Top 50 Slang For Traumas – Meaning & Usage

Experiencing trauma can be a challenging journey, but finding the right words to express those feelings can be equally tough. We’ve delved into the world of slang to bring you a list of phrases that capture the complexities of traumas in a relatable and insightful way. Join us as we explore the top slang for traumas that will resonate with many who have faced difficult times.

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1. Baggage

This term refers to unresolved emotional issues or traumas from the past that affect a person’s present behavior or relationships.

  • For example, someone might say, “I can’t commit to a relationship because I have too much emotional baggage.”
  • In therapy, a person might discuss their childhood traumas as their emotional baggage.
  • A friend might offer support by saying, “You deserve someone who can help you unpack your emotional baggage and heal.”

2. Demons

This slang term refers to personal struggles or traumas that haunt a person mentally or emotionally. It can represent unresolved issues or negative thoughts that affect their well-being.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m battling my inner demons and trying to find peace.”
  • A person discussing their past traumas might say, “I’ve faced my demons and come out stronger.”
  • A friend might offer encouragement by saying, “You’re not alone in fighting your inner demons. I’m here for you.”

3. Scars

This term represents emotional wounds or traumas that leave a lasting impact on a person’s psyche. It signifies the lasting effects of past negative experiences.

  • For example, someone might say, “I still have emotional scars from my childhood.”
  • A person discussing their healing journey might say, “I’m working on healing my emotional scars and finding inner peace.”
  • A therapist might ask, “Tell me about your emotional scars and how they affect your daily life.”

4. Ghosts

This term refers to being haunted by past traumas or negative experiences. It signifies the lingering presence of past events that continue to affect a person’s thoughts or emotions.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I can’t move on because I’m haunted by the ghosts of my past.”
  • A person discussing their therapy journey might say, “I’m learning to confront my ghosts and let go of the past.”
  • A friend might offer support by saying, “Don’t let the ghosts of your past define your future. You have the power to overcome them.”

5. Nightmares

This term represents recurring thoughts, memories, or flashbacks of past traumas or negative experiences that cause emotional distress or anxiety.

  • For example, someone might say, “I still have nightmares about the accident.”
  • A person discussing their therapy progress might say, “I’m learning techniques to cope with my emotional nightmares.”
  • A therapist might ask, “How often do you experience emotional nightmares, and how do they affect your daily life?”

6. Shadows

This refers to the dark and lingering effects of past traumas. It represents the haunting presence of traumatic experiences in one’s life.

  • For instance, someone might say, “The shadows of my past traumas still haunt me.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might discuss, “I’m trying to confront the shadows of my childhood trauma.”
  • A support group might offer encouragement like, “Don’t let the shadows of your past define your future.”

7. Wounds

These are the emotional and psychological injuries resulting from traumatic experiences. Wounds represent the lasting impact and pain caused by trauma.

  • For example, a person might say, “My childhood wounds still affect my relationships.”
  • In a therapy session, someone might discuss, “I’m working on healing my deep emotional wounds.”
  • A support group might offer empathy like, “We all carry wounds from our past, but we can heal together.”

8. Battles

This term represents the ongoing fight against the effects of traumas. It symbolizes the continuous effort to overcome and cope with the challenges brought by traumatic experiences.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m in a constant battle with my past traumas.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might discuss, “I’m learning to navigate the battles within my mind.”
  • A support group might offer encouragement like, “Remember, you are not alone in your battles against trauma.”

9. Monsters

This refers to the inner demons that arise from traumas. Monsters represent the fears, anxieties, and negative thoughts that can haunt individuals who have experienced trauma.

  • For example, a person might say, “The monsters from my past traumas still torment me.”
  • In a therapy session, someone might discuss, “I’m confronting the monsters within me.”
  • A support group might offer reassurance like, “You have the strength to conquer your inner monsters.”

10. Hauntings

This term represents the lingering presence of traumatic experiences in one’s life. Hauntings symbolize the way traumas can continue to affect individuals long after the initial event.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I can’t escape the hauntings of my past traumas.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might discuss, “I’m working through the hauntings in my mind.”
  • A support group might offer understanding like, “We all carry the hauntings of our traumas, but we can find healing together.”

11. Echoes

This term refers to the recurring memories or thoughts that resurface after a traumatic event. These echoes can be triggered by certain stimuli or situations, causing distress or anxiety.

