Trauma and It's Impact
"Trauma compromises our ability to engage with others by replacing patterns of CONNECTION with patterns of PROTECTION."
When individuals experience trauma, whether a single traumatic event or ongoing traumatic experiences, it can profoundly affect their ability to connect with others. Here are some key points to consider:
Disruption of Connection: Trauma disrupts our innate capacity for connection with others. Instead of engaging in healthy and reciprocal patterns of social interaction, trauma can lead individuals to develop patterns of protection. These protective patterns may involve withdrawing from social interactions, mistrusting others, or exhibiting defensive behaviours.
Impact on Social Engagement: Trauma can hinder individuals' ability to engage in social interactions, particularly in relationships that involve vulnerability and trust. The protective patterns developed in response to trauma may create barriers to genuine connection, making it challenging to establish and maintain healthy relationships.
Hyperarousal and Hypoarousal: Trauma can lead to dysregulation in the nervous system, resulting in hyperarousal (overactivation) or hypo arousal (underactivation) responses. In a hyperaroused state, individuals may exhibit heightened reactivity, hypervigilance, and difficulty feeling safe in social situations. In a hypo-aroused state, individuals may feel disconnected, emotionally numb, and disengaged from social interactions.
Replacing Connection with Protection: As a means of self-preservation, individuals may develop protective patterns to cope with the perceived threat associated with trauma. These patterns can involve avoiding intimacy, isolating oneself, exhibiting aggression or defensiveness, or adopting maladaptive coping mechanisms. These protective patterns replace the natural inclination for connection and can hinder the ability to form healthy relationships.
It is important to note that trauma affects individuals differently, and their responses and coping mechanisms may vary. Trauma-informed therapy and interventions, such as the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), can play a crucial role in helping individuals heal from trauma, regulate their nervous system, and restore their capacity for connection. By addressing the underlying trauma and supporting individuals in developing healthier patterns of engagement, it is possible to restore their ability to connect with others in a safe and meaningful way.