trauma

How Trauma Effects your Identity – My Perspective

TraumaI remember in psychology learning about trauma and its effect on behaviour and it was always that word I held onto - behaviour.

I remember thinking how certain people around me showed signs of past trauma affecting their behaviour, such as: their lack of self-worth, their struggle to control emotion and their inability to connect with their true identity.

I also remember how people were discussed, as if the trauma was attached to their identity, even my psychology teachers blurred that line between identity and behaviour. Misleading the class to think trauma affects who you are rather than how you behave.

I remember someone in particular, someone in my past that taught me so much more about trauma than any psychology class ever did.

Like many, this person turned to drugs for release, I remember meeting this person at their worst and getting a glimpse of who they are at their best. Probably the most difficult friend I’ve ever had. Not difficult in the sense of dealing with their addiction; it was just difficult trying to meet the person hidden behind the drugs and trauma.

This person really helped me understand inner conflict and the negative impact it has on one’s life. Escape, even though just for a moment was the only peace this person could experience. To escape from trauma and becoming numb to their identity.

I learned a lot about how trauma works through my interactions with this person.

Please note, anything I mention in this post is my own perspective.

I started seeing trauma differently after this person opened up to me about their experiences.

Traditionally I feel people still think that trauma shapes a person’s identity, as if the trauma is well and truly embedded into who they are. However, I couldn’t help hold onto the word 'behaviour', and through my interactions with this person, the distinction between behaviour and identity became much clearer.

This person was often led to believe that change and breaking through trauma was near impossible, because they too were understanding that it was their identity the trauma had affected; believing something was wrong with them and not understanding that the person they actually are is just hidden.

This person believed that they are who they are and that’s it. I felt their Shrink decided to focus more on the trauma itself rather than spending equal amounts of time nurturing and speaking to the true identity hidden beneath it.

The more I interacted with this person, I began to understand that trauma is like a dark cloud over their identity, the drugs acted like an umbrella protecting them from the downpour of emotion.

When I saw this person engage in their passions and tap into their talent (which is how we crossed paths), and work towards things that made them feel alive, I saw no sign that this person was suffering from trauma. I saw this person for who they actually are without the negative effects of their past.

It was after meeting this person I discovered that very wide line between identity and behaviour. I understood that trauma does not reflect someone’s identity. Unfortunately my friend was led to believe that the trauma they had faced was a part of who they were and that there is no escaping it. Yes it will be forever a part of their life but by no means should anyone be led to believe it’s a part of who they are.

One day I hope to obtain the necessary skills and funds to investigate this further, get the education and conduct professional research of my own. For now, I hope my message will help others dealing with trauma, or have people in their lives suffering from it, understand that underneath the trauma is an individual trying to clear away the clouds and roam free to pursue life as the person they truly are.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Why Insecurities Develop When Used To Mask Doubts in Relationships

Image When a discussion topic turns to relationships, the term insecurities get thrown into conversations all the time. Many people I've spoken to tend to say that their insecurities are affecting their relationships. However during the course of discussion, the case is that people will use the term as an excuse to simply mask and avoid doubts and concerns - ultimately blaming themselves for an entire problem that they may never have caused. For example, if someone is concerned that they are not getting the attention they deserve from their partner, compared to at the beginning of the relationship; many people justify that as an outcome of one’s insecurities getting in the way, rather than investigating where the doubt stems from first. Unfortunately when left unresolved, these doubts begin to develop into actual insecurities that carry over into other relationships.

First of all, here’s what I know about feeling insecure: People rarely reveal their insecurities, if someone is truly insecure about something; they do everything to avoid highlighting it. Feelings of insecurity are internal, insecurities will affect one’s own behavior, personality and self-confidence and it’s a huge self-esteem knocker. Feeling insecure is psychological and often stems from trauma and not from unfortunate situations.

In relationships when things begin to go south we always try to find a way to reason them. We want to understand why a certain situation is occurring. However, what I have found from many people is that they use their insecurities as a reason, almost like a defense mechanism, to avoid understanding the actual root of their genuine feelings. Also, people don’t like to feel their making the same mistake twice, so when they feel that something iffy is recurring, they confuse their emotions and reason with insecurity. It’s easier to admit fault with our insecurities as they are difficult to overcome, than to face up and deal with a relationship that could be on the rocks or even failing. It’s taking the easy way out.

To define those points which trigger feelings of insecurity is to look at the doubts you have, which in most cases means to track changes in behavior, either of your own or your partners. If you’re still the same person in the relationship as you were when you began it, then most likely it’s not insecurities that are making you feel uneasy, listen to your instinct instead. If you had insecurities in your past which you felt were resolved but now feel have been triggered, then you need to define the moment things changed and resolve it, before you begin blaming yourself. If you feel you've never had insecurities in the beginning and now they've developed, then you need to define the moment they began; In many circumstances you will notice that it’s caused from a change of behavior in the other person within the relationship. When we can pinpoint changes, we can then begin to unveil the true reason.

Consider doubts your warning signs, your mind and body will try to tell you if you’re beginning to feel symptoms of insecurity. If you notice yourself becoming more introverted, avoiding discussion and shunning away from the topic of relationships – these are signs of feeling insecure in your relationship, which then can be identified as causing the problems. If you’re openly talking about your relationship and trying to engage in discussion to resolve issues - these are your doubts. Feeling truly insecure in a relationship is very damaging, you open yourself to be controlled, manipulated and your identity can slowly get consumed. Justifying doubts as insecurities can lead feeling like every relationship you enter will ultimately fail because of your “insecurities” and you end up jumping over hurdles and compromises that can cause emotional harm.

Here’s some advice, if your partner isn't helping you feel more secure and comfortable, then clearly the relationship lacks a lot of the basics that make being in a relationship worthwhile. People forget the purpose of having another person in our lives - we need to feel empowered and encouraged by the people we keep close to us, to be surrounded with positivity and comfort and to offer this in return. Either way, you need to feel secure.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach