5 Reasons Your Loss Causes Trauma

trauma and grief

After experiencing a significant loss, nothing remains the same.

The emotions you feel, how you think, how you act, and how you view the world all change.

You may experience a barrage of complex emotions and find it challenging to cope with your new normal. If care is not taken, you could develop traumatic grief.

Here are five reasons your loss causes trauma.

For one, if your loved one had a traumatic death such as sudden death, homicide, suicide, or accident, their loss will likely be traumatic for you.

You will need grief support from family, friends, and/or therapists.

Also, harboring deep feelings of guilt about your loved one's death can lead to mental health complications, including severe depressive episodes and PTSD ( post-traumatic stress disorder).

The pain of losing a loved one is unreal; however, developing any form of guilt only robs you of the opportunity to grieve and heal.

Similarly, losing a loved one to a tragic death can cause fear, paranoia, and anxiety.

Fear is a complex grief emotion; it can stop its victim from living their life, healing, moving forward, or making meaning of their life.

Consider this overview to learn five reasons your loss causes trauma.

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Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

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Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

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Your Loved One Had A Traumatic Death

Loss causes trauma when we lose our loved ones to a traumatic death.

Almost all types of loss have a trauma component; however, some deaths are much more probable than others to be traumatic and result in post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Sudden deaths, untimely deaths, deaths without warning, deaths involving brutality, rape, mutilation, or any form of suffering can affect a griever's ability to cope with grief and heal.

Likewise, losing a loved one to accidents, suicide, or homicide exposes one to a different type of grief.

Similarly, witnessing the death of a loved one, roommate, spouse, or parent can lead to fear, shock, anxiety, depressive episodes, and trauma.

It might be difficult to erase such traumatizing memory and return to everyday life without proper support from family and friends.

You can also visit a mental health practitioner to help you manage emotions, cope with loss, and prevent or avoid post-traumatic stress symptoms.

You Feel Guilty

After losing a significant one, most people often find themselves ruminating over memories, reliving moments, days, weeks, or even years before their loved one's death, and thinking deeply about what they could have done to prevent their death.

Having deep feelings of guilt about your loss causes trauma.

Your guilt could stem from the belief that you ignored some vital warning signs or that you could have done something concrete enough to prevent the death of your loved one.

Even if there was no possibility the death could've been predicted, in many tragic deaths, there is a series of events that occurred before the death that the survivors wish they could have changed.

You may also be dealing with survivors' guilt in addition to feeling guilty for not being able to stop the death of your loved one.

Survivor's guilt can make you feel bad for surviving the death of your loved one and wish it was you instead.

While guilt is a typical initial emotional response to losing someone we love, it could easily lead to trauma when it becomes persistent.

Taking steps to overcome this guilt is essential to healing and finding peace with yourself after your loved one's death.

You can consult professional counselors or therapists to help you dig into your feelings of guilt and address them.

You Are Scared

Losing someone we love is a scary experience.

In many cases, the loss causes trauma and induces fear and anxiety, making it difficult to trust people or feel safe anywhere.

For instance, losing a loved one to a car accident can cause extreme fear of driving, riding with someone, and fear of vehicles in general.

Likewise, losing a loved one to a violent/intentional attack can make it difficult to trust people, maintain friendships or create new ones, stay in quiet places alone, and be around many people.

The phobia, anxiety, and fear that arise after losing a loved one in a traumatizing way, can deprive you of living a healthy and fulfilling life and prevent you from healing.

Fear can make you wary of things you used to enjoy and prevent you from pursuing happiness.

Thus, if you are experiencing intense anxiety or fear after a significant loss, it's essential to seek help from mental health practitioners to help you address your issues and reduce their influence on you. 

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

Your Health Has Been Compromised

When a loved one dies, survivors of the traumatic loss are prone to developing symptoms that other people grieving the same loss might not experience.

Loss causes trauma when your health becomes significantly compromised after losing a loved one.

Physical symptoms of grief often include digestive problems, high blood pressure, changes in appetite, sleep disruptions, and physical pain, including unexplained pain, body aches, etc.

In some cases, survivors may also have injuries sustained from the accident or events that caused the death of their loved one.

Self-care is vital to maintaining excellent health and healing through your grief.

Thus it's essential to take care of your physical health, and you can seek support from professionals to help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

In addition, you must also avoid unhealthy coping strategies, self-harm, or isolation as they may increase mental health problems like depression which can, in turn, indirectly compromise your physical health.

You Have Developed Complicated Grief

When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to accept the reality of your loss and acknowledge the pain of your grief.

However, when you avoid, suppress, or mask your feelings of grief, the loss causes trauma, and your grief could develop into something more complicated.

Signs of complicated grief can include detachment, intense sorrow, bitterness, difficulty accepting loss, inability to think positively, suicidal thoughts, persistent rumination/obsession about the incident, persistent longing, or feeling life holds no purpose.

Although there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to grieving, there are unhealthy ways to grieve that can cause complications and trauma in your grieving journey.

When you begin to experience intense depression, paranoia, trouble maintaining routines, isolating yourself from others, or feelings of guilt about the death of your loved one, it is advisable to contact a mental health professional for help. 

Conclusion

After a traumatic loss, the symptoms of grief often intensify and persist than normal grief.

Loss causes trauma for so many reasons, and knowing them will help you avoid/correct them and get the grief support you need.

Loss can cause trauma if your loved one had a traumatic death, you feel scared, you feel guilt, you have developed complicated grief, or your health has been compromised. 

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July 14th, 2024

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