Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes. Our responses and reactions to these experiences vary as well. No two people will react to a traumatic experience in the same way. The type, severity, and frequency of the experience is influenced by a person's age at the time of the trauma.
For example, the experience of violence at a young age will likely be experienced differently than when experienced as an adult. The child’s sense of safety may be challenged well into adulthood. The processing of that experience will often become stuck at the developmental point at which it occurred. A younger person does not have the benefit of parts of the brain that will only fully come on-line into adulthood.
After a trauma the world is experienced with a different nervous system that has an altered perception of risk and safety.
Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.