Synchronicities Coaching 

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What's Trauma?

“Trauma is not what happens to a person, but what happens within them. In line with its Greek origins, trauma means a wound–an unhealed one, and one the person is compelled to defend against by means of constricting their own ability to feel, be present, to respond flexibly to situations… Young children can be traumatized simply when their need for attuned attention and responsive interaction with the parent is unmet–often due to no conscious awareness on the part of the parent.” -Dr. Gabor Maté

Humans cause trauma to each other, to animals, to plants, and to our environment. 

Complex PTSD

Complex trauma (CPTSD) happens when there was prolonged abuse or neglect that lasted for a really long time. The needs for connection (care givers, family, friends, romantic partners, colleagues, classmates, animals, plants, environment, nature, etc.), authenticity, nourishment, understanding, acceptance, belonging, equality, respect, trust, harmony, peace, love, etc. go unmet is what causes CPTSD. You may have also had a parent that struggled with mental health issues, addiction, was unable to attune to you, was absent, or were unable to regulate their own nervous systems to demonstrate that to you growing up. CPTSD shapes your entire personality. With CPTSD, there's an aspect of not knowing who you are because there is no "before and after" you, there's just discovery. 

PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) happens when an unexpected event happens abruptly and you were unable to get out of that state of shock for a while. This could be a health scare, almost dying, birth, the loss of a relationship, the death of a loved one, an accident, an injury, a fire, a sudden loss, serving in the military, work place trauma (first responders especially), getting shot at, gang and criminal related activities, going to jail or prison, an assault, an abusive relationship, divorce, adoption, being in foster care, catastrophic events (natural disasters, war, genocide, etc.), etc. PTSD changes your personality after the event, so there is a "before and after" you to come back to, or a new you to be discovered. 

How does Trauma Effect the Nervous System

When you are faced with a threat (something that shocks you in the moment), could be emotional or physical, your body goes into survival mode (fight, flight, or freeze) to get through the dangerous situation. The survival response creates a physical responses in your body such as a faster heart beat to rush the blood to your extremities to fight or run, your muscles get tense to fight the aggressor, digestion slows down (either you keep everything in or it comes out, etc. When a trigger happens (the event gets brought up or a symbol from the event gets brought up) you get a flash back to being in the same place when the event took place. That part of you gets stuck in time because afterwards you were unable to let out the feelings or talk about it with someone else because it was just so significant and big that it was overwhelming and extremely terrifying. When those parts of us get stuck in time (we repress the memories and feelings) we become continually stuck in that survival state, those parts end up holding us back in our lives because they never got the chance to let go and grow with us. When we are caught in survival mode for too long, it affects your hormone secretion, brain chemistry, and immune system functioning this is how death and disease occur. The emotional pain can become a somatic issue and present itself as a physical pain instead of an emotional one when the trauma has become so deeply repressed and pushed down because it was too scary to accept or acknowledge emotionally. Everything that happens to us emotionally also happens to us physically because of the body's reaction to the emotional danger. You cannot escape the physical body when healing emotional wounding because they are both completely intertwined. Right now, your mind might be in a different place than you were in before when the event happened, but your body still hasn't left that same place yet. 

How Trauma Shows up for Animals and Humans

Animal trauma shows up in very similar ways as it does for humans. The behaviours may be different, however it still shows up as heightened nervous system responses such as:

  • Addiction which is really a deep crave for connection but not having the tools to connect in a healthy way. You can be addicted to anything

  • Anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, bulimia, other eating disorders, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, reactive attachment disorders, disinhibited social engagement disorder, adjustment disorder, prolonged grief disorder, specific phobias, dissociative identity disorders, depersonalization-derealisation disorder, bipolar disorder, paraphilias, etc. (some of these things can be from trauma, but they can also not be from trauma, it's important to check with your doctor first)

  • Lethargy and an avoidance of doing things that bring joy such as play

  • Clinginess, an inability to be alone, separation anxiety, an inability to regulate on your own

  • Sexual dysfuntions

  • Avoidance

  • Aggression

  • Fear

  • Reactivity towards humans and other animals

  • Reactivity in moments you don’t need to be or reacting sooner than necessary

  • Physical pain and illnesses

  • Lack of boundaries

  • A big resistance to be in discomfort or to see others in discomfort

  • Inability to stand up for self or others

  • Staying in connections, jobs, environments, or states of being that bring you no peace or fulfillment in hopes that things will change or because you're afraid of getting something worse or better

  • Financial issues (over spending, under spending, fear of losing it all, fear of gaining more, etc.) 

