How Stress Can Lead To Emotional Trauma


NOTE: This is a guest blog by  Christine Langley-Obaugh, M.Ed.

“Ugh! “I am sooo stressed out!” 

How many of you say or think this on a daily basis? How many of you feel regularly that if anything else happens, you might just lose it?

In actuality, our ability to handle stress as an adult stems from earlier childhood experiences. When we have not processed losses or trauma exposures, our ability to resiliently bounce back become impacted

Meaning? Let’s say you grew up in an environment that wasn’t the best – with parents that may have been careless or inattentive. Maybe a parent was absent. Maybe a parent had a serious illness. Let’s say you experienced some stress as a child. Maybe, you even experienced chronic stress.

When a child’s sense of safety and security are threatened, trauma may result.

Any situation that leaves one feeling overwhelmed, lonely and isolated can lead to emotional trauma. If something happened unexpectedly – you were unprepared and you felt defenseless – you may have suffered a trauma exposure.

Pay attention when you’re feeling stressed to the max. Have you ever felt the same way before? Does what you are presently going through remind you of emotions you’ve experienced in a similar type of incident from your past?

It could in fact be that you continue to repeat what you don’t repair.

A situation in your life right now may connect to an earlier similar incident – an event which wasn’t fully processed. As a result, although the current situation may appear to be magnified, it is typically the earlier incident that has produced the extreme negative charge – not what you’re dealing with in the present.

Simply put: The earlier stressful event has not been processed.

It’s time to make YOU the priority.

It is NOT: What’s wrong with you?

It IS: What happened to you?

If you want lower stress levels, improved relationships and more energy, you may wish to seek out a trained or certified grief or trauma counselor or facilitator – someone who can help you examine and process events.

Written by Christine Langley-Obaugh, M.Ed.  Owner, The Stress Reduction Spot, LLC.

Click to read The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study  – which explains more about the risks that form as a result of losses and trauma exposures in childhood. To determine your ACE score, click here.