Many of us have moments or experiences in our lives that deeply affect us on an emotional and psychological level. Traumas are traditionally defined as an emotional response to a “terrible” experience, such as violence, assault, or natural disaster.
But we now know that that is not exactly the case. While there are certainly levels to trauma, a person’s trauma is intensely personal and affected by factors that are not necessarily directly connected to any objective measurement of “terrible.” A person can be traumatized by a car accident, an illness, or a sexual assault.
A person can also experience trauma because of an upsetting parental experience, a scare, or witnessing the trauma of others. When we’re young, our childhood can involve many experiences we grow up to find personally traumatic, simply because at a young age we’re learning how to process the world.
Trauma is Not a Competition
One of the reasons that it is important to understand that many events and experiences can be traumas is because there are many people that struggle with the traumas of their past but refuse to get help because they don’t feel their traumas are “as bad as what other people have gone through.” We see this often, where someone is affected by a critical event in their past, but sees it as minor compared to other events that are considered more objectively “bad.”
But in the mental health world, we do not judge things based on how bad they are to others. We examine how much these issues affect you. For us, a trauma that was “only” few hurtful words you experienced in your childhood still matters a great deal if they continue to affect your self-esteem, confidence, happiness, relationships, or any other component in your life, just as we would care about any trauma you experienced.
There is no value in trying to convince yourself that your traumas are “not as bad as others.” What matters is bringing out the best version of you that we can. If a trauma of any kind has been affecting you, or you have life events that have left a strong negative impact on your life – even if you do not describe them as traumas – then you deserve to receive some form of psychotherapy to help you address and identify these concerns and experiences.
Therapy for Trauma in NYC and Beyond
You’re worth more than you think, and our role as therapists is to help you discover this worth. Part of recognizing your value and how important your mental health is comes from understanding that there is no value in comparing your traumas and your experiences with the experiences of others. What matters is you. A person can be more traumatized by something small, like an upsetting experience with their dad as a child, as they can be with war, depending on the individual.
If you’re experiencing trauma, PTSD, or any issues related to your experiences of your past that have stuck with you in a negative way, contact Flourish Psychology today to talk about it and learn to work through it.