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    10 Common Ways People Respond to Trauma

    Do you have any moments in your life that have left a negative impact? There comes a time when we will go through a tragic experience that will stay in our memory. It could be things like surviving an accident, abuse, a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, or more. Some reactions may be subtle, and others may be more apparent.

    By knowing 10 common ways people respond to trauma, you will identify your own reactions and think about seeking treatment.

    Replaying the Memory

    When a tragic memory is so strong, it can play like a video on loop in our minds. We want to understand why this event happened to us and what could have been done differently. Yet, as much as we want this memory gone, it ends up being a memory stronger than all the good ones.


    Our nervous system goes in shock after unexpected events because it’s trying to process everything, resulting in nightmares. The nightmares may not always be of the exact trauma, but their themes or even what we wish we could get back right now. Night terrors can also result in poor sleep if you routinely wake up in the middle of the night.


    Anger can occur at the person who caused our trauma or the situation itself. We can also become upset with ourselves if we feel like it’s our fault. Maybe you felt like your life was going smoother before this tragedy took place, and now, you feel like there’s no hope for a happier world. When this happens, it’s not uncommon to snap easily or be less patient with others.


    If you’re constantly thinking about the tragedy we have been through, we cannot help but cry it out. Crying can be a good way to calm the mind compared to staying in a frozen state. Because you cannot help but think of the tragedy daily, crying seems like the only way to make the pain go away.


    While it’s easy to see someone with trauma expressing anger or sadness, sometimes no emotion is shown. We shut down emotionally. Our trauma consumes us so that we feel we do not have any positive

    emotions left to spare. We are protecting ourselves from overwhelming emotions.

    Avoiding Triggers

    Triggers related to trauma can be involved, places, sounds, or any other reminders. For example, you may cover your ears when you hear a song playing during a tragic event. Anything to avoid relieving the event ends up being a daily goal.

    Fear of the World

    We may have felt in the past that nothing so terrible can happen to us like other people. Trauma taught us wrong. Because of our experiences, we feel like danger will exist at every turn. Eventually, we learn that while the world can be dangerous, it can also be safe.

    Feeling Weak

    After suffering a trauma, we may feel weak for “letting it happen.” We keep thinking that if we were stronger or smarter, things would have been different. We forget there are some things beyond our control. We need to remember that we survived what happened, and there is no need to be critical.

    Easily Startled

    Trauma can put your nervous system on edge. You feel like everything scares you. Even sounds like hearing a door slam can make you jumpy. Any high-intensity sounds that appear to come out of nowhere can trick you into thinking you are still in danger.

    Mistrust in People

    When people have done us wrong, we think it’s only a matter of time before we experience that betrayal again. After that, we might suspect everyone is a terrible person. Not trusting others can cause us to build up a protective wall.

    Learning how you react to trauma is the first step to treating it.