How to Spot 4 Subtle Signs of Trauma

Learn how to recognize subtle signs of trauma. When you think about  trauma, incidents such as violent assaults or terrible car accidents may come to mind. But there are other, more subtle forms of trauma that can negatively affect our lives and hinder our relationships.

Less noticeable emotional trauma is often overlooked and minimized. We may be expected to “get over” certain emotional pains, which can lead to these feelings being buried rather than dealt with.  A break up, being passed over for a promotion at work, or even a simple but negative childhood experience can cause lasting emotional trauma.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Anxiety and stress may develop in the aftermath of trauma, causing you to feel overwhelmed in numerous ways. You might feel out of control, like there is too much to do, or that people in your life are taking up too much of your time and attention. If you often feel as though your life has become unmanageable, this could be a sign that you have some unresolved emotional trauma.


Emotional overreactions are a common symptom of trauma. A victim of trauma might redirect their overwhelming emotions towards others, such as family and friends. Because these unresolved emotions are always bubbling beneath the surface, any incident that brings feelings forward can unleash these pent-up emotions. If you can recall times when you’ve overreacted, and perhaps have even been surprised at your own reactions, this may be a sign of trauma.

Feelings of Shame

It’s not uncommon for people suffering from emotional trauma to have feelings of shame and self-blame. If you have feelings of shame because of a traumatic event, you may devalue yourself or see yourself as weak. You might feel a stigma from what you endured, and this may prevent you from admitting that you may be traumatized, or prevent you from seeking help.


Other subtle signs of trauma are “zoning” or “spacing out.” You might feel disconnected from others or have difficulty staying present in social situations. Emotional trauma can cause you to slow down internally, numbing your emotions or causing you to feel exhausted. Because of the trauma you experienced, you may be averse to the expression of painful emotions, so you turn those emotions off. As you withdraw, your relationships with others suffer, causing you further psychological pain.

If these signs seem familiar and you believe you may be suffering from trauma, reach out. A caring, licensed professional trained in trauma treatment can help.

Take the first step by calling (720) 863 6100, or email to set up a time to talk. We're building a community around healing and we want you to be a part of it.

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