Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Is it possible for a traumatic experience to affect my feelings and behavior even when it isn't on my mind?

13 Answers
Last Updated: 08/04/2020 at 8:49am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Polly Letsch, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide non-judgmental, person-centered, objective therapeutic treatment for individuals of all ages to improve social, emotional, mental and other areas of functioning.

Top Rated Answers
January 28th, 2015 5:00pm
When it comes to traumatic experiences, what you go through will affect you and change you. It will change the way that you perceive things, your emotional state, and the way that you react to certain situations in the future. So even if you are not thinking directly about the situation or what was done to you, the way your mind works is bound to have changed or become affected in some way. Even when not thinking about the experience, you still may experience a flashback, or be subconsciously dwelling on the event because of how badly you were hurt (emotionally or physically). I read an article on the subject that said our brains change after a traumatic event. The way that we learn, remember things, handles stress, and regulate our emotions may have been altered in our brains. So if the way we function on a basic level can be affected, so can our personality, behavior, or emotions.
February 15th, 2015 1:30am
Yes..Well i don't even know if this is feelings or behavior. but based on what i have read it can dangerously affect your overall health. A friend of mine had her parents divorced. She was going on like everything was fine only to be hospitalized for four (4)months and almost lost her vision. The cause? STRESS! She was struck to find out that the divorced had a very terrible impact on her! But she was convinced it didn't as she was gleefully going along! So traumatic experiences can indeed affect your behavior and feelings even if it doesn't seem to be such a "big deal" to you. I hope this helps sin some way!
July 13th, 2015 12:14am
It absolutely is. Trauma becomes engrained deeply within us and our emotional being. It is definitely possible for it to affect all facets of your emotional state, and thus, your behaviour.
- Expert in Domestic Violence
May 3rd, 2015 5:40am
Yes it is. Our subconscious is very powerful. You don't have to think about it for it to affect you. See it as heavy weights on your shoulders, you may not be looking at them, but they are still there. It's affecting your body, nervous system and most likely spiking your fight or flight reflex.
June 15th, 2015 3:39pm
Yes,it can be deep inside of your mind and cause a reflex on something that triggering It doesn't have to be actively on your mind to affect them
August 25th, 2015 12:19am
Yes. You will never forget a traumatic experience but you learn to live with it. It may effect your day to day life but with time and the right support you can live a normal life.
September 21st, 2015 1:08am
Yes, it can. You might subconsciously react a certain way to certain things or situations. You may not realize it till a long time later.
August 6th, 2016 11:04am
Yes, that is indeed possible, but remember that beside the negative ways a trauma can hinder in our body-mind system, there is also post-traumatic growth... the developing of the positive changes and resilience as we are learning how to better handle and more functionally cope with challenges, adversities and ovrall stressful situations in daily life, as thrivers on the healing path of recovery from trauma
April 25th, 2017 1:06am
Yes, Bessel Van see Kolk says, "The body keeps the score." Trauma can cause changes in our bodies that affect the way we respond to stress. You may feel more reactive, or even hypervigilent. If you feel like this might be the case, learning things like belly breathing and seeking help from a professional may be of service.
July 31st, 2017 12:36am
It took a while for me and my therapist discover that my trauma morphed itself into general anxiety even when not thinking directly about it. I also developed a chronic illness relating to the trauma, and went through strong gender dysphoria straight after one particular traumatic event. So yes, I would say trauma can affect you even when it's nowhere on your mind.
August 8th, 2017 11:34pm
Yes. The mind does not forget anything. It grows and learns from it, but everything about you can be altered in some way or another, deteriorating your stability or rerouting the neurotransmitters or receptors in the brain.
May 1st, 2018 12:08pm
Any experience and of course a traumatic one can create a long lasting change to a person's feelings and behavior
August 4th, 2020 8:49am
Trauma can take many shapes and forms. Sometimes things that aren’t necessarily related to the trauma itself l can trigger feelings related to the trauma. When I experienced a traumatic event I felt myself distance from everyone and lose focus, even when I was not thinking about the trauma. The effects of trauma can be invisible, and so it can be difficult to know when it’s on your mind and when it is not. Additionally, I would find myself in arguments with people that there was no need to be in an argument with, but I soon realised that it was my way of coping with the trauma I had experienced. It is completely normal to feel this way, and always a good idea to speak about these feelings.