What is Subconscious Trauma And WHY Should We Care?Apr 19, 2021
Subconscious Trauma and Trauma in themselves are not widely recognized or understood concepts, so in the below post I explain the differences, and WHY we should even really care about either of them. (especially if they're subconscious, right!?)
Please note, I'm not a doctor, and some of this will be from my own understanding of psychology and my experiences working on myself and with clients. I will reference definitions and articles, but none of the information is to be substituted for medical care or evaluation.
First off, a definition of Psychological Trauma:
"Psychological trauma is damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one's ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience."
This is very important to understand.
Trauma is NOT based on a particular event - It is based on "one's ability to cope"
Which is different for each and every individual depending on age, sex, race, environment, etc.
Trauma may result from a single distressing experience or recurring events of being overwhelmed that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences.
Trauma is not based on an event. It is based on your understanding and ability to handle that event. How you're able to handle the event or perceive the event is based upon the tools you have genetically and environmentally.
Essentially - The mind and body are always trying to remain in a perceived "safe" environment. If we feel safe and taken care of - we feel no threats and experience no trauma. This is programmed biologically for survival.
Let's say you're 5 and you have to move from one home to another - That particular event might be "traumatizing" for you because it is something that doesn't feel safe and is above what you're able to cope with. This puts your body in a heightened state of stress, which causes "trauma."
Now let's say you're 32 and your parents have decided to live their dream of renting an RV, leaving your city, and going all around the country with no end-date in mind.
This can also be traumatizing to you because maybe you're used to your parents always being there, and you perceive being around your parents as "safe."
It doesn't matter the age or the event. What is pain or joy is different for everyone.
What we are trying to do here is remember that trauma is a biological response, not a societal standard for what is classified as suffering and what's not.
When we do that, we can negate labels and actually get to the root cause of the problem because we will no longer fear shame for talking about it.
So what is Subconscious Trauma?
Let's go back to the 5-year-old scenario.
How much do you actually remember from when you were 5?
Probably not a whole lot. I'm guessing if I asked you, you wouldn't remember a whole lot of anything from childhood. A few large memories here or there, but likely you were just learning how to be a functioning human.
Subconscious trauma is not a particular event or something we usually remember, but its how we responded to a certain situation, the beliefs or habits that resulted in defense to it (and still do) that we are unaware of.
Your Brain is Lazy
When we're growing up, all we have is our surroundings to rely on for survival. We don't have the consciousness to question "is this right or wrong? Is this the optimal way? Is this going to benefit me 20 years down the line??"
We just do what we're told because...that's what we're told to do.
How many of those things have you questioned in the last 20 years?
I'm guessing almost none. Because your brain is lazy.
The brain doesn't want to waste time trying to decide things every day. It just wants to use as little energy as possible, so it creates a system. Once a system is in place, it doesn't have to decide anymore, it just does.
So, if you learned a certain habit, belief, thought pattern, etc that made you feel safe during a certain traumatic incident, no matter what that was, your brain saw that as beneficial and kept it.
It says "if it's not broke, don't fix it"
When clients and I go over this in sessions, the clarity that happens when we realize it's not a particular event, it's not about blaming anyone or seeing ourselves as a victim, but recognizing the biological response that happened - we are then free to make our own choices and rewire a more beneficial pattern for us.
"it's not about blaming anyone or seeing ourselves as a victim"
When we heal subconscious trauma, it's not about changing the actual event but addressing the beliefs and patterns built around it and as a result of it. We go from unconsciously incompetent, to consciously competent.
Self-awareness is the greatest key to self-healing. Once we do the work, everything around us changes.
Once we do the work, everything around us changes.
- Trauma is not a specific event. You do not have to feel guilty, ashamed, or belittled for what may have traumatized you. It's not your fault and it's completely biological.
- Subconscious trauma is focused on the beliefs, habits, patterns, developed as a response to the traumatic event we may not recognize or remember.
- The world is as we perceive it. If we can address and heal our trauma, we change our perspective and everything around us changes.
- You have the ability to change because you are more than just your own perception.
If you would like more content focused on trauma or have any questions you'd like answered, please feel free to send me a message or email me at [email protected]