Woman suffering from Narcissistic abuse.

Recovering from the grip of a narcissist isn't easy, but it's an important first step towards self-love and regaining your inner strength. As an empath, it's important to not only heal from the pain but also learn to trust your judgement again.

Understanding Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic abuse represents a destructive form of emotional maltreatment, often orchestrated by those who exhibit traits of narcissism. The manipulative behaviors employed are subtle yet profoundly harmful, geared towards gaining control over the victim. Elements of this abuse can encompass frequent criticism, blatant disregard for your feelings, and gaslighting, a manipulative tactic intended to distort your understanding of reality.

These behaviors aren't always apparent, often woven seamlessly into the fabric of the relationship, making it difficult to recognize and leading to a gradual erosion of your self-esteem and sense of self. One moment, a narcissist might shower you with affection. The next, they may resort to degrading comments, creating an emotional seesaw that can leave you feeling constantly off-balance.

Essentially, narcissistic abuse is a strategy that keeps you questioning your worth, your perceptions, and your decisions, which, in turn, serves to feed the narcissist's need for power and control. By understanding this form of abuse, you're taking an essential step toward healing and reclaiming your self-confidence.

The Impact of Narcissistic Abuse on Your Self-Perception

You are worthy of therapy in New York

The aftereffects of narcissistic abuse can have profound implications on how you view yourself. The barrage of negativity, criticism, and manipulation can start to taint your self-image. This can cause you to internalize the harsh words and belittling remarks from the narcissist.

This chronic invalidation often results in self-doubt, where you may start doubting your worth, abilities, and decisions. In addition, it may also lead to a distorted sense of self. You might no longer trust your instincts, emotions, or judgements.

This resultant self-doubt can make trusting your own judgement particularly challenging, particularly in forming and maintaining personal relationships. The continuous assault on your self-esteem by the narcissist can even lead to somatic symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and constant worry. It's important to remember that these feelings of insecurity and anxiety are a direct result of the narcissist's manipulation and not a reflection of your worth or abilities. Understanding this is a crucial step towards healing and regaining your self-esteem.

Overcoming Self-Doubt

The road to dispelling self-doubt is a journey of changing your mental narrative. This involves intentionally replacing negative self-talk and destructive beliefs about your worth with positive affirmations. Embrace the power of positive thinking by focusing on your strengths, capabilities, and achievements. Journaling can be a helpful tool in this process, allowing you to objectively reflect on your experiences, emotions, and thoughts. Practice speaking kindly to yourself and offer yourself the same compassion and understanding you would extend to others.

Establishing realistic and achievable goals can also foster a sense of self-confidence. Celebrate even small victories along your journey, each one is a step towards reaffirming your self-worth. It's important to remember that this transformation won't happen overnight. It's a process of gradual change and with patience, perseverance, and nurturing, you'll begin to see the shadow of self-doubt recede.

Trusting Your Judgement Again

Believe in yourself

Regaining trust in your judgement after experiencing narcissistic abuse can be a slow and meticulous process, but it's an essential part of healing. It may feel daunting at first, but by starting small and making minor decisions, you can slowly begin to rebuild your trust. It could be as simple as choosing what to wear for the day or deciding on a meal to cook for dinner. With each decision, no matter how small, you are taking control back into your hands.

Remember, it's natural and even necessary to make mistakes during this process. Mistakes are not a measure of your worth, but an opportunity for growth and learning. Reflect on your decisions, understanding why you made them and accepting the outcome. Each step, whether forward or back, is part of your journey towards healing and regaining trust in your own judgement.

Over time, as your confidence grows, you'll be able to make larger decisions. Gradually, you'll find that you're no longer second-guessing yourself, and the chronic worry and anxiety are starting to fade. This is a sign that you are reclaiming your power, becoming more self-assured in your decisions, and steadily stepping out of the shadow of self-doubt.

Building trust in your judgement is not an overnight process, but rather a series of small victories that accumulate over time. It's about recognizing your capability to make sound decisions and honoring your right to follow your instincts. As you continue on this path, you'll notice a renewed sense of trust in your judgement and a growing confidence in your ability to navigate your own life.

Setting Boundaries As an Empath

Learning to establish boundaries is a critical component of your healing journey after enduring narcissistic abuse. Boundaries represent your personal limits, serving as guidelines for how others are permitted to treat you. They are a powerful form of self-care and self-respect.

Begin by identifying what is acceptable and what isn't in your interactions with others. It's okay to have non-negotiables - these could include disrespectful behavior, manipulation, or any form of emotional or mental abuse. Defining your limits is a personal process and it's crucial to take the time to recognize and acknowledge what feels right for you.

Expressing these boundaries can be challenging, especially if you're accustomed to conceding to others' demands. However, it's important to remember that clear, assertive communication is essential. You have the right to voice your needs and expectations without fear of retaliation or rejection. And it's equally important to enforce these boundaries once they're set. If someone repeatedly violates your limits, you're allowed to distance yourself from them, even if they're close to you.

Boundaries are more than just rules for others; they're a testament to your self-worth. By setting and maintaining them, you're asserting that you respect and value yourself. This act of self-love can lead to healthier relationships, as you attract those who respect your limits and treat you with the kindness and consideration you deserve.

Through setting boundaries, you're reclaiming control over your own life and creating a safe space for your healing. It's a crucial stride towards moving away from the impact of narcissistic abuse and towards a healthier, more balanced life.

Unleashing Your Inner Strength

Man holding up a boulder with strength.

Recognizing your inner strength can be a pivotal part of your healing journey. This means acknowledging your resilience, strength, and the courage that brought you through the manipulative web of a narcissist. As an empath, your kindness, empathy, and compassion are all aspects of your inner strength, elements that make you uniquely you.

Nourishing these aspects can empower you, boosting your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. It’s about identifying activities and practices that fuel your spirit and allow you to harness the power within you. This might be anything from pursuing a hobby you love, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Having a strong support network can also aid in tapping into your inner strength. Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people who appreciate your worth and value your presence can reaffirm your self-esteem and validate your experiences.

Finally, remember that being strong doesn't mean you must always be unshakeable. It's okay to have moments of vulnerability, to feel overwhelmed, and to seek help. Strength is not about suppressing emotions but rather about facing them head-on and recognizing that it's okay to not be okay sometimes. In the end, unleashing your inner strength is about honoring yourself, your journey, and the incredible resilience you've demonstrated along the way.

Seeking Professional Help

Navigating the complex emotional aftermath of narcissistic abuse can often be a challenge to undertake alone. Turning to professional services, such as therapy or counseling, can provide invaluable support during this healing journey. These experts are trained to understand the intricacies of emotional manipulation and its long-term impact. They can offer effective strategies to overcome self-doubt, rebuild your self-esteem, and learn how to trust your judgement again. Participating in therapy can also aid in the process of setting boundaries, empowering you with the tools and the confidence to effectively communicate and enforce your personal limits.

Moreover, therapy can provide a safe space for you to openly share your experiences and feelings without judgment, fostering a deeper understanding and acceptance of yourself. It's important to remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it symbolizes strength and the commitment to your well-being and healing. You deserve to heal, to reclaim your power, and to flourish, and professional help can be a beneficial ally on this path. You're not alone on this journey, and reaching out for help is a testament to your resilience and determination.

