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Type A Trauma

When most people think of trauma, they think of Type B trauma, when bad things happen, but Type A trauma is just as common and just as damaging, if not more so. Type A trauma is when a good or necessary thing is not present at the time it’s needed. This could be abandonment, not having a parent in your life, not having enough food, not having proper shelter, not having enough love and validation and encouragement from those around you (especially your parents), not having a proper education, not having friends, . . . the list goes on and on.

Because this is the absence of a good thing, it’s often much harder to identify Type A trauma. As the sayings go, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and, “You can’t miss what you never had.”

My deepest Type A trauma (Matthew, here) was that of abandonment. My parents were both physically present through most of my childhood, but when I was about seven years old, they both checked out of my life emotionally. They were as present as a piece of furniture to me. I so wanted to know their love. I wanted the validation of my father. I wanted, and tried so hard, to keep my family together, but it was beyond my control. I grew up, for the most part, without parents, without friends, and without the emotional support and guidance that every child should have, but I didn’t realize it for the longest time. You see, I knew that other families were different—that many of my peers had all of those things and more—but I really didn’t know anything different for myself, and so I just accepted my situation as the way of life.

“That’s life” is such a terrible and hopeless statement, but it’s all I knew. It took someone else, hearing my story, to point out to me that I was lacking some very fundamental parts of human development, and that I needed to deal with this Type A trauma in my life.

Not only is Type A usually the more difficult type of trauma to diagnose, it also takes a lot more time to heal from. Because Type A trauma is the absence of good and necessary things, the healing process requires receiving those things in a natural and healthy way. Now sometimes, we can receive these things directly from God, but most of the time, we receive them through healthy and life-giving relationships with other people. That in itself can seem threatening and hopeless to someone who has trouble forming deep relation ships (as many who have experienced this type of trauma do), but it’s absolutely necessary for you to be free.

There are many things that can help you in this process, such as uncovering vows and lies of the enemy and replacing them with God’s truth, and such as forgiving those who hurt you (we’ll talk about these later), but without healthy and life-giving relationships to provide what is lacking, you won’t ever enter into the fullness of abundant life you’re longing for.

Continue to Type A Dangers ->
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