  • Doing things to please others and living your life to fulfill their desires or missed opportunities or dreams instead of living life for yourself 

  • Letting other's fears and pain define you 

  • Thinking that pain and fear are what's real and that nothing outside of that is real, safe, or stable and making choices from that place of fear

  • Feeling like you're a victim (blaming self) or victor (entitlement) 

  • Believing you're bad and blaming yourself or blaming others and believing they're bad

  • Pushing others away that want to love you and be there 

  • Having no one that loves or supports you

  • Allowing people to disrespect and abuse you or others 

  • You try to control the things you can't 

  • Hoarding

  • Spending your time and money on things you don't want, don't need, or are unfulfilling

  • Abandoning relationships when emotional intimacy takes a new level (running in relationships)

  • Excessive hovering in a relationship and making the other being your whole personality or turning into them 

  • Becoming someone you aren't or doing something you dislike, aren't okay with, hate, are uncomfortable with, etc. for someone else to please them, or because you're afraid of getting hurt by them if you don't do it 

  • Shaming others or shaming yourself 

  • Disturbing dreams 

  • Trouble sleeping 

  • An inability to stop thinking or working to be present 

  • Focusing too much on the future and not enough on the past thinking it has no effect on you at all (avoiding your trauma)

  • Focusing too heavily on your past that your trauma completely consumes you and you feel helpless 

  • An inability to trust yourself, others, or your intuition 

  • The need to rush through life to stay busy and productive all the time and never resting 

  • Hiding things (physically or emotionally)

  • The belief that you are unworthy of good things in life 

  • The fear of loss and the attachment to having things (physical or emotional)

  • Destructive behaviours to self, others, and environment

  • High energy with an inability to calm down easily

  • Submissiveness and dominance (an inability to assert boundaries respectfully and calmly)

  • An inability to resolve conflict in a calm manner

  • An inability to be peaceful and surrender

  • The strong need to protect (highly territorial in an aggressive way)

  • Jealousy and possessiveness

  • Physical violence towards others

  • Hypersensitivity to certain environments and sounds

  • Unable to be in a state of peace around others and keeping your physical or energetic distance (boundaries) with wild animals, humans, and other domesticated animals

  • Avoidance of food or over eating

  • Troubles with eliminations and digestive tract such as: accidents (inability to hold poop and pee), diarrhea, constipation, passing blood, darkening of urine, or throwing up

  • Not getting the zoomies 

  • Fear of commitment or having a hard time committing

  • Never feeling like there's enough time in a day

  • Inflammation

  • Displacement behaviours in animals (picking something up when they’re excited to cope with the sheer amount of energy coursing through their body)

  • Excessive humping (for animals) or a sex addiction (in humans)

  • Self mutilation in animals: A lot of licking (licking themselves raw, licking a lot of objects, licking furniture, or licking you when they’re nervous), excessive preening (pulling their hair, fur, or feathers out), excessive scratching, biting themselves excessively, tail chasing (and then mutilation towards tail), large focus on limbs (tail, legs, feet, etc.)

  • Self mutilation in humans: biting nails, biting lips, biting cheek, biting self, tearing nails, skin picking, punching or hitting yourself, digging nails into skin, scratching yourself hard, cutting, strangling yourself, suffocating yourself, choking yourself 

  • Avoiding taking care of their own or other's needs (not showering, not eating, not cleaning the environment, not drinking, etc.)

  • Eating disorders 

  • Saving urine or poop in containers (humans)

  • Smearing poop (humans or animals)

  • Eating from the trash cans or compost bin in your home (humans and animals)

  • Having a hard time making decisions for yourself and doing what everyone else tells you to do 

  • Etc.

If you see any of these behaviours or health issues in you, a human, or an animal please talk to your vet or doctor as soon as possible.

A lot of people hire animals trainers try to train these behaviours out of animals or medicate these issues away, however by doing that (similar to CBT or talk therapy for humans), you're missing the deeper reason behind the behaviour. Medication is certainly a helpful tool, however medication alone shouldn't be the only thing you're doing to "solve" the issue at hand. When it comes to your health it's important to take a well rounded approach to cover all of your bases. Without getting into the reason behind the issue (a deregulated nervous system) it's highly unlikely you or your animal will feel safe and they're more likely to either circle back to that behaviour later down the road or develop a new destructive behaviour just to cope.

How Trauma Shows up for Plants

Trauma in plants often gets heavily overlooked by humans because humans don't really view plants to be as important as humans or animals, however they are. Plants are living beings that can also go through abuse, trauma, and neglect. Trauma for plants shows up in an incredibly different way than it does for humans or animals. Some common signs found in plants are:

  • Drying out leaves

  • Brown spots on leaves

  • Onsets of diseases 

  • Rotting 

  • Mold growing on the soil 

  • The plant is dying 

  • Bug infestations 

  • Roots are growing above the soil 

  • Slow growth or no growth 

  • Wilting 

  • Lack of firmness in plant (squishy and losing it's bounce or perkiness)

  • They energetically feel congested or sad 

  • Losing it's colour or a lack of colour 

  • Over producing offspring, fruits, or blooms

  • Under producing offspring, fruits, or blooms 

  • It's seasonal changes are late or early (it's out of it's species natural rhythm)

It's important to mention that every plant you bring into your home has trauma. It doesn't matter where you got it from, it's going to have trauma if humans have had any influence on it's life at all, even if you dug it out of the forrest yourself, it's going to have trauma from that. It's also important to note that plants are incredibly emotional creatures and beings. Since plants are so sensitive, they acquire trauma incredibly easily. Plants are some of the most heavily impacted beings on earth from human greed. You don't need to fear your plant having trauma, because if healing from trauma is possible for a human or animal, it's possible for a plant too.