Traumatic events differ for different people. What one person experiences as traumatic, another may not. What’s important is a person’s perception or subjective experience of an event. If an event is perceived as a threat to safety or bodily integrity, then it has the potential to be traumatic.
Some examples of events that can be experienced as traumatic are shown below. Remember though, not everyone who experiences these events will necessarily experience them as traumatic, and there are many other events not on this list that have the potential to be experienced as traumatic.
Physical & emotional abuse
Childhood household instability
Caregiver mental health difficulties
Caregiver substance abuse
Caregiver criminal involvement
Physical, psychological, emotional, sexual abuse in relationships
Traumatic events can be experienced on a single occasion, repeatedly, or for a prolonged period. For example, a person could experience trauma in response to a once in a lifetime natural disaster or following repeated sexual abuse.
Traumatic events can also be directly or indirectly experienced. For example, a person could experience trauma after being in a car accident or hearing about a car accident their loved one was involved in.