Minimising trauma is actually more common than you might expect. Many of us will minimise extremely traumatic events that continue to cause us distress long after the event has passed. This can be because we are ashamed of continued feelings around the event. We shame ourselves into thinking that we should be over “it” by now. Friends and family may be adding to that shame by asking us why we haven’t been able to “just let go”, or “move on”. The truth is that trauma doesn’t just disappear on its own and no matter how hard we tell ourselves to “move on”, it simply doesn’t work that way.
When you try to talk to friends or family members about your trauma, how do they react? If you leave feeling like there is something more wrong with you than what happened to you, then it’s likely you may feel the need to minimise your trauma around them.
Do you feel like you are not only minimising your trauma, but also the progress you are making in recovering from it? This can be damaging both to you and to your recovery. In order to work through and be able to fully process and resolve any past trauma, you need to fight the urge to minimise and stop telling yourself to “get a grip”, or “just move on”.
How minimisation could be hindering your trauma healing process:
It is very common for trauma survivors to minimise the trauma they went through by comparing themselves to others that you may have read about or spoken to. You may look at your own experience and tell yourself that it was nothing in comparison. Perhaps you think because it only happened once, or a few times that it was nowhere near as extreme as others. Perhaps you believe that you don’t even have the right to call what you went through trauma?
The reality is, your story is one thing, but the emotions that you are struggling with today, those are the real testament as to whether you are or are not suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It doesn’t actually matter what happened to you, it is the effect that event or events had on you and continue to have on you. There is an important distinction to be made in your mind if you are finding yourself minimising the trauma – ensure that you understand that you are not going to ever be able to heal the traumatic event. That happened and there is nothing that can rid you of it. The healing needs to be of the impact that trauma had on you and is continuing to have on you today. No matter what happened, if you talk about the effects of trauma that other survivors are experiencing, no matter their trauma, you may find you have an awful lot in common.
As a survivor of trauma you may find that you are very self-deprecating, you tell yourself that you aren’t good enough or worthy. This self defeating talk can come as a result of the shame carried with you since you experienced the trauma. These negative thoughts you have about yourself may be near to impossible to let go of or get rid of. Because of this, you may feel like you have been working really hard on healing yourself but have made very little progress. Try not to minimise the progress you have in your recovery. Allow yourself to celebrate all of the little triumphs that you have, no matter how big or small.
If you are constantly minimising both your trauma and your progress, you will be distorting your own reality. This will make it much harder to heal as you won’t be healing from your own truth, rather you will be trying to heal a minimised sense of what happened. In order to fully heal you must be congruent and authentic to both your trauma and your progress in recovery.
Stop minimising and start healing:
It doesn’t matter what others say or think, in order to heal from your trauma you need to call it what it is. You may want to minimise what happened to you and the consequences because it’s too scary to face up to your own reality. However, until you admit the truth to yourself you will not be able to make any proper progress in your recovery and will continue to stay stuck in the trauma/shame cycle. It really doesn’t matter what others think. The only person who needs to heal from this is you. You are the only one who truly knows what you are living with daily and how it has affected you. You have every right to reach out for support. However, if you are finding that the places you were reaching out t, were not as supportive as you’d hoped, try accessing a professional – a trauma informed therapist is a great place to start.
If you are finding that you are struggling to appreciate how far you’ve come in your recovery and are minimising your progress, write down the positive steps that you’ve made. That way, when you are feeling particularly negative or despondent, you will have tangible evidence written by you to show you just have far you’ve come. Unrealistic expectations about your progress is another thing to watch out for. It’s very common in recovery from traumatic events that you may progress a bit and then plateau for a while, or even take a couple of steps backwards. That’s okay. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Have compassion for yourself during these times and try to remind yourself that although you may have taken a few steps backwards, overall you are progressing.
Ultimately you need to be true to yourself. If you allow yourself to listen to voices of those around you, and even your own self-deprecating voice, you will struggle to properly heal. You have a right to heal and when you stop minimising how you feel and allow yourself to listen to your own truth, you may just find that the progress you make increases exponentially.
Stop the cycle of merry-go-round treatment and find the solution you’re looking for in trauma treatment. Through effective residential treatment, Khiron House helps you find the path you need toward health and wellness in recovery. For information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).