How to recover from emotional trauma is laborious and as long as the trauma is not resolved, the stress hormones that the body secretes to protect itself keep circulating, and the defensive movements and emotional responses keep getting replayed.

The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations related to the trauma take on a life of their own.

The threat-perception system of the brain has changed, and people’s physical reactions are dictated by the imprint of the past

The sensory fragments of memory intrude into the present, where they are relived.

The trauma that started “out there” is now played out on the battlefield of their bodies, usually without a conscious connection between what happened back then and what is going on right now inside.

How to recover from emotional trauma first crucial step

They may compulsively go to the gym to pump iron (but finding that they are never strong enough), numb themselves with drugs, or try to cultivate an illusory sense of control in highly dangerous situations (like motorcycle racing, bungee jumping, or working as an ambulance driver).

Constantly fighting unseen dangers is exhausting and leaves them fatigued, depressed, and weary.

As a result, shame becomes the dominant emotion, and hiding the truth the central preoccupation.

The challenge is not so much learning to accept the terrible things that have happened but learning how to gain mastery over one’s internal sensations and emotions.

Sensing, naming, and identifying what is going on inside is the first step to recovery.