Emotional Scars

Understanding and Recovering from Emotional Trauma

Do you have a history of difficult events that have left you reeling emotionally? While they may not be visible to the outside world, emotional scars are a serious issue that negatively impacts your ability to live your life. Emotional trauma is just as real as physical trauma and requires intentional treatment to get back to your everyday life.

Emerald Isle Health & Recovery can help you to overcome some of the pain that is associated with this type of trauma. From individual therapy to family therapy, we can help you to put coping skills and strategies in place so that you can be as healthy as possible.

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What is Emotional Trauma?

Many people are quick to understand the role that traumatic events play in shaping our psyche, but only if they result in physical scars. Emotional scars are impossible to see, but acknowledging them is crucial to the healing process. Only you know that they are there, though those closest to you may be able to testify to their presence.

Emotional trauma is the result of any occurrence that left you feeling unsafe or uncertain about life as you know it. In most cases, you probably felt helpless over the outcome of a situation or the way you felt at the moment. The result of this experience is an emotional scar that often manifests as a mental illness.

Where Do Emotional Scars Come From?

Childhood Trauma

Keep in mind that emotional wounds can be inflicted as the result of a one-time event or they may be due to an ongoing issue. For example, childhood traumas such as bullying can lead to issues in your adult life just as much as one-time events that caused extreme humiliation can have the same effect.

The important thing to note here is that no matter what your reaction to the events may be, it is perfectly normal. Your body is responding to something traumatic in the best way that it knows how. The result is a normal reaction that presents itself under unusual circumstances which can be addressed through therapy.

What are the Symptoms of Underlying Emotional Pain?

Unfortunately, the symptoms of emotional scars are many and they can seriously impact your day-to-day life. Try not to set too many unrealistic expectations of yourself for how you can function and process these events. Most times, people will need professional intervention to start the process of emotional healing required to help them move on from these issues.

Some of the symptoms are cognitive and psychological, including:

  • Intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks (also common in post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Mood swings or emotional numbing
  • Difficulties with memory or the ability to concentrate
  • Increase in anxiety or the appearance of panic attacks
  • Excess fear, anger, or irritability
  • Splintering relationships and low self-esteem
  • Compassion drain and lack of hope for the future
  • An obsession with the event(s)
  • Overwhelmed with secondary emotions such as shame and guilt

In addition to those symptoms, you might also have a struggle with your behavior patterns. You may avoid things or people that remind you of the traumatic event, withdraw from the people you love, or quit doing activities that you used to enjoy. These are all symptoms of a depression diagnosis as well, so you may consider seeking treatment for this condition.

If you have not noticed any of the above symptoms, emotional pain can also present with physical symptoms like problems with sleep, hypervigilance, becoming easily startled, or having a rapid heartbeat. You may feel exhausted all the time or have aches and pains that seem to have no physical cause.

How to Promote Emotional Healing

Family Therapy

Whether your emotional scars come from childhood trauma or wounds from past relationships, there is a path forward to healing and Emerald Isle Health & Recovery can assist you. From cognitive behavioral therapy to family therapy, you may need a bit of professional support to start your journey toward healing.

Family Therapy for Support for Emotional Wounds

The truth is that any person who has past trauma can heal, but it does not happen in a vacuum. Instead, they must be supported and cared for by their loved ones and those closest to them. When self-doubt and negative feelings threaten to overwhelm you, you will need the support and encouragement of family and friends.

To this end, it is extremely beneficial to participate in family therapy. Working with a skilled clinician allows you to share as much as you can about what you have been through to help others understand your experiences. From here, you can start to focus on what needs to happen in order for you to move forward.

Your loved ones often appreciate the insight they receive into your behaviors and struggles. Oftentimes, they want to be there to support you but are unsure how to go about doing so. This is a way for everyone to get on the same page regarding your healing.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for New Insights

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a great tool for anyone who has emotional damage. Many adults can benefit from this type of healing process as it alters the way they think about their trauma and how they can help themselves to heal. CBT focuses on a cycle that influences behavior: thoughts lead to feelings which lead to actions.

