Here is a list of possible reactions for people who have traumatised characters and want to figure out how to personalise their reactions:
* Low self esteem
* Needy or clingy behavior
* Inability to deal with stress
* Lack of self-control / self-restraint
* Inability to self-soothe (can’t calm self down)
* Inability to develop and maintain friendships
* Alienation from and opposition to parents, caregivers, and other authority figures
* Antisocial attitudes and behaviors
* Trust issues
* Inability to give / accept affection
* Anxious about being touched
* Lack of empathy, compassion and remorse
* Behavioral problems at school
* Speech and language problems or disorders (stuttering)
* Becoming mute
* Incessant chatter
* Difficulty learning
* Inability to sit still
* Susceptibility to chronic illness
* Violence toward others.
* Re-creating the abuse towards one’s own children, wife, etc.
* Drug Abuse.
* Self-injurious behavior (cutting, burning, head banging against walls) to make a statement (I’m in pain / You hurt me), to feel something (if feelings are numbed), to overwhelm / distract from emotional pain, as a sign of self-hate, as identification with the abuser (if you can abuse me, I can too), way of regaining power over flesh, etc.
* Suicidal Ideation (thinking about suicide as the ideal option)
* Suicide attempts
* Disconnection from the body
* Feelings of shame
* Sexual Dysfunctions
* Bed wetting
* Regression (using behaviors more typical of younger children, i.e. a 10-year-old sucking his thumb and using baby talk)
* Flashbacks (a sense of reliving the event)
* Attempts to placate everyone around them
* Learned helplessness (doesn’t bother trying to improve one’s situation out of the sense that it’s all for nothing).
* Traumatic bonding – clinging to the figure that hurt you.
* Paradoxical behavior / feelings: Isolating oneself from others while yearning for closeness and affection; fearing others yet depending upon them.
* Feeling unduly victimized by others
* Being controlling of others
* Increased reactivity to seemingly minor stressors (making mountains out of mole hills)
* Headaches, migraines, and other somatised body symptoms
* Constant weariness
* Major Depressive Disorder (Depression lasting for 2 weeks or longer)
* Heightened startle reflex
* Hyperarousal (being in a highly alert stage even when there’s no visible need)
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
* Avoiding reminders (avoiding car parks after dark after a violent mugging)
* Dissociative Detachment (altering the state of consciousness so that you feel disconnected from either yourself or the outer world such as being in a trance-like state)
* Depersonalisation (feelings of unreality regarding your sense of self – like you were on autopilot, or acting out a role in a play, almost as though you were observing yourself from outside your body).
* Derealization (a sense that the outer world isn’t real, everyone else are actors in a play, and you’re watching it all through a tunnel).
* Extreme detachment (a sense that you’re already gone, being completely unaware, perhaps even sitting and staring for hours)
* Dissociative amnesia for frightening or stressful events (blocked from consciousness)
* Fugue states (lose one’s self of identity and memory for their past and travel somewhere else). Dissociative identity disorder (involves a change in one’s sense of identity, engaging in uncharacteristic behavior, and forgetting behavior that occurs during these states).
* Mood swings
* Panic Disorder
* Generalised Anxiety Disorder (basically a worry disorder where the person is beset by constant worries)
Remember that all of these symptoms are also coping mechanisms. Substance abuse allows the sufferer to chemically alter their mood states or ‘kill the pain’ and are particularly helpful for those who lack self-soothing strategies or for whom the pain is overwhelming. Anorexia or cutting behaviors can give the sufferer a sense of control over their lives – and starvation and cutting can both release endorphins for a chemical high.
Oh, and by the way: http://www.nctsnet.org/nccts/nav.do?pid=ctr_aud_prnt_under#q3 is a really good link on psychological trauma and its effects on development.