Complex trauma can be debilitating and affect a person's quality of life. According to the the Center for treatment of anxiety order and mood orders, complex trauma can occur in more than one form. Understanding what creates complex trauma can help us to identify when it’s present. When you know what your facing you can create a better plan for action.
Complex trauma is often referred to as PTSD. Oftentimes, people mistakenly believe that the only people who can be diagnosed are soldiers or witnesses of violent crimes. In reality, complex trauma or PTSD can present itself from a multitude of situations. This article will take a look at some of the incidents that could cultivate complex trauma as well as the symptoms associated. Being able to identify potential PTSD can empower you to help and take action.
Main Common Causes Of Complex Trauma
Complex trauma is created by repeated traumatic incidents. Dr. Courtois from Psychology today was able to summarize the events that can cause complex trauma. She wrote about her findings in an article called, “Understanding Complex Trauma, Complex Reactions, and Treatment Approaches” A lot of readers were surprised to learn that complex trauma can extend out to events that don’t involve physical abuse or violence. The research shows instead that prolonged exposure to harmful situations can be traumatic.
For a child, a harmful situation could be an emotionally abusive parent. Children are completely dependent upon responsible authority figures to survive. Trauma occurs when these authority figures cause the child to suffer neglect or maltreatment. As a result of the neglect feelings of negative feelings start to form. When the child is repeatedly exposed to traumatic events, complex trauma will start to form. The child will be living in an unsafe version of reality. This uncertain world presents the child with an intense level of fear, anxiety, and stress.
Complex trauma can occur in both children and in adults. For either one, the trauma would have to present itself as inescapable. For example being in an abusive relationship without any chance of escaping. With no foreseeable end, the individual will be subjected to an endless harmful environment. Perceiving yourself to be trapped in a bad situation for a long period of time can lead to PTSD.
Symptoms Associated With Complex Trauma
Emotional pain can start to form from immediately after the first traumatic event. Guilt is often associated with this emotional pain. A deep-rooted guilt that can stay with a child for a lifetime. According to,The Very Well Mind, guilt is formed when the individual thinks the trauma is their fault. This guilt can be a heavy burden for both children and adults.
Guilt is associated with complex trauma regardless of the triggering incident. An individual can experience guilt from sexual abuse, physical abuse, combat exposure and more. The guilt can start to turn inwards even deeper and evolve into shame. Shame for not preventing the trauma or shame for talking about it. Either way, the shame is serious and if untreated can lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. The national center for PTSD says that it is more common for victims of abuse to commit suicides.
Victims Of Complex Trauma Can Be Harmful To Themselves
Suicide isn’t the only risk presented to those who suffer from complex trauma. Having an intensely negative inner dialogue is another side effect. Psych Alive says that left unchecked this inner voice can take a major toll on self-confidence. Self-criticism and debilitating self-thoughts are just two signs of complex trauma. It’s worth noting that most people experience some form of an inner critic. However, for victims of complex trauma the negative inner voice is more destructive.
The very nature of complex trauma circulates around isolation. The individual has to feel like they can’t escape the situation they are in. This setup allows for the negative inner voice to be more prevalent. The isolation subjects the individual to an endlessly harsh thinking pattern. With a harmful thinking pattern in place, destructive lifestyle patterns usually surface. For example, a child who was emotionally abused may seek out an abusive adult relationship.
Take The Next Step To Healing Complex Trauma
Once you think you’ve identified complex trauma you can begin to take action. You do not have to be alone in your journey. The Oakville Wellness Center is staffed with experienced professionals who are dedicated to helping people heal.
The Oakville Wellness Center staff members are experienced with both diagnosing and treating complex trauma. Their onsite therapist staff includes a psychotherapist, life coach, occupational therapist and speech-language pathologist. All of their therapists have received a full thorough training and are registered. Many of the therapist services will be covered by insurance plans.
If you need to take action towards feeling better, they will welcome you with open arms.