When Marcy was a kid, her father was an alcoholic. Sometimes, he’d get physically violent with her mother and she saw her father beat her brother a few times when he tried to intervene in the conflicts.
Marcy coped with the dysfunction by trying to be the “good girl”. She worked hard to get the right grades and a scholarship to college. Once there, she went into the nursing field where she was at the top of her class.
Later, Marcy went on to work at a local hospital. She enjoyed her job but as the years passed, she kept missing out on promotions. Marcy couldn’t understand why until a co-worker pointed out that she rarely acknowledged her own efforts.
She said, “You let others take the credit when a good job is done. I know you think you’re being part of the team but it’s holding you back from getting where you want to go.”
Like Marcy, trauma may be holding you back from achieving your career or business goals. Here are three ways you might be carrying your trauma with you…
You Numb Your Pain
Carrie loves her work as a paramedic. She gets to provide urgent medical care during times people feel their most vulnerable. But every night after work, Carrie goes home and drinks two to three bottles of wine.
Like many trauma survivors, Carrie was attracted to a field where she can help people going through these frightening times. But unfortunately, Carrie never dealt with her own inner trauma and now it’s frequently brought up as the result of her work. In order to cope, she numbs the pain at night with alcohol.
Even if you know it’s a bad idea, you might be tempted to quiet your trauma, too. Perhaps you drink too much, shop compulsively, or gamble excessively. Doing these things temporarily masks your pain and makes you feel in control again. But the feeling only lasts a little while before you must seek your next fix.
You Try to Be Perfect
Marcy always focused on doing everything for everyone. Living through so much trauma left her feeling responsible for those around her. Now she worries about letting others down and wants them to think her life is perfect.
Perfectionism can be a mask for deep pain. On some level, you’re hoping that if your life looks perfect from the outside, that the pain inside will finally stop. But this doesn’t work. It only further isolates you as you feel the need to keep up appearances.
You Don’t Want to Be Seen
You’re happiest when you’re behind-the-scenes. You’d rather make the magic happen behind the curtain than be the one up front taking the bows. At least, that’s what you tell yourself.
While this strategy might make you feel safe, it also means you don’t ever get to take ownership for the amazing things you do. Instead, you’re stuck playing it safe and staying home from the ball.
It’s Time to Heal
You can’t grow in your career and business unless you let yourself heal from your past. It’s the only way forward or you’ll keep repeating this miserable cycle where you have to hide out.
It’s time to acknowledge your power and strength. You didn’t have a choice about the trauma and bullying that happened to you. But that doesn’t mean these things must define your life or become the whole story. You can begin again and write a new story at any moment you choose.
The energy within all three of these coping strategies can be shifted in a powerful way with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or tapping)
What if you felt free enough to write your own story instead of continuing to live through the one you were told as a child?
If you found this article interesting you might also benefit from reading about how to heal your dysregulated nervous system to feel more grounded.