Relearning to Love Yourself

Happy man learning to love himself.

The journey to embracing self-love post-narcissistic abuse is a transformative one. It's about unlearning the distorted beliefs imposed by the narcissist and embracing the true essence of who you are. This journey calls for an unwavering commitment to prioritizing yourself and nurturing a positive self-image.

Engage in actions that nourish your soul and promote positivity. Whether that's taking a walk in nature, immersing in a beloved hobby, or simply curling up with a good book, it's essential to foster habits that amplify joy and satisfaction in your life.

Self-care is another powerful catalyst for self-love. Pay attention to your physical, emotional, and mental needs. From ensuring you're eating well and getting enough rest, to setting aside time for relaxation and mindfulness, self-care is a tangible way to affirm your worth.

The narrative you hold about yourself influences your self-perception significantly. Actively challenge negative self-talk, replacing it with affirmations of your worth, capabilities, and strengths. Remember, you are not defined by your past or the hurtful words of the narcissist.

Cultivating self-love requires patience and compassion. There might be days when negative thoughts creep in or moments of doubt cloud your progress. During these times, remind yourself of the strength that led you to break free from the narcissist's grip.

Your journey towards self-love is unique, and every step you take, regardless of its size, is a testament to your resilience. The path might be challenging, but the reward is invaluable - a love for yourself that is untainted by others' manipulation and control. Embrace this journey with open arms, for you deserve to revel in the warmth of self-love.

Man experiencing emotional neglect. Find a therapist near Ronkonkoma, NY.

Do you often find yourself feeling hollow, as if something within you is missing? This unexplainable feeling of emptiness could be more than just a passing phase of ennui. It might be linked to a less-talked-about yet prevalent form of childhood trauma - emotional neglect.

Understanding Childhood Emotional Neglect

Childhood emotional neglect is an insidious form of child abuse that often flies under the radar. Unlike physical neglect or abuse, it doesn't leave visible scars or bruises, making it less conspicuous and frequently disregarded. It can be defined as a failure by caregivers to provide the emotional support and attention that children need to flourish and grow.

This neglect might not be intentional; parents might dismiss, ignore, or trivialize their child's emotions due to their lack of understanding or their own unmet emotional needs. Regardless of the reason, this neglect leaves a lasting impression on the child. It's akin to an unseen emotional void that the child carries forward into their adult life, often manifesting as a pervasive feeling of emptiness.

The impact of this neglect can be profound and far-reaching, affecting the child's ability to form healthy emotional connections and often resulting in feelings of inadequacy, unlovability, or a sense of being fundamentally flawed. Recognizing this form of neglect is the first step towards understanding the emptiness you might be feeling.

The Invisible Scars of Emotional Neglect

Sad little boy suffering from emotional neglect.

Emotional neglect etches deep, unseen imprints on a child's emotional fabric. Our emotional needs in childhood are equally important as our physical ones. They help us construct a healthy sense of self-worth. When these needs are consistently unfulfilled, it can disrupt our emotional development. This disruption often translates into a lingering feeling of being unwanted, insufficient, or inherently flawed.

These invisible scars have a profound influence on the child's self-esteem and perception of self-worth, subtly shaping their personality and their perspective of the world. Though invisible to the naked eye, these scars run deep, influencing every interaction and relationship in their adult life. So, while these wounds may not be visible, their impact is seen and felt in various aspects of the individual's life, often appearing as the unshakeable feeling of emptiness we're discussing here.

The Connection Between Emotional Neglect and Feeling Empty

The lingering sense of emptiness you experience as an adult may be deeply rooted in the emotional neglect you experienced during your childhood years. This persistent emptiness typically stems from not having our emotional needs adequately addressed during critical developmental stages, creating an emotional deficit. Such neglect may lead to difficulty in forging a strong emotional connection with oneself and others, resulting in a pervasive feeling of emptiness. You might feel like you're observing life from the outside looking in, or find yourself often feeling emotionally detached, and struggling to find pleasure or purpose in day-to-day experiences. This internal void, although invisible and often misunderstood, is a significant indicator of unmet emotional needs from childhood, manifesting itself in your adult life. This connection between childhood emotional neglect and the ongoing feeling of emptiness is a critical piece in understanding and addressing the root cause of such distressing emotions.

Signs You Might Have Experienced Childhood Emotional Neglect

Recognizing emotional neglect can be tricky because it’s often about the absence of emotional support and care rather than outright harm. But, there are several indicators you can look for. You may have a hard time identifying or verbalizing your emotions. Do you often feel like you don't fit in or belong, no matter where you are? If you’re overly sensitive to rejection or criticism, this could be a sign.

You might also find yourself with a powerful fear of dependency, finding it hard to rely on others for help or support. You could be wrestling with self-discipline issues or have a penchant for perfectionism. These are all signs that may hint at past emotional neglect. Keep in mind, these signs are not definitive proof but potential markers. If you find yourself identifying with a lot of these signs, it might be beneficial to reach out to a mental health professional for a deeper exploration of your feelings and experiences.

Healing from Childhood Emotional Neglect

The path to recovery from childhood emotional neglect is a voyage of self-understanding and self-love. It commences with acknowledging and coming to terms with your past experiences. The subsequent stage involves cultivating an intimate bond with your own feelings and requirements. This could entail seeking professional guidance, delving into mindfulness practices, cataloging your emotions through journaling, or cultivating habits of self-care. Unraveling the emotional neglect of the past isn't a journey you have to embark on alone. Therapists who specialize in this area can provide invaluable guidance and support.

Self-Care and Emotional Nurturing

One of the most essential components on your journey to healing from childhood emotional neglect is practicing self-care. This goes beyond maintaining your physical well-being with regular exercise and nutritious meals. Yes, taking care of your physical health is vital, but healing from emotional neglect necessitates nurturing your emotional health, as well. Establish and enforce healthy boundaries in relationships to safeguard your emotional space. Cultivate a practice of self-compassion. Be patient with yourself, offering the same grace and kindness you would to a dear friend.

Find joy and comfort in activities that resonate with you, that make your heart sing and your soul feel at peace. Making your emotional well-being a priority isn't selfish; it's necessary. You've spent a lifetime carrying the weight of emotional neglect, it's high time to put it down and nourish your emotional health. Remember, self-care isn't indulgence, it's fundamental to your healing process. Be gentle with yourself. You are worthy of love, care, and kindness.

Reach Out - You're Not Alone

Recognizing that hollow feeling inside you as a sign of childhood emotional neglect is the first crucial step towards healing. Now, the journey towards recovery begins. Remember, you don't have to traverse this path alone. Confide in loved ones, share your experiences, and allow them to offer you support and encouragement. Consider joining a support group; engaging with others who have had similar experiences can be incredibly affirming and healing.

