An uncontested divorce can cause a variety of emotional reactions. A serious response to the emotional turmoil is psychological trauma. A person who experiences trauma often has had his or her sense of security and well-being destroyed.
Trauma is not limited to physical harm, but also includes any situation where a person has felt vulnerable and helpless. Unfortunately, trauma can be the root of a whole host of other personal issues. Some of these issues include: eating disorders, depression, chronic health conditions, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.
Some of the key indicators for potential trauma are:
- An event happened unexpectedly;
- An event happened repeatedly;
- The person was not prepared for the event;
- The act was intentionally cruel; and/or
- The person felt powerless to prevent the traumatic event.
Emotional trauma can occur from a single event, such as the unexpected announcement of an uncontested divorce, or an on-going stress (i.e., martial distress). A reaction to a traumatic event is someone trying to process an abnormal event through having a normal response. The effects of trauma are serious and can even be deadly.
Interventions which have proven to be successful for trauma survivors include:
- Family, friends or local agencies working together to empower the survivor;
- Survivor feeling respected, connected and hopeful about his or her future;
- Joining a trauma support group;
- Participating in social activities, even if the person doesn't feel like it;
- Balanced diet;
- Getting plenty of sleep;
- Using relaxation techniques; and
- Avoiding substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Here are some red flags which indicate a person should seek professional help:
- Experiencing severe anxiety, depression or fear;
- Disconnected from others;
- Emotionally numb;
- Memory lapse;
- Decreased ability to concentrate;
- Difficulty functioning in the workplace or at home;
- Feelings of despair or hopelessness;
- Hyper-vigilance or jumpiness;
- Abusing substances; and/or
- Progressively avoiding more and more reminders of the traumatic incidents(s),
Each individual reacts uniquely to stress and daily challenges. Sometimes an individual will have a negative experience from his or her past and a current event can trigger a prior trauma. Emotional trauma should never be viewed as a sign of weakness and should be taken seriously.
Although our society has a tendency to overuse the word trauma, a person who is traumatized is severely overwhelmed. If you or a loved one is suffering from psychological trauma please seek the assistance of a mental health professional. Be sure to seek a person who has specialized in trauma.