For those who have experienced grief, loss and trauma special dates may be a significant source of emotional pain. For example, birthdays, death dates, relationship endings and other life markers may bring up painful issues.
Many times children of trauma who are currently adults do not think of themselves as having experienced trauma. Childhood trauma survivors often minimize their experiences. They may say, "it wasn't that bad," or "mine was not nearly as bad as someone elses." Minimizing our experience is a symptom of those who have experienced childhood trauma. For example, trauma survivors who have grown up believing they needed to protect their parent(s) never had the opportunity to develop a sense of trust . Therefore, developing a sense of trust, which is needed for development and is crucial to creating a sense of self-esteem and identity, was never attained.
Delayed grief reactions are more prevelant around special dates than throughout the year. Unresolved grief and trauma manifests itself in many ways. For example, anxiety or panic attacks are common symptoms of unresolved grief and unresolved trauma. For instance, if as a child you were ignored due to your mother focusing attention on your father or her boyfriend, you may feel anger towards your father or towards your mother's boyfriend. However, because your mother tells you she does not want to hear about these feelings you feel unsafe in expressing your anger. You begin feeling a sense of helplessness in resolving conflicts. Dealing with a sense of continued helplessness is both painful and difficult. This is one example of how anxiety and panic attacks are used to deal with delayed trauma.
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