If you're comfortable, seek help from mental health professionals specializing in childhood trauma. They can provide you with effective strategies and techniques to help you understand and overcome the impact of emotional neglect. Reaching out may feel daunting, but the rewards are tremendous. The path to recovery may be long, but you'll find strength, resilience, and healing along the way. You've been carrying the burden of emotional neglect long enough, it's time to lighten the load. Let people in, let them help, and remember, you are deserving of love and care.

Two young boys doing homework at the table and helping with homework

As parents, it's often our first instinct to shield our children from failure. We support them, help them, and often extend our helping hand with their homework to ensure their success. However, the question arises: When is it appropriate to let your children fail? At what age can you stop helping them with homework before it becomes a battle each time? Is it our own insecurities that make us hard on our children? In today's blog post, we'll delve into these delicate issues and explore how the therapy method EMDR can be beneficial in this situation.

The Value of Allowing Children to Fail

Navigating the tumultuous waters of parenthood, it can be heart-wrenching to witness our children grapple with failure. Yet, it's crucial to remember that these moments of defeat are stepping stones on the path to self-improvement and resilience. By experiencing failure, children learn the invaluable art of problem-solving, fortify their resilience, and cultivate a positive attitude towards overcoming obstacles.

While it might feel instinctual to swoop in and save the day during homework crises, doing so can inadvertently strip them of these crucial life-building opportunities. Our intent is not to advocate for a hands-off approach that borders on neglect. Instead, the focus should be on fostering an environment where children feel secure enough to stumble, pick themselves up, learn from their blunders, and move forward with newfound wisdom and self-confidence.

On this journey, it is not the fall that shapes the child but their capacity to rise each time they stumble. As parents, our role morphs from fixers of problems to cheerleaders of resilience, applauding their determination, and celebrating their growth, one homework assignment at a time. As a result, allowing children to experience failure is not a sign of deficient parenting; it's a testament to our commitment to raising individuals who can bravely face challenges and come out stronger.

Finding the Right Balance in Homework Help

Mother helping daughter with homework.

Navigating the homework waters can be a tricky task. It's a part of parenting, a normal routine, but knowing when to reel in the rescue rope can be a bit complex. As children progress through their educational journey, they need to build a sense of self-reliance. Our role gradually needs to transition from homework helper to a facilitator who empowers independent thinking.

This doesn't mean stepping away completely and leaving them in the lurch. You can't just stop helping with homework cold turkey. It's more about fostering an atmosphere of independence, promoting their self-confidence, and honing their problem-solving abilities. For instance, instead of providing outright answers, nudge them towards finding their own solutions. Give them the tools to critically think, explore, and discover. Guide them with constructive questioning or provide directional support without giving away the answers.

Gradually reducing the extent of help provided is also an effective strategy to keep homework from turning into a battleground. This encourages children to take up more accountability for their education, teaching them the crucial skill of responsibility. Eventually, they may feel confident enough for you to stop helping them with their homework!

Remember, this is a journey, not a race. Mistakes will be made, and tasks might take longer to be accomplished. But each step your child takes independently is a significant stride towards confidence, resilience, and problem-solving mastery. This journey will not only prepare them for academic success but equip them for the challenges that life will undoubtedly throw their way.

Uncovering Parental Insecurities

Uncovering parental insecurities is not only critical for the overall emotional health of parents, but it can significantly affect the upbringing of their children. If unaddressed, these insecurities can contribute to parenting styles imbued with high levels of control or anxiety symptoms. Thus, to break this cycle, therapies such as EMDR and counseling for teens, can be beneficial in addressing these insecurities, modifying anxiety symptoms, and promoting healthier parenting styles. In particular, EMDR therapy can help parents reprocess traumatic memories that may fuel their insecurities, whereas counseling for teens may assist in alleviating anxiety symptoms caused by parent-child dynamics. With improved parental awareness and more proactive anxiety treatment, healthier parenting styles can be established for a more harmonious family environment.

For instance, a parent dealing with insecurities originating from a tumultuous childhood may find themselves excessively checking their teenager's homework, seeking control and comfort in their child's academic success. This same teenager, under such persistent scrutiny, may develop stress and anxiety about their school performance.

Through EMDR therapy and counseling for teens, anxiety symptoms can be successfully managed and detrimental parenting styles rectified. This results in a healthier, happier, and more balanced family life for everyone involved.

How EMDR Can Help

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is not only for trauma survivors. In the context of parenting and homework, it can serve as an effective tool for parents. They can confront and manage their anxieties that may be influencing their parenting approach. EMDR can help to reprocess these anxious thoughts, shifting them from a place of fear to a mindset of understanding and empathy. This change can foster a more compassionate and patient parenting style.

On the other side, children who are dealing with the stress of academic pressure may also benefit from EMDR. Homework and academic challenges can sometimes be overwhelming, leading to an increased anxiety level. EMDR can assist in alleviating this distress, allowing them to approach their studies with a calm and composed mindset.

The technique involves the process of bilateral stimulation - typically through eye movements, tactile tapping, or auditory tones - while the individual recalls the stressful event. By doing this, EMDR works to modify the memories or fears associated with it, making them less distressing. For both parents and children, this can lead to a more positive and effective approach to homework. This will reduce the potential for battles and increase the potential for growth.

In essence, EMDR can help create a healthier learning environment by addressing and managing the root cause of academic-related stress and anxiety. By fostering a calm, patient, and understanding atmosphere, both parents and children can navigate the journey of education with increased resilience and confidence.

Woman with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)

What is C-PTSD? How is it Similar and Different from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) are both neurobiological disorders that occur when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Examples include, but are not limited to, war or combat, natural disasters, physical or sexual assaults, and life-threatening accidents.

Almost all of us associate PTSD with veterans. We understand combat is gruesome on the body and devastating to the psyche. If only we look at the faces of our veterans when they return, it is clear that war is hell. We know, even without words, that they went through something far beyond the scope of normal human experience. In fact, generations before the term “post-traumatic stress disorder” became known, PTSD was known by other names: war neurosis, shell shock, soldier’s heart, or combat fatigue. Furthermore, much of the research, advocacy, awareness, and treatment options for PTSD have been through means such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Thus, it makes sense we as a collective society to visualize a soldier in battle when we think of PTSD.

However, many times PTSD is most prevalent in people who have experienced dangerous, life-altering events. It seems to be most frequent in survivors of sexual assault or those who went through or witnessed violent car accidents, both which involve powerlessness, danger, and terror. Furthermore, PTSD can occur in populations that often are forgotten to be traumatic, such as ICU stays.

It is believed most people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives, and a fourth will develop PTSD. It is not known how many people live with Complex-Post Traumatic Disorder, C-PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

People who suffer from trauma may feel its impact for days; this is called acute trauma. If the symptoms continue for weeks or longer, and disrupt daily living, that is suggestive of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.

There are three types of PTSD symptoms:
Hyperarousal symptoms. People with PTSD may have sense-of-threat symptoms, as if they are on edge and hypervigilant of their environment. They can have a startled response such as jumpiness.

Re-experiencing symptoms. Nightmares and flashbacks are the hallmark symptoms of PTSD. The individual may “go through” the trauma again via memories, via sensory experiences and emotions. The individual may feel the same smells, sights, sounds of the trauma.

