Trauma: How it Shows

We Wear Our Trauma

When a warrior wakes early in the morning, he is of clean clothes and skin; he has not any marks of his labour on him. But after the warrior has finished a long days work, he has returned to his home with the markings of his labour. The warrior is covered in blood and wounds, not by means of deliberate action, but because such is the nature of warrior-hood: we cannot avoid mess when we commit to battle. Likewise, when a child is born into the world, they show no markings of trauma upon their first breaths. They enjoy nothing but bonding, food, and naps at this age. Yet by the time the child returns to the hospital from which they were born, well into their old-age, they have manifested many of those marks that result from encumbering the labour of existence. The child comes into this world with a relatively clean slate, yet leaves covered in foreign markings. We wear our trauma.

Of the changes trauma develops in us, those changes most notable to others manifest in behaviour and appearance. Much like with the warrior, our experiences accumulate in and make their impression upon our appearance; and further yet, as the previous experiences of the warrior have led to his position as a fighter, therefore, his daily behaviour, it is likewise the case that our previous experiences have also influenced our daily behaviour. But where we and the warrior no longer share commonality is our ability to see wounds as wounds; the warrior can even readily recognize his viscous behaviour and the accumulation of blood upon his clothes, though most cannot readily recognize trauma which manifests in tattoos, binge drinking, or aggressive music. We presume, naively, that our interests in such things have no maladjusted motivations stemming from our unconscious, but such is plainly that: naive. The warrior can see their wounds, but we seldom see our trauma.

Indeed, there are even those times where we might genuinely see our trauma, though, despite all the visibility granted, we nevertheless mistakenly attribute the trauma to the external world: we confuse our perceptions of the world as the world its self (see both “The World is on Fire,” and “Your World is on Fire,” for further discussion). And thus, despite trauma being out in the open, we still sometimes miss it.

Moreover, like the leafs which fall from a tree, trauma, as it manifests in behaviour or appearance, can be categorized; however, each instance of membership is of a distinguishable degree of variance. No leaf falls the same, but they all fall around the same season; similarly, trauma manifests differently in individuals, but there are nevertheless general markings which imprint upon people. For brief demonstration, we shall look at the markings which imprint upon the narcissistic and depressed, so as to show how distinguished manifest trauma genuinely is.

The Narcissist:

The narcissist requires admiration to survive, without such they become a fish on land: missing the essential quality of their life. The deep unconscious yearning for admiration manifests, much like with the warrior and his labour, in both behaviour and appearance.

Among the many behaviours readily visible to the public, to which the narcissist engages in, and that relate to the desire for admiration, is the boasting of one’s own ability.  The narcissist, even in the least competitive of settings, will take it upon them self, if an opportunity so presents, to brag about their abilities, whatever they may be. In the narcissist’s mind’s eye, those around them will surely acquiesce and accept the narcissist to be superior in every possible way once they hear of such incredible skill and ability; the expectations of adornment and adulation are the minimum in such a scenario for the narcissist.

And accompanied by such boisterous and grandiose claims is an arrogance only surmountable by another narcissist, for healthy confidence cannot climb mountains beyond reality. The narcissist stands upon a mountain of confidence, which is most definitely hollow, and speaks as though no human can be of equal to them. When one faces a challenge, and said challenge was indeed difficult, the narcissist will speak of the challenge’s ease. In seek of admiration, the narcissist will behave as arrogant as a God; if only such establishes their superiority and, therefore, our never ending admiration.

Though there are many more visible behaviours which a narcissist displays, narcissists have displays of their personality that require no animation on their behalf as well. Such be their clothing, their make-up, or their tattoos.

A female who wears overly sexualized clothing does so for a reason, and the idea that sexual clothing is worn without reason is as delusional as the over-confident narcissist. The sex worker wears revealing clothes to attract customers, the porn star wears revealing clothes to arouse viewers, and the model wears revealing clothes to attract attention. Likewise, the narcissist will wear revealing clothes to attract admiration. So, when a female utters, while wearing sexualized clothing: “I wear this because it makes me feel confident,” they are assuredly saying, “I only feel confident when I attract the sexual drive of men and become admired for such”. It is no secret to either male or female that sexualized clothes, especially when emphasizing sexual exogenous zones, is meant to garnish sexual attention. Thus, much how wearing a suit of armour can indicate whether one has been exposed to worn torn country sides and reprehensible levels of human suffering or not, likewise can someone’s choice of clothing reveal their history.

But as a female narcissist has her displays of narcissism, so too do men. The male who has spent countless hours curling weights and building his body to do nothing more than show to females, indeed, has as the core of his motivation precisely that which motivates female narcissists. The overly-jacked male, who goes out of his way to display his physique to females, requires the sexual admiration of females; otherwise, he shall wallow in a never ending and self-inflicted insecurity. Such is like the female narcissist who dresses overly sexual; the two require sexual admiration from the opposite sex to feed their cravings for attention.

The Depressed:

The depressed individual is much like a bird in a bath, except the water, rather than being clear, is instead tainted with murky substances: sadness, anxiousness, and a depressive rage. Bearing on one’s shoulders the burden of depression can be insufferable, to the point where one would prefer to fall than continue on standing. The longer the bird sits in said murky substances, the further its beauty is ruined; analogously, the longer one lives with burden of depression, the firmer its grasp on one’s worldview becomes. Eventually, after the passing of sufficient time, it will make of all those things that grant us joy, cheer, and meaning nothing but misery, gloom, and nihilism.

Social outings with friends, a time for merriness and thrill, is in danger when depressed. Those who suffer from depression are less socially active both non-verbally and verbally. Not only are they less socially active, but they are also less socially engaged when in social settings. It as though their mind vacated and there resides not a thing in their head: an empty chamber.

And where their mind once resided, now an empty chamber filled with the darkest of music remains. Of those bearing the burden of depression, a tendency for darker music is common. When we seek music which excites our nervous system for either a night of partying or an evening of heavy lifting, we choose in a fashion beyond arbitrariness. There are indeed reasons as to why we rely on electronic dance or rock music for such events: be it personality, physiological arousal, etc.. And it is likewise beyond arbitrariness as to why those who listen to sad music are indeed displaying their depression in doing so. Music represents the various states of physiological arousal we feel.


The depressed will show us their trauma through their social behaviour and personality expressions, as will the narcissistic. Our trauma comes with us where ever we go, it has become a ball and chain on our life. But unlike a normal ball and chain, this one can be seen only by those who know what to look for. Not everyone can see trauma, as they are blinded by ignorance. Much like the warrior who cannot see the destruction brought upon the lands because he has been blinded by his rage, so too will the average person be blinded by their own trauma and lack of self-knowledge. Only in the light of knowledge will one ever become self-aware of their own trauma, which is not to say we will be able to remove our scars, though we shall at least be aware of our wounds.

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Ideasinhat is a business development analyst and longtime reader of academic literature. He writes books and essays on science and philosophy, and posts them to this website. The essays, as with the books, cover topics from psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science to economics, politics, and law.

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