The Repetitive Nature of Trauma

Something I’ve experienced much of in the past ten years helps informs my counselling significantly.

It is trauma. Not that I have post-traumatic stress disorder, but I have suffered post-traumatic stress.

It’s a real thing. It’s a sign of abuse that was done, but those who perpetrated the abuse may never see it as abuse. They would just see me as weak, as flawed, as inappropriately equipped to handle situations.

The mere fact that there was a flight response in certain situations is indicative, however, that harm was done. And it is only gaslighting for the perpetrator to say that the abused caused it to occur to themselves, negating anything in themselves as actors of causation. Perpetrators legitimise what they do by turning what we say about them back onto ourselves, which only confuses and overwhelms us more.

This is the flight response:

The presence of someone in the room. Their presence approaching. The mere thought that they are on their way. And worst when we don’t know where they are, for they could appear any time and we could be unprepared in how to cope in the situation of their turning up. The flight response is in being consumed about the power the person holds over us; their existence dominating our thoughts.

Once the trauma has happened once, extra sensitivity is acquired. For me it was three situations in a row over five years. This, after seventeen clear years of none of it. There was an anti-relational component to each person’s demeanour, each person had a role of some kind of power over me, and each time I felt powerless to influence the situation, although looking back, in each case I would now do something differently if I had my time over. But at the time I had no answer and no way through. Historically, we responded in the only way we knew how.

It has taken a situation where the stimulus has abated for years for me to recover enough to truly believe that the common denominator was not in fact myself; that the common denominator is the propensity for people in certain situations to misuse their power. And we’re all capable of it. But not everyone executes that misuse of power. Some do and are completely unaware. Others do and they feel they have a right to it.

There’s one thing for sure:

That feeling of anxiousness when we feel out of control needs to be trusted.

When we don’t feel safe. When we feel we need to fight or run. When we feel we have no choice. All these reveal situations where trauma is actually occurring or recurring. Our body is saying to our mind, ‘resolve this now.’

Toxic situations need to change or trauma only gets worse.

Source by Steve Wickham

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