Even though many years have passed, I can still remember the moment that I was finally given the permission that I needed to begin my healing. I was sitting on the couch of my new therapist’s office and I was giving her the usual rundown of my life. I gave her the family history, childhood experiences, and my career and life transitions up to that point.
She sat quietly and listened and then when I was finished she asked me simply. “ What work have you done to address your trauma?” I became uneasy, I replied “ I am not sure I would go so far as to say that I suffered from trauma” In that moment I knew I had suffered some abuse, but the word trauma seemed so much bigger. The word trauma seemed so severe, extreme and beyond what I felt I had a right to call what I experienced. I have since healed so many wounds and have revealed hidden experiences that I know without a doubt was trauma. But in that moment even with all of the abuses, I experienced I still did not feel worthy of the term trauma.
Isn’t that kind of a nutty idea, to feel like you need to be worthy of a word? In my mind, up until that point, I equated trauma with things like, extreme child abuse, domestic violence, rape, murder, being robbed, and post-traumatic stress from combat experiences. I still did not connect my own experiences with the definition of trauma.
This is not an uncommon response from people when I bring up the word trauma these days. My clients and peers will discount their wounding as being trauma. They do not feel like what happened to them was big enough to garner that word as a description of what they have been through. I have spent so much time lately educating people about the many types of trauma and how they impact our lives, our money, and our business.
So let me break it down for you. There are two main classifications of trauma commonly called Little T and Big T traumas.
Big T traumas are events most commonly connected with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are often shocking, unpredicted events that have caused physical and emotional harm. Natural disaster, Violence, Death and other Crisis situations.Witnessing a Big T trauma can also cause PTSD. These Big T traumas are what most people equate when you bring up the word trauma, so it makes sense that many people would not know that they have experienced trauma.
Little T traumas are highly distressing experiences that do not fall into the Big T trauma definition. These are often repetitive, ongoing and the experience may or may not create a traumatic response for every person. When confronted with Little T trauma support networks, resilience and coping skills can play a huge part in their impact on our lives long term.
Here are some examples of Little T traumas that I see most with my clients:
- Bullying in school
- Not fitting in and having a peer group in school to belong to
- Undiagnosed and unsupported learning disabilities
- The use of consistent physical punishment in the home
- Emotional neglect
- Having divorced parents, being divorced
- Moving around a lot
- Being a caregiver at a young age
- Chronic illness
Do you see what I mean by these events? They are chronic, consistent, impactful and can create wounds that impact thoughts feelings and behaviors. These thoughts feelings and behaviors inform our lives and choices as adults.
It is my assertion that sometimes Little T traumas are more impactful and difficult to overcome without the support of a trained professional. We are also less likely to identify them which leads to them remaining untreated for longer periods of time.
I am an LCSW and a therapist and even with my training and education, I have been on a journey of learning more about how Little t Traumas impact daily life. In my work as a Money and Mindset Expert who works with business owners, and entrepreneurs I have consistently uncovered the impact of Little t Trauma on my client’s relationships with their money and their business. I am committed to learning more about their trauma history so we can create healing and mastery so that they don’t recreate their trauma in their business.
I will be writing more about my findings, giving case studies and exploring more about the impact of trauma on entrepreneurship and business ownership. I know that if we can make these connections we can change and improve the survival rate of small business.
I know what it is like to have someone suggest that your experiences may have been more serious and life-altering than you thought. I know what it is like to embrace and heal from those experiences once they are given the attention that they deserve. I am adamant that my clients know that there is no shame in discovering their own trauma, in fact, it is often the launch pad for freedom that they never knew was possible. It is a beautiful thing.
Are you an entrepreneur or business owner? Do you have a hunch that your previous experiences in life may be negatively impacting your relationship with your business and your money? If so please reach out and let’s have a conversation about it. Contact me here.
Are you curious about how trauma could be impacting your own business?
This gave me all the tinglies. Wonderful! Deep! World-changing! Sharing!
Thank you! It felt a bit risky to put this out there, but hey! We need this dialogue
This is so true. When we grew up with these little t traumas, they can seem so “normal”. Didn’t everyone grow up with lots of arguing and bickering in their family? Or any of those things you list above. If we try and explain our situation and how it seemed to impact us, we often hear something like, “well you didn’t have it ‘that’ bad.” We feel like we’re betraying our families if we step out of line and talk about this. So… yes, keep bringing it up. Growing up in the dysfunctional families that many of us did, has cost us dearly. And we don’t even realize it.