Celebrating 10 Years

Healing the Two Faces of Trauma

A few days ago I downloaded a short audio-book called Money Loves You.  Author Blair Robertson writes that we all have spirit guides who are assigned to us the moment we are born to help get through our lives successfully.  So far, so good!

He recommends doing a short breathing exercise and then asking your spirit guides a simple question before going to sleep each night.  The question is “what is one thing that I can do today to improve my life?”

According to Mr. Robertson, the answer to your question will be there awaiting you upon awakening the next morning.  The answer make perfect sense or it may seem off the wall, not at all connected to what you may be trying to manifest.

The thing is to trust that whatever your guides have given you is for your highest good, whether you understand it or not.  Then you need to do whatever your guides have suggested, that day.

Last night as I was falling asleep I asked my guides what one step I could take to improve my life, specifically in the area of growing my coaching and speaking business.  When I woke up the first thing to pop into my mind was “write a blog on healing the two kinds of trauma”.

OK, that wasn’t exactly what I’d expected but I had been duly warned, so here’s my blog on “Healing the Two Faces of Trauma”. Perhaps it will go viral.  Perhaps it will touch one person’s heart.  It is not for me to know.  It is only for me to follow my guidance and trust that all is in divine right order.

Healing Trauma and trauma

Healing the Two Faces of TraumaClearly, the first thing to notice here is the “BIG T” Trauma and the “little t” trauma.  This is a very important distinction to address, as many people don’t relate to the notion of Trauma or think of themselves as having been “Traumatized”.

The Free Dictionary defines Trauma as:

1a. Serious injury to the body, as from physical violence or an accident: abdominal trauma.

  1. Severe emotional or mental distress caused by an experience: divorce.
  2. a. An experience that causes severe anxiety or emotional distress, such as rape or combat: memories that persist after a trauma occurs.
  3. An event or situation that causes great disruption or suffering: the economic recession.

When most of us think of Trauma, we think of a one-time incident that was life-threatening, extremely violent, physically painful or disfiguring, or emotionally distressing.  This is what I refer to as BIG T Trauma.

I’ve worked with plenty of clients who identify as having had a Traumatic incident: rape, a bad accident, loss of a child or spouse, being robbed or having their home broken into, combat experience, the infidelity of a spouse, etc.  These folks can identify the specific Trauma, recognize it as something that happened “to them” and not as something that defines them.

This doesn’t minimize the wide range of feelings (pain, grief, anger, sadness, betrayal, etc.) that must be addressed for healing to occur.  There is clearly work to be done to process, integrate, and move on past the mental, emotional and physical consequences of the Traumatic experience.

It does, however, differ from “small t” trauma in that, if the person had a healthy sense of self prior to the experience, they can see themselves as separate from the incident and eventually return to that healthy sense of self and functioning.  They are not their Trauma and the Traumatic experience does not define them.

So let’s talk about “small t” trauma, which is harder for most people to recognize and relate to. In recent years it has been discovered that certain experiences, repeated over time, can have a negative impact on brain chemistry, sense of self and resulting behavior. This is what I refer to as “small t” trauma.

As I talk to my clients and audiences about their personal and family histories, many are surprised when I suggest that certain patterns within their family system were at worst mentally, emotionally, physically or sexually abusive, or at least grossly inappropriate.

Many people have come to accept or believe (or at least tell themselves) that the dysfunction they grew up in was “normal”.  Of course, as children we have no way of knowing otherwise and are often admonished to “keep what happens in the family, in the family”.

We downplay the subtle, but powerful, effects and impact of an emotionally distant parent, the abuse of alcohol or drugs by a caretaker or sibling, the presence of a mentally or chronically ill parent or sibling, constant and frightening fighting in the home, inappropriate sexual behavior, being made responsible for the care of younger siblings, and more.

I often hear clients say “it wasn’t so bad” or “that’s in the past”, “they did the best they could”, “I have a good relationship with (my parents, brother, etc.) now, as a way to minimize the psychological and emotional pain of those experiences.  People often tell me that they don’t want to judge or lay blame on loved ones for things that happened in the past.

I completely understand that. And I help my clients see the difference between recognizing the hurt child inside the grown-up version of themselves and laying blame or wallowing in self-pity over events that may have happened decades ago.  The point here is not to lay blame, find fault, or play the victim.

The point is to honor and recognize the parts of yourself that may have been physically, mentally or emotionally wounded by the everyday events of your life.  These recurring events create patterns and programs in our energy fields and subconscious mind that impact self-esteem, self-confidence, how we manage relationships, set boundaries, speak up, show up and take risks. They determine whether we are highly anxious, are easily triggered and reactive, carry a mantle of shame, guilt or feeling not good enough and engage in unconscious self-sabotage.

Unhealed wounds matter

The point is not to point the finger but rather, to uncover what is hiding in the shadows and running the show.  Like the tip of an iceberg that is being dragged around by the large unseen mass underneath the water, most people are being dragged around by the unconscious patterns and programming that are beneath the surface of their conscious awareness.

Unless and until these patterns are brought to the surface to be seen, recognized and healed, you will remain captive to the unhealed wounds of childhood, with patterns repeating themselves in new situations and new relationships. You’ll keep running into your own iceberg.

These is so much more to be said but I’ve gone well beyond the recommended “word count” for a blog post!  So stay tuned for more about this important topic.

And if you think you may need some healing of old wounds, even if you don’t identify as being a survivor of Trauma, let’s talk.  You’re probably right.  We all have experiences and events from our lives that were painful in some way and it serves us to recognize and heal these wounds so that we don’t keep reliving the patterns over in our lives.

Maybe tonight before you go to sleep you can do a little quiet breathing and then ask your guides, “what is one thing I can do to improve my life today?’ and see what awaits you in the morning! Sweet dreams!

From my sacred heart to yours,


If you would like to contact Catherine for a free 15 minute consult or schedule an appointment call her at 860-258-4147 or email her here.


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