5 Ways to Overcome Traumatic Stress from Abuse

The Effects of Trauma

Especially amid an abuse cycle, it’s challenging to recognize the effects of abuse and trauma you’re experiencing. Common symptoms include difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, flashbacks to violence or abuse, self-hate or low self-esteem, and fearing people and relationships.

Traumatic Stress, ASD, and PTSD

If you aren’t managing your stress well within the first month of the abuse and your symptoms persist for more than three days, you could have acute stress disorder (ASD). Although presentation and symptoms vary slightly, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop months or years after the original abuse. Follow these steps:

1. Breathe

When you have ruminating thoughts or flashbacks, your stress response can be triggered again, resulting in anxiety or panic attacks. Mindfulness, breathing exercises, and meditation can help calm our bodies and minds, manage our emotions, and approach our painful triggers in a non-judgmental way.

2. Embrace Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations can disrupt the pattern of toxic thoughts, harsh inner critics, and insecurities. If your abuser told you enough that you are worthless, you may start to believe it. The same goes for the reverse, which is most potent in your voice.

3. Heal Your Mind and Body with Movement

Both your body and mind remember the abuse and trauma you endured. Finding a physical outlet to process your emotions and pain can help combat your trauma response.

4. Master the Trauma

Even if your brain doesn’t remember, your body does, and it can trigger your symptoms. Art therapy or creative expression through arts and crafts, drawing, painting, music, dance, or writing can help connect the pieces of our experience to help mast or release the trauma.

5. Getting Help is for the Brave

Admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of agency and power. Abuse can often lead to toxic self-blame and shame spirals, preventing us from seeking or accepting help. Be gentle and compassionate toward yourself.

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