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Are You Affected By Past Trauma? A Self-Assessment

Trauma is a powerful word and perhaps you think the things that trouble you don't rise to the level of trauma, but you're probably mistaken.

The current way of looking at trauma is that it is either something bad that happened to you or something good that was withheld from you. And it's not the act that sticks with us, but all the emotions related to the act.

And if you're like me and how I was raised, many or all of these emotions are either ignored, smothered, or compartmentalized -- meaning that instead of processing and dealing with these negative emotions, we create a ticking timebomb in our bodies, minds, and souls that has all sorts of negative outcomes in our lives, affecting our mental and physical health.

Are you affected by past trauma? I have a series of 10 questions for you, just for you -- a short self-assessment -- but my hope is that you can also share these same questions with your partner, child, parent, friend... so that you can open others to the reality of trauma.


Trauma-Healing Self-Assessment


1. How comfortable do you feel being you?

When I was at my lowest point, full-on going down that downward spiral, I truly felt like I was someone else... or living someone else's life. I was NOT comfortable in my own skin.

Other people describe this feeling as living someone else's life, not your own. Others describe the feeling of never wanting to be alone -- because they were comfortable just being by themselves.

How do you feel? Do you feel like you've lost your way? Not the same person as you were growing up? Do you have self-love? Do you truly like yourself?

2. Do you have moments of unexplained agitation, anger, fear, frustration, loneliness?

And not just rare moments, but kind of regular and out of the blue.

I remember many times when I was working on a project and got frustrated when something did not go as planned, throwing tools, equipment... definitely breaking a few things along the way.

How are you doing? Do you have explosive moments that seem uncontrollable? How often do you act out for no logical reason? Do you feel alone and misunderstood? How many things have you broken recently?

3. Do you often hide your true self behind a mask -- or several masks?

At my lowest point, I wore so many masks that I kind of lost track of them -- and myself. I had a mask as the good dad, the responsible husband, the professor mask, the drink with students mask... No one... no one... saw the real me. Even I didn't want to see the real me.

How are you coping? Do you change your personality (wear a mask) for different situations, different people? Do you hide your true self? Do you know your true self?

4. Do you often feel shame or resentment -- often for no obvious reason?

I know I have lashed out at people in the past because of the shame and resentment that bubbled within me, especially when I was triggered; looking back now, I am pretty embarrassed at some of my actions and words.

How's your emotional state? Are you fairly calm and consistent, or do you find yourself having moments of shame, resentment, fear, guilt?

5. Have you removed/blocked people from your life -- for any reason?

I never did this when I was deep in my trauma, but I did ignore a LOT of people... pushed them away because of my shame, fear... but also because of ego since I knew I was juggling things better than them... not!

I hate the term "cancel culture," but social media has allowed our negative trauma reactions to spill into social media, as well in our in-person relationships. While there are definitely times we need to remove people from our lives -- for safety and health concerns -- this question is more about the random removals.

How is your relationship with your community, your tribe? Have you lashed out at people who disagree with you? Have you disconnected and/or blocked people from your life because they disagree with you or don't support you? Do your relationships seem strong, or are you still acting like a spoiled child?

6. Are you addicted to anything?

Addiction is addiction, and it's not the substance/action, but based in trauma. Addictive behavior is when someone is obsessed (persistently) about a "positive" reward while ignoring any potential harm or negative consequences. It doesn't matter if the behavior is related to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, gaming, comfort/junk foods, social media, exercise, porn, work, or shopping.

At my lowest, my addiction was porn. For many others, it is drugs, food, work. (Yes, workaholism is a big sign of trauma.)

What's the main focus/pull in your life? Do you find yourself losing hours, days engrossed in some unhealthy activity? Do you ignore the warnings of friends, family about your activities? Are you ignoring your intuitive voice telling you to stop?

7. Are you stuck in a dead-end job or career?

So many people report being stuck in "dead-end" jobs and/or being lost in an unfulfilling career path.

I spent many years coaching people, helping them uncover their career passion and lead a successful life.

While having unprocessed trauma is not the only reason people are unhappy with their work, it is certainly something that has to be examined -- especially if you have been stuck for years and years and have done nothing to change your situation.

8. Have you been unsuccessful in your long-term relationships?

I struggled pretty badly with relationships because of my trauma. I was in a marriage that felt to me more like a business arrangement. I thought I knew love, but what I chased for way too many years was lust and the excitement of the chase (and/or getting caught).

Trauma often strips us of self-love, that all important respect and care for ourselves. (There is nothing egotistical or narcissistic about true self-love). When we don't love ourselves, it is extremely difficult to be loved by anyone -- and it's also hard to love others completely.

How are you doing in the love department? Do you truly love and respect yourself?

9. Are you constantly thinking and rethinking the same old stuff?

When I was deep into my downward spiral from the trauma, I was caught in an endless loop of repetitive thoughts -- about who I was, what I was doing, why I was doing it... but also reliving the "dangerous" highlights that kept life exciting (while I was dead emotionally inside).

Are you spending a lot of your time in the past -- or thinking about the future? Has it almost become an obsession? Does it keep you up at night as you lie in bed?

Oftentimes, these thought loops are purely an escape mechanism from living and feeling the present, and you will likely not resolve them until you resolve your trauma.

10. Does your life often feel out of balance? Out of control?

Don't take this comment the wrong way, but there were many days when I was not healed that I lived on the edge and floated with the ecstasy of breaking rules... the rush was incredible. During that same period, there were many dark days when the walls seemed ready to come crashing down, ruining me personally, professionally.

Compare those crazy, out-of-control days to the ones since I found healing. My days are a beautiful even keel (mostly), filled with much love and true respect... what I refer to as the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23), which was also part of my spiritual healing.

How is your life? How are your days? Do you have everything under control, or are you a ticking timebomb waiting to explode -- or implode?


Final Thoughts About Healing and Trauma

If ANY of these questions triggered you, upset you, or hit you hard... there's a reason... and that reason is that you are:
  • disconnected from yourself
  • dealing with dysregulated emotions
  • holding onto unprocessed trauma

Trauma affects ALL systems -- mind, body, soul. But trauma is NOT a life sentence. Once you are aware that you might have some issues to deal with, you can begin the process of healing.

My final point here is that so many people are suffering -- some unaware they are suffering -- but EVERYONE is worthy of healing... of getting onto a healing journey.

If you made a discovery today through reading this article, please consider the many benefits of a healing journey. Learn more in one of my other articles: What is a Healing Journey? How Do I Start One?


Additional Resources From Dr. Randall on Healing Your Trauma


EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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