Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Your Thinking

The heart healing journey can be challenging unless we become aware of the effects that past experiences can have on our present. This especially rings true in the arena of traumatic experiences. The poison and pain coming out of trauma will affect us whether it is expressed outwardly or resides underneath. 

I am not a believer of teaching people to obsess about their past with a constant rear view mirror approach–looking back in obsessive introspection. I am, however, completely opposed to living in denial, where we shove down our past experiences without healing. 

Healing of a traumatic experience does not begin with ignoring or suppressing what happened, even though many are tempted to do that. The experience needs processing, with safe people and steps that help bring resolution, leading the heart into greater truth and recovery. 

Everyone has had various kinds of traumatic experiences. It can be as severe as being involved in military combat or experiencing physical abuse. Or it can be as simple as being left alone, yelled at or accused wrongly in a staff meeting. Here are some more examples: 

Examples of Trauma

  • Accidents/Injuries
  • Sudden sickness
  • Abuse (Physical, Emotional, Sexual or Verbal)
  • Spiritual abuse in a church or ministry environment. 
  • Being neglected or ignored at important moments of need. 
  • Major moves or transitions. 
  • Witnessing violence or harm to yourself or someone else. 
  • Sudden betrayals.
  • Being shamed, humiliated or shut out. 
  • Witnessing harm
  • Harsh words
  • Being made fun of or bullied.
  • Being fired suddenly. 
  • Sudden financial loss.
  • Near drowning or choking. 
  • Being cheated on. 
  • Traumatic birth experience. 
  • Sudden death of a parent. 
  • Parent leaving suddenly. 
  • Family crisis

The Impact of Trauma

A trauma is a life event where a person is on the receiving end of a sudden experience that is distressing or disturbing. How traumatic moments effect each person is different, depending on a person’s constitution leading up to the event.  

The reason a traumatic event has so much impact is because: 

  1. The event is so unexpected. Your whole system is put under tremendous shock. 
  2. You are “out of control” to a certain extent. You are not able to compose your thoughts, as the event or series of events often happen so quickly. 
  3. Your senses are overwhelmed, so you often feel like a pinball machine that has gone “tilt.” Your response and reactions are limited. 
  4. The imprint of the event can travel deep into your memory recall and your physiology. 
  5. Traumatic events can repeat in a person’s life, keeping them stuck in self-sabotaging beliefs, like, “Men always hurt me. I am accident prone. I am worthless. No one loves me. Everyone takes advantage of me. I am never safe.”

Trauma is a moment in history where the enemy can gain leverage in perpetuating destructive thoughts and lies. Unhealed traumas can often give the enemy a bigger megaphone. This can make moving forward for many, very challenging. 

Traumatic moments in life, to any degree, can cause us to pull back relationally and even isolate. We become trained to be apprehensive, hypersensitive and less likely to take risks. The imprint of the pain imbeds itself into the cells of our biology. 

In the invisible war of our lives, the enemy looks to apprehend our thinking through traumatic moments, to keep us bound to the replay of the event with little healing. The deepest influence of his deceptive thoughts can find their way through a traumatic experience. In addition, the enemy’s desire is to leave you with a disempowering interpretation of the event, leaving you hopeless. 

Traumatic moments can be the place where the enemy furthers his work to steal, kill and destroy. Yet they can also become defining moments in our lives, where we can take the pain we have experienced and allow God to heal us in dynamic ways.

Heart Healing

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