Trauma| Psychology

3 Subtle Signs You Have Unprocessed Trauma

Unexpected Clues That Point to Unresolved Trauma Issues by a Therapist

Som Dutt ☯
Psychology Simplified
7 min readMay 15, 2024


3 Subtle Signs You Have Unprocessed Trauma-by “Som Dutt” on Medium
Credit: Photo by Darya Sannikova:

Beneath your happy-faced dancing at the party, and while having fun at vocation, and doing clubbing with friends there lies your traumatic shadow that attacks you in your dream.

Most of us live and are chased by silent unprocessed sad pasts that haunt and shape us throughout our lives.

As we grow older this unprocessed traumatic past keeps coming in the form of flashbacks, sleep disturbances, unmanaged sleep patterns, memory gaps, panic attacks, and uninvited anxiety.

Human beings are like trees, below our growth and height there lies dark, ugly, hidden scars that we carry a long way and are often left untouched, untreated, and unhealed.

Because we cannot see, these emotional and traumatic scars that is why we often forget to understand and heal them as we do in the case of physical scars. Our psyche does not self-heal with time as in the case, of our body self-healing with physical scars too fast.

Our psyche needs to be understood with extra care. Our psyche requires extra focus so that we can go deep into it, only then we can heal ourselves.

“Whoever he said he was, thought Marsh, he was not from the immigration department, and the web that he was convinced Walsh had been weaving was beginning to unravel with disastrous and dangerous consequences.”
― Michael Parker, The Devil’s Trinity

Unprocessed trauma can cause lots of damage to our personality and character, it can restrict us from forming healthy relationships, and it influences our behavior, lifestyle, perspectives, perception, and the way we deal with our lives, problems, conflicts, and loved ones.

When I have experienced a few traumatic events in my life and I can clearly say that those events have shaped my personality. Sometimes, I cannot control my anger and I face some problems in forming healthy relationships. But I have understood these signs of unprocessed trauma much later in my life.

Therefore, you also need to shed light upon these subtle signs of unprocessed trauma so that you can heal yourself from unnecessary thoughts that can cause you anxiety, and depression, and hinder your growth.

It’s for us to not misinterpret these signs. Now, let’s go deep into the path of self-discovery.

“Most people have no imagination. If they could imagine the sufferings of others, they would not make them suffer so.”
― Anna Funder, All That I Am

1. You Experience Frequent Nightmares And Changes In Sleep Patterns

Most of the time traumatic experiences cause some physical damage to the structure of our brain and such damage is linked to bad experiences with sleep.

You may get the habit of waking up from sleep. You may like to wake up at night, or you may want to smoke, or drink coffee at night which ultimately spoils your sleeping experience.

You may have too often disturbed nights where you are unable to sleep. In my case, I have experienced a few unprocessed traumas in my life and I often experience nightmares.

“When you’re born a light is switched on, a light which shines up through your life. As you get older the light still reaches you, sparkling as it comes up through your memories. And if you’re lucky as you travel forward through time, you’ll bring the whole of yourself along with you, gathering your skirts and leaving nothing behind, nothing to obscure the light. But if a Bad Thing happens part of you is seared into place, and trapped for ever at that time. The rest of you moves onward, dealing with all the todays and tomorrows, but something, some part of you, is left behind. That part blocks the light, colours the rest of your life, but worse than that, it’s alive. Trapped for ever at that moment, and alone in the dark, that part of you is still alive.”
― Michael Marshall Smith, Only Forward

Most of the time our brains try to process the unprocessed trauma in our dreams. Such sleep deprivation can affect our relationships, muscle growth, and overall quality of life. People who are not able to sleep properly mostly feel tired all day. They do not get enough motivation to do any work.

You may experience higher brain activity during the night. You may become hyper-vigilance where your body wants to live in a constant state of alertness.

Sleep deprivation also causes a decline in cognitive performance, therefore you can also face some memory issues. You often experience flashbacks that are linked with bad past experiences.

“That’s the second time you’ve apologised in less than a minute, Remo. When you have to do that to an admiral it could be your career on the line.”
― Michael Parker, The Devil’s Trinity

2. You Experience Extremely Negative Emotions

Your psyche is full of negative emotions because the frustration and anger are deeply buried inside you. Your soul is filled with anxiety, insecurity, guilt, shame, sadness, sorrow, and regret.

“Some people’s lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That’s what trauma does. It interrupts the plot. You can’t process it because it doesn’t fit with what came before or what comes afterward. A friend of mine, a soldier, put it this way. In most of our lives, most of the time, you have a sense of what is to come. There is a steady narrative, a feeling of “lights, camera, action” when big events are imminent. But trauma isn’t like that. It just happens, and then life goes on. No one prepares you for it.”
― Jessica Stern, Denial: A Memoir of Terror

You can easily express your anger and frustration on someone or something if you experience similar triggers that you have experienced during your traumatic experience.

Now, these traumatic triggers have become your weakness. You can become extremely angry with someone. Your anger is just an extension of the pain that you have buried in your heart for so long.

Your brain starts functioning differently than others because whenever you experience any stressful situation you will experience it more negatively than others. You may have an outburst of negative emotions.

Such intense negative emotions can lead to Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) reactions and can disturb your mental health.

“There are edges around the black and every now and then a flash of color streaks out of the gray. But I can never really grasp any of the slivers of memories that emerge.”
― Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

3. You Prefer Isolation, Social Withdrawal And Dissociation

If you have unprocessed trauma then you are more likely to spend more time on the internet and social media instead of talking and hanging with real friends. Your friend circle would be very small.

“If we wrestle with traumas that do not want to give way and our inner little Red Riding Hood cannot get rid of the wolf’s threatening giggles, we must not be afraid of opening ourselves to otherness that can trigger a salutary ‘orienting reflex’ propelling us into a new thinking pattern. (“Into a new life”)”
― Erik Pevernagie

You will start detaching yourself from real people because you will have lots of trust issues in your mind. Now, you are not an easygoing person. You try to create boundaries even with your loved ones.

Isolation, social withdrawal, and living in your own company can be the subtle signs that you have unprocessed trauma. Most of the time you do not want to engage in group activities. You do not feel comfortable among people.

“If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don’t think it’s the children who need to be adjusted.”
― Stefan Molyneux

Disassociation and social withdrawal are just our psyche’s normal defense mechanism that secures us from further harm. Slowly you will start creating your own reality.

Some people who have unprocessed trauma also experience delusion.

“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
― Peter A. Levine



Som Dutt ☯
Psychology Simplified

Top writer in Philosophy & Psychology Since 2021. I make people Think, Relate, Feel & Move. For My Detailed Long Essays visit —