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  • Writer's pictureEmily Smith

5 Under-the-Radar Signs of Trauma

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Trauma isn't always a glaring wound; it can hide beneath the surface, shaping our lives in subtle yet profound ways. We often think of trauma as a very clear and catastrophic event and while this can be true, it is so commonly right there in our midst and we didn't quite know how to label it. Recognizing these signs can be the first step towards healing and growth.

1. Chronic Physical Symptoms

Trauma can manifest as physical ailments that seem unrelated to emotional distress. Frequent headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, and unexplained pain might be your body's way of signaling that something deeper is amiss. If you find yourself visiting doctors for various physical issues without a clear diagnosis, it's worth exploring the possibility of trauma as an underlying cause. Trauma specialists often consult with other types of healthcare providers that their clients are involved with in order to deliver the most effective relief and help clients experience the most sustainable healing.


2. Persistent Anxiety or Worry

While anxiety is a common response to trauma, it can sometimes be subtle and masked by a veil of apparent calm. You might not be experiencing full-blown panic attacks, but persistent worries, obsessive thoughts, or excessive concerns about safety can indicate that unresolved trauma is simmering beneath the surface.


3. Emotional Numbness or Detachment

Trauma can lead to emotional disconnection as a protective mechanism. If you notice a persistent sense of numbness, emptiness, or detachment from your emotions, it could be your mind's way of coping with traumatic experiences. While it may provide temporary relief, addressing this detachment is crucial for long-term healing.


4. Recurring Nightmares or Disturbing Dreams

Your subconscious mind often holds clues to unresolved trauma. Recurring nightmares or vivid, distressing dreams can be a sign that your mind is trying to process and release the traumatic experiences that have been buried deep within your psyche. Pay attention to the themes and emotions in these dreams and explore them with your therapist, as they may offer insights into your trauma.


5. Difficulty with Relationships

Trauma can affect how we relate to others. If you find yourself struggling with trust, intimacy, or forming meaningful connections, it might be a sign of something more. This can manifest as an intense fear of abandonment, avoidance of close relationships, or a pattern of tumultuous and unhealthy partnerships.


Trauma isn't always overt, and its effects can be so deeply ingrained within us at times that we only know them as part of "who we are." These subtle signs are like whispers from your inner self, urging you to explore and address the hidden wounds that may be holding you back from living a fuller, more authentic life. If any of these signs resonate with you, remember that seeking professional help from a therapist experienced in trauma can be a transformative step toward healing. You don't have to face this journey alone; there is support, understanding, and healing waiting for you. Recognizing these subtle signs is a powerful act of self-compassion and courage, paving the way for a brighter, more vibrant future.


person experiencing signs of trauma and discussing in therapy

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