Regan was bullied in middle school because she walked with a limp. For years, she endured the jeers and cruelty of her classmates. As she got older, she thought she’d left behind the trauma of being bullied.
But when she opened her business, she had trouble getting any traction. She’d talk to potential clients but she couldn’t seem to get the sale. She wanted to appear on podcasts and work as a speaker to bring more exposure to her business but she kept getting turned down and she couldn’t figure out why.
Finally, Regan reached out to a business coach, Jenn, who specialized in helping women just like her become more visible. Regan shared her story and asked for the other woman’s advice.
After listening, Jenn wanted to know if Regan had ever been bullied or survived a traumatic situation. At first, Regan wasn’t sure where the coach was going but Jenn explained that trauma affects a person for years to come.
Your Body Is Your Home
Your body is your home. It’s the only one you’ve got on this Earth and when it’s violated due to trauma, it essentially vandalizes your home. This can leave you with physical and emotional scars that last for years to come.
Trauma can come in many forms. Perhaps you were sexually assaulted by a caregiver when you were young. Maybe you grew up in a home where you saw domestic violence regularly. Perhaps you survived a terrifying accident or were bullied by your peers during school.
Your Trauma Keeps You Playing Small
If you’ve experienced trauma as a child or teen, you may have internalized fear of being seen. You may not have even realized it at the time but some part of your mind decided that if you stay safe the bullies or abusers couldn’t find you.
This a valid survival tactic as a kid or teenager with no power over your situation. But it creates a problem as you get older and step out into the world. It’s harder to promote your business and grow your career because on some level, you’re still that scared kid who hopes you’re not seen.
The Trauma Continues
Your body may continue to send you messages that a situation isn’t safe because it triggers old responses. For example, right before a big presentation, you might get a terrible stomachache or fight back against a panic attack.
These are acute symptoms that go away after the situation that you perceived as dangerous is over. In the example above, when the presentation is finished, your brain no longer thinks you’re in danger and your symptoms improve.
But you may also experience long-term physical symptoms as a result of the trauma or bullying such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep problems, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Understanding the connection between your trauma and your desire to be unseen is an important first step. Now that you’re aware of the connection, you can begin the journey towards healing with the support and compassion you need.