Are you trying to heal from trauma and feeling frustrated that you’re not getting anywhere? Just because you don’t feel the growth doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. There’s some signs of emotional healing from trauma that you may not even recognise.
Whether your trauma comes from your childhood, adulthood, a bad relationship or something else, it can seriously affect your mental and emotional health. Healing from that takes a long time and it’s hard. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, although it may feel like that sometimes.
Obviously there are a lot of signs of emotional healing from trauma, more than I could list and a professional is more equipped to monitor your progress than an article on the internet. However, if you’re looking for a sign you’re on the right path, here’s 5 common signs of emotional healing from trauma that I’ve personally experienced:
Please note I am not a mental health professional and this article is written only from my own experience. If you are struggling please consult a professional, or check out some crisis resources here.
1. Acceptance of trauma
The first sign of emotional healing from trauma, is accepting it. This may sound obvious, but it’s harder than it sounds.
Trauma of any kind, is often shrouded in denial. This is based on shame, self blame, or simply not wanting to believe someone could hurt you. That self shame is never fairly placed, but it’s powerful all the same.
I don’t have the necessary qualifications to subjectively break down exactly why the denial is so strong, but I’ve certainly felt it. It came from shame that I had allowed it to happen, and the denial that somebody would hurt me.
For some reason, the idea of having experienced trauma made me feel weak. How backwards is that!
The biggest sign of emotional healing from trauma, is acknowledging it and the pain you feel, and accepting it. Accepting that it happened, and that it wasn’t your fault.
2. Seeking and welcoming support
Because of the shame that experiencing trauma can make you feel, seeking or allowing support can be incredibly hard, even though it’s a powerful tool. You may feel that seeking help is ‘weak’ or that it’s cheating to let someone help you.
Welcoming support is a sign of emotional healing because it’s the next step of accepting the trauma, and letting go of the blame you feel attached to that. It takes strength to realise you can’t do it alone, and even more to want to let someone help you.
3. Emotional intelligence
A huge sign of emotional healing from trauma is gaining emotional intelligence. This encompasses recognising and acknowledging emotions not just for how they appear, but for where they come from.
A great example of this is Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. It shows not only how huge the spectrum of emotions is, but how they can mask other emotions and what they’re trying to tell you.
Gaining that emotional intelligence is hard, but a huge part of healing. It means acknowledging the emotions you feel while also being able to understand why you’re feeling them and what they mean.
However emotional intelligence doesn’t mean perfection and never feeling negative emotions. Don’t feel that you’re failing just because you feel overwhelming emotions and don’t fully understand them yet! Emotions are incredibly complex and difficult to unravel, especially when you have the bias of being the one feeling them.
4. Self worth
Trauma can destroy self worth, so it’s a big sign of emotional healing when you started to regain it.
Self worth sees the erasure of self blame, and putting yourself down. It’s a defining moment of separating the effects of trauma from the essence of who you are. That doesn’t mean denying your experience, it means acknowledging that you are more than just your trauma.
It also means recognising that the trauma was no fault of your own, and was not a reflection of who you are as a person. Self worth means taking the empowering step of knowing your worth, and no longer accepting anything less.
Once you take that step and stop allowing toxic people or disrespect in your life, it takes on a snowball effect of healing as you become surrounded by only those who respect you and know your worth.
5. Letting go
This is possible the hardest step that takes the longest to get to.
Letting go or moving past your trauma doesn’t mean denying its existence or forgetting it. It will always be a part of your past. It means acknowledging that it happened, but not allowing it to dictate your future.
Even in this stage you may still feel bursts of anger, pain or sadness. That’s normal! You can never completely erase it. Letting go means recognising when those emotions no longer serve you, and not letting them control you.
I saw a great quote that said something like ‘healing means accepting the apology you deserve but were never given’ and that’s something I think about a lot.
I spent a lot of time hurting and angry while waiting for an apology that would never come. Eventually I realised I was still giving someone else power over my emotions, while they had probably stopped thinking about it long ago.
Eventually I realised that the apology I wanted wouldn’t have healed me anyway. It wouldn’t have been enough because the person who hurt you can’t also be the one who puts you back together. You are the person with the power to do that.
So accept the apology you never got, and let go of what you feel you need from them. Eventually you will realise you are enough, and that they don’t deserve that power. Realising that will be more empowering than you can imagine.
Signs of emotional healing wrap-up
As I said at the start, this was never intended to be an exhaustive list of all the signs of emotional healing from trauma. Everyone is different and there is no set path or sign to tick off!
These are just some of the signs of emotional healing from trauma that I recognised in myself (with the help of a professional).
None of these signs mean a ‘cure’ and there are no quick fixes. However while that trauma can never be undone, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience self love or a fulfilling life.
Years ago, if you had told me I would be writing this post I would have laughed. I was so full of anger, self blame and hatred that I thought any sort of healing was impossible, and that I could never move past it.
But with time, help and hard work, it no longer rules my life and you can reach that stage too.
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