Limiting or negative core beliefs are deeply held assumptions and attitudes about the world that shape our perception of reality. Trauma can have a significant impact on these beliefs, shaping the way we view ourselves, others, and the world around us.
In fact, trauma can lead to the development of negative core beliefs, which are deeply ingrained and can limit our lives. These beliefs are often rooted in a sense of helplessness or in a lack of control, and can lead to feelings of shame, worthlessness, and mistrust.
Negative core beliefs may include beliefs such as:
- "I am unlovable,"
- "I am powerless," or
- "The world is a dangerous place."
These beliefs are deeply ingrained and can be difficult to change without modalities like EFT.
The Impact Of Trauma On The Brain
Research has shown that trauma can lead to changes in the brain that affect primal world beliefs. This means that trauma can have an impact on whether we believe the world is a safe or an unsafe place to inhabit.
Studies have found that trauma can lead to changes in the amygdala. This is significant because the amygdala plays a key role in processing emotions and in threat detection. Moreover, trauma can also lead to changes in the prefrontal cortex: a region of the brain that is involved in decision-making, planning, and in regulating emotions.
A study published in the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation found that individuals who have experienced childhood abuse have reduced gray matter volume in several brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. These regions are involved in regulating emotions, processing information, and memory. Their reduced volume may contribute to the development of negative beliefs and attitudes.
Trauma can also lead to the development of cognitive distortions. These are irrational thoughts and beliefs that are triggered by traumatic events. Examples of cognitive distortions include:
- Black-and-white thinking,
- Over-generalization, and
These distortions can lead to negative emotions and behaviors, further reinforcing negative core beliefs. Furthermore, the impact of trauma on primal world beliefs can be long-lasting, and can affect a person's ability to function in everyday life. These negative beliefs and attitudes can also bring about a sense of helplessness or a lack of trust in others.
Presentations of Negative Core Beliefs
A person who has experienced sexual abuse may develop a negative core belief that they are damaged or unlovable, and that others cannot be trusted. This belief can lead to feelings of shame and isolation, and may cause the person to avoid relationships or to have difficulty trusting others.
A person who has experienced physical abuse may develop a deep-seated belief that they are powerless and that they are unable to protect themselves. This belief may lead to feelings of anxiety and fear, and may make it difficult for the person to assert themselves in relationships or to take risks.
A person who has been in a car accident may develop a belief that all cars are dangerous and that driving is too risky. This belief can lead to avoidance behaviors, such as refusing to drive or taking long detours to avoid highways.
Although these beliefs can be difficult to overcome, with the right EFT support, it is possible to heal from trauma and to develop a more positive outlook on life.
All EFT practitioners should structure their sessions so that enough rapport is built over time. This will allow the client to explore and heal their limiting beliefs. Addressing negative core beliefs by safely processing key events in childhood has the potential to change the foundation of our decision-making processes. This is the most transformational work we can do with EFT.
Fortunately, there are evidence-based modalities like EFT that can help individuals heal from trauma and develop more positive beliefs and attitudes. Negative core beliefs, cognitive distortions, and neurological changes can all contribute to the development of negative beliefs and attitudes. With the right support, however, it is possible to heal from trauma and to develop a more positive outlook on life.
Alina Frank is an Accredited Certified EFT Master Trainer of Trainers.