By Linda K. Laffey, MFT
It’s safe to say that life tends to deliver plenty of unexpected circumstances. Whether it’s a job loss, sudden cross-country relocation, or illness, “surprises” don’t always come neatly wrapped and stamped with a bow.
As a result, these experiences can take a toll on even the most grounded individual.
However, what if nothing significant has played out in your life? Perhaps the challenging part of your existence isn’t one massive life change at all—but you still don’t feel “okay.”
What Are “Little” Traumas?
Recognizing a massive trauma in someone’s life is reasonably straightforward. For example, surviving a violent attack or enduring a devastating natural disaster qualify as significant traumatic events.
But what about the ever-present anxiety that accompanies living with a verbally abusive partner? How about taking care of an aging parent? Think about the stress of an overloaded single parent trying to make ends meet.
Or, consider a month filled with changing desks at work, dropping your phone in the toilet, and enduring a fender-bender on the way to the grocery store where you went over-budget trying to buy food for an annual family gathering.
Sound stressful? They should. The situations mentioned above are known as “little” traumas or “little t” traumas.
What’s the Impact of “Little t” Traumas?
Most people brush off everyday situations or responsibilities, such as parenting alone or doubling as a caregiver after your regular job. On that note, few people would peg dropping your phone in the toilet as a traumatic event.
Still, they’re traumatic because of the compounding effect. The damage to your wellbeing isn’t swift or in one fell swoop. Instead, little trauma works more like a leaky faucet—slowly and surely, the excess water overflows.
If left unchallenged, little trauma can do more damage than one significant event, according to some experts. It’s more than feeling like pulling your hair out.
Little trauma can build up, crushing you a little more each day until you only have threads of hope or joy left inside. It happens so gradually that most people assume they’re only having a bad week or month instead of recognizing the distressing experiences as harmful.
Why Should You Consider EMDR to Help?
Recovering from trauma is tricky because it’s often complicated and deeply rooted inside. What’s more, is that little trauma typically flies under the radar, so identifying it is tough.
However, some widespread symptoms of trauma include:
• Sleep troubles, such as insomnia or oversleeping
• Feeling on edge or hypervigilant
• Loss of interest in former hobbies
• Racing thoughts
• Emotional detachment or a numb feeling
• Loneliness (including social isolation)
• Overwhelm or agitation
No matter what series of circumstances caused the little trauma in your life, please understand that the little in the name doesn’t make it any less nefarious. Plus, recovery is possible. You can reclaim your life and peace of mind.
Eye-movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic method that targets all sorts of trauma by working with your brain to promote healing. By using strategic eye-movements, this method bypasses typical emotional triggers. It impacts how your mind and emotions connect when you think about the trauma.
EMDR empowers you to perceive little traumas as less harmful, which relieves many symptoms of trauma. Tough life circumstances don’t have the force to weigh you down or take over your life when you meet them with EMDR.
Take the first step…
If you are ready to address trauma that may be negatively impacting your life, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT