Invisible Trauma: Did I experience Omission Trauma?

How often do I hear the phrase, “I am not traumatized; nothing terrible has happened to me. My parents never hit me or pressured me in school.” However, they still suffer from chronic anxiety and unrelenting standards and find connecting and relying on people hard, and I don’t know why. 

This article sheds some light on the so-called invisible trauma world.  

“Omission” generally means leaving something out or not doing something. So, if we combine these terms, “omission trauma” could potentially refer to a situation where trauma arises from something that was omitted or not done rather than from an event that directly occurred.

Omission trauma, also known as neglect trauma or neglectful trauma, refers to the psychological and emotional consequences that can result from experiences of neglect or the absence of necessary caregiving, particularly during early childhood. 

It is a form of psychological trauma that arises when a person’s basic physical and emotional needs are not adequately met, often due to the failure of caregivers or parents to provide essential care, support, or attention.

Omission trauma can manifest in various ways and have long-lasting effects on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. 

Some common features and effects of omission trauma may include:

  1. Emotional dysregulation: Individuals who have experienced omission trauma may struggle with regulating their emotions. They might have difficulty managing anxiety, depression, or anger.
  2. Low self-esteem: Omission trauma can lead to diminished self-worth and self-esteem. Individuals may struggle with feelings of inadequacy and have a negative self-image.
  3. Attachment issues: Early neglect can affect a person’s ability to form healthy attachments with others. This can result in difficulties in developing and maintaining relationships.
  4. Trust issues: People who have experienced omission trauma may find it challenging to trust others, especially authority figures or caregivers, due to past experiences of betrayal or neglect.
  5. Self-care difficulties: Neglect can also impact a person’s ability to care for themselves. This may manifest as neglecting one’s physical health, hygiene, or general self-care.
  6. Psychological symptoms: Omission trauma can contribute to the developing of various mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or borderline personality disorder.
  7. Behavioural problems: Some individuals who have experienced omission trauma may exhibit behavioural issues, such as aggression, withdrawal, or self-destructive behaviours.

It’s important to note that omission trauma is just one form of trauma that can co-occur with other types of trauma or adverse experiences. The effects of omission trauma can vary widely from person to person, depending on factors like the severity and duration of neglect, the presence of supportive relationships, and individual resilience.

Treatment for omission trauma often involves therapy, such as trauma-focused therapy or attachment-based therapy, to help individuals process their experiences, develop healthier coping strategies, and work through neglect’s emotional and psychological effects. Early intervention and support can be crucial in addressing omission trauma and helping individuals heal and recover.

If you feel that omission trauma is the underlying cause of your chronic mental health and relationship challenges, comprehensive and holistic trauma treatment might be a good choice. Schema therapy is excellent for that. Please reach out to Dr. Julia Andre for a Free 20 mins call. 

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