Avoidance symptoms. Those living with PTSD will participate in avoidance symptoms, as in avoiding triggers associated with the trauma. This is broad, and can include places, situations, people, or events (i.e., holidays). They may also attempt to drown the symptoms through self-medicating with alcohol or other substances.

What is Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

C-PTSD is a multilayered version of PTSD involving prolonged or chronic attacks on an individual’s sense of safety, self-worth, and integrity. This is dissimilar to PTSD, which is the result of one traumatic event. The ongoing maltreatment causes a multitude of additional symptoms, which shape neuropsychological development such as personality.

C-PTSD results from situations of chronic powerlessness and a lack of control. This can be from long-standing domestic violence (whether experienced or witnessed), sex trafficking, or child maltreatment. However, it is most common in those who were subjected to child abuse or neglect at a very early age. This is prevalent if the harm is by a caregiver or other significant adult. Also, multiple traumas increase the risk of developing C-PTSD.

Symptoms of C-PTSD

People with C-PTSD have compounded symptoms of both PTSD and those from other mental health disorders. These may include the following:

Psychosomatic issues: Psychosomatic issues are physical issues without a medical explanation. This can be caused or worsened by a psychological reason such as stress. It is common for people with C-PTSD to have vague physical symptoms such as dizziness, chest pains, abdominal aches, and headaches.

Emotional flashbacks: A flashback is a vivid, intense experience in which a person will relive some parts of a trauma. Some people feel as if it is happening in the present. Stereotypically, people tend to think of the war veteran who is having a “movie-like” flashback in which the event unfolds again in its entirety. However, a flashback does not need to be so extreme – and usually they are not.

People with C-PTSD are likelier to experience what is called an emotional flashback – that is, the emotions experienced during the trauma, such as shame or fear. Such individuals may react to these events in the present, unaware they are having a flashback.

Difficulty regulating emotions: Those with C-PTSD may experience sharp, vivid emotions which can be inappropriate for the situation. These rapid shifts in mood can be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, which can have similar features but are not the same.

Flat affect: People with C-PTSD may also have a flat affect, meaning they appear numb, somber, or emotionless to others. This body language can be misinterpreted by others, making people think the individual is feeling a certain way or is aloof. In truth, the person may have a rich, complex inner world of their emotions and be feeling very differently than how they are expressing themselves.

There are several reasons for a flat affect. One powerful reason is because the individual may not have witnessed emotional expression in their formative years, thus in turn they have been sharpened to be “flat” as an adult. To explain it plainly, imagine a primary caregiver not smiling at their baby. The baby mimics and responds to the caregiver by also not smiling. This is sharpening the baby to respond such a way going forward.

Other Symptoms of C-PTSD

A lack of emotional vocabulary: Finally, individuals with C-PTSD may have difficulty with articulating their emotions or they may not understand what they feel; that is, there is an absence of an emotional vocabulary. They may struggle in therapy when asked “what are you feeling?” and respond with “I don’t know” or they may describe a physiological feeling instead (i.e., tiredness, nausea). This is because in the context of prolonged trauma they had to adapt to shutting down their emotions to survive. For example, they may have been programmed in their earliest years to think “emotions are bad” because they were consistently invalidated or punished for emotional expression by their caregivers.

Dissociation: Dissociation happens to everyone. Dissociation is a sensation of feeling disconnected from oneself and the world through a sensory experience, thought, sense of self, or time. A person who dissociates may feel depersonalization (detached from their body) or derealization (feeling as if their surroundings are unreal). And at one time or another, all of us have dissociated. Getting lost in a daydream, forgetting the details of a car drive, or spacing out during a boring class lecture are all examples of dissociation.

When applied to trauma, dissociation is an innate coping mechanism. It is a protective action taken by the mind to let an individual survive a traumatic experience. At the time of the event, dissociation is beneficial, especially for children as they often lack insight and more sophisticated coping skills. However, the downside of dissociation is that when someone has dissociation and is at risk of developing C-PTSD or another trauma-related disorder, the dissociation does not resolve the trauma. In adulthood, the effects of dissociation can negate the ability to trust, form and maintain healthy relationships, and prioritize self-care. Through the phenomenon of mind-body separation, individuals may develop self-destructive behaviors such as ones that keep them dissociated (“I can’t tell when I’m feeling hungry, so I eat less than I should”) or ones to make them dissociate (“I drink alcohol to numb myself so I don’t have to feel my despair”).

Negative core beliefs: Individuals with C-PTSD may have the core belief “I am not safe” or “the world is unsafe.” Alternatively, they may have other core beliefs (“I am unlovable” or “I am not worthy of respect”, for example). These core beliefs are deeply ingrained, at the pool of their identities, which can mean the individual is unaware they even carry such beliefs until they develop more insight.

Relationship difficulties: Individuals with C-PTSD can struggle with developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Such individuals struggle with feeling able to trust others due to their traumatic histories; thus, they may isolate themselves or feel intensely uncomfortable with “opening up” to others. Or they may respond inappropriately in a social situation. Unfortunately, these factors only enhance their risk of disapproval or misunderstanding by others, which makes them more susceptible to social isolation or ridicule.

Additionally, people with C-PTSD are more susceptible to entering and remaining in abusive relationships – especially those who already experienced abuse. 

Treatment for C-PTSD

Woman in therapy treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder near Oakdale, NY

C-PTSD is a treatable condition. However, clients (patients) should be cautious when selecting their therapist. The treatment of complex trauma is a specialty, and not all therapists have the knowledge, skills, or experience to adequately support those who have C-PTSD. Thus, it is encouraged to “screen” the therapist during the consultation session by asking for their background in treating C-PTSD. Much like we may make thoughtful, careful choices about our medical doctors, the same should be done for therapists too!

Ask the therapist about their intervention styles (treatment approaches) as well.

The following treatments are frequently utilized for C-PTSD treatment:

Looking For a Therapist?

All of our counselors here at Long Island EMDR specialize in trauma work. We have a variety of sub-specialties within that including sexual assault, domestic violence, infertility, childhood abuse/neglect, loss of a loved one and bullying.


Wishing you healing and light,

-Valerie Smith, LMSW


mother and daughter dealing with family trauma. find family counseling near Smithtown. NY

How Does Trauma to One Family Member Affect the Entire Family Unit?

When a family member is traumatized it can have a ripple effect on the entire family unit. The nuclear family being parents, partners and siblings will often endure the shock to the system when one member of the family experiences trauma. These family members can either serve to be supports or obstacles to the member of the family that experienced trauma. At their worst the family unit itself can become a system in which the traumatized individual is essentially retraumatized continually based on their families treatment towards them, opinions about them or new role they cast for them after the traumatic experience occurs.

What Does This Look Like When a Child is the Victim of Trauma?

A man with his children.

Children are incredibly resilient beings and can overcome trauma or have the effects significantly minimized by having supportive, empowering and understanding parents. When the parents' response to the traumatic situation is negative it can be more traumatized to the child then the direct trauma exposure.

