Traumatic events in the past


Trauma can be defined in may ways and a lot of different things can be understood by this term. However, such symptoms as persistent feelings of shame, inability to feel one’s worth and dignity, low self- esteem, and various other symptoms – for example, psychosomatic illnesses, sleeping and eating problems may be the result of difficult events that had taken place in the past.

A single traumatic event experienced in adult life will certainly cause less devastation in one’s psyche than repeatedly happening traumatic events over a course of years that became a “norm” in childhood years. Years of Living in the environment of child neglect or abuse, sexual or physical violence, is extremely devastating for a person, and it’s consequences may persist through the entire life.

Moreover, if some topics have always been forbidden to bring up at home, some questions have never been allowed be to ask – more and more symptoms may develop, because some things can never be forgotten. If there have always been some family mysteries which couldn’t and cannot see the daylight, symptoms like addictions, eating disorders, psychoses or psychosomatic illnesses, and many others, may serve as “out-speakers” of past events.

Children who were brought up in an atmosphere of threat – usually need help, even later on as adults – to get over their past traumas and start healing their wounds. This may be a process of recovery through dealing with shame, guilt, and fear, as well as regaining their dignity, and feeling relief from suffering and pain.

What are flashbacks?

Flashbacks are connected with traumatic past events. These are usually memories coming back in the form of dreams or images that torment the person experiencing them. They come back repeatedly, like a nightmare. Flashbacks are usually something one would like to forget about, but they keep coming as haunting thoughts from a bad dream. These can be memories, or – sometimes but less frequently – imagined scenes that have never taken place. A person suffering from this type of thoughts can wish to escape them, can make efforts to make them disappear and leave him or her alone, but such thoughts come back relentlessly and do not let one have a peaceful and calm life. If such a situation persists, it is worth looking for help. Allowing yourself to be helped by a professional, you can start experiencing a new kind of freedom.

Agnieszka Guzowska

psychologist, psychotherapist

I am a psychologist and a psychotherapist. I am trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Having completed a 4-year long postgraduate training in the psychodynamic approach I received my diploma of a psychodynamic psychotherapist. Currently I am am broadening my knowledge and skills in psychoanalytic approach.