11 Signs of Unhealed Trauma

Hey Optimist Minds!

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Experiencing something like that can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away.

Nevertheless, with time and life transitions, we tend to move on with things and consider the traumatic memory a thing of the past. Unfortunately, just because you’ve decided that you want to leave your pain behind you isn’t enough.

Without proper recovery, traumatic periods in life leave emotional wounds that stay latent until triggered. Due to lack of awareness and stigma against mental health issues, we do not recognise it when our body and mind point out the unhealed trauma.

Instead, we consider the warning signs as characteristic traits of our personality. You might start believing that this is just who you are and never realise that you can be better when healed.

This video will describe eleven signs of unhealed trauma. If you find yourself showing any of them, we recommend consulting a trauma-informed therapist at the soonest.

Let’s begin.


You have a fear of abandonment.

Are you worried that the people who love you might one day desert you? Do you go out of your way to try and make sure that won’t happen? Perhaps you’re a people pleaser because of it. Or, you get anxious and insecure in your relationships. Fear of abandonment typically rises from attachment trauma.


Your fear of failure holds you back.

Somewhere, we all are afraid of failing, but healthy individuals do not let that fear stop them from trying. Trauma survivors, on the other hand, cannot help it at times. You start feeling like your comfort zone matters more than your growth. Why risk failure, when you’re alive and fine being stagnant?


You see strange or scary dreams.

Traumatic memories have a way of manifesting in our dreams. It’s our subconscious mind’s way of communicating with us. Strangely, the message it’s trying to send is usually cryptic and hard to make sense of. And sometimes, it’s just a recap of the traumatic incident.


You need to plan everything.

Do you feel compelled to plan things in detail, even if there’s no need to? Perhaps you like being organised and prepared for negative outcomes. However, this need to control the future comes from the helplessness of not having any control when the traumatic moment occurred. It’s an attempt to never feel helpless again.


You have frequent anger outbursts.

Excessive irritability and anger issues are almost always a sign of unhealed trauma. Anger is a natural and mostly automatic response to pain of one form or another. The type of pain does not matter, the anger emotion is a message from inside you saying, “something needs to change”. 

You might think that that something is the trigger in front of you, but it’s more likely to be unresolved emotional issues from the past.

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You’re sceptical about positive changes.

Do you start doubting when good things come your way? Is it natural for you to expect such things to turn negative even without substantial evidence?

Resistance to positive transitions might stem from a core belief that “I do not deserve this.” Abusive relationships typically instil this belief into people, which stays inside them for their whole life unless addressed.


You have unexplained anxiety.

Are you used to feeling anxious all the time? Is it hard to figure out what exactly triggered it?

Surviving trauma makes the bosy go into hyper-vigilant mode. It makes you so concerned for your safety that your senses continuously scan for potential threats. As a result, you perceive danger even when it’s not actually present and your body experiences anxiety over and over.


You’re fighting depression.

It’s not uncommon to show depressive symptoms after going through trauma. The depression might even show up sevaral years later. As trauma shatters an individual’s trust in the world, it leads to many negative cognitions. You might fall into a habit of negative thinking and then later develop depression.


Your mind sees intrusive images or flashbacks.

One of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress is to repeatedly see the traumatic incident happen after it’s complete. It almost feels like you’re reliving it and you might believe it to be real. Flashbacks are an unsuccessful attempt at healing by consolidating the memory. It’s unsuccessful because unless you’re trained in relaxation, the memory simply re-traumatises.


You tend to dissociate a lot.

Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity. It feels like your physically present in one place but mentally you’re elsewhere. We all dissociate at some point in our lives but trauma makes it a go to coping mechanism for anything upsetting.


Your memory fails you.

Generally, trauma leads to a temporary decline in cognitive abilities, including memory. You may find it hard to remember what happened earlier or what your train of thought was. 

This is temporary because once you heal completely, your body doesn’t constantly feel threatened. Consequently, it spends more time in homeostasis and you can easily utilise all of your cognitive capacity.

Were you able to resonate with the signs we described? Do you think you might have unhealed trauma? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.