Language and Trauma

Typically “little t traumas” don’t entail severe physical injury or near death experiences, but they nonetheless can wreak havoc on peoples lives.

Being bullied.

Having relationships end.

Financial stressors. Can all be traumatic.

I talk in this short video about my thoughts concerning the language used to describe different types of trauma, and what I feel like is more helpful and descriptive without being diminishing. Essentially, no trauma is “little.”

Trauma is trauma.

I wanted to make videos this summer before the semester started, but I didn’t get to it. At least I made this one LOL

Be kind humans. I do want to make longer, more in depth and organized videos in the future, but that’ll likely entail me getting more comfortable on camera too.

much love


5 thoughts on “Language and Trauma

  1. Hahaha, love your videos.

    Yeah I googled it yesterday this “little t” thing and I was shocked. I’d never have thought to start sub-categorising it like that. Too much categorisation really just over-complicates, confuses, obscures from the simple facts. I think this ‘little t’ idea and the language around it could be dangerous.

    Like the top result when you google it says things like:

    “Examples of little “t” trauma include non-life-threatening injuries, emotional abuse, death of a pet, bullying or harassment, and loss of significant relationships”

    In general I’ve seen too many times ’emotional abuse’ being separated from other types of abuse, or not being taken as seriously by domestic violence charities or services. And the fact it’s perceived as being less serious only makes it even more traumatic to somebody experiencing it. Each of those things in the list above could be so traumatic to somebody that they’d take their life or self-harm or display any other of the typical trauma responses including all the psychological ones that you can’t physically see.

    Chronic physical injuries can be traumatic too. I feel like the thing in common is that shorter events are being perceived as more serious than chronic ones. Or ones where you can point to physical evidence more easily are perceived as being more serious.

    So, there’s a risk that this is just formalising the common prejudice towards ‘invisible’ or chronic things.

    The point is that everybody’s situation is unique, and multiple issues and circumstances can so easily combine to cause any arbitrary degree of stress and trauma in somebody. People respond so differently to individual situations. Over-categorisation doesn’t leave room for neurodiversity or individual circumstances.

    At the very least the language of ‘big’ and ‘small’ is irresponsible and it’s already a known thing that you shouldn’t minimise peoples’ suffering as it’s never helpful 😆.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw! Thank you so much. Appreciate that.

      I know right?! I see no point in the categories. What does it matter? It seems to only serve as a sort of hierarchy of trauma that shouldn’t exist. Psychological wounds are just as bad if not worse than “just” physical.

      I feel like emotionally abused folks are often pushed aside as just needing to buck up and get over it. These categories certainly don’t help, calling it “little”. Infuriating eh?

      As a clinician. I only ask about like if the trauma is chronic or single event so I know if it’s still going on. NOT because I’m trying to say one is worse than the other. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly one of the worst things that can happen in life is suffering some trauma, and that not being recognised, then even coming across some sociopath psychiatrist who also gaslights you, and you’re completely trapped, isolated in a very dangerous situation.

        So yeah, amazing to see your approach :). It all begins with empathy and trust in what the person is saying, and treating each person individually.

        I also do accept that the responses to different kinds of trauma event may generally be different— for example maybe OCD is a more common response in chronic traumas or something like that (making this up as a hypothetical example!). Then with other kinds you get the flashbacks and things. But this is more of a response mechanism thing rather than the experience being emotionally ‘worse’ or ‘bigger/smaller’.

        Liked by 1 person

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