When you think about types of trauma, it’s possible that only a handful of extreme situations might come to mind.
The fact is, everyone experiences trauma in their life in one form or another. Life is inherently uncertain, and you never know what is around the corner. That being said, some have experienced a much greater level of trauma than others. While one person may have been traumatized by an incident of childhood bullying, another person may have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse.
Post-traumatic symptoms can develop following a high-stress and deeply disturbing incident, and this sometimes occurs years later. Though you might have recovered physically from a car crash, for example, you may still find yourself haunted by thoughts that you “could easily have died.”
Ten Common Types of Trauma
In an effort to develop our understanding of trauma, it is worth taking a closer look at ten of the most common types of trauma.
1. Sexual Assault or Abuse
Defined as any type of sexual behavior toward someone that is either unwanted or involuntary, it includes, but cannot be limited to: inappropriate sexual joking, genital contact, fondling, groping, penetration, forced kissing, or exposure to material that is sexually inappropriate. For example, a mother who exposes herself to her adolescent sons, or exposes them to sexually explicit material.
This type of assault or abuse also may include undesired sexual activity between children or internet exploitation. It can also include the sexual exploitation of a minor for sexual gratification by an adult – such as in child pornography or prostitution.
2. Physical Assault or Abuse
Physical assault or abuse constitutes any inflicting of physical harm on someone (beatings, stabbings, shootings, etc.). This includes situations where adults inflict physical harm on children or even when groups of kids attack another child. However, it excludes appropriate spanking, typical sibling rough-housing, and rough play between children or adults of a equivalent age.
3. Emotional Abuse
This may be defined as verbal abuse in the form of insults, violent threats, controlling behavior, bullying, or terrorizing behavior. It may include extreme demands put upon an individual, behavior intended to make a person believe they are going crazy, or forms of emotional neglect that are designed to create a fear of abandonment in the victim (behavior such as shunning or the silent treatment).
Neglect is defined as failing to provide a person with the care they need. This may be seen in a failure to provide the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, or proper medical care.
Though neglect is typically reported to child protective services, it can actually occur with people of all ages. This failure to provide for a person’s needs when the caregiver is fully able to provide it is termed neglect.
5. Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is usually defined as any actual, perceived, or threatened physical or sexual violence, or emotional abuse between adults who are involved in a close or intimate relationship. It can also include any witnesses to incidents of domestic violence and are incapable of intervention. This may include children who are living with parents who are abusive toward each other.
6. Serious Accidents or Illness
These may include traumatic incidents such as automobile accidents, building fires, or severe injury. In the aftermath of such events, the victim may feel extremely emotional. Painful or frightening medical procedures are included under this heading, and children, in particular, may be afraid to undergo such treatments.
7. War-related Trauma
“Post-traumatic stress disorder,” or PTSD has entered the common vocabulary through America’s military endeavors. PTSD can result when someone returns from a combat zone in which they experienced a threat to their life or the injury or death of a fellow soldier. Those who are living in war zones may also experience this type of post-traumatic reaction.
Firefights, executions, and forced displacement are only a few of a number of traumatic experiences commonly endured by refugees who were living in a war zone and have been forced to flee as a result of the violence.
8. Natural or Manmade Disasters
Disasters that are either natural or manmade fall into this category, and may include such things as building fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, or tornadoes, or any other disaster caused either by nature or man.
9. School Violence
School violence has become more prevalent than ever before. It is not uncommon to turn on the news and see that another student has entered their school campus with the goal of killing or otherwise harming other people. These events are highly traumatic for the students involved and may even cause anxiety for those at other schools.
10. Bullying and Workplace Mobbing
When we think of bullying, our minds usually turn to the schoolyard. But this isn’t the only place where such behavior occurs. “Workplace mobbing” can happen in a professional environment and is often described as “bullying on steroids.”
The bully recruits co-workers to “collude in a relentless campaign of psychological terror against a hapless target” (Bullying at Work: Workplace Mobbing is on the Rise by Sophie Henshaw). The targets of workplace mobs are typically competent, resilient, well-educated, and are more likely to be female.
There are many different types of situations that can result in trauma. But several highly effective methods of therapy can be used to treat people suffering from trauma. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is one method that is widely used.
If you have gone through a traumatic experience, a trained Christian counselor in San Diego can help you unpack some of the emotional baggage, and will help you to break free.
“Not in Public,” courtesy of Ezra Jeffrey, unsplash.com, Public Domain License; “Alone,” courtesy of pixabay.com, pexels.com, CC0 License; “Fishing boat,” courtesy of Alexander Andrews, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Hair,” courtesy of Aricka Lewis, unsplash.com, Public Domain License