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7 Ways To Stop Going Through The Motions

What is Trauma?

People may develop trauma when exposed to highly distressing situations, which can impact their emotional and cognitive well-being. Symptoms may include helplessness, anxiety, and avoidance of triggers that evoke event memories. In addition to psychological effects, trauma can lead to many physical health issues and persist for months or even years, depending on the individual’s experience.

It is essential to adequately address trauma to reduce its long-term impacts on emotional and cognitive well-being. Trauma can look different for everyone, so it is crucial to seek help from a licensed professional. So where do you start? That’s what we’re here for; keep reading to find out!

So, how do you know if you have trauma?

Realizing that you have trauma can be terrifying and overwhelming and leave you in disbelief. For others, it might seem like an obvious question to answer, but contrary to popular belief, it’s more complex than that. Some signs show up as those below: 

  • Being easily startled or frightened 
  • Always being on guard for danger 
  • Self-destructive behavior. Such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior 
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame 

*If you or a loved one may feel that any of these symptoms align with you, please speak with a Licensed therapist to further discuss your options. 

How does my trauma affect my relationships? 

Trauma can have many different effects on relationships. It can cause people to have a hard time trusting, make them distance themselves from people, and lead to them becoming anxious in social situations and overreacting to real or perceived threats. It can also lead to explosive out-of-proportion reactions and heightened relationship insecurity. People who have experienced trauma can also have difficulty managing emotions and may become easily overwhelmed, leading to poor communication and misunderstandings. Lastly, people who have experienced trauma may also be reluctant to share their feelings and can push away their loved ones, which may be worried about the trauma survivor’s well-being.

Trauma can reveal itself in many ways throughout your relationships; however, you must be able to define these moments when they happen so you can properly evaluate them and respond accordingly. 

Have you ever felt like a plastic bag floating through the wind, wanting to start again? Katy Perry said it best; honestly, these feelings can be surreal. In these moments, it’s essential to understand you are not a product of what has happened to you, but your response defines you. You are powerful, and with the proper support and team by you, you can start living life by your control. 

7  Steps To Moving Forward 

 

Now that we have gone through the definition of trauma, how to notice the symptoms in your own life, and how can this affect your relationships? Where do we go from here? 

Here are seven steps to stop going through the motions and live your life again. 

1. Awareness. 

It’s okay not to be okay (cliche, I know, but it’s true!); the sooner you realize this, the sooner you can have power over yourself and your life. 

2. Take control over your life. 

What does that mean? Choosing what to give your energy and time to can dictate the path of life you go down. Choosing to surround yourself with like-minded people, emotionally strong  

3. Find support within your community. 

Go to that yoga class your friend has been begging you to, and join a support group to connect with those who have struggled with similar battles. Getting involved with your community can create closeness with those around you and give you a sense of purpose in knowing you are not alone. 

4. Reach out for help; connecting with a mental health professional or support group can                 

help you work through your trauma. Talking to a therapist might help you gain insight into the emotions surrounding the trauma and help you process it, come to terms with it, and find ways to manage your distress. 

5.  Practice self-care.

 Self-care is an integral part of the healing process. Make time to do the things you enjoy, such as hobbies, listening to music, or spending time in nature. Eating nutritious meals and getting enough rest is vital for physical and mental health. 

6.  Seek emotional support. 

Talking about your trauma with people who understand your experience can be a powerful form of emotional support. Talk to people you trust, like close family members or friends, or talk to other survivors who may have had a similar experience. Connecting with those around you can help you feel less isolated and can help you process your experiences. 

7.  Express your emotions.

Staying silent about your trauma can prevent you from healing. Keeping it all inside can be overwhelming.

*If you or someone you know needs further assistance in navigating through trauma or life with help, contact one of our Licensed Professionals, and we will help guide you to take the first steps in becoming a better ‘you.’

We can help you get through this difficult time. Contact Us at https://applepsychological.janeapp.com/ or call us at 917-526-0766. An experienced counselor specializing in Trauma Therapy can help

How Can I Connect Again After Facing a Sexual Trauma?

While all forms of trauma are damaging, a trauma that results from sexual violence impacts the body and mind uniquely. A main concern of survivors of sexual abuse is how to move on and connect with others in an intimate way without being triggered. Often, after a sexual assault, boundaries become confused and survivors either isolate themselves, in fear that they will be harmed again. Or at times, survivors could exhibit inappropriately sexualized behavior, crossing boundaries which should not be crossed, creating an unhealthy relationship.

Survivors of sexual violence may be physically or emotionally retraumatized when engaging in sex with a partner. Often, they do not want to discuss this detachment, or avoidance of intimacy with their partner, which can lead their partner to feel confused or rejected. This lack of communication, and difficulty feeling safe discussing emotions can cause obstacles in a survivor’s relationship and level of intimacy.

So how can a survivor move on after facing a sexual trauma? In my work as a clinical psychologist for almost 20 years as well as working as an expert witness with sexual assault survivors, I have helped many people cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after experiencing sexual trauma. The following are some ways that survivors can work on moving forward after experiencing trauma:

First, understand, in your head and in your heart, what happened was not your fault. Not any part of it.

In order for survivors to regain control over their relationships and their sex lives, they need to recognize that they are not to blame for any part of the trauma. This may be obvious to the outside person. But to the survivor, thoughts of shame and guilt are a constant concern as one doubts themselves and wonders “What if I did not go that night? Would this not have happened? Or What if I had run away or told him no, etc.”
In order to move forward, the survivor must absolve themselves of all guilt and shame and wrongdoing. It is not your fault.

Establishing Appropriate Boundaries is the Key to a Healthy Relationship 

When a person experiences a sexual trauma, boundaries in relationships are often confused. The survivor does not know who they can trust and their world can appear unsafe. The survivor can have difficulty knowing how much to share with a person and when to hold back. At times, survivors have experiences where they share their story and get judged, blamed, or rejected, causing them to further retreat and socially isolate. Survivors can develop narratives such as “The world is not safe.” “I cannot trust anyone.” 

In order for survivors to heal, it is important for them to feel safe enough to not only communicate their story to their partner, but also to express when they are feeling insecure, anxious, or need a break. Their partner will help give them the space that they need to create appropriate boundaries, feel that they are heard, and go at the pace that they need, in order to form a trusting bond which will allow for communication and intimacy to occur.

Learn What it is Like to Feel Pleasure Again

The first step for a survivor in terms of intimacy, is to be able to experience sex without having flashbacks or thinking about the trauma. The hope and goal is that the survivor will get to the point where he/she will be able to be mindful, in the moment, focusing on feeling pleasure as well as giving pleasure to the person that they love. 

At times, survivors get to an in-between stage where they can experience sex without having flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts, but have difficulty feeling passion or pleasure. They can feel safe in their mind, but are just going through the motions and are giving pleasure to be a good partner. But their own pleasure is missing. Through therapy, the survivor can explore narratives, thoughts and feelings, while re-learning little by little what it feels like to feel pleasure again.

If you experienced a sexual trauma and are exhibiting symptoms, know that you are not alone. There is hope and light beyond your current state of mind. 

We can help you get through this difficult time. Contact Us at https://applepsychological.janeapp.com/ or call us at 917-526-0766 . An experienced counselor specializing in Trauma Therapy can help.