Some people may think of trauma as something like a death, a hurricane, or an earthquake. While those things are clearly traumas, they don’t begin to cover the range of experiences that can be traumatic. Some other types of trauma include:
- Significant illness, surgery, or hospitalization, especially in childhood,
- Losses of many kinds, such as death of a loved one or pet, loss of friends and secure environment in a move, loss of a significant relationship, loss of options through accident or injury, etc
- Humiliating or deeply disappointing experiences,
- Abandonment and isolation, especially in childhood,
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse,
- Observing violence, especially among other family members,
- and many other types of hurtful experience.
One definition for trauma is any event or situation which a person is unprepared to handle. For example if a 4-year-old gets separated from her parents in a mall for a short time, it may be very traumatic; when the same person is 30, getting separated from another adult in a mall would probably be a problem to solve, not a trauma. However, if the 30 year old had the 4-year-old trauma unhealed and stored unconsciously, the 30-year-old experience might cause unnecessary panic.