What are the kinds of trauma?

Shaun Lotter, MA, LPC
What is Trauma

Types of Trauma

Trauma of Omission– the lack of or absence of what was needed.  Generally, trauma is thought of as an act of commission, but it exists in the form of profound absence.  Many sex addicts have significant issues of childhood neglect or abandonment.

  • Neglect– simply put, the person, frequently a child, does not have their needs attended to adequately.  They may experience physical neglect, such as an absence of food or shelter, but more often takes the form of emotional/relational neglect.  The child is given only a portion of the attention they need while being ignored at other times.  Often times, a parent is unwilling or unable, to give the child the kind of support and nurturing they require.  If we used the example of food in place of relational/emotional needs, these individuals would have been the equivalent of malnourished children.
  • Abandonment– a significant individual or caregiver is suddenly unavailable, or, perhaps, has never been there.  This can include the sudden absence of those we depend upon and are attached to.  It may also be the unrealized desire to attach to a individual (perhaps a parent) that causes a significant emotional disruption.  One type of abandonment would involve a person pulling away from or leaving another by choice.  This is classic abandonment.  It is the child whose mother goes away to live in substance abuse, or to be with another man and start a new family.  However, abandonment is often more confusing than this.  Imagine the parent who never leaves because they were never really there.  The child grows-up with a parent who is there sometimes and at other moments abandons the youth.  It is a kind of cruel, teasing dance, keeping the child in a state of hope they might get what they need “this time.”

*Most sexual addicts excel in continually ensuring they will be abandoned or neglected as adults.  They expertly, though, not consciously, seek out or create relationships in which abandonment and neglect will occur.

Trauma of Commission– Direct actions or events which significantly impact an individual’s understanding of themselves and their environment.  This would include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

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