How to Make New Choices in the Wake of Emotional Trauma

Written by Tom Marino

May 19, 2021

Emotional Trauma Photo

What does it take to move forward in the wake of emotional trauma?

We have all faced some form of trauma in our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, has impacted every one of us, and changed the way that we see the world. In the past year, we have felt fear, pain, and loneliness. You may have faced trauma in the form of a difficult breakup or divorce, the death of a loved one, or losing your job.

In the wake of emotional trauma, we often fall into a defensive cycle of behavior. We make the same self-sabotaging choices, over and over again, to protect ourselves from reliving the pain of our trauma.

And so our roadmap to recovery is about breaking this cycle and learning to make new choices that propel us forward. This means we need to (1) acknowledge our trauma, (2) expose the lies that we tell ourselves, and (3) open our eyes to opportunities for change and growth.


What is the “lie” that your emotional trauma has led you to believe? 

When we experience trauma, we walk away with an altered worldview. The choices that we make from this point forward reflect this changed perspective, either about ourselves or the world around us.

For example, a bad breakup might lead you to believe that you are not worthy of love. Maybe you’ve been hurt, and you believe that it’s safer to hold others at arm’s length.

We hold onto these lies because we believe that they will protect us from further pain. But these beliefs keep us trapped in the same place – chained to our trauma – and prevent us from moving on.

Pay close attention to that little voice in your head. First, you must recognize the lies your mind whispers in the wake of a traumatic experience. Then, you need to flip your perspective… ask yourself, what if the opposite were true? What would my life look like if I let people get close to me, to care for me and support me? 


How to move forward and make better choices

As a coach, I teach my clients that transformative life change is all about our day-to-day choices. You are not in the passenger’s seat; you are at the wheel. You have agency.

At Monarch Life Coaching, “CHOICE” is an acronym outlining the steps to self-discovery and confident decision making.


C: Clarify your mindset

H: Harness your values and beliefs

O: Overcome obstacles

I: Integrate fear

C: Change activation

E: Establish boundaries


We start by clarifying your mindset to uncover your purpose. Where are you now, and where do you want to be? Who do you want to be? We identify your core values and explore your beliefs. Overcoming obstacles is about uncovering the fears, insecurities, and self-sabotaging behaviors that stand in your way. Your past trauma will likely come to light in this step.

Every one of us faces fear. We can’t rid ourselves of fear, so I coach my clients to integrate their fears. This means that we work to understand where our fears come from, and what it wants to teach us. Look to fear as an advisor. Only then can we commit to change by setting goals and taking action to achieve them.

We can break free from the cycle of trauma by making new choices.


Your past does not have to define you 

After experiencing emotional trauma, we make self-sabotaging choices to protect ourselves from further pain. Our fear tricks us into believing a lie.

Healing is a process of “unlearning” our own negative patterns of behavior. We let go of the past and move forward when we acknowledge our emotional trauma, expose the lie, and clarify our mindset.

I want to help you make choices outside of your trauma. Learn more about CHOICE coaching and schedule your free introductory call today.


Photo by Luke Pamer on Unsplash