Dysregulation After Trauma

Dysregulation after Trauma

By: Angela Englander      August 3, 2015

After traumatic experiences people often find themselves having to cope with a variety of struggles. At times the struggles they are experiencing do not seem to relate directly to the trauma yet may result because of an inability to regulate emotions and/or behaviours. Regulation is a term used to describe a balance between extremes. On one hand a person may over do something and on the other they may be under doing it. A person may also swing from one extreme to the other when they are unable to balance and regulate themselves. The following is a list of common over or under regulated experiences.

Too Much Control

Too Little Control

Numb emotions

Overwhelming emotions

Withdrawal from socializing

Constantly needing attention

Sleeping all day




Inability to relax

Reckless behaviour

Ruminating thoughts

Inability to focus or concentrate

Obsessive planning


Sexual avoidance

Sex addiction

Always saying “no”

Always saying “yes”



Being abused

Abusing someone

Obsessions and compulsions

Dissociation and avoidance

Fear of spending money

Compulsive shopping

Fear of intimacy

Codependent relationship

Not having relationships

Getting involved too quickly

Avoiding social situations

Constantly needing attention

Distrust and paranoia

Being open with everyone

Ending relationships quickly

Staying in unhealthy relationships


Destroying and damaging possessions

Being suspicious of others

Being around unsafe people

Flat emotions

Intense emotions

A variety of skills can be used to help balance out extremes, some of these skills involve challenging black and white thinking, challenging false beliefs, and considering opposites that can both be true. By training your brain to think in a more inclusive way you can learn to have a healthier and more balanced life. To find a worksheet on learning how opposite things can both be true check out http://waystowellbeing.ca/opposites-that-can-both-be-true/ . To work on challenging unhealthy beliefs check out http://waystowellbeing.ca/whats-keeping-you-from-living-the-life-you-deserve/ . As always, feel free to e-mail me angela@waystowellbeing.ca .


Have a wonderful day and continue on your healing journey!