Thank God we are getting smarter about Shame and Trauma. In recent years, the mental health field has given much needed attention to the affects of trauma and it’s after math condition of shame. People like Dan Siegel, Peter Levine, and Brene Brown have brought needed attention to these debilitating forces. But today, I want to help you see how they work together.
If you’ve been reading recent blog posts, you know that Soul Holes are unavoidable. We all carry them around with us. Soul Holes are emotional wounds that occur as a result of not being seen, known or unconditionally accepted. Each Soul Hole is a trauma to the body, the heart, the mind.
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, and is experienced differently by each person. What one person sees as disturbing, wounding or traumatic, another person may not depending on environment, ego strength, resiliency factors, and genetics.
There are different kinds of Traumas. There are Super T Traumas and Little t Traumas.
Super T Traumas are what you’d think, and people usually know that they’ve experienced something traumatic.
- Parental death or abandonment
- Parental Divorce
- Sexual, physical, emotional abuse from a trusted family member, friend or stranger
- Parental Addictions
- Racial prejudice
- Sibling/Peer bullying without intervention
- Violence or witnessing violence
- Severe accidents or medical treatments
- Religious control, abuse or manipulation
- The threat of death
Little t Traumas are a bit trickier. Little t Traumas are anything less than nurturing. Persistent little t traumas that occur as a result of not being seen, known or unconditionally loved over the course of time can reach Super Trauma status.
Little t Trauma examples:
- Critical words
- Controlling attitudes
- Inconsistent, un-involved parenting
- Shaming statements, guilt tactics
- Angry outbursts
- Indiscretions, inappropriate expectations
- Meeting childhood pain with un-empathetic stress or anger.
- Emotionally absent parents
Traumas Make Deposits into the Shame and Guilt Accounts.
Shame and guilt are two of the most common and difficult emotions to treat when healing traumatic Soul Holes. Shame is often present in sexual abuse, childhood abuse and events that encompass death of another, eg. survivor guilt Shame and guilt are core feelings that eat away a person, constantly provoking Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
Guilt says, “I’ve done something wrong.
Shame says, “There is something wrong with me.”
Both Shame and guilt are present in those who have experienced Super T traumas and Little t Traumas because people mistakenly believe
- they could have or should have done something to avoid the trauma or abuse
- they did something to deserve or provoke the trauma or abuse
- there is something uniquely wrong with them on the inside that makes them different and less-than other people.
If you feel this way, you are not alone! These are common feelings of those who’ve experience Super T and Little t traumas. What’s more, there is HOPE.
Trauma and grief counselors are equipped with tools to help you through the negative emotional and physical results of trauma. Your Soul Holes can be filled. Stay tuned! Next week, I’ll help you with creative ways on how to address negative feelings.