Why is psychological trauma often more difficult to overcome than physical trauma.
Because psychological trauma has the potential to leave scars that can change the way a person approaches life. It can change their personality, their decisions, the way they view themselves, and how they feel about letting anyone else come close to them emotionally. Trauma and abuse can impact how an individual interacts in the world and filters all future relationships.
Psychological trauma can shake your confidence to the core, causing you to feel ‘less than’ or inferior. It can change a person’s perception of their self-worth and lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. In its most extreme forms, depression can potentially be an imminent risk to a person’s life (i.e., suicide).
Psychological trauma should be taken very seriously and should never be minimized. Therefore, it’s important to understand that if you’re attempting to look at the bright side with statements such as, “Well, at least he doesn’t hit me,” please be aware that it does not make the harm of a narcissist or psychopath less damaging.
Of course the absence of physical abuse takes the risk of broken bones and visible bruises off the table. However, emotional trauma through demonstrations of callousness, manipulation, planned aggression, gas-lighting, coldness, deceit, betrayal, lack of caring, and low empathy has a significant impact on the brain that can be felt life long.
Abuse, regardless of the form, can lead to a trauma response (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD), even for adults. Given that psychological changes are often neurologically based, there are usually parallel changes taking place within the body that can lead to major health problems. Such changes can include conditions like chronic pain disorders, joint disorders, cardiac problems, and autoimmune disease (Humphreys, Cooper, Miaskowski, 2010).
Falling in love with an individual with controlling, callous, and aggressive character traits nearly always results in pain to the healthy partner. The severe shifts in emotional states and behavior from the abusive individual can be confusing and cause psychological harm to their unsuspecting victim.
Take care of yourself.
All the best,
Rhonda Freeman, PhD