As the mental health field learns about trauma, we gain a deeper understanding of its complex impact. For those who have lived through trauma, the impacts are present in relationships with themselves, others, and the world around them. Every human has endured some sort of trauma. It may be this same trauma that has warranted a search for counseling for women in Orange County, CA. But, depending on circumstances, some traumatic experiences can leave larger wounds than others.
Trauma Affects Relationships with Ourselves
Traumatic experiences are wide and varied. Yet there are some similarities in long-term impacts. When you go through something traumatic, whether that be as a child or an adult, your brain gets altered. It doesn’t impede your cognitive functioning, but more so impacts your “emotional center.” This is the part of you that reacts to situations, dynamics, people, and places that you may have no control over. And these reactions themselves are also known as “triggers.”
Examples of traumatic experiences heard during counseling for women include:
- Sexual assault
- Childhood abuse
- Workplace harassment
- Childhood Bullying
- Racial Injustice
- Discrimination and Oppression
When you go through this over and over, it can be even more impactful on your emotional center.
The Impact of Triggers from Trauma
When you experience situations in which you feel physically, emotionally, or mentally unsafe, your body and brain latch onto that experience. They store it in your mind and highlight pieces of it that can be watched for in the future. This is so your brain and body can alert you when danger arises. And as women, we often have that instinct when something is off anyway.
Furthermore, it feels that we are always on our toes. Walking outside as the sun goes down? Your head’s on a swivel until you finally get home. You decided to wear a skirt to work today because it makes you feel confident? Well, here comes your gross coworker with his crude comments. Now that’s ruined, and you won’t be wearing any more skirts for fear of being sexually harassed for having legs.
As women, it is often expected that we conform to our environment. This means making everyone else feel comfortable. All while we hold back our truest selves, and often, our voices altogether. Trauma triggers work in the same way. When something bad has happened, our brain convinces us that something bad will happen if we engage in the same behavior. It may get become triggered by visiting the same place the trauma occurred. Or, by seeing or smelling something present during trauma.
So, when we’ve endured trauma in the past, we may use complex mechanisms to quiet ourselves and try to go unnoticed. These recent and past experiences tend to squash our spirits. In fact, they can bring on anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and hypervigilance. Trauma impacts our relationships with ourselves. It makes us feel unworthy, ashamed, and even guilty. And one of the most painful parts of these circumstances is that it not only impacts us, but it can often impact our relationships with others, too.
Trauma Impacts Our Relationships with Others
When trauma happens, our brains try to protect us. Even though it’s trying to be helpful, it can often create harmful dynamics in our lives. What’s so frustrating about this too, is that it can take place in our relationships with others. And, it can happen without us even intending to do so.
If you experienced trauma during childhood, your attachment style has likely been affected. Now, I need to tell you that YOU ARE NOT DAMAGED. You are whole and you are good. What has happened to you may be damaging to your emotional center, but you can overcome it. You can heal, and move forward living a life in which you stand firm in your values and your identities. Through counseling for women with a trauma therapist, you can build your confidence and find a connection with yourself. Together, you will experience deeper connections with others.
To heal from trauma, you have to identify and explore it. If you have trouble forming and holding onto relationships with others, your attachment style may have been affected during childhood. Often, those who have experienced trauma have anxious or avoidant attachment styles.
Counseling for Women with Anxious Attachment Styles
Those with an anxious attachment style often want to be intimate with their partners on an emotional level. The struggle is that you may have deep-rooted fears that your partner does not care for you in the same way you do them. Because you are anxious that you may be on different pages, you “check the temperature” of your partner often. Whether verbal or not, you try to check their mood. If they seem distant, you pull back. Or, they seem cheerful and engaged, you may still feel reserved for fear that their interest in you may subside later on. It’s likely that you get upset easily and often assume the worst about your partner’s thoughts and feelings. This may lead you to lash out or say things that you regret.
When we take the effects of trauma into account, this attachment style makes a lot of sense. If putting your trust into somebody has burned you before, skepticism of others is logical. When you become close, then become fearful, it makes sense that you’d self isolate. Or, distance yourself from those that you care for.
But, while it makes sense for the emotional center due to the past it has endured, it does not make sense with living a fulfilled, happy life. This attachment style becomes problematic when you can’t get past it. If you keep cutting people off for fear of becoming too close and relying on them, it’s time to work through trauma in counseling for women.
Counseling for Women with Avoidant Attachment Styles
Now, the avoidant attachment style has similarities to the anxious style. Those with the anxious style tend to keep people pretty distant. Where they differ, though, is that those with an avoidant style tend to strive for independence and supporting themselves on their own. If you have an avoidant attachment style, you may like the idea of having a close relationship with someone. But, the reality of it is not all that appealing.
Your friends are in happy relationships in which they spend all their time with their partners. You consider if this would make you happy. But the thought of being emotionally vulnerable with another person sounds terrifying. This is the impact of trauma. The need to be independent has now overpowered the need for connectedness. So it’s likely that you self-isolate. And this may make you happy, or it might make you question why you are this way because you’re tired of being so lonely.
Again, you are not damaged. Your emotional center’s responses to the things you’ve endured make sense. Like I said earlier, your brain and body try to protect you from harm that you’ve already been through before. But, if creating meaningful relationships with friends, family, or romantic partners is important to you, learning about why trauma makes you do the things it does can make a huge difference.
Counseling for Women and Trauma Therapy Can Help
At our Orange County, CA-based counseling practice, we offer trauma counseling for women like you. Women who have trauma that hasn’t been dealt with in years for fear of the pain it will bring up. But haven’t you already suffered enough? Continuing to self-isolate and disconnect from your life won’t make things better. Instead, it will only continue to numb you out and create more problems for you.
Begin Counseling for Women and Trauma Therapy Today!
Instead of continuing to numb yourself, give trauma therapy a chance. Yes, it will be challenging. And some days will be better than others. But, getting it all out there can help. Having a supportive, unbiased therapist listen and help you unpack is relieving. The trauma therapists from our Orange County, CA-based therapy practice have worked with many clients. Together, they have worked to decrease stress levels, increase confidence, and be free to enjoy life again. To start counseling for women, follow these simple steps:
Other Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy
Trauma Therapy is not the only service that we offer in our Orange County Counseling practice or by Online Counseling. Other mental health services Moxie Family Therapy provides include, counseling for young adults, counseling for college students, couples counseling, counseling for teen girls, counseling for children, play therapy, art therapy, and family therapy. Contact our counseling practice to address the issues that matter most to you. Start getting your moxie back!