Throughout life, we learn from an accumulation of experiences.
Let’s say growing up in school you were always taught 1+2 = 5, you would learn that to be true, even though it is incorrect. Through time, other sources of information would eventually dispel that mathematic falsehood. In the same way, a traumatic experience can teach us to believe misinformation about ourselves and the world. These are called negative core beliefs. Incorrect lessons from trauma can also be proven untrue through time and work with a therapist.
For example, physical trauma like a car accident may teach us to believe that our physical safety will always be in jeopardy. Emotional trauma like abandonment might teach us to believe that people will always leave us.
Common Negative Self Beliefs as a Result of Trauma
Often, we may not even realize the negative core beliefs that have formed from trauma in our past. While negative core beliefs can vary depending on our individual journeys some of the most common are:
- I don’t have what it takes to get past this
- I am worthless
- Relationships are dangerous
- I will not be listened to or acknowledged
- Love will go away
- I am a weak person
- I am not loveable
- I cannot be assertive without danger
- People will not like me as I am
- I don’t deserve to be happy
- I will inevitably be rejected
- People will betray me
- I can’t succeed
- Success is dangerous
- I don’t deserve to be loved
- I cannot be myself, or I’ll be rejected
- I can’t trust anyone
- I am not enough
- It is not safe to express my feelings
- I am always in danger
- I have to make others happy to be happy
- I must struggle to succeed
- I don’t deserve success
- I don’t have much to give
- If I can’t do it perfectly, then I better not do it at all
- Anything less than perfection is failure
- If I show vulnerability, I will be in danger
- I am not attractive enough
- I will never be safe
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The Weight of Negative Core Beliefs
Unresolved negative beliefs not only impact the way we see ourselves but how we see and experience the world. These negative beliefs can create missed opportunities. Eventually, these misinformed beliefs can manifest into irritability, anger, non-assertiveness, feelings of loneliness, worry, and inability to express our feelings. This can impact our work, social lives, and overall fulfillment.
Can I really Relearn My Negative Beliefs?
Getting to the root of where we learned these negative core beliefs is the first step in resolving them. If you can identify with any of the beliefs listed above, you can benefit from trauma-informed therapy. Though trauma-informed therapy, re-learning these beliefs and reinstalling our self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-value is achievable.