Drowning - how trauma is like a vicious spiral that pulls you down

Drowning - how trauma is like a vicious spiral that pulls you down

Here is some insight I have gained. The vicious cycle (or vicious sinking spiral) around trauma. Imagine you have something bad happen to you at 15, for example. You fear for your safety and maybe your life. This starts the "butterfly effect," that you might have heard about from complexity theory. To illustrate... so at 25 some unexpected crime occurs and because of the trauma at age 15, you don't deal with being a victim of the crime (now while you are 25) because it triggers feelings from when you were 15. An observer, or friend, helps you feel safe while you heal from being victimized at age 25.

 

Time passes and you have low self-esteem and maybe have good relationships and some bad ones. You find yourself at the age of 50 and you are trying to recover from a messy divorce where the marriage was very unhealthy and you wish you had gotten out sooner. Your friends and family try to comfort you in your divorce recovery. They can empathize with your troubles. Maybe you are grieving (instead of a messy divorce, there could have been the death of your spouse). You might join a support group for grief or divorce. You enter therapy. Everyone understands that you are dealing with your most recent loss and the pain.

 

In therapy, you realize that you never adequately dealt with the trauma when you were 15. Originally, you resist even though you brought up the topic and the therapist didn't tell you to talk about something from childhood. Society will assume that the therapist is planting ideas in your mind that you must deal with the stuff from your childhood... a totally absurd idea even to you (well, not really according to you but you will deny it strongly). You might even blame your own therapist. "Why can't you just get over it? What difference does it make what happened 10 years ago much less when you were 15." People don't say that. Your friends and others don't know what to say. You have no idea what they are thinking. People can't help but ask if it is good to focus on the past so much. Your therapist occasionally asks that question as well. She is actually just trying to find out if you are digging up stuff that might make things worse.

 

Everyone around you is trying to be supportive and loving. You know that. You don't want to insult anyone. Logically you know they care. Yet, emotionally, in your gut, you wonder what they are thinking. This adds to your feeling of being different. Maybe broken in some way... or your irrational right brain tells you there is something wrong with you that causes all these things to happen. You feel mad at the world at times. But wait, you don't want anyone to know this. They might think you are mad at them. Or they might feel you are about to snap. Keep your focus on those who hurt you and those others understand were bad to you. Wait, are you putting all the blame for your problems on a bad relationship (personal, professional, quasi-professional/personal) or vindictive friend who hurt you 15 years ago and is now gone. More confusion all around you, others, and even your therapist. It's your fault, you tell yourself. It's more proof that it's you that is the problem, you are different. No one can possibly understand you. In part, that's a true statement because you cannot understand or accept yourself.