Shrapnel – Trauma Beliefs

Shrapnel fragments visible on x-ray, Author Hellerhoff (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING: Graphic Images

The sharp, jagged, metal fragments from an exploding bomb, grenade, or landmine are known as shrapnel.

Shrapnel wounds require special care.  Initially, these are open puncture wounds, with impaled objects so hot that medical personnel are strictly advised to leave them in place. Pressure on shrapnel wounds must be avoided, as this will only cause more damage to surrounding tissues and organs.

After it cools, some shrapnel can be removed surgically [1].  Often, however, surgery would do more harm than good.  There may be hundreds or thousands of small objects.

Over the years, fragments left behind can migrate within the body, making them still harder to find and access.  It is not unusual for shrapnel to remain imbedded for decades [2].

Trauma Beliefs

The same is true for trauma beliefs. When children undergo trauma, they experience strong emotions.  Like scorching metal fragments, these searing emotions highlight the traumatic event.

But children, also, draw conclusions from trauma.  This is their attempt to make sense of the world.  Unfortunately, the conclusions children draw may not be accurate [3].

Since the traumatic event is not fully understood, the child cannot fully process it. Instead, the emotions and faulty conclusions surrounding the trauma remain sharp, jagged, and are re-experienced, again and again.

This happens even after conscious memory of the event has faded.  Like shrapnel, trauma beliefs  remain in the body, and continue to do harm.

False Core Beliefs

Having been abandoned as children, we may fear that others will leave us as adults. Having been abused as children, we may believe ourselves unworthy of love as adults. These core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us may never be vocalized, never questioned.  But they are deeply held.

Trauma beliefs “feel” accurate not because they are, but because we have held them for so long [4].  They “feel” protective, but are actually self-sabotaging [5].


Trauma beliefs start out as lies Satan exploits to separate us from God, and deny us the lives God wants for us.  Eventually, they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Trauma beliefs may tell us no good man will ever love us. Since relationships with good and decent men do not align with our ingrained belief system, such relationships feel foreign, flat.  We do not recognize good men as potential partners, and do not respond to them.

Instead, we come to view ourselves as powerless and valueless; come to feel our lives will always be characterized by rejection and loss.


With time, we come to see ourselves solely as wounded.  Mistaking our wounds for defects, we look to others for validation; look to others for the fulfillment only God can provide. And the emptiness inside us grows.


God has not, however, abandoned us.  He heals and restores us to whole. He helps us to see that we are more than our past, more than our wounds.  More than the trash many of us believe ourselves to be.

Trauma beliefs evidence the war zone we survived as children.  They are tenacious.  But they can be overcome.

[1]  CNN,“Toll of Syria’s War: Baby Born with Shrapnel on Forehead” by Mohammed Tawfeek and Tasmin Amer, 9/24/15,

[2]  ABC News, “Shrapnel Dislodges from Man’s Jaw after 65 Years” by Rahda Chitale and ABC News Medical Unit, 5/29/09,

[3]  The Trauma and Attachment Belief Scale (TABS) by Laurie Anne Pearlman, PhD is one way of assessing trauma beliefs. Participants are asked to rate the extent to which particular statements match their own beliefs. For instance, “I never think anyone is safe from danger” or “I feel cut off from people”.

[4]  Childhood Trauma Recovery, “False Core Beliefs: Their Childhood Roots” by David Hosier MSc, 12/4/14,

[5]  Self-sabotoging behaviors undermine our long-term goals, giving rise to problems of their own. Comfort eating and self-medication with drugs or alcohol are two common examples.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) has proven a helpful treatment for PTSD.  For more information, see

Originally posted 3/6/16



Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

21 responses to “Shrapnel – Trauma Beliefs

  1. Our uncle received a wound in his face resulting in an indentation permanent. He was a prisoner of war in Germany. His father was abusive. The only way we treated the family was love and happiness despite the history. The wounds were there yet so was compassion

  2. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

    Anna, this is a great post! First you have cleared up ideas that were wrong and mistaken for truths; second you have provided sound and real information to those who may be going through episodes…or a lifetime…of abuse; and third, you have reminded all that God does not lie to us or trick us into thinking we are unworthy or damaged…thank you for sharing your research, your knowledge and your experience.
    Hope you enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon,

  3. Great post Anna!
    There are scars only God can heal..

  4. Wow, what a powerful metaphor that SO effectively communicates the truths that you are sharing here about the effects of trauma. I have often thought about soul wounds being like physical wounds, but the specific attributes of shrapnel wounds is incredibly profound. It also gives me spiritual insight into the specific way to pray for precious survivors of abuse. Thank you, Anna.

  5. It is not only children who hold these ‘inadequate’ beliefs that cause so much harm. Traumatic events in the lives of adults are often not dealt with and manifest themselves in addictions. The event has to be dealt with before the addictions can be broken… Sometimes only God can do that…

  6. This is powerful, Anna. I love the way you tied the physical and emotional wounds together.

  7. Allan Halton

    Many have the “shield of faith” to keep the arrows of the Wicked One from hitting, but some may not have had that shield when they were hit. Even so, our Jesus still has “the wine and the oil” to pour into and heal those deep inner wounds of shrapnel lodged within.

  8. Anna, you are the scribe for all injustices. Your pen like an internal flame for all to see and be warmed by… Blessings.

  9. great blog here! WOW so glad to have across your work..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.