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The first thing to know about trauma is that we’ve all experienced it. For some of us, that trauma was more extreme, and for others, it was far more subtle and hard to notice, but we’ve all experienced trauma in one form or another.

The next thing to understand is that different people are affected differently from trauma. What was a traumatic experience for you may not be for someone else, or what may have had a severely crippling effect on your life, may have been only a mild setback for another. This can be a big stumbling block for some people who can’t figure out why someone else is making such a big deal out of something, or rather why they’re not making a big deal out of it at all.

For example, Jim’s brother died in a tragic accident when he was a teenager, and Jim has struggled with that loss all his life, reliving the moment every time he closes his eyes, and even sometimes when he’s watching his two young boys playing together in the yard. But Jim’s other brother Sam seems to have gotten over this loss years ago. Now Jim feels bitterness toward Sam and accuses him of not caring about his family and not being in touch with his emotions. They haven’t talked with each other in years.

We talk more about bitterness in the Unforgiveness section, but for now, understand that we all process trauma differently from others, and that’s OK. One of the big dangers of not understanding this is that we can cover up our pain because nobody else thinks it’s a big deal, or because we don’t want to appear weak to those who may see our situation differently. If it’s a big deal to you, then it’s important to God too, and you need to let the Lord heal that place inside of you.

Another danger of this is in keeping others (such as our children) from dealing properly with a traumatic event. Children especially, don’t have the experience or understanding to process events like adults do, so even the most seemingly insignificant thing can haunt a child for the rest of his life. It’s important to notice the signs of trauma and help your loved ones to process it correctly—to recognize that it hurts and not to ignore, but to deal appropriately with those feelings.
As we talk more about trauma, there are two main types of trauma that you should understand: Type A and Type B. The first one is the [A]bsence of good things in your life, and the second one is the presence of [B]ad things in your life.

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