For example, if a teenage girl is raped by a stranger and the parents belittel and blame the teenager for “being stupid”, not “knowing better”, dressing a certain way or being in a certain place- this inevitably leaves that child feeling like they are to blame for what happened to them and something is inherently wrong with them to have caused such a thing to occur. This can leave that teenage girl feeling hopeless, lost, unsupported and very alone.

If she then begins to act out and becomes promiscuous, or her grades drop because she has PTSD and cannot focus as well, or become irritable and has more outbursts towards the parents, the child again will likely be blamed for their behavior. All of her cries for support, her showing she is struggling will only continue to serve the narrative that that child is inherently bad, defective, and unlovable. The parents' reaction to her only continues to show her the world is unsafe, unsupportive, and people in general are not to be counted on or trusted. 

Consequences of When it is Not Discussed

Well meaning parents who struggle to cope with what happened to their child may shy away from conversations about how it’s affecting the child and carry on as if nothing happened- minimizing the effects of what happened to that child. This can foster children feeling all those same feelings, unloved, unsupported but also fosters this idea that “it’s in my head”, “it wasn’t that bad” or “I have no reason to still be upset/sad/angry” causing them to bury their shame, guilt and fears as it is not welcomed to discuss in the household. 

In both cases, parents' own trauma may account for their responses. A parent may be too triggered by that child’s sexual abuse to listen to them discuss it causing scenario 2. Alternatively, the parent could have their own history of sexual assault and blame themselves so they project their anger and blame on the child as they never fully coped with what happened to them. Furthermore, a parent’s lack of experience dealing with trauma themselves can cause them to feel inadequate in supporting their child in coping with trauma.

What Effect Can a Traumatized Parent Have on Their Children?

Parents fighting in front of their daughter.

There are two main ways that children are affected when a parent is traumatized:

  1. Witnessing a parent’s trauma.
  2. Experiencing posttraumatic symptoms of the parent.

1. Witnessing a Parents Trauma

Witnessing could be through a child witnessing domestic violence or sexual assault of their parent. Children who witness a parent’s trauma may feel fearful and anxious. They may always be on guard, wondering when the next violent event will happen, waiting for the next shoe to drop. This can be seen in different behaviors depending on the child’s age.

Family Trauma Signs in Children under 5:

Signs in Elementary School Children:

Signs in Teens:

It is important to note that there is a distinction between common behaviors for girls and boys- though this does not mean it cannot present in the opposite way. Boys are more likely to engage in oppositional, aggressive, and what we would generally call “acting-out” activities. Girls are more likely to “act-inward” and thus struggle with low-self esteem, depression, self-harming, and socially isolative behaviors.

2. Experiencing posttraumatic symptoms of the parent

person sitting on a couch crying

When individuals struggle with PTSD they can have a range of symptoms that have an effect on their children and spouse. The 2 most common that affect the family unit are: re-experiencing symptoms and avoidance and numbing symptoms. 

Re-Experiencing Symptoms:

PTSD can cause flashbacks and/or nightmares which are what we call re-experiencing symptoms. These symptoms can occur quickly and seemingly to bystanders as “out of nowhere”. They usually bring with them strong feelings and emotions of guilt, shame, anger, grief or fear. For some individuals the flashbacks can be so severe they feel as if the memory is occurring in real time. To children and partners this can be quite scary. The parent’s behavior is unpredictable. They may not understand why the family member is acting this way or what caused it. It can cause children to worry about that parent, feeling that their parent is too fragile to take care of them. For a partner it can put them in a caregiver role and make them feel hopeless about how to get their partner back to who they were before the trauma. 

Avoidance and Numbing Symptoms:

It is common for anyone experiencing PTSD to try to avoid trauma reminders and/or triggers. This may cause them to avoid people, places and things that remind them of their trauma. It can also cause them difficulty in experiencing joy and pleasure in things they used to love. Leaving that family member to feel detached or cut-off from their partner and children. Avoidance and Numbing can leave partners and children feeling unloved, unsupported and unimportant. They may be hesitant to go to family events, holidays, kids games and struggle to connect with and engage with their loved ones like they used to. 

Because the re-experiencing symptoms are so upsetting, people with PTSD try not to think about the event. If you have PTSD, you may also try to avoid places and things that remind you of the trauma. Or you may not feel like doing things that used to be fun, like going to the movies or your child's event. It can also be hard for people with PTSD to have good feelings. You may feel "cut off" from family and children. As a result, children may feel that the parent with PTSD does not care about them.

How Does Trauma of One Sibling Effects the Other Siblings?

In my work, I have seen children whose siblings have experienced trauma struggle with many of the same trauma reactions and negative core beliefs. This is often due to parents focusing on trying to help the traumatized child and thus the sibling feeling neglected or pushed aside and unsupported. These children then tend to have a lot of the same acting-out or acting-in behaviors we described above. Many of them struggle with core beliefs of “I am responsible” “I have to be in control”; “I am unimportant/unlovable/defective”. This also occurs in children who are terrified of what happened to their sibling, happening to them or anyone else they love. This can make a child chronically anxious and fearful of the world.

Where to Start if You're Struggling With Family Trauma

Mother and daughter embracing.

If this is all feeling a bit “close to home” you may want to reach out for support for yourself and your loved ones. Therapy will focus not just on the individual who has experienced trauma but also incorporate family sessions so that we work though any re-traumatizing interactions that are occurring within the family system. Here at Long Island EMDR we are all perfectly imperfect humans who have been through our own “stuff”. We will not judge you, what happened or the aftermath. Our goal is to help you and your family work through what has happened so that you can feel and be the close, loving supportive happy family that you once were or that you long to be. No judgment. Just support and encouragement.

What Therapy Will Look Like for Family Trauma:

Our assessments will focus on both individual and interpersonal consequences of the trauma, including parent-child interactions, discipline, communication and other areas of family functioning. Depending on your family situation, we may recommend individual sessions for multiple family members who are being affected by the aftermath of the trauma, in conjunction with family sessions to work on the interpersonal relationships when everyone is ready. As always our approach will be tailored to each unique family and individual. We have a range of therapists and modalities, including: EMDR, TF-CBT, art therapy, bereavement counseling and couples counseling, to ensure that each family and family member has an approach that works for them.

A couple facing away from each other because of infidelity trauma. Find couples therapy near Oakdale, NY

Infidelity is a painful and traumatic experience that can leave lasting emotional scars for those involved. It can lead to feelings of betrayal, anger, and distrust, and can even result in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For those struggling to cope with the aftermath of infidelity, there is hope for healing and breaking the cycle of trauma. One powerful tool to overcome the trauma of infidelity is through PTSD therapy, specifically Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. In this blog post, we will explore how EMDR therapy can help individuals break free from the trauma of infidelity and move towards a path of healing and recovery.

Understanding Infidelity as a Trauma:

Infidelity is not simply a betrayal or breach of trust in a relationship. It can also be experienced as a deeply traumatic event that can leave lasting emotional scars. Understanding infidelity as a trauma involves recognizing the profound impact it can have on an individual's well-being.

When infidelity occurs, it shatters the foundation of trust that a relationship is built upon. The pain and shock of discovering a partner's unfaithfulness can cause intense emotional distress. Anxiety symptoms, such as constant worry, racing thoughts, and difficulty sleeping, may become overwhelming. Depression symptoms, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, can also arise. The shock and pain can be very difficult to overcome the trauma caused by infidelity.

