• Shelly

Trauma Hats


Image by Image by Hans Braxmeier. Pixabay.com

We all have different hats that we wear depending on the situation. I have several hats - a mom hat, a therapist hat, a wife hat, a professional hat, a friend hat, a sibling hat, a ministry hat, and more. Each hat serves a purpose. It's not me being fake. It's me adjusting to what is needed in the moment.


All of the hats are mine. I just don't need to wear them all of the time. Typically it's a fluid process of moving from one hat to another, but not always.


Sometimes I can't control the hats and I have to verbally remind myself to remove the hat; that I am not in that place or space anymore. Honestly, it's hard to take off the therapist hat once I get home, but my family will remind me I am 'not' their therapist, lol.


When you've experienced trauma, you also develop hats. These hats are like defense mechanisms, like shutting down, running away, freezing, acting out, drinking or doing drugs, and the list goes on. What kind of hats do you have? These hats protect you from danger, or the threat of harm, whether it's actual, perceived, or comes from a previous experience that finds itself front and center in your life. These hats are not bad, per se, at least the purpose is not bad, but the behavior or reaction may be.


For example, perhaps you shut down in the middle of an argument (heck sometimes it's necessary to shut down - like KYMS - keep your mouth shut, but I'm not referring to this in my example). You may shut down and freeze because of fear of rejection, failure, or fear of backlash or, ______________ (you fill in the blank). You see, it's not you, it's your system protecting you because it senses danger, but not present danger. It is bringing up past danger, something we call 'trauma time.'


When you go into trauma time it's because fragmented pieces from your past are activated and become present. You feel it physically and emotionally, because trauma is stored in the body. There's a huge connection between the two, but we've neglected this information for too long - typically dealing with one or the other, but not both.


It's hard to take these hats off at will because your nervous system, or the amygdala (the fight, flight, freeze response) activates before you realize what's happening. When you've experienced trauma, sometimes that amygdala hat is overly triggered. So how do you deal with trauma hats? You have to get unstuck.


If you are ready to get unstuck and would like more information, feel free to reach out to me at www.butterflyeffectccc.com, or email me at shelly@butterflyeffectccc.com Your journey to healing awaits.



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    Shelly Bates, M.A., LPC BSP-CIT

    EMDR Certified

    Brainspotting (BSP) Practitioner

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