Because we so often suppress our pain and try to avoid feeling it, many of us have a very fractured relationship with our own thoughts and emotions. We run from our pain, afraid it will overtake and overpower us. We’re afraid we won’t be able to handle it. It can be so intense it can feel as though we won’t survive it. When we’ve been resisting our pain for so long, we often don’t have healthy ways of processing our trauma and working to heal ourselves from it. We don’t have a clear understanding of the ways in which we’ve been traumatized and how our traumatic experiences have affected our lives. How can we tell if we’re still being impacted by our trauma?
When we’re able to make peace with our trauma and come to terms with it in healthy ways, we no longer feel the need to run away from it. We don’t need to hide from it, fight it or find ways to resist it. We don’t feel the need to reject it. We can remember what has happened to us, accept it, and no longer be overwhelmed and triggered by it. When we’re still being adversely affected by our trauma, the opposite is true. We do everything we can to avoid thinking about our traumatic experiences so that we don’t have to feel all of the heavy, burdensome emotions that we associate with them. We don’t talk about our trauma. We refuse to confide in other people. We avoid going in-depth into our issues in therapy and support groups, or with friends and family, and we prefer to talk about more neutral, lighthearted subjects. When memories of our trauma resurface, we try to bury them back down again using our drugs of choice to block out and suppress our pain. When we feel triggered by something that reminds us of our trauma, we might lash out at ourselves or others, we might self-harm, or we might shut down altogether.
One clear sign we’re still being affected by our trauma is when we’re continuing to experience recurring patterns of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. When we haven’t been able to heal from our inner pain, chances are we’re still being driven mentally and emotionally by all of the emotional programmings from our traumas that are stored in our subconscious mind. We’re still using unhealthy coping mechanisms such as avoidance, denial, suppression, and secrecy. We’re still using our addictions to cope with our pain.
We can learn more about what traumas still need to be confronted when we examine our thought patterns, our emotional responses, our behaviors, and our choices. Our daily lives are a reflection of how much we have healed and resolved our traumas, and how much healing we have yet to do.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops, and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.