Trauma is far more common than you might imagine, both development trauma, which originates in childhood, and shock trauma, which occurs in response to an overwhelming event that occurs at any time during your life. You may not even realize how the imprints of trauma silently direct your life because trauma sometimes remains hidden within your unconscious mind.
These statistics on abuse begin to illuminate the scope of the problem, and they do not include the emotional damage that occurs from development trauma, which can occur from not having your emotional needs meant during your early years.
Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one out of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.
Let’s look at the difference between developmental trauma and shock trauma, so we can better understand our own emotional wounds and also extend a hand to others who have been impacted by trauma.
Developmental Trauma and Shock Trauma: What’s the Difference?
You may associate trauma with catastrophic events, but a different form of trauma, developmental trauma, can occur early childhood. Both types of trauma can effect your capacity for nervous system regulation.
Developmental trauma ranges from not getting your basic emotional needs met during specific stages of childhood development to full-on abuse or neglect, often called C-PTSD or Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD may also involve misattunement and/or shock trauma as described below.