I read this article and it lists 20 symptoms of unresolved trauma. My counselor recognized I was severely messed up, long before I knew I was severely messed up. After each line, I add my comments to Kathy Broady’s MSW. She writes more on each symptom on her blog. She also has videos and other information not included here.
1. Addictive behaviors – excessively turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling as a way to push difficult emotions and upsetting trauma content further away.
Sometimes the behaviors of addiction may include internet, books, food, thrills, video gaming, any activity done to access to avoid thinking and feeling your own thoughts.
2. An inability to tolerate conflicts with others
Peace at all cost, will cost you everything.
3. An inability to tolerate intense feelings
Choosing a way to numb feelings rather than feel them. Ignore, bury, exhaustion are all methods of keeping intense feelings at a minimum.
4. An innate belief that they are bad, worthless, without value or importance
Self-esteem is not part of your life.
5. Black and white thinking, all or nothing thinking,
No in between. One bad thing makes me completely bad. No gray or some good/some bad areas.
6. Chronic and repeated suicidal thoughts and feelings
Attempting Death by chocolate, reckless driving, extremely risky behaviors are shades of suicidal thoughts. Sadly this type of thinking/behavior may be habit forming.
7. Disorganized attachment patterns – having a variety of short but intense relationships, refusing to have any relationships, dysfunctional relationships, frequent love/hate relationships
Not just in romantic relationships. All relationships show strain of feeling disconnected from the other person.
8. Dissociation, spacing out, losing time, missing time, feeling like you are two completely different people (or more than two)
Dissociation can be described on a continuum with everybody doing this once in awhile. During extreme dissociation, days, weeks, or months can go missing.
9. Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, obesity, etc
Fear of dieting, hoarding food, anxiety that you won’t get enough to eat, obsession with what you eat minute my minute.
10. Excessive sense of self-blame – taking on inappropriate responsibility as if everything is their fault, making excessive apologies
Saying “I’m sorry” for things other people did, slightest error is cause for catastrophic shame and apologies. I annoyed my children more than once for apologizing.
11. Inappropriate attachments to mother figures or father figures, even with dysfunctional or unhealthy people
Especially tricky with counselors and others that try to help trauma survivors. Trusting people that are not trustworthy while distrusting people that would be healthy.
12. Intense anxiety and repeated panic attacks
Hyperventilating, over reacting, feeling anxious at an 8 level on a score of 1-10 often.
13. Intrusive thoughts, upsetting visual images, flashbacks, body memories / unexplained body pain, or distressing nightmares
Feeling like past events have you by the throat. Jokes about letting go of the past if the past would let go of you.
14. Ongoing, chronic depression
At times, I used depression to keep my intense emotions of rage in check. I preferred depression to losing control of my temper.
15. Repeatedly acting from a victim role in current day relationships
Continuing victim behavior after the threat is gone or sometimes putting myself back in harms way because that is what is familiar to me.
16. Repeatedly taking on the rescuer role, even when inappropriate to do so
Yup, I try to rescue someone/anyone else. For me, someone else’s problems seem doable where mine are overwhelming. Distorted thinking but I still do think this way. I have to be careful not to wipe myself out trying to rescue someone else.
Many people think of cutting when self-harm is mentioned, consider the other shades of self-harm, burning with hot water in showers or hot liquid drinks, eating foods that harm yourself, many behaviors that a person does knowing it will hurt them, all fall into this category.
18. Suicidal actions and behaviors, failed attempts to suicide
Rarely does someone jump straight to suicidal actions, usually there is a tumbling down into a dark pit that feels like there are no options left. If actions are heading towards completing the task get help….immediately. https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/suicide/
19. Taking the perpetrator role / angry aggressor in relationships
Yes, victims become perpetrators. The cycle of viciousness passed from one person to another. Takes courage to be a chain breaker- a person determined to stop the violence. Make the World a better place than they knew.
20. Unexplained but intense fears of people, places, things
Forgetting or repressing memories doesn’t stop the fear reaction, only thing that happens I didn’t know why I was terrified, anxious, out of sorts. Sometime the fear was so intense I passed out. Fear can destroy a person, relationship a life. Get help. Heal the trauma. Learn new ways to cope.