14 Warning Signs That Show Someone Has Unhealed Trauma | Geek Wealth

Life happens, and sometimes we cannot escape experiences that traumatize us for a long time. Unhealed trauma can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. While everyone responds differently to traumatic events, there are common warning signs that can indicate unhealed trauma. Inspired by a discussion in an online community, this article will explore 14 signs that suggest a person may be struggling with unaddressed trauma.

1. Flashbacks and nightmares

Child sleeping in the car.
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Reliving the traumatic event through intrusive memories, vivid flashbacks, or recurring nightmares can signify unhealed trauma. It could happen in the most dramatic ways: say one is sleeping and suddenly wakes up with a start (perhaps even screaming), or one is walking down the street and suddenly gasps as if electrocuted. Certain stimuli can trigger these experiences, making the person feel as if they are back in the traumatic situation.

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2. Avoid

Lonely woman
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Individuals with unhealed trauma often go to great lengths to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This may include avoiding certain people, places or activities that could trigger distressing memories or emotions. One contributor describes this: «I literally NEED to be alone in a quiet room all alone to feel safe and normal and protected. Not always, but definitely often.»

3. Emotional numbness

Losing
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Your friend probably has unhealed trauma if he experiences emotional numbing. You may often find them detached or disconnected from their own feelings. This can manifest itself as a lack of joy, an inability to experience pleasure, or a general sense of emptiness.

A collaborator shares a story where after going through a severe experience much later in the stages of their grief, they found they could no longer feel things emotionally.

4. Hypervigilance

Close-up frightened face of beautiful young woman with beautiful blue eyes and big eyelashes and pretty eyebrows.  Macro of human eyes - surprise or shock, looking at camera.
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If every little thing consistently sends a person on high alert, scanning the environment for potential threats, then that individual most likely has unhealed trauma. “When the tolerance window narrows, we become hypervigilant and our ‘threat perception’ is in overdrive,” someone says. This hypervigilance comes from the persistent fear and anxiety of the traumatic experience.

5. Sleep disturbances

Woman waking up confused, awake, tired, sleep, sleep
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Trauma can interrupt sleep, leading to difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. Individuals with unaddressed trauma often report insomnia, nightmares, and restless nights. So you have a friend who is probably having one of these; it’s a sign that their trauma may still be lingering somewhere. The negative effect of this can go as far as making physical consequences.

6. Irritability and anger

angry woman reading
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When you see someone constantly being irritable or blowing up in anger for the most unlikely of reasons, they are probably suffering from an unhealed trauma. They’re just angry at everything and everyone, even things that aren’t worth investing a little anger on. For example, as one correspondent shares, something like overcooking their eggs can stir up such anger within them that they inflict anger on themselves or other innocent people. In summary, seemingly minor incidents can trigger these intense emotions that can be difficult to control or manage.

7. Mood swings

Doctor talking to patient, distraught, cancer, sick, terminal illness
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Emotional instability is another common sign that someone around you may have unhealed trauma. Individuals may experience sudden and intense mood swings, feeling overwhelmed by emotions such as sadness, fear or anger, coming and going at the strangest times. Someone describes the mood swing they experienced with their trauma big enough to «require prescriptions.»

8. Social Withdrawal

sad little boy being bullied.  No friends, standing alone at the school gate.
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Avoiding social interactions and withdrawing from friends, family, or social activities can show unaddressed trauma. If you find that someone consistently doesn’t want to interact with people or be seen in society, struggles to trust others, or is afraid of being judged or rejected, it could be a cry for help. One commentator says they have been self-isolating for years. «I mean, I literally lived in a little off-grid cabin in the mountains for eight years,» they write. What’s scarier than that?

9. Substance abuse

Drinking
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Individuals may resort to substance abuse to cope with the painful symptoms of unhealed trauma. Most people judge substance abusers to addiction; only a few wonder what could have led to this. People are ready to embrace anything that makes them forget their pains, however momentary. The truth, however, is that addiction to alcohol or drugs can temporarily numb emotional pain, but ultimately exacerbate the underlying problems.

10. Self-destructive behavior

Bad DJ
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People with unaddressed trauma tend to be self-destructive, easily exhibiting behaviors such as self-harm or reckless actions. Some individuals go so far as to cut themselves or use candle fire to burn their flesh. These behaviors often express deep emotional pain and a desperate attempt to regain control.

11. Chronic physical symptoms

Sneezing man
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Unhealed trauma can manifest with symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, chronic pain, or unexplained physical ailments. You may have a persistent headache or pain that medical procedures can’t diagnose or treat effectively. These symptoms may not respond to medical treatment alone and may be closely related to unresolved trauma.

12. Distorted self-perception

Close up of woman looking in mirror checks face after mask cream beauty treatment feels satisfied admires reflection, laser skin resurfacing, glycolic acid peel, anti aging skin care procedures concept
Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Individuals with unhealed trauma may struggle with negative self-image, low self-esteem, or shame and guilt. Someone shares the story of a student whose class teacher belittled them and how much that impacted their lives far into the future, even as adults in regards to low self-esteem. They may blame themselves for the traumatic event or believe they are imperfect.

13. Difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships

relationship breakdown
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Trauma can make it difficult for people to trust others, form healthy attachments, or maintain stable relationships. Any little thing can trigger, causing such a person to question their partner’s fidelity every time. It happens in such a way that they feel that no one will ever gain their trust, even those who are sincere with them. The reason for this can range from fear of abandonment to struggling with intimacy or difficulty communicating your needs.

14. Emotional recall

A young married couple emotionally discuss something, they have problems.  African American woman and Caucasian man disagree with each other have a misunderstanding, can't make up their mind, quarrel
Image Credit: Kateryna Onyshchuk/Shutterstock.

People with unhealed trauma may be repeatedly drawn to situations or relationships that mirror their traumatic experiences. These feelings overwhelm their psyche, preventing them from taking appropriate action; they recall the situation or are victims again. This recall may be an unconscious attempt to gain control or master the unresolved trauma.

Source: Reddit


Boloere Seibidor, fondly referred to as BS, is a Nigerian writer and poet. His favorite topics to cover include music, especially hip-hop, movies, lifestyle and fashion. She has been featured in Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably Wealth of Geeks. She likes romantic dinners, movie nights and visiting new sites. When he’s not writing, he goes back in time to the hip-hop underworld, watches TikTok or goes to the movies.


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