In some cases, the trauma of infidelity can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD symptoms can include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, hypervigilance, and avoidance of anything that triggers memories of the infidelity.

Understanding infidelity as a trauma is crucial in order to address the deep emotional wounds it can cause. Recognizing the impact of infidelity as a traumatic experience allows individuals to seek the appropriate support and treatment for PTSD. Engaging in therapy, such as EMDR therapy, can help individuals process and heal from the trauma. This can enable them to regain a sense of safety, trust, and self-worth.

The Connection Between PTSD and Trauma Bonding:

A couple talking about their need to overcome trauma from infidelity. Find couple's therapy near Bohemia, NY

The connection between PTSD and trauma bonding is a complex and intertwined one. Trauma bonding refers to the psychological phenomenon in which a person forms an intense emotional attachment to an abusive or betraying partner. This bond can make it incredibly difficult for the victim to break free from the relationship, despite the harm they are experiencing

In the context of infidelity, trauma bonding can occur when the betrayed partner develops a deep emotional attachment to their unfaithful spouse or partner. This attachment is often rooted in feelings of fear, dependency, and a distorted belief that the unfaithful partner is the only source of love and support. These intense emotional bonds can be incredibly challenging to sever, even in the face of ongoing emotional and psychological harm.

For individuals who have experienced infidelity and developed trauma bonding, the combination of PTSD and trauma bonding can be particularly challenging to overcome. The symptoms of PTSD, such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and hypervigilance, can reinforce the trauma bond and make it even harder for the individual to break free.

Addressing trauma bonding in therapy is essential for individuals seeking treatment for PTSD related to infidelity. Therapists trained in trauma-focused approaches, such as EMDR therapy, can help individuals understand and process the trauma bond. By addressing both the PTSD symptoms and the trauma bond, individuals can work towards breaking free from the cycle of trauma and begin the journey towards healing and recovery.

In the next section, we will explore how EMDR therapy can be a potential solution for trauma-related issues, including trauma bonding in the context of infidelity.

EMDR Therapy: A Potential Solution for Trauma-Related Issues:

A person going to counseling to overcome trauma from infidelity in Suffolk County NY

EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, has shown great promise as a potential solution for trauma-related issues, including the emotional wounds caused by infidelity. This type of therapy focuses on reprocessing traumatic memories and reducing the distress associated with them.

In the context of infidelity, EMDR therapy can help individuals struggling with anxiety and depression symptoms. Anxiety treatment is a significant component of EMDR therapy, as it addresses the constant worry, racing thoughts, and difficulty sleeping that often accompany the trauma of infidelity. By using techniques such as bilateral stimulation, which involves moving the eyes back and forth or tapping on the body, individuals can process and desensitize their traumatic memories, leading to a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Similarly, EMDR therapy can also be effective in addressing depression symptoms. By reprocessing the traumatic memories associated with infidelity, individuals can begin to regain a sense of self-worth and find healing from the profound sadness and loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities. The therapy process allows individuals to process the emotions connected to the trauma and replace negative beliefs about themselves with more positive and empowering ones.

Through the power of EMDR therapy, individuals can overcome the emotional trauma left by infidelity and begin their journey towards healing and recovery. It is important to seek a trained and experienced EMDR therapist who can guide and support individuals through this transformative therapy process. With dedication and perseverance, individuals can break free from the cycle of trauma and move towards a brighter and more fulfilling future.

The Role of EMDR Intensives in Overcoming Trauma:

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is a powerful tool in overcoming trauma, including the emotional wounds caused by infidelity. But what role do EMDR intensives play in the journey towards healing?

EMDR intensives are extended therapy sessions that allow individuals to delve deeper into their trauma and work through it in a concentrated period of time. These sessions typically last several days and involve multiple therapy sessions each day. The length and intensity of EMDR intensives allow for a more comprehensive and focused approach to trauma processing.

One of the main benefits of EMDR intensives is the ability to establish and maintain momentum in the healing process. Unlike traditional therapy, which may only occur once a week or every few weeks, EMDR intensives provide consistent and continuous support. This helps individuals stay engaged in the healing process and make significant progress in a shorter time frame.

EMDR intensives also allow individuals to immerse themselves fully in the therapeutic experience. By dedicating a block of time solely to healing, individuals can more effectively process and integrate their traumatic experiences. This deep level of focus can facilitate breakthroughs and create lasting change.

Another advantage of EMDR intensives is the opportunity for the therapist and client to develop a stronger therapeutic relationship. Spending extended time together allows for a deeper level of trust and understanding to develop, which can enhance the therapeutic process.

While EMDR intensives can be intense and emotionally challenging, they offer a unique and powerful approach to overcome trauma from infidelity. They provide a space for individuals to work through their pain, process their emotions, and ultimately, move towards a path of healing and recovery. Through the support and guidance of an experienced EMDR therapist, individuals can break free from the cycle of trauma and embrace a brighter future.

Embracing the Journey Towards Healing:

People's hands holding each other. Find counseling for PTSD near Southampton, NY

Recovering from the trauma of infidelity is not an easy journey, but it is possible. It requires a commitment to healing and a willingness to embrace the journey towards healing. One important aspect of this journey is seeking out appropriate treatment, such as EMDR therapy, to address the emotional scars left by infidelity and break free from the cycle of trauma.

Anxiety treatment is a significant component of EMDR therapy, as it helps individuals manage the constant worry, racing thoughts, and difficulty sleeping that often accompany the trauma of infidelity. Through EMDR therapy, individuals can learn effective coping mechanisms and strategies to reduce anxiety symptoms, regain a sense of control, and restore a sense of safety.

Additionally, embracing the journey towards healing involves a commitment to self-care and self-compassion. This may involve engaging in activities that bring joy and promote emotional well-being, such as exercise, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

It is also important to seek support from trusted friends, family, or a therapist who specializes in trauma and infidelity. Connecting with others who have experienced similar pain and trauma can provide a sense of validation and understanding, while also offering the opportunity for shared healing and growth.

Finally, embracing the journey toward healing requires patience and self-forgiveness. Healing takes time, and setbacks may occur along the way. It is important to remember that healing is not linear, and that progress can be made even in the face of challenges.

By embracing the journey towards healing, individuals can break free from the cycle of trauma and create a brighter future filled with resilience, strength, and a renewed sense of self.

person in red shirt driving car. In person and online EMDR therapy in New York.

Experiencing a car accident can be a traumatic and life-altering event. Aside from physical injuries, it can also leave a lasting impact on one's mental health. Many individuals who have been in a car accident often develop anxiety symptoms, such as persistent fear, hypervigilance, and flashbacks. These symptoms can significantly affect their daily lives and prevent them from moving on from the traumatic experience. Fortunately, there is an effective therapy that can help individuals cope with these anxiety symptoms - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR therapy can help individuals struggling with car accident-related anxiety and is an effective treatment option.

Reclaim Your Life After a Car Accident - Break Free from Anxiety!

