Learning to Trust Yourself After Trauma

March 18, 2024 Sammi Caramela

Learning to trust yourself after trauma can feel like walking through a minefield. In my experience, if I take one wrong step, I fear my entire life will somehow implode. Even the most minor decisions send me into a fight-or-flight spiral. I deny my intuition and operate out of fear, craving a sense of security and certainty one simply cannot have in life. Learning to trust myself after trauma has been difficult.

It's been a challenge for me to feel fully present without this gnawing feeling in my gut. Am I heading in the right direction? Am I making the right choices? What if I screw up and somehow sabotage my entire future, unable to get what I so desperately want out of life?

These questions often keep me up at night. Learning to trust yourself after trauma is not an easy feat, and it's one I am still navigating.

How Trauma Making It Difficult to Trust Yourself

In my experience, I've carried a lot of self-blame and victimization for the roles I've played in my traumas. While my first trauma as a child was not my fault, I still struggled with shame, thinking I could have handled the situation better. I ridiculed myself for the ways I've coped with the pain and the patterns I've carried out. To this day, I sometimes still tell myself I'll be punished with more trauma if I make the wrong choice. I need to trust myself after trauma, but it feels like I can't.

Trauma has a way of keeping me small. It tells me I'm incapable of making my own decisions and tries to find proof that I cannot trust myself. However, I've learned the more I search for such "proof," the more I'll find. It's like a never-ending self-doubt spiral and a self-fulfilling prophecy

How to Trust Yourself After Trauma

Learning to trust yourself after trauma might feel uncomfortable at first. In my case, I looked to others for reassurance that I was making the right choices — that I was safe. While a healthy dose of validation was helpful in many instances, it also took my power away at times. I've noticed the best results when I sought objective insight from those I loved and valued — those who empower me to trust myself after trauma. On the other hand, I felt less empowered when I blindly followed the advice of those who simply told me exactly what I should and shouldn't do. Understanding the difference between the two is crucial. 

Sitting in silence with myself has gifted me the greatest sense of peace and self-trust. If you're wondering about the best course of action or decision to make, take a moment to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Propose the question at hand — what comes up? What are your instincts telling you? These should surface without fear, as anxiety can certainly cloud judgment. Focus on the calm thoughts that arise, and know that you are in control. Even if you know something intuitively but are not yet ready to trust it, give yourself time to process the information that comes up. This will help you build trust in yourself without a sense of urgency or panic.

Only you know what is best for you, and learning to trust yourself after trauma is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself and your recovery.

Learn more about how I learned to trust myself after my trauma by watching the video below.

APA Reference
Caramela, S. (2024, March 18). Learning to Trust Yourself After Trauma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a freelance writer, fiction author, poet, and mental health advocate who uses her writing to help others feel less alone. Find her on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and her blog.

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