How are neurodivergent people at risk of trauma?

Neurodivergent individuals, who have neurological differences such as autism, ADHD, or other conditions, as well as highly sensitive people, often face unique challenges in a world primarily designed for neurotypical individuals. This disconnect between their inherent traits and societal expectations can contribute to a higher susceptibility to chronic trauma.

Sensory Overwhelm and Hyperstimulation:

Neurodivergent and highly sensitive individuals often experience sensory sensitivities, where they perceive and process sensory information differently. In a neurotypical world that may not always accommodate their sensory needs, these individuals are exposed to environments that can trigger heightened stress responses and sensory overload, potentially leading to chronic trauma over time.

Social Misunderstanding and Isolation:

Neurodivergent individuals may struggle with social norms, communication, and understanding non-verbal cues. This can lead to misunderstandings, exclusion, and difficulties in forming meaningful relationships. Highly sensitive individuals might also find it challenging to navigate social dynamics due to their deep emotional processing. These struggles with social interactions and a sense of isolation can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and sustained emotional distress, fostering chronic trauma.

Unmet Expectations and Masking:

In a neurotypical world, there’s often pressure for individuals to conform to societal norms and expectations. Neurodivergent and highly sensitive individuals might engage in masking, where they mimic neurotypical behaviors to fit in. This masking can be emotionally exhausting and lead to a disconnect between their true selves and their outward appearance. This dissonance between authentic self-expression and societal expectations can contribute to chronic trauma as the individual’s genuine needs and feelings go unaddressed.

Discrimination and Stigmatization:

Neurodivergent individuals and highly sensitive people may face discrimination, bullying, or stigmatization due to their differences. This mistreatment can lead to internalized shame, self-doubt, and feelings of unworthiness, all of which contribute to chronic emotional distress.

Lack of Understanding and Support:

The lack of awareness and education about neurodiversity and high sensitivity in society can lead to a dearth of understanding and support for these individuals. Misinterpretation of their behaviors and needs can further exacerbate feelings of being misunderstood and marginalised, increasing the risk of chronic trauma.

Cumulative Microtraumas:

Over time, the accumulation of smaller distressing experiences—referred to as microtraumas—can contribute to chronic trauma. Neurodivergent and highly sensitive individuals might encounter microtraumas regularly due to the ongoing challenges they face in a neurotypical world. The accumulative effect of these microtraumas can result in dysfunction like any type of trauma, however it is often not recognised by health professionals due to its insidious nature.

    About Michelle

    Hi I’m Michelle Marsh and I am a coach, therapist, Kundalini Yoga teacher and lover of life.

    As Mum with ADHD and highly sensitive person who is also a sensation seeker, I understand what it’s like to have your sensitivity running your life instead of aiding it. But I also know from experience that there is light at the end of the tunnel if you are willing to do the work. For myself, I was never afraid of doing the work… I just couldn’t work out WHAT to do! After years of searching, a few burn outs/breakdowns and intense study I became clear on what works and what doesn’t.

    But I am not just sharing with you from an experience point of view. I am also teaching from a professional stance as someone who has studied and integrated teachings from biological, psychological and esoteric traditions. These include Creative Therapies, Kundalini Yoga (KRI), Registered Nursing, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Plant Medicine and Natural Living.

    I combine my naturally enthusiastic belief in EVERY BODY  with my natural empathic talents to provide you with just the right amount of space and direction so you can go deep and resurface anew.

    During the time that I am your coach, I will not leave you hanging between sessions as I am available via email to answer questions and provide support as needed.

    If you are unsure whether working with me is right for your unique circumstances, please reach out and I will help you to find clarity. I don’t do sales calls so our chat will be very casual and I will refer you in the right direction if I see that Aromanosis is not right for you at this time.

    Michelle Marsh

    Registered Counsellor (ACA)

    Registered Kundalini Yoga Teacher (KRI)

    Bsc (Nursing), Grad Dip Creative Therapies, Kundalini Yoga Teacher Cert, Clinical Hypnotherapy Cert