How To Break the Cycle of Trauma That’s Ruining Your Life

All the worst things is life — stress, bad habits, and self-hatred — are all rooted in trauma.

Matt Gangloff


Photo by Grigorii Sukhorukov on Unsplash

When I’m stuck in the Cycle of Trauma, being in my head is torture.

There’s this voice that runs on repeat — it’s my Inner Critic. It tells me all the things that I should do. Things that I need to achieve. Milestones I need to hit. Habits I need to build or get rid of. But, at the same time, it drains the very energy I need in order to do those things.

So, I cope. I try to shut it off. Then, I feel guilty about how I’m trying to shut it off. The cycle repeats and gets amplified until the voice tells me that I (and everyone else, for that matter) would be better off if I was dead.

I call this pattern of thinking The Cycle of Trauma.

Sound familiar?

The Steps in the Cycle of Trauma

Step 1: Stress — I feel anxious, depressed, bleh.

Step 2: Coping — I do things to feel better but gravitate to things that aren’t so…healthy.

Step 3: Self-Attack — I blame myself for the stress and how I cope with it, causing more stress and…well, you can see where this is going.

Stress, coping, self-attack. More stress, more coping, more self-attack. It feeds back on itself, amplifying until it becomes unbearable.

But there’s actually a step that come’s before stress. It’s where the cycle starts. It’s where it got its name…trauma.

Trauma created this cycle in the first place. Why? To keep me caught in the loop, to keep me from ever dealing with the trauma itself.

What Trauma Is

In short, trauma is an emotional response to an event. Anything can cause trauma — a car accident, a war, an abusive relationship. But people vary widely in their ability to endure trauma. The same event might cause a traumatic response in one person and not another.



Matt Gangloff

I teach the how-to’s of Post-Traumatic Growth: How to heal and grow, find a new mission, become your best self and build a meaningful life.