4 ways emotional trauma changes and affects memory and mental clarity

Yes the past is the past, and it cannot be changed.

But emotional memories that began the past, often do very much affect your present.

No matter what it could have been, do you find yourself feeling that situation more than recalling what actually happened?

The reason I ask that is because the emotion sometimes makes it harder to see the truth in a situation. Keep in mind by truth I do not mean right or wrong, just a neutral account of a situation.

You might think, it’s just one thing. As long as you’re not triggered you should be fine right?

No necessarily so.

When certain painful memories are not processed and remain in a cloud of unsettled emotions, it often creates confusion and inferences about not only that situation, but also emotions and situations similar.

Some of the confusion of that situation literally is so enormous, and at a critical time in your development that the residual begins to define all similar or related memories.

A dirty lens on your life

Science has proven several times that your mental state upon approaching the world profoundly changes the way you interact with it. Holding back internal pain from spilling forth puts you in a state of significant agitation and anxiety constantly.

And you may not thing you’re doing that at first, but if you peel back the layers to the pain you’re carrying around, you are constantly trying to cover it up. Which is understandable; it is your emotions for you to deal with.

This level of internalized pain and heartache changes your memory of the past and present. You then in your haste, shove cloudy residual emotion into a cabinet within your mind with an intention to forget.

You may think you forgot, but in most cases you’ll find that you haven’t. It’s still there.

By constantly using parts of your brain power to “look ok,” you are taking away part of your short term and longer term memory power.

Proof of this can be shown in thousands of cases of Depression. In the times of severe episodes, the subject has trouble remembering significant short term and long term memories because they are in cloud of unresolved emotion that fogs up their brain.

Memory can change everything from your educational potential, to your relationships, to the way you interact with yourself.

Memory can make or break in your life, and by harboring emotional trauma, it is clearly impacted negatively. This gives you a faulty foundation on which to life your life.

You now will learn the way that unresolved emotional trauma’s can effect directly your memory of the situation as well as daily living.


Short Term Memory: Easy triggering

They reminded you of that one time? Right?

Someone does something to you, immediately you feel an emotional flashback of something from childhood or even 3 years ago. How do you react? You probably will quickly find yourself overreacting.

But who can fault you? You are looking out for yourself. You couldn’t let what happened last time happen again.

But did it happen again? This isn’t the same time period, people, or setting. Why did you think of that?

Also, do you remember what the person did to make you react clearly, or was it a blanket statement like “they disrespected me”? Do you remember how did they do that?

Probably not. And it’s ok.

Emotional trauma will often cause you to act sometimes rashly because certain short term memory will be clouded by the perceived emotion that this person made you feel. Instead of someone you know now, your short term memory of this person is erased and you are taken to way back when.

This memory oversight causes you to completely become triggered.

This clearly can cause mountains of unnecessary drama, violence, and sadness in your life through unnecessary altercations with others.

Get into it [Probing questions]

Think of a time when someone made you furiously angry and you wanted to fight them. Write down a summary of what they did in 2-3 sentences. Write 4 feelings that were associated with that situation throughout it’s unfolding. After that, list 3-4 situations in your past that include those same emotions. Assess how they relate to the most recent one and determine if your anger was well founded. Do this as many times as you need.


Short Term/Long Term Memory: stunted emotional processing

It’s just one more thing!

It seems like everything just floods you at once, even if it might seem like a small situation to others. It feels like the weight of the world to you because it is added on top of the massive cloud of unresolved emotions to process and let go.

There is so much that has yet to be worked out. How can you work out something so small in comparison to the rotting mountain of sadness, unforgiveness, and resentment you already have?

Emotional trauma will cause you to not think clearly enough to resolve short term situations that come in your life; you just “won’t want to deal with them.” Of course you have a right to do so if it has nothing to do with you, but if it does directly involve you it is your responsibility to at least try and move forward.

Latent emotional trauma will cloud the specifics of the problem making it feel like it is not solvable and therefore not worth the work. Next you react in not-thought-out behavior to make it go away as fast as possible.

It puts you in survival mode at all times.

Get into it [Probing questions]

Think of an unresolved situation that is going on in your short term life. Write down your summary of what happened in 2-3 sentences. Then try to write 8 facts about the situation; cold hard facts. Can you remember them? Then write you the feeling that you feel. Make an assessment and see if all these three pillars of information add up properly.

Long Term Memory: difficult learning new things

What did your traumatic memory teach you about yourself and people? How do those teachings apply to your now?

You many answer that with theoretical answers, but make it more concrete.

What’s something that you tried your hardest to learn, but despite all of your efforts could not. You started off doing great, over time things threw you off, and then later you just completely gave up.

You most likely gave up because you had an internal belief similar to the following: “I can’t do this,” “This is hard for me,” “I’m not good at this.” This was developed at the 2nd-3rd sign of trouble at the beginning of the learning process. From then on, when you saw anything similar to that subject, you would forever suck at. forever and ever amen.

You made an early generalization and assumption that you could not learn it. Therefore your brain, from that state of pain did not try to remedy the situation because it was already in a defeated mode.

Large emotional trauma often causes you to make generalizations and assumptions about yourself, others, or situational outcomes. These give you an unstable foundation for anything you endeavor because you feel you “already know” how it’s going to end.

With this subconscious end goal in mind, everything seen underneath that umbrella would be like water off a duck’s back- completely forgotten from jump. The generalization has it labelled in brain memory as “not important” and “not useful” and “not worth the effort.” Therefore you forget it instantly.

A concrete present example of this is in school or at work when you have trouble learning newer things just because of your anxiety about it being “new.”

From these residual thoughts, it becomes very hard for you to grasp new ideas, concepts, or perspectives.

Get into it [Probing questions]

How do you feel about math? Write out 4 words to describe about how you feel about math now. Think about your earliest memories of math. Write out 10 feelings about the memories you had way back then. Think about the people and situations that caused you to feel those emotions about math. Write some of them out. Are these three things correlated? Of course this is something different, but it will get you into the right headspace.


I know you are doing the best you can but………

The more you don’t resolve, work through, and forgive both parties for the painful traumatic memories you hold inside, the more it will continue to affect your present, and the way your past influences your present.

These emotional traumas are affecting your memory of immediate situations, emotional processing of current events, and even the way you learn new things.

Working to process and let go of these emotions to where they no longer cause you pain will not only give you mental clarity like never before, but also an ability to approach life from an even and secure foundation.

Growing pains are temporary, but inner peace and contentment is permeant.

Much peace, love, and happiness.


Published by

Mareka Belcher

Founded by Mareka Belcher an independent freelance entrepreneur and student out to help others find their own wellness and balance.

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