable for anybody.
You need to whittle that down to like less than 20 and then look at the bottom of that list, the last five or eight or 10. Is there anything on that list that you can just. Not do can you just make peace with that’s just not happening Maybe it’s just not happening right now at this phase of your life Or maybe you can just let it go and just be like I’m I thought I was gonna do that and I’m not Look at each thing and really ask yourself.
Can any of this be completely deleted? And if there are things that can’t be completely deleted, can they be delegated? Can somebody else do that thing that you’ve had on your list and have felt guilty about not doing for however long it’s been? One of the things I did over COVID is I had 20 years, 20 plus years of Things and papers that I had kept and I thought someday I’m going to scrapbook these and I just kept them and kept them and kept them and every year I would add a new gallon Ziploc bag to the pile.
And over COVID I was like, you know what? I’m going to, I’m going to do it. I’m going to scrapbook these things. I could have decided I’m just going to toss all of those papers. Honestly, when I went through them, I probably got rid of half of them anyway. And I was like, why did I keep this? So Yeah. Yeah. Um, I could have just said, I’m not doing it.
I’ve been carrying these things around for 20 years. Clearly it’s not a priority because I haven’t done it in 20 years. So I’m just not doing it. So goodbye box of scrapbooking materials. I didn’t do that. I ended up doing it over COVID and I also made a rule for myself. I got binders and I got sheet protectors and I got, um, eight and a half by 11, like scrapbook paper.
And I just. I taped things onto paper and stuffed it into a sheet protector. I was like, if I’m doing this, it’s got to be easy. It’s got to be fast. I’m not going to do all the embellishments and the stickers and all the fun stuff. I just want to get this in a way that people can open a binder and look through it and be like, Oh yeah, I remember when that was good enough for me.
So I did like the bare minimum type of job with it. That’s what I’m talking about here. Can you completely delete it? Can you delegate it? Can you simplify it? Just really get realistic with the things that are really truly priorities. Once you have like 10 or fewer, I wouldn’t, I would even encourage you to get like seven or fewer.
I know that’s really hard for some of us, right? On the back of that slip of paper on the back of the note card, right? What it actually looks like, because sometimes we hold in our minds. Yes, my family is a priority and my health is a priority. And you know, all these things are prior priorities, but we don’t tell ourselves like, what does that mean?
What does it mean? For example, you prioritize your kids. It could mean. I want to have a conversation with each of my kids every day. It could mean I want to go on a one on one date with each of my kids once a month. It could mean I pray for my kids daily. I mean, it, there’s such a vast opportunity here.
Like it could look a million different ways. You’ve got to decide what does it mean to prioritize your marriage or prioritize your kids or prioritize your business or prioritize a hobby that you love to do or whatever, right? What does that actually mean to you? And once you write down, and it could also be, it could be a couple different things, right?
It could, it could mean. You know, I want to be home when my kids get home from school and I want to have conversations with them every day. So it doesn’t mean you have to whittle it down to one thing, but you just have to make it really conscious in your mind what that priority means. And what I find is that oftentimes when I decide what it means, it’s usually things that don’t take much time.
And so then I can look at all my priorities and be like, Oh, That’s pretty easy. That’s like five minutes a day, or that’s like an hour a month, right? But when it’s just in my head and it’s all vague, then it feels like it takes up so much more space. So I really recommend that you get. Very real with yourself and you decide what each of these priorities looks like then you can start experimenting With how they fit into your life and the frequency and you know, maybe creating some routines or habits around it I recently had a session with a client and she was saying that She wanted to create some routines She recently moved her kids are at a new school and she wants to create some routines for herself And so we spent the entire session Kind of doing this process, like, what do you mean, what, what is important to you?
What feels good to you? What makes you feel like you have done a good job that day? And she brainstormed a whole bunch of things. And then I had her tell me, okay, you say that like eating healthier is really important to you. What, what does that look like? What do you want to eat? Right. And so I did some of that legwork with her of like actually deciding what do I want to eat?
And what can be easy and convenient? And at this stage of my life and what it boiled down to was she needed a few minutes in the morning because she wanted to move her body and she wanted to put on makeup so that she just felt like, Oh, I’m ready for the day. And then throughout the day, it was being mindful of her eating.
