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Signs That You're Stuck In A Trauma Identity

Trauma isn't just about the tough stuff we've been through; it's also how it shapes our whole identity and our way of being. That's what I call a "trauma identity." It's like this sneaky subconscious rabbit hole that keeps us diving into the same old patterns, convincing us that this is just what life is like and that nothing can change.

Changes are, you're doing all the 'right things' —yoga, therapy, self-help—but it's not moving the needle. You are still feeling stuck, disconnected, maybe even starting to lose hope. Everyone gets disheartened, disappointed and feels blocked sometimes. However, a tell tale sign that being a traumatised state has become your identity is that it actually feels safer to feel this way, than to change. As you can imagine, as long as it feels safer to be in pain, change becomes very hard. In this article I'm going to discuss the causes of the trauma identity, the signs and symptoms and what you can do to help yourself.


So, how do we know if we're caught in this cycle? Well, here are some signs to look out for:

  1. You've been feeling stagnant for what seems like forever, unable to break free from old habits, toxic relationships and beliefs about yourself. You know this affects your life but you mask and hide and then mourn your lack of connection with your authentic self. As a result you feel lost but you're not sure why.

  2. You do everything from therapy to plant medicines but nothing changes long term and infact, you may feel even worse. You become financially and physically unstable and lose your grounding.

  3. You find yourself constantly blaming your external circumstances for your lack of progress, without considering your own role in it.

  4. Change terrifies you because it feels like a threat to your very existence. Loving yourself and receiving love also terrifies you for the same reason - because deep down you will have to face your authentic self, your higher self, and go through the realisation that your prior ego state was false. You are therefore more concerned about maintaining the false self (and avoiding the pain of growth) rather than embracing your higher self.

  5. When you do start to process and release your trauma, pain and emotions, you feel ashamed of yourself and you constantly interrupt your body's attempts to heal by getting stuck in your head. Usually your narrative is harsh, critical or distracting. This means your nervous system never goes into the deeper layers to heal. You are preoccupied with protecting your pain.

  6. You struggle to love yourself or deeply hold yourself accountable, yet you crave love and validation from others. This could be your partner, your children or your if you're a wounded healer, even your clients. You find yourself repeatedly over extending your own boundaries to give to others and then becoming resentful when you feel drained or unappreciated.

  7. Co-dependency feels like your only way of survival because you don't trust yourself to be enough and stand on your own. You would rather choose a toxic and co-dependent relationship to have company and comfort rather than be alone and heal your attachment wounds. You end up feeling unworthy and rejected anyway, which returns you to your childhood. However, you do not believe this is worth exploring.

  8. Deep down, you feel a strange sense of comfort in resisting your own healing—it's like a twisted form of self-preservation for your ego. As a result, you either a) never heal yourself or do any form of trauma informed work b) fixate on labels and medical diagnoses that mean you don't delve deeper into the root causes c) you do start trying to heal but you shame, block and impede your progress at every opportunity or constantly create new levels of crisis and fear in your own life.


Root Causes of the Trauma Identity

  1. Sexual abuse as a child by a family member or close adult: This kind of trauma can deeply shape our sense of self and relationships, leaving lasting scars that influence how we view ourselves and the world around us.

  2. Being medicated with psychiatric drugs from a young age: While medication can be helpful in managing symptoms, relying solely on medication without addressing underlying issues can contribute to a sense of dependency and identity tied to being "sick" or "broken."

  3. Severe early attachment disorders and neglect: In utero and birth trauma, early experiences of neglect or inconsistent caregiving can disrupt our ability to form healthy attachments, leading to difficulties in regulating emotions and the nervous system. As a result, it can lead to chaotic thoughts and self sabotage.

  4. Having childhood trauma misdiagnosed your whole life as a chronic health condition: Misdiagnosis can be incredibly frustrating and disempowering, leading us to internalize a sense of helplessness and hopelessness about our ability to heal and move forward.

  5. Spiritual bypassing that has become normalized so you don't look within: Sometimes, we're encouraged to seek external solutions or spiritual practices without truly addressing the deeper emotional wounds within us. This can perpetuate the cycle of avoidance and disconnection from our true selves.

  1. Growing up in a household with narcissistic abuse, substance abuse and addiction: Living in an environment where substance abuse is prevalent can lead to unpredictable and unstable family dynamics, causing emotional turmoil and a distorted sense of safety and self.

  2. Experiencing repeated instances of bullying or peer rejection during childhood or adolescence: Persistent bullying or social rejection can deeply impact our self-esteem and social interactions, leading to feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness that can carry into adulthood.

  3. Being raised in a culture or community that stigmatizes mental health issues: Cultural attitudes toward mental health can shape how we perceive and cope with our own struggles. Stigma and shame surrounding mental illness can prevent us from seeking help and perpetuate feelings of isolation and self-blame.

  4. Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence or intergenerational trauma within the ancestral line and family: Exposure to war, violence or trauma within the family and ancestral unit can create a cycle of dysfunction and perpetuate unhealthy relationship dynamics, reinforcing patterns of trauma and identity.

  5. Experiencing a significant loss or traumatic event without adequate support or processing: Unresolved grief and trauma from past losses or traumatic events can linger beneath the surface, impacting our ability to trust others and form meaningful connections, and contributing to a sense of disconnection from ourselves and others.


The Key to Healing Your Trauma Identity

If you're serious about changing your life, enrol in my self paced somatic inner child healing course or diving deeper into shadow work. This offers you the guidance, support and focus that you need to change.

The reason why this is vital is because until you heal, you will continue suffering and repeat the same cycles. This can have serious consequences for your mental and physical wellbeing, which affects your family, your finances and your future.

The straight path to healing the trauma identity is outlined below. It requires radical self honesty and usually you will need therapeutic support to work through these blocks. If you have a habit of constantly self sabotaging and blocking yourself, to be able to coach yourself out of this loop is almost impossible, that is why you work with someone who can get you through until you have more capacity in your nervous system to embody other ways of being. This also takes practice, and healing doesn't happen in one or two sessions. If you have had a trauma identity for twenty or thirty years of your life which many people do, you should expect to spend at least 12 weeks in a healing programme. This is the bare minimum, to release the imprints of fear and allow your brain and nervous system to gradually rewire and recalibrate to a new way of being.

It's very common to discover that the part of you that is blocking progress is a very young part that is hidden and that you don't have a connection with. It's also a very important part of you - your inner child. Being dissociated from the energetics and somatics of your youngest parts can lead you to feeling intense fear and disconnection.

Facing the self saboteur part of you usually unveils a young and tender child part that is longing for reconnection, love, safety and integration.

  1. Self Enquiry, trauma discover and somatic regulation

  2. Doing parts work and embracing deeper shadow integration

  3. Releasing fear, grief and shame and reconnecting to your inner child

  4. Learning to validate and then meet your own needs from within

  5. Rebuilding your self worth through embodied connection with your inner child

  6. Forgiving your self for past hurts, disappointments and traumas

  7. Committing to actionable change and learning how to hold yourself accountable with love, honour and in the highest regard for yourself. As always, if you're ready to start 1:1 healing reach out to me.  You might like to explore my online course which is a deep dive into Healing your Inner Child and discovering your Higher Self and Shadow Hunter, the Ultimate guide to Self Illumination.


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