If you have even been in a car accident, the aftermath of such a traumatic experience can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. If you're dealing with:

  1. Avoidant Behavior: Constantly trying to avoid situations that remind you of the accident, such as driving, or shying away from discussions and activities associated with a lost loved one.
  2. Extreme Mood Changes: Suffering from persistent mood swings and sadness that just won't fade away, signaling a possible case of PTSD.
  3. Detachment: Feeling emotionally distant from loved ones, losing interest in once-beloved activities, and experiencing extreme loneliness.
  4. Flashbacks: Being haunted by intrusive, distressing memories of the accident that can trigger anxiety or depression, making it hard to engage in everyday activities.
  5. Frustration: Struggling with overwhelming frustration and anger, whether it's about the accident itself or the mounting medical bills and financial strain.

You may have developed PTSD in response to the accident and would benefit from Anxiety Treatment

beautiful sky as a backdrop to a winding road. Online EMDR therapy New York.

Living with post-car accident anxiety can be like carrying a heavy burden. It's as if every aspect of your life is overshadowed by the traumatic event. Avoidance behaviors can limit your freedom and isolate you from the world. Extreme mood changes and detachment from loved ones can leave you feeling like a stranger in your own life. Flashbacks can transport you back to the terrifying moment, robbing you of peace and joy. And the frustration and anger can become all-consuming, adding to your distress.

Imagine a life where you:

What Treatments are Most Effective in Dealing with PTSD after a Car Accident?

road leading through the woods with light shining through. EMDR treatment for anxiety following auto accident in New York State. Online EMDR therapy New York.

At Long Island EMDR, we specialize in evidence-based therapies, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), designed to help you overcome post-car accident anxiety. Our experienced therapists offer EMDR intensives, allowing for more rapid results and flexible scheduling to accommodate your busy life.

Our brain likes to "code" things. If we experience trauma our brain codes that experience and all things associated with it as threats. There are some problems with this coding though. For example, let's say you were hit by a blue car. Now every time you see a blue car, you get muscle tightness, and begin experiencing anxiety- but blue cars in and of themselves are not threats. EMDR takes the traumatic event stored in the "emotional" part of our brains and assists in making connecting with the "logical" reasoning part of our brain. This way the memory is stored more accurately and we do not experience the physical anxiety symptoms that occur when the memory is stored and processed inaccurately.

How to Start Treatment for PTSD Post-Car Accident in Suffolk County, NY?

Don't let the trauma of a car accident continue to control your life. You have the power to heal and thrive once more. Reach out to us for a consultation, and let's begin your journey toward a life free from anxiety and PTSD. You deserve to live without fear and embrace the peace and joy that awaits you.

Online Trauma Therapy for First Responders in near NYC

First responders face highly stressful and risky situations every day. The life of a first responder is demanding, and the toll it takes can be profound. Living with the symptoms of unprocessed trauma, such as depression, stress, posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and various functional and relational conditions, can feel like an unending battle.

The weight of these symptoms can make you feel:

Our team at Long Island EMDR provides specialized treatment for first responders dealing with the symptoms mentioned earlier. We understand what you are going through and know how challenging it can be. You are not alone, and we are here to help you find a path forward.

Picture a life where you:

Our evidence-based therapies are designed to help first responders move forward, no matter how challenging their past experiences have been. Our program utilizes treatments like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and EMDR intensives to help individuals make progress more quickly. By implementing more flexible scheduling options, we make treatment even more accessible.

If you're ready to take action and work on improving your life, then Long Island EMDR is here to support you. When you join our program, we provide you with a welcoming environment that caters to your specific needs. We offer tailored programs and individualized support, all in the name of ensuring that you can achieve the best possible outcomes.

How Trauma Therapy for First Responders Works:

Our treatment program begins by identifying your specific pain points and what you would like to work on during therapy. Afterward, our experienced clinicians create a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs. Your treatment may include EMDR intensives or other evidence-based therapies that help reduce symptoms like stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. By taking this approach, we can offer flexible treatment schedules, and get more rapid results.

Benefits of Trauma Therapy for First Responders:

Man saluting in front of American Flag. PSTD treatment near Bethpage, NY.

First responders face highly stressful and risky situations every day. The life of a first responder is demanding, and the toll it takes can be profound. Living with the symptoms of unprocessed trauma, such as depression, stress, posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and various functional and relational conditions, can feel like an unending battle.

Our evidence-based therapies are designed to help first responders from the invisible wounds of your profession. We offer the support and guidance needed to take that first step forward. By prioritizing our patients' mental health needs, we can help first responders get back on track to live the lives they deserve. With our innovative treatment program and compassionate approach, we are committed to your success.

If you're struggling with symptoms of stress, depression, or post-traumatic stress, we want you to know that help is available. At Long Island EMDR, we offer innovative and evidence-based treatment that has been shown to be effective for first responders. Our compassionate approach prioritizes our clients' needs and fosters a supportive environment that leads to healing and progress. If you're ready to take that first step forward, then contact us today and start your journey to healing.

Trauma can sneak up on us, often hidden in plain sight. Whether a personal setback or a larger
life event, its impact can be profound and far-reaching. Understanding and recognizing the signs
of trauma is crucial, not just for our well-being but also for those around us. This article aims to
guide you through the subtle and not-so-subtle indicators of trauma. We'll explore what to look
out for, from physical symptoms to emotional changes. Recognizing the signs of trauma is the
first step towards healing them for good.

Understanding Trauma: A Brief Explanation

Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. It can stem from a
variety of situations, like an accident, the loss of a loved one, or any event that shakes us to our
core. Everyone reacts differently to trauma, and what deeply affects one person might not
impact another in the same way. It's important to know that trauma isn't just about the big, life-
altering events. It can also arise from smaller yet significant experiences, especially during
childhood.

A crucial aspect of trauma is its potential long-term effects. For some, the echoes of past trauma
can trigger addiction in later life. That happens as individuals turn to substances or behaviors in
an attempt to cope with unresolved emotional pain or stress. Understanding this link is vital, as it
helps in recognizing why some people might develop addiction issues and highlights the
importance of addressing trauma to break this cycle.

Parents arguing in front of a child.
Trauma can be caused by many different events in our lives.

Physical Signs of Trauma

Physical Signs of Trauma
Recognizing the physical signs of trauma is a key step in understanding how deeply it affects
us. These signs often manifest in ways that we might overlook. Here are some common
physical symptoms:
● Exhaustion: Feeling constantly tired, even after a good night's sleep.
● Sleep Issues: Struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or experiencing nightmares.
● Appetite Changes: Eating too much or too little, which wasn't the case before.
● Physical Pain: Unexplained aches and pains, like headaches or stomach problems.
These symptoms are your body's way of signaling that something isn't right. It's easy to dismiss
them as just being stressed or busy. However, if you notice these changes in yourself or
someone close to you, it could be a sign of underlying trauma. Paying attention to these
physical cues is crucial for recognizing the need for care and support.