And in the evening it was take a shower and spend a couple minutes reading scriptures and journaling. And once we kind of saw that, that’s what. Her routine would probably boil down to, she was like, Oh, well, that feels so easy. I could totally do that. That’s why I think it’s so valuable to take a half hour, an hour at some point and really work through some of these questions in your mind.
If this sounds like too much, even if you’re like, I don’t even have the energy for that, then I recommend. When you feel stressed or anxious or overwhelmed or confused that you pause and you take three breaths, breathe in and out three times, and then just ask yourself, what is the next thing? And only focus on one thing at a time.
Is it the most ideal? Will you drop balls? Will you forget things? Yes. But it’s also pretty dang magical. It’s just a small version of aligning with yourself. It’s quick and it’s effective. The other day, um, my college age daughter is here with us and I also have my, you know, my other two kids here and my husband works from home some days and works at the office some days and then me and we have three cars for four people.
And so we’re having to really be mindful of who has what car when and Um, I realized one morning that I needed to drive my husband to work because my daughter had work and she needed a car and I had to pick up my other kid from school and yada yada. And so it ended up that morning that I had about 30 minutes to eat my breakfast, shower, dress, do my hair and my skincare routine.
And usually that would probably take me like an hour. And I was like, Oh, do I skip my shower? But I, I just breathed in and I asked myself like, am I going to take a shower today? And the answer was yes. And I kept feeling myself like feeling a little rushy and I just kept saying, no, we’re just doing one thing at a time.
You’re going to have plenty of time. And guess what I did. I totally did it. I took a shower, I got dressed, I did my hair, I did my skincare, I ate breakfast and I got to my first coaching call right on time. And it felt kind of calm and spacious as well because throughout the whole 30 minutes I just kept realigning to myself.
Okay. So that’s. We’ve covered fear facing the past and competing priorities. And number three is a lack of energy. I’ve hinted at this already in this episode, but sometimes the very reason why we might want to address our trauma is the reason why we can’t address our trauma because trauma takes a lot of energy and it makes us feel exhausted all the time.
If this is the case for you. Let rest be your priority. Let rest be your goal. Rest in small moments, rest in whole days, use heat, heating pads, warm drinks, soups, stews, hot showers, hot baths, sitting in the sun, heat, heat, heat, heat. Heat is a fantastic way to give your body a resource without having to expend resources.
Give yourself permission to rest. It’s your body’s way of conserving and gathering energy. And I’m going to go back to last week’s episode. Ask for help. There’s no shame in doing any of these things. It’s not going to last forever. And so if energy is the obstacle, then save yours until you feel like you have some energy and then figure out your trauma.
The fourth obstacle is I don’t know who to go to, to help me. This is super, super common. So many people when they’re like, I think I need to go to therapy or I think I need something, you know, but I don’t know who to see or where, like it’s, it’s almost overwhelming just thinking about finding a practitioner.
And especially a practitioner that you can trust because trust is an essential factor to heal. It’s an obstacle if you don’t have someone or you don’t know who to, you can trust reliably. And my recommendation is to treat finding someone like an experiment. You never have to keep going to a practitioner and any trauma informed practitioner.
will give you a low cost or free way to kind of try out working with them. And they won’t make you feel bad if you’re like, you know, this doesn’t feel like it clicks. I think I’m going to find someone else. This is one of the reasons why I do a free session. First, the free session is. for you to just try it out.
Do you like my energy? Do you like how I do things? How does it feel to you? If it doesn’t feel good, then I don’t want you to do it. And it doesn’t have to feel good. Like, you know, roses and rainbows. If it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t feel like, Oh, this clicks, I would recommend, and sometimes there’s.
You know, a little bit of an embarrassment or a shame factor to overcome here, but ask your existing network. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Tell them, hey, you know, I think I want to go to therapy or I want to figure out my trauma. Who would you recommend? Do you have someone you work with? If that doesn’t feel comfortable, You can try an online therapy platform.
There are so many right now and they’re very inexpensive. They’re a great way to just dip your toe in without having to make any commitments. Psychology today. com is a website where you can go and you can search for therapists by modality or location. Just start calling some people. That’s what I had to do when, when my daughter needed, needed a therapist.
