When you were a child, did anyone have to tell you when something was wrong? Did it have to be explained to you? Or was it that you intuitively knew, that your body spoke to you and told you something was wrong?
It’s the latter, never the former.
Trauma is not something that exists in isolation, something that we can control. That’s what makes it trauma. We have the uppercase T stuff like Afghanistan, and we have the lowercase t stuff like coming home from a deployment and everyone pretending like nothing happened. The big T is supersonic and scares the living daylights out of us. The little t is the part where you have to pretend, create a new you, put on the mask and act like you’re fine when you’re not at all. Which leads us to the trauma that breaks the camels back, the time and place in life where we separate from our authentic self in order to adapt to the new environment… and hide in plain sight.
Thing is, that has a ripple effect and it’s a powerful ripple. Symptom clusters like PTSD are a little more obvious, like waking next to someone in the throes of a nightmare, nightly. That’s pretty out in plain sight. But it’s the subtler effects of trauma that are harder to detect:
- staying in a good on paper relationship
- being a closed off or angry person
- smiling pretty but hurting in the soul
- being the fun one in the crowd, meanwhile secretly hopeless for a bright future
So many ways.
This has a ripple effect and a contagion to it. These behaviors force an adaptation, a screenplay for those close to the hurting ones. Do I pretend too? I know they’re not okay, do I play along? And if I can’t play along, do I say something? Risk being pushed away, yelled at, cutoff? The domino effect of adaptation occurs and a new system of falsehood and perpetuation begins to rollout.
It takes bravery to end cycles. To heal. LOADS of bravery. But it’s a bravery that doesn’t end up in Arlington. It’s a bravery of a different kind. The kind that brings you back to the heart, and keeps your soul from going six feet under.
EVERYONE deserve healing. Everyone. After all it’s the antidote to this very contagious thing called trauma.
Love, and healing.