Emotional and Psychological Signs

Alongside physical signs, trauma often leaves emotional and psychological marks that can be
just as telling. These signs can sometimes be harder to notice, as they're deeply personal and
vary greatly from one person to another. Here's what to look out for:
● Mood Swings: Rapid changes in mood, from anger to sadness, without a clear reason.
● Anxiety and Fear: Constant feelings of nervousness or being on edge, often about
things that didn't bother you before.
● Depression: Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or losing interest in activities
you used to enjoy.
● Flashbacks and Nightmares: Reliving the traumatic event in your mind can feel
overwhelmingly real.
● Avoidance: Steering clear of people, places, or activities that remind you of the trauma.
Understanding that these signs are normal responses to abnormal events is crucial. They are
not signs of weakness but indications that your mind is trying to cope with something difficult. If
you or someone you know is showing these signs, it's a hint that seeking support could be
beneficial.

Person covering their eyes.
Anxiety and fear are clear signs of trauma.

Behavioral Changes Indicating Trauma

Trauma doesn't just impact our minds and bodies; it often shows up in our actions and
behaviors, too. These changes can be a clear signal that someone is struggling with
unprocessed trauma. Keep an eye out for these behavioral signs:
● Withdrawal: Pulling back from social interactions, even from close friends and family.
● Irritability: Getting easily upset or angered, often over minor issues.
● Loss of Interest: Not wanting to engage in hobbies or activities that used to be
enjoyable.
● Risky Behaviors: Engaging in activities that are out of character, like reckless driving or
substance abuse.
● Changes in Routine: Significant shifts in daily habits, like sleeping patterns or personal
hygiene.
These behaviors are often a person's unconscious way of dealing with overwhelming emotions
or memories. They might not even realize the changes themselves. Recognizing these signs is
important for understanding and supporting someone dealing with trauma. It's not about labeling
them but about offering a helping hand.

When to Seek Help

Knowing when it's time to seek help for trauma can be a turning point in your journey toward
healing. If you're finding that the signs of trauma are interfering with your daily life, relationships,
or well-being, it's a clear indicator that professional support could be beneficial. That is
especially true if you're feeling overwhelmed, if your coping mechanisms aren't working, or if
you're noticing a persistent decline in your mental health.
In these circumstances, reaching out to a professional, like a trauma therapist, can provide the
tools and support you need to process and move beyond your trauma. Techniques like Eye
Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
(EMDR) are particularly effective for many people.
This therapy is designed to help you confront and reframe your traumatic experiences in a safe
and supportive environment.
Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It's about taking control of your life and
choosing to heal. If you're unsure about where to start, consider reaching out to a mental health
professional who can guide you through your options and help you find the right path for your
healing journey.

Woman comforting another woman with trauma.
Seeking help is the first step in healing from trauma.

How to Support Someone Experiencing Trauma

Supporting someone who is dealing with trauma can make a significant difference in their
healing process. The key is to offer support in a respectful and understanding way. Start by
simply being there for them. Listen without judgment or the urge to offer quick fixes. Sometimes,
just having someone to talk to can be incredibly relieving for someone dealing with trauma.
Encourage them gently to seek professional help if they haven't already, but remember, the
decision to seek therapy must be theirs. You can help by providing information about available
resources or even offering to accompany them to an appointment, but avoid pressuring them.
Also, respect their need for space and time. Trauma recovery is not linear, and everyone heals
at their own pace. Be patient and maintain a supportive presence in their life. Small gestures
like checking in on them, offering to help with day-to-day tasks, or just spending time together
can be comforting.

Embracing Healing: A Step Towards Recovery

In sum, recognizing the signs of trauma is a vital step toward healing and recovery. Whether it's
physical symptoms, emotional changes, or behavioral shifts, being aware of these signs can
lead to timely support and care. If you or someone you know shows these signs, don't hesitate

to reach out for help. Every step taken towards understanding and addressing trauma is a move
towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.

A sad woman pretending to be happy with a mask. Looking for depression treatment near Sayville, NY.

Much to the relief of mental health workers the stigma attached to depression is lessening as awareness increases. Times are changing and so are your options when it comes to seeking treatment for depression. EMDR can be an effective means to treat your depression when traditional options have not helped.

Most people are familiar with depression, or at least familiar with the fact that it exists and anyone can struggle with it. However, many people may not know where to start when it comes to how to treat it effectively. Traditional therapy and medication do help, without a doubt. But what happens when it’s just not enough or you aren’t feeling relief? If that question rings true for you, please know that you do have options for EMDR therapy for depression in Suffolk County, NY.

What is EMDR?

 I’d like to bring to your attention a treatment option, which you may or may not have heard of, known as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Are you familiar with this treatment? During EMDR treatment, bilateral stimulation activates the opposite sides of the brain allowing the brain to release and redefine emotional experiences that are “trapped” within the brain. This type of stimulation actually resembles REM sleep as our eyes move from one side to the other. It is during sleep that the brain naturally sorts out our experiences from the day, discarding useless information and transferring memories appropriately.

Sometimes when we experience a traumatic events, big or small (i.e. getting in trouble at school, bullying, or the emotional trauma experienced when dealing with infidelity), these negative experiences can get “trapped” or “frozen” in the brain and they are unable to resolve naturally which may result in nightmares, depression, anger, anxiety, or emotional disturbance.

Along with the “trapped” negative experience is the negative emotional and sensory information, and childlike or initial interpretation of the experience.

Burnt out mom looking out the window. Find treatment for PTSD and anxiety near Bethpage, NY.

Even locked away these negative emotions can still affect us greatly. We can be triggered by any number of things; a scent, a visual object, even being spoken to a certain way can trigger a memory or negative feeling, often without any understanding why. When a negative memory is triggered, the neurological response is protection and the result is a state of hyper-arousal commonly referred to as fight or flight.

Stress hormones are released into the body and we find ourselves saying things without thinking or doing things that seem out of character. Unfortunately, the initial and untrue negative beliefs about oneself are reinforced.

What’s an EMDR session like? 

During a typical EMDR session you would be asked to identify a disturbing target memory. That memory is then processed using bilateral stimulation, the negative feelings, beliefs, or experience become desensitized, meaning they simply become less bothersome. The feelings, beliefs, and/or experience is then reprocessed and a new meaning is attached to the experience or triggers. As your brain arrives at a new conclusion, the original trauma no longer contains the negative emotional charge originally associated with it. The triggers are now neutral, the interpretation of the experience is now intentional and the beliefs about oneself are more positive and present hope instead of powerlessness.

Should I do it? So you may be wondering, “Is EMDR right for me?” Well, if you feel like your traumas, or inner demons, have too much power over you; and if you have a strong desire to be liberated from the traumas of your past, then, yes, EMDR may be a good fit for you.

Please keep in mind, EMDR is not only for those who have suffered significant trauma.

Reasons for choosing EMDR include a desire to let go of the rational, logical self and to be able to engage at a deeper level. If focusing solely on symptom management is not getting you the results you desire then you may benefit from EMDR, leading you to a deeper understanding of the root cause of the problem and allowing you to deal with it and find resolution.

If you have any thoughts or questions related to EMDR therapy for depression in Suffolk County, NY., or other mental health issues, please feel free to contact us. We would love to help you.

usercrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram