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Signs of Repressed Trauma

Significant events, both positive and negative, can linger in a person’s memory. People handle negative memories in unique ways, but some ways are not always healthy. Trauma disorder treatment programs can help.

Some people make the conscious choice to avoid thinking about negative things from the past. Sometimes, people unconsciously forget certain events, thereby forming repressed memories. If you or someone you know needs help dealing with signs of repressed trauma, contact Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

What Are Repressed Memories?

When a traumatic event happens, it may be too distressing for the mind to “keep,” so it files them into an unconscious part of the brain. This acts as a defense mechanism, protecting the person from the emotional harm the traumatic memory may cause.

Sometimes, symptoms of repressed trauma can appear. When this happens, the person often acknowledges the symptoms but is unable to pinpoint the cause of them.

The Discovery of Repressed Trauma

Sigmund Freud developed the theory of memory suppression back in the late 1800s after one of his teachers, Dr. Breuer, told him a story of a patient named Anna. 

Anna had come to Dr. Breuer with several unexplained symptoms. During treatment, she began to remember upsetting, traumatic events from the past that she had never recollected before. As she remembered these events and began talking about them, her symptoms improved.

Upon this realization, Freud determined that Anna had been suffering from signs of repressed trauma. While her memory did not recall any traumatic events, Anna’s body still felt them as they manifested as physical ailments.

Causes of Repressed Trauma Symptoms

Many different situations can cause or lead to trauma and, consequently, cause symptoms of repressed trauma. Some of these include:

  • Physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Physical or emotional neglect
  • Domestic abuse
  • Living with or caring for family members with mental illnesses
  • The disappearance of a parent
  • Having parents with alcohol use disorder

These represent just a small handful of adverse experiences that can cause trauma and repressed memories.

Symptoms of Repressed Trauma

Trauma can cause symptoms in a person without them realizing it. People with repressed trauma often describe feelings of something just not being “quite right.” They may experience the following symptoms:

An Uneasy Feeling in Certain Places

Places can trigger anxiety, fear, and stress for someone even though they don’t know why. The brain remembers details about traumatic events, and being in a similar place can trigger uneasy feelings.

Unexplained Strong Reactions to Specific People

A person might tense up or feel anxious around certain people when they remind the person of a repressed traumatic event.

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

A person can become extremely upset by the everyday actions of other people. Even a small thing can cause a quick swing from being relaxed to being angry or fearful. 

An Inability to Cope with Stress

For someone with repressed trauma, dealing with normal stressors is extremely difficult. They might lash out or have a meltdown due to an inability to cope in healthy ways.

Constant Mental Exhaustion

A person who is dealing with symptoms of repressed trauma uses a lot of energy on the task. This mental exhaustion can make it difficult for the person to connect with others.

Attachment Issues and Childish Reactions

It’s typical for people to sometimes react immaturely or get upset when a person leaves them. However, a person with signs of repressed trauma may take both behaviors to an unhealthy extreme. 

Get Help for Symptoms of Repressed Trauma at Promises Behavioral Health

These and other signs of repressed trauma manifest in different ways for different people, but they all could indicate that you or someone you love may have traumatic memories that haven’t been unlocked. Trauma therapy can help, so reach out to Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609 today.