|Untreated Emotional Trauma is a Serious Issue: Understanding the Impact of Trauma|
Problems With Understanding the Impact of Untreated Early Emotional Trauma
People who were traumatized as children often don't make the connection between what's going on in their lives now and what happened to them when they were children.
Even though he was lonely and, in many ways, he wanted to have a girlfriend and close friends, Joe had a hard time trusting people enough to allow them to get close to him. He talked to people at work, mostly because they approached him, but he never accepted their invitations to go out afterwards to socialize because he felt shy and socially awkward.
He spent most weekends either zoning out in front of the TV or playing video games. Sometimes, he went to visit his mother, who lived a few miles away, but he often regretted these visits because his father was frequently drunk and verbally abusive with Joe and his mother. His father's behavior reminded Joe of how terrified he used to be of his father when his father got into one of his frequent drunken rages and would hit him and his mother when Joe was a child.
Even though he knew that, as an adult, he could now physically restrain his father if he had to, Joe still flinched whenever his father went into a drunken tirade and came close to Joe in a menacing way. When they were alone, his mother would tell him that his father no longer hit her and, in fact, his father wasn't in good health because of his alcoholism.
During those visits, Joe could look at his father and see that he was frail, especially compared to what an imposing and intimidating figure he used to be when Joe was a child and he felt terrified of his father. But even though he could see this with his own eyes, deep down, he still feared his father, and Joe had a hard time understanding why he continued to feel this way when he knew, logically, that his father was no longer a real threat to him.
Joe also knew that he had a fear of most people, even people that he liked from a distance. Even though he was lonely and part of him really yearned for an emotional connection with others, a bigger part of him was too afraid to allow anyone to get close to him, and he just couldn't understand why he felt this way.
Over time, Joe's fears got worse. He tried to understand why he felt this way, even with people that he thought he might like to get to know better. He didn't understand what stopped him from initiating conversations with people that he liked at work. He knew that most people in the office seemed to like him.
He knew, logically, that they weren't people who were actually dangerous in any way. And, yet, whenever he imagined himself taking the initiative to start a conversation with one of them or accepting an invitation to go out with the group after work, he felt frightened. It just didn't make sense to him and it continued to be an emotional dilemma for Joe.
Joe didn't make the connection between his early childhood trauma of living in a household with a raging and abusive father and his fear of connecting with people as an adult. But he knew something was wrong, and he began to consider whether he should see a psychotherapist.
In a future blog article, I'll continue this discussion and discuss how getting help from a licensed psychotherapist can make a difference in overcoming emotional trauma.
The impact of untreated trauma can take its toll in many ways, including psychologically, physically and socially. If you have experienced emotional trauma, you owe it to yourself to get help from a licensed mental health professional to work through the trauma so it no longer affects you and you can lead a more fulfilling life.
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples. I have helped many clients to overcome the impact of trauma.
To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.
To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: email@example.com