  • For example, a person might say, “I still hear the echoes of that car crash in my nightmares.”
  • Someone discussing their past trauma might share, “The echoes of my childhood abuse still haunt me.”
  • A therapist might explain, “Echoes are a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

12. Night Terrors

Night terrors are a type of sleep disorder characterized by intense and frightening nightmares. These nightmares can cause extreme fear, panic, and physical symptoms during sleep.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I suffer from night terrors and wake up screaming in the middle of the night.”
  • Someone discussing their experience might share, “Night terrors make it difficult for me to get a good night’s sleep.”
  • A doctor might explain, “Night terrors are more common in children, but can also affect adults who have experienced trauma.”

13. Demons of the past

This phrase refers to the haunting memories or experiences from one’s past, often associated with trauma or difficult experiences. The term “demons” symbolizes the lasting impact of these memories on a person’s mental and emotional well-being.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m still trying to overcome the demons of my past.”
  • Someone discussing their struggles might share, “The demons of my past keep me from moving forward.”
  • A therapist might explain, “Addressing and healing the demons of the past is an important part of the recovery process.”

14. Emotional scars

Emotional scars are the lasting psychological wounds or trauma that a person carries with them. These scars can manifest as emotional pain, fear, or triggers that affect a person’s daily life and well-being.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I have emotional scars from my abusive relationship.”
  • Someone discussing their healing journey might share, “I’m working on healing my emotional scars through therapy and self-care.”
  • A therapist might explain, “Emotional scars can impact a person’s mental health and relationships, requiring support and treatment.”

15. Inner demons

Inner demons represent the internal struggles or conflicts that a person faces as a result of past traumas. These struggles can manifest as negative thoughts, self-doubt, or destructive behaviors.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m constantly battling my inner demons.”
  • Someone discussing their journey towards self-improvement might share, “Confronting and overcoming my inner demons has been a challenging but necessary process.”
  • A therapist might explain, “Addressing and understanding one’s inner demons is crucial for healing and personal growth.”

16. Ghosts of the past

This phrase refers to unresolved or lingering past experiences that continue to haunt a person emotionally or mentally. It can include memories, regrets, or traumas that have not been properly addressed or healed.

  • For example, someone might say, “I can’t seem to move on from the ghosts of the past.”
  • In therapy, a person might discuss their struggles with the ghosts of the past and their impact on their daily life.
  • A self-help book might offer advice on how to confront and release the ghosts of the past.
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17. Painful memories

This phrase refers to memories that are associated with pain, trauma, or emotional distress. Painful memories can evoke strong emotions and have a lasting impact on a person’s well-being.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I have a lot of painful memories from my childhood.”
  • In therapy, a person might work through their painful memories to process and heal from them.
  • A support group might provide a safe space for individuals to share their painful memories and receive empathy and understanding.

18. Emotional baggage

This phrase refers to unresolved emotional issues or traumas from the past that continue to affect a person’s emotional well-being and relationships. Emotional baggage can include unresolved conflicts, past hurts, or negative patterns of thinking and behavior.

  • For example, someone might say, “I need to work through my emotional baggage before I can fully commit to a new relationship.”
  • In therapy, a person might explore their emotional baggage and develop strategies for letting go and moving forward.
  • A self-help article might provide tips on how to identify and release emotional baggage.

19. Mental scars

This phrase refers to psychological wounds or traumas that leave a lasting impact on a person’s mental well-being. Mental scars can manifest as anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, and may require professional help to heal.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I carry deep mental scars from the abuse I experienced.”
  • In therapy, a person might work on healing their mental scars through various therapeutic techniques.
  • A mental health advocate might raise awareness about the importance of addressing and healing mental scars.

20. Emotional ghosts

This phrase refers to unresolved emotional experiences or traumas that continue to have a presence in a person’s life, even if they are no longer physically present. Emotional ghosts can manifest as intrusive thoughts, emotional triggers, or unresolved feelings.

  • For example, someone might say, “I still feel haunted by the emotional ghosts of my past relationships.”
  • In therapy, a person might explore and confront their emotional ghosts to find resolution and healing.
  • A self-help podcast might discuss strategies for dealing with emotional ghosts and moving forward in life.