Once you are immersed in this type of therapy, a clinician will help walk you through ways to change your thoughts surrounding an emotional issue. As your thoughts about it change, so will your feelings. This allows you to script new actions that are more desirable and that are not rooted in the feelings you have from your emotional pain.

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A New Way Forward through Trauma

You may also benefit from a specific type of CBT known as trauma-focused CBT. This type of therapy helps you to look at your cognitive distortions or beliefs head-on. Along with the help of a therapist, you will confront your trauma and work it into a new narrative about your own healing. It usually lasts for several weeks, at which point you will graduate from TF-CBT and may move on to another type of therapy if you still need some additional support.

Keep in mind that this can sometimes be a long process. At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we will walk through it with you every step of the way until you feel that you are healed from your past pain and can live life on your own terms and feel comfortable with your own emotions.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to Soothe Emotional Discomfort

While you work on interrupting the cycle of thoughts, feelings, and actions, you may find that you are in a bit of emotional discomfort. You will need new mental health coping skills to handle this discomfort while you heal. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a great tool to teach you the skills of mindfulness that allow you to sit with your pain.

DBT strives to teach you how to notice the physical and emotional sensations of the body. You may learn techniques like guided imagery, meditation, breathing exercises, and more to help you face your painful past and start living life to the fullest once more.

Oftentimes, DBT is a short process as it is meant to give you the skills needed to process your trauma and is not necessarily designed to process the trauma itself.

Group Therapy to Facilitate Connections

Group Therapy to Facilitate Connection

One of the hallmarks of emotional scars is isolation. People tend to withdraw from their loved ones in the aftermath of a trauma of any kind. Forging new relationships and social connections could be a key to your healing though. If you have a hard time reaching out for help, it might be beneficial for you to consider signing up for group therapy instead.

This will give you a group of peers who may have undergone similar issues to what you experienced. It provides built-in support for you and may help you to foster new connections with your group members. You will feel more supported and less alone with group therapy.

Learning Opportunities in New Relationships

If you find that group therapy is not the right fit for you, you could still benefit from making new social connections. Consider asking a new friend out for coffee, joining a gym and attending fitness classes, or joining a special interest group for one of your favorite hobbies.

In this setting, you do not need to discuss your emotional scars unless you feel comfortable doing so. Instead, it is a form of self-care that can impact your healing, as we all need social interactions from time to time. Consider implementing social events as part of a robust form of self-care that can have a profound impact on your self-esteem.

Relationships and the cultivation of new connections can be crucial for a person to begin truly healing, and we encourage you to join our community of recovering alumni in events held regularly by Emerald Isle.

Better Self Care Habits for Healing

One thing that is often lacking in those who have emotional scars is self-love. As a result, many people also fall short in the category of self-care. It is crucial that anyone dealing with difficult issues in their past take care of themselves and prioritize their own well-being. This could be as simple as learning coping skills like those offered through DBT.

However, it can also mean implementing simple practices and routines into your day-to-day life that will allow you to mitigate emotional damage. For example, you might exercise or cook yourself a nutritious meal. Taking care of yourself is an act of self-love and can go a long way toward healing and protecting you from risk factors that could lead to future emotional trauma.

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Take Your Time with Healing

Even if your emotional scar came from a one-time event, that does not mean that healing will be quick and easy. For many, it is an uphill battle with lots of ups and downs as you near the finishing line. Every person is different, meaning that the healing process will be equally unique. The best thing you can do to give yourself the space to process your experience is to be patient and treat yourself with care and love.

You can also work with a skilled team of professionals like those found at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery. Whether you need inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, or outpatient services, we can help you to find the care you need. Have some compassion for yourself and reach out to us to learn more about how you can overcome overwhelming emotions today!