Developmental Trauma: Can Someone’s Brain Make It Hard For Them To Realise That They Experienced Developmental Trauma?
At the beginning of someone’s life, they might have been deeply traumatised, but, now that they are an adult, they might not be aware of this. This stage of their life could be a complete mystery to them, or they could say that it wasn’t that bad, for instance.
However, even if this stage of their life is a complete mystery, it doesn’t mean that what took place won’t have left its mark on them and continue to make their life a misery. For example, they could suffer from anxiety, often be depressed, and even have moments when they think about ending their life.
This could just be what is normal, so they might not look into what they can do to experience life differently. But, if they were to step back and reflect on how they experience life, they could end up paying a visit to their Doctor.
During this time, they could end up being diagnosed as having a ‘mental illness’ and/or put on medication. Alternatively, they could be referred to a cognitive behavioural therapist, with this being a time when what is taking place in their mind is the primary focus.
Out of Balance
It could be as if their mind is just playing up and this could be put down to them having a chemical imbalance. They are then just randomly going to have ‘negative’ thoughts and these thoughts will need to be changed to ‘positive’ ones.
After going down this route, they may find that they start to experience life differently. They can then come to the conclusion that this shows that their ‘negative’ thoughts were the issue.
Then again, this approach might not work or if it does, it might only work for a short while. At this stage, they could end up trying the same approach and hoping that this time it will be different.
But, even if they do try the same approach, it might not have much of an impact. Now, assuming that this is the case, they could start to wonder what is going on and why they are unable to experience life differently.
The Tip Of The Iceberg
The reason why this approach is not working could be because what is taking place at the level of their mind is a sign that they are carrying a lot of pain. Yet, as this pain will be outside of their conscious awareness, this won’t have stood out.
What is taking place on the surface is then going to be seen as the cause as opposed to an effect. And, as this part of them appears to be the only part of them that is making their life unbearable, why wouldn’t it be seen as the problem?
It is then going to be similar to there being a leak in a roof and the water ends up poring through the ceiling and causing all kinds of problems. Nonetheless, the homeowner is not aware that there is a leak in the roof and believes that the main issue is the hole in the ceiling.
Steps are then taken to fix the hole in the ceiling but even if this does stop the water, it won’t be long until another hole appears as water is still coming through the hole in the roof. Here, it is clear that the roof, not just the ceiling, needs to be sorted but when it comes to mental health, where effects are often seen as causes, it won’t be as clear.
Instead of seeing the mind as the problem, then, it will be far more beneficial to see the mind as the messenger. When this part is ‘playing up’ there is a strong chance that there is something that is taking place at a deeper level that needs to be acknowledged.
This way of viewing the mind is then no different to how one would view a dashboard if a warning light came on. It would be clear that this light has come on to inform them that something needs their attention; it is there to serve them, not to cause them problems.
What’s going on?
With this in mind, if they are carrying a lot of pain, this could relate to the pain that they experienced during their formative years. So, practically from the moment they were born, they may have often been neglected and, thus, deprived of the love that they needed to grow and develop in the right way.
To handle the pain they were in, their brain would have caused them to automatically go into a shut down and disconnected state to allow them to function and keep it together. This would have meant that how they felt would have also been repressed.
It’s still there
The years would then have passed but the pain that they were unable to fully experience and had to repress wouldn’t have disappeared. The challenge is that this inner material will have been removed from their conscious awareness and they will have forgotten all about what took place; they won’t have been able to join the dots.
On one side, forgetting about what took place will have been what kept them alive, but, on the other, it will also have set them up to be unaware of why they are experiencing life in a certain way. Working through this pain will take courage and patience and persistence.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
If you feel this has been of value, please leave a comment, like or get in touch. And feel free to share this article, as many others have.
Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
To book your free 15-minute consultation, click here.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.