21. Emotional wounds

These are the deep emotional and psychological injuries that result from traumatic experiences. Emotional wounds can manifest as feelings of sadness, fear, anger, or anxiety, and can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s mental well-being.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m still healing from the emotional wounds of my childhood.”
  • In a therapy session, a client might discuss their emotional wounds and how they affect their daily life.
  • A support group might focus on helping individuals cope with their emotional wounds and find healing.

22. War Stories

These are personal accounts or narratives of experiences during war or other traumatic events. War stories often involve recounting intense or harrowing experiences, and can be a way for individuals to process and share their traumas.

  • For instance, a veteran might share their war stories with a fellow soldier, reminiscing about the challenges they faced on the battlefield.
  • In a memoir, an author might include war stories to provide insight into the realities of war.
  • A documentary might feature interviews with survivors who share their war stories to raise awareness about the impact of conflict.

23. Skeletons in the Closet

This phrase refers to traumatic experiences or secrets that someone keeps hidden or suppressed. It implies that the person has unresolved traumas that they don’t want others to know about.

  • For example, a person might say, “I have a few skeletons in my closet that I’ve never told anyone about.”
  • In a therapy session, a client might open up about their skeletons in the closet, revealing long-held traumas.
  • A support group might focus on creating a safe space for individuals to share their skeletons in the closet and find support.

24. Haunting Memories

These are memories of traumatic events that continue to affect a person long after the actual experience. Haunting memories can be intrusive and cause distress, often resurfacing unexpectedly and triggering emotional responses.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I have haunting memories of the accident that still give me nightmares.”
  • In a therapy session, a client might discuss their haunting memories and work on strategies to cope with them.
  • A support group might provide a platform for individuals to share their haunting memories and find solace in knowing they are not alone.

25. Dark Clouds

This phrase is used to describe a heavy and pervasive feeling of sadness or depression that hangs over a person. Dark clouds symbolize the emotional weight and darkness associated with traumatic experiences.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’ve been living under dark clouds ever since the loss of my loved one.”
  • In a therapy session, a client might express their struggle with the dark clouds of trauma and seek guidance on finding lightness.
  • A support group might focus on helping individuals navigate through the dark clouds of trauma and find hope.

26. Mental Battles

This phrase refers to the ongoing mental challenges and conflicts that a person may face. It can encompass a wide range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma-related symptoms.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’ve been fighting some intense mental battles lately.”
  • In a support group, a person might share, “I’m here to find strength and support in my mental battles.”
  • A therapist might discuss strategies for coping with mental battles, saying, “We can work together to develop healthy coping mechanisms.”

27. Emotional Nightmares

This phrase describes overwhelming and distressing emotions that can feel like a nightmare. It can be used to describe situations or experiences that cause extreme emotional pain or turmoil.

  • For instance, someone might say, “Going through a divorce was an emotional nightmare.”
  • In therapy, a person might share, “I’ve been having emotional nightmares ever since the accident.”
  • A friend might offer support, saying, “I’m here for you during this emotional nightmare you’re going through.”

28. Emotional Shadows

This term refers to the lasting emotional impact or residue left behind by a traumatic event or experience. It suggests that the emotional effects continue to cast a shadow on a person’s daily life.

  • For example, someone might say, “Even though it’s been years, I still feel the emotional shadows of that loss.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might discuss, “I’m trying to find ways to move past the emotional shadows of my past.”
  • A support group member might share, “We all understand the emotional shadows that trauma can leave behind.”

29. Emotional Night Terrors

This phrase describes vivid and distressing emotional experiences that occur during sleep. Emotional night terrors can involve intense fear, sadness, or other overwhelming emotions.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’ve been having emotional night terrors since the accident.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might share, “I wake up in a panic after experiencing emotional night terrors.”
  • A friend might offer support, saying, “I’m here for you during these emotional night terrors you’re experiencing.”

30. Emotional War Stories

This phrase refers to personal stories or accounts of emotional struggles or traumas. It can be used to describe the narratives that individuals share about their experiences with emotional challenges.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’ve heard many emotional war stories from survivors of abuse.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might share, “I’m ready to confront and heal from my own emotional war stories.”
  • A support group member might relate, “We all have our own emotional war stories, but we’re here to support each other.”

31. Emotional Skeletons in the Closet

This phrase refers to unresolved or buried traumatic experiences or memories that a person keeps secret or tries to forget. It suggests that these emotional traumas are like skeletons hidden away in a metaphorical closet.

