Stages of Trauma

September 02, 20223 min read

I want you to understand something… 

You can’t overcome something that you don’t understand. 

And trauma is no different.

Because to heal and move into a balanced state of mind, you must first understand how trauma occurs.

I’m sure you’ve already heard of the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. But did you know that there’s an order to this response?

Namely, the freeze response always happens first. 

But I’m not talking about getting paralyzed by fear. 

What I mean here is that as soon as trauma begins, your mind invites you to stop, look, and listen. By doing so, you can assess where the trauma is coming from and whether it’s a serious threat.

It’s not until this process is over that the well-known “fight or flight” response occurs. But again, there’s almost always a sequence to these responses.

You see, your mind will always try to “flee” before it “fights”. This means if there’s a chance that you can avoid danger, it makes no sense to face it. The flight response happens first.

And if that option isn’t available, you get into fight mode.

But in my case, I took “fight” quite literally.

You see, I’ve spent a big part of my life in this phase as I couldn’t avoid my childhood trauma. I used to fight everything and everyone, causing lots of pain to myself and those around me. 

It took a lot of inner work for me to genuinely heal and regain balance.

But the thing is, there are situations in which you can neither fight nor flight. And when that happens, your trauma reaches the next stage – fright.

This is the stage where you feel anxiety and panic at their full force. You might experience nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and so on.

If you’ve ever had a full-blown panic or anxiety attack, it was actually your trauma going beyond the usual responses.

When you understand these stages, you can find healthy ways to deal with trauma at any point.

However, severe trauma can go more than a step further than these responses. 

In another post, I’ll discuss some of the lesser-known stages of trauma, after which I’ll show you how it all ties together.

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you increase your sense of self-worth so you can say “no” use your voice, stand up for yourself, and feel more confident:

1. Listen to The Bold Survivor Podcast

Join me each week as I interview survivors, experts and drop juicy tidbits of my own. Each episode contains powerful information to help you heal your wounding, connect better, and own that beautiful innate value that lives inside Every. Single. One. of. Us! —  Click Here

2. Grab a free copy of my book

It’s my signature system that takes you down into your core story and back up like a Phoenix to fly free. — Click Here

3. Join The Bold Survivor Collective and connect with survivors who are healing too It’s my Facebook community where bold survivors learn to heal, rise up, and be the bold beautiful souls they were called to be. —  Click Here

4. Join my Year-Long Group Coaching Membership Program

I’m bringing together women who are eager to end the self-doubt, shame and guilt….If you’d like to work with me on your emotional wellbeing plans… Click Here


Contessa Akin

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