I had to ask around and be like, okay, My daughter needs a therapist, who would you recommend? And then I just want to say, like, if you don’t want to work with me, if you don’t want to take me up on my free session offer, then I am connected to a network of other life coaches. I mean, maybe you’re listening to this and you’re a neighbor or a friend and you don’t feel comfortable.
I don’t know. Going to somebody that knows you on a personal level. I totally understand that if you want to reach out to me, email me at hello at DanitaBremmer. com. I’m happy to ask for recommendations specific to your needs. People all the time in the Facebook groups that I’m in of other coaches ask, Hey, I’m looking for a friend.
For a coach who wants to work on their, their debt or a coach who wants to work on their marriage and they specifically want this or that I’m happy to ask my network and give you recommendations. I mean, that would just make me so happy. So tickled because if you don’t want to work with me, I think that’s perfectly valid and I don’t take that personally at all.
And I just want to help you in whatever way that I can. The fifth obstacle to figuring out our trauma is the fear of the unknown. Our brains don’t like the unknown. And with trauma, especially, we kind of make it into this big hairy beast. And we’re like, Oh, that’s going to be really hard. I mean, it was difficult having the, the trauma inflicted on you, right?
We don’t know what it looks like. We don’t know what to expect. We don’t know like how much is this going to cost? How long will it take? And while I can’t. answer all of those questions because it’s different for everyone. I do want to say that it’s one of those things that it is simple. It’s not easy, but it’s often simple, simpler than we think it will be.
I don’t know how all other practitioners practice, but I can tell you a little bit about what it’s like to work with me. And this is probably what it would look like. You would click on a zoom link and maybe click one or two other buttons along the way, and then your video and your audio comes up and my video and my audio comes up so that we can see each other on zoom.
And I ask, hi, you are so and so, how are you today? How are you feeling? And you just answer honestly. So maybe you say, yeah, I’m doing okay. I’m a little nervous. I’m not exactly sure how this is going to go. And I say, oh yeah, that’s totally normal. It’s okay. How about we just take a minute and just feel your body in the chair.
Maybe take. A deep breath, just slow down. We’ve got all the time. Yeah. Okay. How does that feel? How are you feeling now? And you might say, Oh yeah, I’m feeling better. And I might ask something like, what brings you into my zoom room today? Tell me a little bit about what you’re thinking and feeling that made you want to reach out.
And then you can tell me. If that doesn’t feel good, you can say so and I can say, okay, let’s just start with tell me what’s happening in your body. What do you notice? How does it feel to tell me that that is what it’s like to do trauma work. If you can look out the window and tell me what you see, you can do trauma work.
The part that’s hard is our own thoughts and our feelings and especially our thoughts about our feelings. Right? You could totally do it. Anybody can do it. And just like most things in life, once. We try it out. We kind of realize, Oh, that wasn’t so bad that that was pretty simple. So those are five reasons why I think most of us don’t figure out the thing that we want to figure out.
And some recommendations for you on what to do if that’s your particular obstacle. I want to invite you to come join me for Voxer Tuesdays. On Tuesdays from 11 a. m. to 4 p. m., probably to like 5 p. m. mountain time, come find me on Voxer. I’m at Danita Bremmer, no spaces, D E N I T A B R E M E R. And just come say hi, ask your questions.
Ask me if you, I would coach you like it can just be Q and a, it can be coaching, whatever you want. I just want to have fun with it and get to know you. And if I didn’t mention an obstacle for you, maybe it’s something else, not one of these five that I mentioned, come tell me what your obstacle is and I will give you a recommendation.
It’s not always going to be hire someone right away. Um, just like I mentioned with, if you feel like you don’t have energy, then the job becomes to gather energy and to rest, right? It might not be the time to hire someone. So I’ll be super honest. I will tell you directly what I think I might have to ask you a few questions.
Um, but it’ll be super fun and a really easy way, a non confrontational way to dip your toe into this work and to just. Just show your body that you can do it and it’s not as scary as it seems. That’s enough for now. And so are you. If this podcast has been helpful for you, would you please take a minute to leave a rating or review and share it with a friend so others can find this work too.
Remember that I’m a life coach, not a doctor or a psychologist. Any suggestions or advice mentioned in this podcast should not be a substitute for medical or mental health care. Until next time, go be yourself and follow the spirit.