UnCharted Path Productions presents: Let's Talk About - Traumatic Responses
Updated: Dec 24, 2022
UPP's "Weekly Mental Digest"
by Shari Wilson, Psy. M.
October 14, 2022
Adobe Stock Photo.
Heeeeeeeeeey and we’re back for another session of UPP’s Weekly Mental Digest, “Let’s Talk About It”. we are looking into the uncharted part of our minds to identify our trauma so that we can begin to walk in our full truth.
What truth is this?
This truth will allow us to face our past scars from different points in our lives and start the healing process from them. It is the choice that is made to not let the trauma RULE you, but instead for you to RULE and CONQUER the trauma.
What is trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, an assault, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical.” Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can do their best to help them find constructive ways of managing their emotions.” It's that thing that has impacted you to the point where you begin to adjust your life so that you can stay safe. THAT by definition is trauma.
There are 4 common ways to respond to trauma, which are Fight, Fawn, Flight, and Freeze.
What does trauma make you say?
The response to trauma is almost like a safety response to try to avoid it happening again. Whether it's hurtful words, like somebody being sarcastic, to physical abuse like a physical beating or rape. At that moment, you have encountered mental abuse which is a direct attack in the form of manipulation of your mind, when you are in a vulnerable state. Here are some ways that trauma may affect you:
What does “I’m sorry” mean?
Freeze Trauma is when you freeze your emotions to the point of dissociation, or for lack of a better term when you mentally “check out”. For example, women in domestic violence relationships, can keep their partner happy, or make sure that everything is perfect so that she will not be the driving force for the abuse towards her. She is always apologizing, because she has been made to think that she is the cause for the abuse. The time she may have been called stupid because she does something exactly how they wanted but it didn't turn out quite like the accuser wanted, so she apologizes because it is ALWAYS “her fault”. This over-apologizing continues because now “I must apologize, because I've obviously done something wrong”. This is why it is called "Freezing Trauma" because if you stay in a constant state of fogginess DUE TO BLAME, it will keep you from feeling the real hurt that started it all.
What does “It’s fine” mean?
Fawn Trauma, isn't used as much, especially if it isn't severe. When used in a positive response to trauma, it allows for someone to be much more empathetic to those who are in a similar situation and in turn will try to help them. Then you have those whose trauma was much more severe so they will then be seen as a people pleaser to the ones who hurt them. They tend to overshare to try and overcompensate to make the abuser feel better, instead of realizing they are being abused. So, when it comes to their response of “it’s fine”, this tends to mean that, they may not want to do what the abuser asks of them, but will do it. And when asked “if there is a problem”, their response will be “oh no, it’s fine” or “I don't mind” or “sure”. Because the fear of not pleasing someone is more detrimental then having some sort of boundary.
What does “I’m tired” mean?
Flight Trauma results in the need to GET OUT because they can’t see a successful way out of fighting the person/thing causing the trauma. Although a healthy form of this response is not harmful because one can recognize something that might be triggering and make necessary adjustments so that they aren’t paralyzed by it. But when it turns into overdoing an action like thinking, it leaves someone in a state of anxiety and being afraid. This can result in always just feeling tired because one is trying to stay on alert, JUST IN CASE. But this state of always being ready to leave is tiring. You'll hear someone who has a negative flight response say that “I'm tired”. The tiredness stems from them not being able to mentally/physically relax due to their alertness. So they'll keep busy so that they aren’t idle and able to think about said trauma.
What does “ It’s all good” mean?
You’ve got your Fight Trauma is all about ME, MYSELF, & I. I'm going to make sure that I will NEVER be put in the situation again, no matter what I have to do or WHO I have to hurt, AS LONG AS, it isn't me. Now don't get me wrong there is a healthy side to this, where there is no longer acceptance of any form of abuse, no matter what past traumatic situations affected you. Even though trauma survivors sometimes take an aggressive approach because there is an intense feeling hovering over that keeps them on edge, it is the creation of boundaries so you aren't just trying to please everyone. This feeling results in responses like “It’s all good”, because I don't need help from ANYONE. Or the response of “I got it” really means, I'm here to lean on no one but myself, because I will NOT allow someone else to hurt me again." I'm going to overthink EVERYTHING as a form of security, because if I woulda, shoulda, coulda thought about these things before, I would have NEVER been in whatever predicament that I am currently in.
It’s the realization that possibly some of these responses are what you may be suffering with. There are some who may have thought that the positive responses were really negative, which explained some possible emotions that they could not explain. This is where you decide to lean towards the positive responses, and here is why?
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve healthy relationships.
You deserve to feel like you make the decisions in your life instead of it feeling like your trauma is making them for you.
It starts with you, because YOU are the only one who can decide whether or not something changes your mood/emotions. When you realize that, that is the step to moving towards a healthier mental state.
YOU GOT THIS!!!!!
We can work through this together! Feel free to reach out! Thanks for stopping by. This was a great chat.
See y'all next week!!
About the writer:
Shari Wilson has a genuine heart to listen to anyone who shares their experiences, traumas, or just life in general. She studied at Purdue Global University, acquiring her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis and Addictions Psychology in 2016. On the path to furthering her studies, she received her Master of Psychology in 2018 from Purdue Global University. Since then she has been enamored with the ability to use her education to help others through difficult times.
She is a Consulting Psychologist for UnCharted Path Productions, working on the upcoming psychological thriller series titled, “Hidden District”. She is a mom of 3, a wife, and an amazing friend to those around her. If you would like to get in contact with her regarding a counseling session, please email her at: email@example.com or her Instagram.
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