Big Trauma Vs. Little Trauma: What’s the Difference?


Traumatic experiences were often thought to be only those that had a possible near-death result. Things like car accidents, fires and forced sexual acts are all major occurrences that leave an impact on people’s lives. While these may be larger experiences, small acts of trauma can be just as devastating to people’s minds.

Big Trauma Vs. Little Trauma

TalkSpace discusses how little trauma effects people everyday. While big trauma refers to dangerous events that result in a near-death experience, little trauma refers to daily events that can damage a person’s psyche. Getting left behind at a store as a child, having a parent leave unexpectedly, and having a major fight in a relationship are all little trauma events that can remain in people’s minds forever.

Trauma and Relationships

Surprisingly, people who have experienced traumatic events are actually better suited for relationships. This is because they often have more compassion for what others are going through or have gone through. They tend to be more understanding as well. This isn’t to say there aren’t also complications. Someone who has experienced traumatic events in a past relationship may have that in mind during a new one. A simple misunderstanding or minor argument can cause memories of past traumatic events that occurred.

Recovering from Trauma

Even when a major traumatic event occurs, people are capable of overcoming it. David Brooks explains how people are much more resilient than they want to believe. When it came to the 9/11 attacks, a report came out stating that first responders were a large percentage of the people who suffered. It has since been found that only 13% of total people who saw the attacks first-hand actually experienced PTSD symptoms over the next several months. Experiencing such a scene can be devastating and difficult to overcome, but recovery is possible. 75% of people who experience traumatic events actually experience no PTSD symptoms at all. Those who experienced a nurturing, safe childhood, or who are well loved now, are much more likely to recover from trauma faster.

Trauma Therapy

Using therapy can be an effective way to help people recover from traumatic experiences. StillPoint explains how trauma shouldn’t be a word used to describe an event in the past, but rather a feeling inside of being overwhelmed because of a situation. It is the body’s response to the situation, not the situation itself. Through this insight, victims can learn how to express those feelings that have been built up and talk about the situation that occurred, no matter how long ago it was.

Trauma therapy is an important part of recovery for many. IT can help people to see that others too have experienced the same or a similar event. It also helps people see the difference between big trauma and a little trauma, particularly for those who believe a little trauma is going to largely impact their lives. With understanding of what trauma truly is and how it impacts us, people can get through it easier and recover quickly.

Veronica Davis