The Truth Behind Trauma


The feeling of a traumatic experience is no foreign sentiment. However, it may be difficult to grasp just how influential trauma can be in our lives because in reality, trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside of you as a result of what happened to you. The origin of this word is Greek for “wound.” Specifically, trauma is a psychological wound that occurs when we witness certain situations that go beyond our ability to properly handle them.

When you think about it, trauma acquires the behavioural components of a wound. When an open wound is touched, the pain can be unbearable. Therefore, if one acquires a wound from to abandonment for example, and decades later a situation sprouts in which the individual is reminded of such a feeling, trauma would make the individual ache as much as they did when they initially incurred the wound. On the other hand, a wound can also scar. Scars are thick and have no nerve endings, therefore they lack feeling. Hence, traumatized individuals may also have the contrary experience of disconnecting from their feelings. Moreover, natural scar tissue does not regenerate into healthy flesh. When connecting this notion to trauma, individuals tend to be stuck in emotional states that solidified their development when they were first traumatized. In summary, trauma can do one of two things. It may either sensitize us to certain situations, or numb our feelings in aims of detaching itself from our bodies simply because it is too painful to bear.

Children are incredibly malleable, so what we experience as children may later influence how we are programmed as adults. Hence, many of the ways we are wired as adults are most likely not due to a personal nor deliberate decision. However, unresolved trauma is primarily why addiction sprouts. Society today has placed a rather negative connotation on addiction, equating it to an abnormality or an aberration. It is viewed as a moral deviation, but contrarily, addiction is possibly the most human thing there is. Naturally, it is “a manifestation of any behaviour that a person finds temporary pleasure or relief in and therefore craves and continues with that despite negative consequences.” The downfall of addiction is the prospective harm it causes, alongside with the instant pleasure and relief it grants. Therefore, addiction occurs from the inability to give up that habit in spite of the negative consequences.

Addiction may develop in many forms including gambling, eating, shopping and gaming. The widely accepted misconception is that addictions are the primary problems. On the contrary, instead of trying to comprehend the addiction, one must comprehend the pain, as addictions are failed attempts to gain emotional pain relief. On that account, an addiction should never be considered a problem, as it is an attempt for the individual to solve an underlying problem. For that reason, addictions are attempted solutions. They serve a purpose of short-term relief that may also be used as a distraction from the emotional pain one is experiencing or provides pleasure that is otherwise not available.

Ultimately, addictions and how we are wired as adults primarily arises due to trauma. As previously mentioned, our brain development is heavily shaped by early experiences and not just simply genetically determined. Woefully, our societal curse is avoidance, as many choose to disregard their trauma and project in different types of behaviour. However, pain demands to be felt or else it will consume an individual in different forms. Contrastingly, to feel is a gift, because as we all know, one cannot heal unless they choose to feel the pain that desires to be felt. Sensibly, the world today can be incredibly and emotionally defeating, however in no way is it a measure of strength to be well adjusted to a profoundly ill society. Truthfully, it is quite the opposite.

Featured image: Frontiers

Hana Abulkheir
Hana Abulkheir
Second year behaviour and social science student from Egypt but primarily lived abroad. Interested in mental health in well-being.

More from Author



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here