The health section of NY Times recently featured, Francine Shapiro, developer of EMDR who responded to a number of questions from readers about EMDR. In on of her posts she address the common misconception that only events such as combat trauma, sexual abuse and rape, physical abuse, and violence constitute trauma. In her March 16th post she writes, “recent research indicates that general life experiences can actually cause more post traumatic stress disorder symptoms than major trauma”.
Shapiro cites “childhood humiliations, rejections, disappointment, bullying by peers, insensitive actions by authority figures, and parental fights” as early experiences which may potentially be so disturbing that they stop the information processing of the brain and are stored as unprocessed information holding the emotions, beliefs and physical sensations experienced at the time the trauma occurred. This unprocessed information then intrudes into present life circumstances and triggers maladaptive responses to the environment by through faulty perceptions, restrictive beliefs, and heightened emotions.