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Other People’s Trauma is Way Worse Than Mine – Or Is It?

9 1 0
02.12.2019

Until recently, I never identified as someone who went through childhood trauma. Dysfunctional family dynamics – oh yeah. But trauma? No. Until I started learning about it and talking to my counsellor, Andi.

She knows my psychiatric diagnoses but also all the juicy details of my childhood to adult history. “What you experienced is called complex or relational trauma.” She told me.

“But trauma is,” I piped in, “physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect, right? Like I need to be the recipient of it to ‘qualify’.”

“Not exactly. What you described are examples of trauma, but trauma encompasses more than those.” Huh? This was news to me.

What is Complex Trauma?

Andrea Schneider MSW, LCSW quotes Dr. Ron Doctor, psychologist: “complex or relational trauma can arise from prolonged periods of aversive stress usually involving entrapment (psychological or physical), repeated violations of boundaries, betrayal, rejection and confusion marked by a lack of control and helplessness.”1

Oooh-kay…maybe I’ve been wrong.

Still, I tend to dismiss what I experienced. Sure, as a child I witnessed daily rage and emotional abuse between my parents. But I wasn’t the target of it.

Both had mental illness, but my dad was ‘only’ depressed and anxious. Yes, my mom had bipolar disorder and talked to me about........

© Psychology Today