  • For example, someone might say, “I have a few emotional skeletons in my closet that I haven’t dealt with yet.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might discuss, “I’m finally ready to confront my emotional skeletons and work through my past.”
  • A friend might offer support by saying, “Remember, you don’t have to face your emotional skeletons alone. I’m here for you.”

32. Emotional Haunting Memories

This phrase describes memories of traumatic events that continue to cause emotional distress or haunt a person’s thoughts. It suggests that these memories have a powerful and lingering impact on one’s emotions.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I have these emotional haunting memories that I can’t seem to shake off.”
  • In a support group, someone might share, “I’m struggling with emotional haunting memories from my childhood, and it’s affecting my daily life.”
  • A therapist might explain, “Emotional haunting memories can be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and may require professional treatment.”

33. Battle scars

This term refers to the physical or emotional marks left behind by past traumatic experiences or struggles. It implies that these scars are a testament to one’s strength and resilience.

  • For example, someone might say, “These battle scars remind me of everything I’ve overcome.”
  • In a conversation about personal growth, a person might share, “I wear my battle scars proudly because they’ve shaped who I am today.”
  • A motivational speaker might encourage others by saying, “Don’t be ashamed of your battle scars. They show that you’ve fought and survived.”

34. War wounds

This phrase metaphorically compares emotional traumas to physical wounds sustained in war. It suggests that these emotional wounds can be just as painful and impactful as physical injuries.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m still healing from my war wounds, but I’m getting stronger every day.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might discuss, “My war wounds make it difficult for me to trust others and form healthy relationships.”
  • A support group member might share, “We all carry our war wounds, but together we can find healing and support.”

35. Haunting

This term describes the ongoing presence and impact of past traumatic experiences or memories. It suggests that these traumas continue to affect a person’s thoughts, emotions, and daily life in a haunting and unsettling manner.

  • For example, someone might say, “The haunting memories of the accident still keep me up at night.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might express, “I feel haunted by my past traumas, and I don’t know how to move forward.”
  • A friend offering support might say, “I can see how haunting these experiences are for you, and I’m here to listen and support you.”

36. Crippling

This term is used to describe a traumatic experience or situation that has a severe and debilitating impact on a person’s mental or emotional well-being. It implies that the trauma is so intense that it leaves the individual feeling emotionally paralyzed or unable to function properly.

  • For example, someone might say, “The loss of a loved one can be absolutely crippling.”
  • In a discussion about the effects of a traumatic event, a person might share, “The emotional pain was so crippling that I couldn’t leave my house for weeks.”
  • Another might describe their experience by saying, “The constant fear and anxiety became crippling, making it difficult to even get out of bed.”

37. Burden

In the context of trauma, this term refers to the heavy emotional or psychological weight that a person carries as a result of their traumatic experiences. It suggests that the trauma becomes a constant burden that can be difficult to bear and impacts various aspects of the individual’s life.

  • For instance, someone might say, “The trauma of my past is a burden that I carry with me every day.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might express, “I feel like the weight of my trauma is a burden that I can’t escape.”
  • Another might share their struggle by saying, “The burden of my traumatic experiences has made it hard for me to trust others.”

38. Hurt locker

This slang term is used to describe a state of emotional distress or turmoil that is caused by a traumatic experience. It implies that the trauma has trapped the individual in a metaphorical “hurt locker,” where they feel trapped and unable to escape the pain.

  • For example, someone might say, “After the accident, I was stuck in a hurt locker of guilt and sadness.”
  • In a support group, a person might share, “I feel like I’m living in a hurt locker, unable to break free from the pain of my trauma.”
  • Another might describe their emotional state by saying, “The hurt locker of my trauma keeps me isolated and unable to fully engage with life.”

39. Shell shock

This term originated during World War I to describe the psychological and emotional impact of combat on soldiers. It refers to the trauma experienced by individuals who have been exposed to intense and prolonged warfare, resulting in symptoms such as anxiety, nightmares, and emotional numbness.

  • For instance, someone might say, “Many soldiers returning from war experience shell shock and struggle to readjust to civilian life.”
  • In a discussion about the effects of trauma, a person might share, “Shell shock was a common term used to describe the psychological toll of war.”
  • Another might explain, “Shell shock is now recognized as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced by soldiers.”

40. PTSD

This acronym stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It is characterized by symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and avoidance of triggers related to the trauma.

