Trauma in Life
By: James Foley
Trauma in Life
A quick Google search will define a trauma as, “A deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. Seems very simple and even straight forward. We have a disturbing event and after a while we get over it and live our life as normal, right?
If you are self employed and something as simple as a broken leg happens to you that could have long term financial issues. And we all know where there are money problems other problems follow.
Often hardships happen in life that we believe we have left behind us. However a time will come when a life event will trigger the emotions, thoughts or behaviours associated with the original trauma. So in real terms living through the effects of that hardship has just been deferred to a later date.
Often the trauma we experience as children resurfaces in this manner in later life.
So how do we endure life’s hardships when they happen?
Do we get angry? Do we break down and cry? Do we pretend life is unchanged and keep going till circumstances grind us to a stop.
Anger will make us bitter and frustrated. It is possible that expressions of anger will result in further trauma as we damage our relationships or even physically hurt ourselves or others.
Breaking down into tears regularly disempowers the individual. The person becomes the victim to their own circumstances and is unable to break out.
Some will acknowledge what has happened to them but disregard any effect it may have on them. These people may be able to seemingly cope to a certain level for a very long time. They may be congratulated by others for being strong in overcoming adversity.
What this person is really doing is cutting off the parts of them that are experiencing the pain. They become numb. As they lose connection with their awareness of themself they also lose connection with their awareness of those around them. Even close friendships can become distant.
It is likely that these people will someday no longer be able to keep their life together as the pain they have for so long ignored comes crashing in. Emotional pain similar to physical pain will get septic if left uncared for.
So what do we do when this, “Deeply distressing or disturbing experience”, happens.
Is there a positive way to deal with trauma?
No we can never be happy to have experienced a traumatic event but we can accept it.
We can accept that we have a serious illnesses, we can accept that the accident has left us paralysed, we can accept that we were badly treated by our parents.
Acceptance is a hard won position. It is important to say acceptance is neither a position of joy or of sadness or anger. Acceptance is just the process of acknowledging what we have experienced.
Acceptance can lead to us emotionally engaging with the life event. When we are emotionally aware of how we are engaging with the trauma we can gain control over how it affects us. From there we can safely deal with it and learn how we can live our life carefully and lovingly even in the midst of great pain.
Acceptance won’t make the pain disappear but it can help you to start to prevail through it.