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What Impact Does Trauma Have On Big Life Decisions?

What Impact Does Trauma Have On Big Life Decisions?
What Impact Does Trauma Have On Big Life Decisions?

What Impact Does Trauma Have On Big Life Decisions?

Throughout today, you’ll make decisions — lots of decisions. Some are relatively trivial but many of them can impact your life. Even so, most folks make decisions without giving much thought to the life experiences that shape those choices. What seems random is often based on your personal history. 


If your personal history includes traumatic experiences (especially at a young age), you may not realize what a big role this can play. This goes double for big life decisions. Hence, trauma survivors would benefit greatly if they better understood the connections between their past and their present.

How Your Brain Typically Makes a Decision

When we have experiences, that information is stored by our brain. Thus, if we find ourselves in a situation that reminds us of a previous situation, that stored stimuli can help us navigate it. This includes the times when we have to make a big life decision. When functionally properly, it’s an efficient and mostly invisible system.

How a Traumatized Brain Might Make a Decision

Enduring trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This all-too-common condition hampers a person’s cognitive and emotional functioning. Some of the ways this happens include:

  • Negative memories being stored in a dysfunctional way

  • Remaining in a state of fight-or-flight high alert

  • Difficulty making rational decisions in a streamlined manner

These outcomes are caused, in part, by factors like:

Impaired Cognition

Trauma survivors frequently misinterpret circumstances and these errors are temporarily stored as if they were accurate. This creates fertile ground for future decisions to appear rational because you’re not aware that the foundation is faulty.

The Presence of Intrusive Thoughts 

People with PTSD usually struggle with intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares. This reality further blurs the line between what’s real and what’s perceived. 



This only occurs in extreme cases but visual and audio flashbacks are real and can only serve to further confuse the decision-making process


What Impact Does Trauma Have On Big Decisions?

Just because you endured a traumatic experience (or more than one), you still have to tend to everyday life. It’s unfair but in our current society, it’s reality. This places a trauma survivor under even more stress. Life goes on. Small, big, and huge decisions have to be made in important areas of your life. What you choose to do can affect your life and the lives of those around you. Most people simply don’t have the luxury of putting everything on hold until trauma has been processed and resolved. 


All of this highlights just how critical it is that you get the help you need and deserve. Recovering from trauma is not a solo act. 


Self-Help is a Vital Part of Your Daily Life

  • Accept that trauma is impacting you and you need support

  • Do not self-medicate

  • Maintain regular sleep patterns

  • Make healthy eating and drinking choices

  • Get daily exercise and physical activity

Also, avoid the temptation to withdraw and self-isolate. Instead, ask for help from your partner, friends, family, and other trusted loved ones. Let them know what you’re going through and how they can help. Support groups are also an excellent option for meeting others who understand your struggle. 


Find a Trauma-Informed Therapist

When your emotional and cognitive functions are damaged, the path to healing requires a skilled guide. Your therapy sessions can feel like the safe space you crave. Your sessions are precisely where you can share openly and see sustainable solutions. If you get the sense that past trauma is hurting your present life, we invite you to reach out to us today. Let’s connect and talk about the steps you can take toward recovery. 



Through Therapy Collective

Our team of culturally competent therapists is here to offer a warm and safe space to help you navigate life’s hardships with a sense of encouragement and empathy. Find out more >


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