Trauma Isn’t Your Fault
I’m fascinated to the point of obsession in studying patterns! In addition to being a psychotherapist, I have also been trained in understanding and reading astrology charts. I am fascinated by the world and will often spend a great deal of my free time understanding, analyzing and researching the cosmos and the human psyche. Studying and understanding patterns, especially patterns occurring around trauma and re-traumatization has really impacted and given meaning to my life in a profound way. In better understanding the big universe and our own individual ecosystems, I have grown in gaining greater compassion and appreciation for myself and others.
In my studies, I’ve also realized how little control we often have over so many of the circumstances that impact our lives. We didn’t get to choose our parents, childhood circumstances, our ethnicity, sexual orientation, assigned sex at birth, how much access to resources our families have, what early childhood traumas, sickness or accidents we would endure, or the people we were surrounded by early in our life. I am a big believer in free will and being able to work through challenging and even unfathomable circumstances. On the other hand, we have to acknowledge that the world is far from fair and trauma disproportionately affects those that are most vulnerable including the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA, uninsured, low-income children, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, and those with other chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness. Those who are survivors of trauma are also more prone to overwhelming feelings of distress, fear, helplessness,guilt, shame, anger, depression and/or anxiety more frequently compared to those in the general population.
Trauma is a tricky topic as it doesn’t just include the original incident someone was violated. “Repetition compulsion,” or a repeat of the past includes re-experiencing the same circumstances over and over again. This includes reenacting the event or putting oneself in situations where the event is likely to happen again. Why would someone engage in re-traumatizing themselves? For example, why would someone consistently attract abusive romantic partners, tyrannical bosses and/or surround themselves with critical, competitive and/or demanding friends? In engaging in repetition compulsion, it is an attempt to revisit a past emotional condition and relive it for the hope of rewriting it, hoping to achieve a different emotional response or outcome this time around. Of course, this result isn't possible, so one finds them self not dealing with the original emotional wounds, but instead, continuing to inflict more emotional wounds upon themselves.
It was important for me to write this blog. As a society, we need to gain a better understanding the complexity of trauma. Victim blaming is very real is defined as devaluing where the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment is held as wholly or partially responsible for the wrongful conduct committed against them. Victim blaming is a huge problem for several reasons: it marginalizes the survivor, minimizes the criminal act, and makes people less likely to come forward and report what has happened to them.
The #MeToo movement has given survivors greater power and encouragement to share their stories. We sadly see how prevalent trauma is as one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. Nothing about stopping the cycle of violence and creating new healing patterns around traumatic experiences is easy. However, I do believe healing and moving forward is possible with time, compassion, commitment and a support system. To those rebuilding their life and healing from trauma, this most recent blog is for you. I see you and support you in your recovery. I hope we can all work towards a safer world, empathetically support survivors through their recovery and recognize that the trauma they endured was never their fault.
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Sending you peaceful thoughts and wishes for brighter days.