The Invisible Wounds of Trauma: How to Set Boundaries to Affect Healing

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Traumatic experiences can result in many different injuries.

But not all of the wounds are visible to the outside world.

Many times, survivors of trauma deal with invisible wounds that can have a deeper, more painful impact.

Personal struggles and mental health challenges due to trauma are nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, people who have been through these experience tend to hide these issues away.

The more you understand about these invisible injuries, the easier it can be to recognize them and accept them. From there, you’ll be better able to cope and find the help you need to start healing.

Let’s take a look at how trauma can cause personal wounds and what you can do to set boundaries that promote healing.

The Silent Symptoms of Trauma

Someone who goes through a traumatic experience often has symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While there are several visible signs that others may notice if you’re struggling with PTSD, many of them are internal.

Some of the most common internal wounds include things like:

  • Vivid, realistic nightmares

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Flashbacks of the event

  • Isolation

  • Thoughts of self-harm/suicide

We often think PTSD is only associated with war veterans and soldier, but that simply isn’t true. Anyone who has been through a traumatic event can experience these invisible wounds and struggle with them on a daily basis. For example, people who have experienced mental or physical abuse, sexual abuse, or those who have lived through some type of disaster may experience post-traumatic stress.

Unfortunately, without some kind of treatment or help, it’s unlikely that these wounds will heal on their own.

Understand that if you’re struggling with deep internal mental or emotional injuries, it doesn’t make you a weak person or a coward. Every person who goes through a traumatic event responds differently.

How Can Setting Boundaries Heal the Wounds of Trauma?

Setting boundaries for yourself is absolutely crucial for healing and for your general well-being as you move past a traumatic experience.

Why is it so important?

When you’ve been through something traumatic, it’s usually an interpersonal experience. Even a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane can make you feel as though you’ve been personally attacked. Everything you have known and loved could be gone.

If someone attacked you or hurt you in some way, obviously you were robbed of any boundaries you may have had, leaving you to feel vulnerable, unsafe, and hopeless.

Building new boundaries and putting them in place will not only help you to change any negative feelings you may be harboring toward yourself, but it can also help you to move through difficult experiences in the future.

How to Set Boundaries

Now that you know the importance of boundaries, how can you set them to help with the healing process?

Obviously, the boundaries you decide on will be personal to you. It’s best to be direct but polite when telling others about your personal boundaries.

You may not even realize what these boundaries are until they come up in a particular conversation or circumstance. For example, if someone starts talking about abuse in a relationship, you can let them know that it makes you uncomfortable or elicits anxiety, and then ask them to talk about something else.

You’ll likely find that if you’re firm in your beliefs and boundaries, people generally don’t balk at the idea of moving the conversation elsewhere.

Setting boundaries for yourself not only helps to reduce the power of potential triggers, but it puts you back in control of your life. For many survivors of a traumatic experience, that’s the best form of healing.


If you’re having trouble understanding how boundaries can help you or how to set your own, feel free to contact me or set up an appointment. You don’t have to go through the effects of trauma on your own. Together, we can work on learning about the benefits of boundaries so you can start to apply them in your everyday life.