Let’s Stop Trauma-Based Competitions

If you have ever watched a reality competition show from the early 2000’s, the following topic should be familiar. There is usually the try-out portion in the beginning where the contestants have to prove themselves before D-list celebrities.

There are some contestants who go to the confessionals or describe to the judges the hardships they have gone through in their childhoods. It is, of course, heartbreaking and supposed to get sympathetic ties from audiences around the country.

However, it can be said that these shows only prioritized the ones with immense trauma. The contestants could argue with others about their own traumas, with the one having the most probably going further in the competition because of their backstory.

From a personal viewpoint, the trauma competitions can be outwardly expressed to another person or manifested internally. It’s this sick, unnecessary battle that is created for the intention to make one person feel validated, but it only sets the person back with no room for growth.

This can be the case for those who are disadvantaged such as the Black and transgender communities where people verbally attack those who are like them. Who only wants to be defined by all the terrible things that have happened to them?  

Here are reasons why trauma competitions should stop and how they inhibit you.

1. Comparisons never lead to happiness and cloud your reasoning.  

A similar quote has been regurgitated throughout the media. All the time that you could focus on someone else’s story can be used to better yourself.

If you get into a fight with a friend or someone else and it focuses on how you can’t understand an issue because you haven’t suffered as much as they have, your friend is mad at the wrong person.

For example, there was this show I watched about a group of teenage girls being stranded on a deserted island. Two of them were constantly bickering, and there was a fight that focused on how each of them has suffered.

One insisted she suffered in her childhood more and this may be true. However, in that setting, they should have worked together in their difficult situation of being stuck on the island while expressing empathy for each other’s situations.

2. The past becomes the main controller in your life.

When you continue to allow past traumas to dictate your life, improvement for yourself does not exist and the likelihood of positive events in your life decreases. Do you want this to be the only thing that your closest people in life associate you with?

As a fair warning, there can be moments on your social media platforms when you see an update from the person who caused most of the trauma.

The update may be about a recent engagement, job offer in a new city, or any other signs showcasing their success. The person who caused you trauma has moved on and as much as it is annoying, you need to move on.

3. You’re placing yourself as a weaker person than what you could be.

For a countless number of instances, there is legitimacy for being a victim. Horrible, traumatic experiences happen every day, and it is more than natural to be forever hurt by those experiences. They will most likely play a part for the rest of life in some way.

Then, comes the big however and it comes up after these awful experiences about what happens next. How are you going to live the rest of your life? Are you going to let an experience define your entire life?


It would be nice if all of us got some kind of trophy for every pain we’ve experienced, but that is not in the blueprint of life.

Reinforcing details of the trauma to other people in order to get some form of validation or respect works only at surface level. It doesn’t give the respect that lasts. You have to give that to yourself.

In getting the long-lasting respect, it is likely that you need to reach out for help. Many problems are solved with the support from other people whether this be professional help or asking people in your circle.

It takes time to get over the habit of trying to validate yourself in mentioning your trauma or compare yours to others. But you always have to acknowledge the issue first.


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