  • For example, someone might say, “Many survivors of abuse suffer from PTSD.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might share, “I was diagnosed with PTSD after a car accident.”
  • Another might explain, “PTSD is a serious condition that requires professional help and support.”

41. Triggered

This term refers to when someone has an intense emotional reaction, often in response to a specific trigger or reminder of a past trauma. It can be used to describe feelings of anger, anxiety, or distress that are brought on by certain stimuli.

  • For example, someone might say, “I was triggered when I saw a car accident because it reminded me of my own traumatic experience.”
  • In a discussion about mental health, a person might share, “I try to avoid triggers that could lead to a triggered response.”
  • Another might say, “The news article about violence in schools triggered me and brought back memories of my own high school experience.”

42. Broken

This term is used to describe a state of emotional distress or feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It can be used to convey feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or despair.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I feel broken after going through a traumatic event.”
  • In a support group, a person might share, “I’m feeling broken right now and could use some encouragement.”
  • Another might say, “The trauma I experienced left me feeling broken inside.”

43. Survivor’s guilt

This term refers to the feeling of guilt that some survivors of a traumatic event may experience. It often arises when someone feels guilty for having survived while others did not.

  • For example, a person who survived a car accident might say, “I have survivor’s guilt because my friend didn’t make it.”
  • In a therapy session, a survivor might express, “I struggle with survivor’s guilt and it’s been difficult to move forward.”
  • Another might say, “Survivor’s guilt can be a heavy burden to carry, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault.”

44. Flashbacks

This term refers to the experience of vividly reliving a past traumatic event. Flashbacks can be triggered by certain stimuli or occur unexpectedly, bringing the person back to the traumatic moment as if it were happening again.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I had a flashback to the accident and it felt like I was there all over again.”
  • In a therapy session, a person might share, “I’ve been having frequent flashbacks and they’re really affecting my daily life.”
  • Another might say, “When the flashback hits, it feels like I’m transported back to that traumatic moment.”

45. Meltdown

This term refers to a situation where someone has an intense emotional breakdown or outburst. It can be a result of overwhelming stress, trauma, or emotional distress.

  • For example, someone might say, “I had a meltdown after receiving some bad news.”
  • In a support group, a person might share, “I’m feeling on the verge of a meltdown and could use some support.”
  • Another might say, “Meltdowns can be a natural response to trauma, but it’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms.”

46. Emotional trauma

This refers to the psychological and emotional distress experienced after a deeply distressing or disturbing event. It can result in long-lasting effects on a person’s mental well-being.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m still dealing with the emotional trauma from my childhood.”
  • In a therapy session, someone might open up and say, “I’ve been struggling with emotional trauma related to a car accident.”
  • A mental health professional might explain, “Emotional trauma can manifest in various ways, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

47. Emotional turmoil

This refers to a state of emotional unrest or upheaval. It often involves intense and conflicting emotions that can be overwhelming and difficult to manage.

  • For instance, someone going through a difficult breakup might say, “I’m in a state of emotional turmoil right now.”
  • During a therapy session, a person might express, “I feel trapped in this constant emotional turmoil.”
  • A friend offering support might say, “I’m here for you during this time of emotional turmoil.”

48. Heartache

This term describes intense emotional distress or pain, especially related to love, loss, or disappointment. It is often associated with a deep sense of sadness and longing.

  • For example, someone who just went through a breakup might say, “I’m experiencing heartache right now.”
  • A person discussing a failed relationship might reflect, “The heartache was unbearable at times.”
  • A friend offering comfort might say, “I’m sorry you’re going through such heartache. I’m here for you.”

49. Emotional distress

This refers to a state of extreme emotional discomfort or anguish. It can be caused by various factors, such as traumatic events, chronic stress, or mental health conditions.

  • For instance, someone dealing with anxiety might say, “I’m experiencing a lot of emotional distress lately.”
  • During a therapy session, a person might disclose, “The emotional distress is affecting my daily life.”
  • A mental health professional might explain, “Emotional distress can manifest in physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches.”

50. Psychological scars

This term describes the lasting impact of past traumatic experiences on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. It refers to the lingering effects and emotional imprints left by trauma.

  • For example, a person might say, “I carry psychological scars from my childhood abuse.”
  • In a therapy session, someone might reveal, “I’m still working through the psychological scars of a car accident.”
  • A mental health advocate might emphasize, “It’s important to acknowledge and heal from psychological scars to promote overall well-being.”