Trauma vs. Decision Making

In today’s world, the idea of trauma seems to be very frightening and challenging to cope with. When using the word Trauma, we should understand that it relates to a shocking or challenging experience in life that has a significant influence or causes psychological/emotional damage. This could be experienced in early childhood or late in an adult’s life. Trauma has a different emotional meaning to everyone and touches each individual in different ways. Thus, due to the delicate nature of this experience, each client should be treated with greater respect and provided with professional help. In regards to decision making, we are in the process of making a choice. Importantly, this is one that was not always an option for some of us.

Many research projects have shown that people who experienced traumatic events are more likely to choose a “loss” if they experience a feeling of fear when taking an action or risk. Emotional struggle creates blockages and loss of control over emotions, which then becomes overwhelming and challenging to deal with.
From my client’s experience, I would like to share few examples of life situations where traumatic experience had a significant impact on their decision-making process.

Anna, who worked as a Director for a prominent marketing company in London, experienced difficulties related to her decision-making processes. She was asked to decide between two big projects that would have an effect on her further career. She was very excited, but at the same time frightened, and she did not understand why she felt this way. During her coaching process, we discovered that she had repressed memories of abuse. It was a very delicate situation for her to deal with. Mentally and physically abused children have no control over their situation; they are left without a choice. This strongly affects their experience in later life when they become directors or take on roles in higher positions. When asked to make crucial decisions, they can notice emotional confrontation that is problematic to solve, and the feeling of fear can become disrupting. Thus, this was seen as vital information during Anna’s process and helped her to navigate to the core of the problem. For Anna, making that decision triggered something from her early days. How can she decide, if before she had no choice at all?. Suddenly the idea that “something bad will happen”, occurred. By recognising the core of this problem and implementing techniques used during her coaching process, she was able to manage her decision skills effectively without feeling fear or guilt.

Nathan, who worked as a Partner, also had difficulties with deciding, but his background was very different to Anna’s. He was 5 years old when his parents got divorced. For him, this event had traumatic results during his upbringing. Several times he was placed in a situation where he had to decide to whom he felt more attached, mum or dad. He effectively had no choice but forced to make one. This had an effect on his decision-making during his work experience, as well as home life. He felt out of place, and every decision he had to make was a struggle that he could not share with people close to him. When we worked together, he admitted that asking for professional help was the last thing on his list, but the pressure and responsibilities that he had to face at work were taking over his life. After he completed his coaching process, he felt released from the burden of making decisions, and he experiences emotional and physical stability at work and home.

There are many examples of traumatic experiences and how they relate to the decision making process. Each of them has an impact on how we operate at work and at home. Only us, as individuals, will deeply know what feelings might point to this struggle. Thus, I am inviting you to work together through those challenging times to achieve balance and happiness.


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