Vicarious | Shock Event | Complex | Developmental | Inter-Generational | Collective
The concept of trauma is relatively new. Thanks to advances in technology and neuroscience, we are now learning much more and are redefining our definition. Below are some simplified definitions and examples.
It appears that trauma is not what we had originally thought--an event that happens to us, which shatters our worldview and sense of control.
We now understand that trauma is a response of the nervous system in an attempt to keep us alive during times of overwhelming stress. It is an intelligent system that runs a natural course of healing and integration under the right circumstances after the event has ended. However, if this process is interrupted and the intense event is not integrated, it will leave the psyche fragmented and the body charged. Someone who experiences a shock event trauma and represses it will likely develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. While someone who experiences many traumas over a period of time, such as an abused child, will likely have complex trauma symptoms.
We also understand now that trauma isn't just something that "happens to you." This is the case for vicarious and developmental trauma. Vicarious trauma can happen when we see or hear about someone else's trauma. It can happen when we work directly with traumatized populations or if we are a bystander who witnesses trauma happen to someone else, especially a loved one. It can even happen from watching news reports on traumatic events. Depending on someone's trauma history, vicarious trauma can look like PTSD or complex trauma symptoms.
In the case of developmental trauma, it occurs when something doesn't happen that was supposed to happen in our early childhood. Unfortunately, most infants in the United States are not getting the healthy social cues their developing brains need due to our long history of unresolved inter-generational and collective trauma, on top of the current stresses and traumas of our modern-day world. This lack of cues for a healthy relationship creates an insecure attachment to one's caregiver and the inability to have naturally harmonious and trusting relationships as an adult.
Developmental trauma is the pandemic of our times. It's so commonplace and rooted in our American culture that we believe it is the human condition and are taught to be grateful for privileges that should be human rights.
The good news is nature (God) has already provided us with the solution through the natural healing process we evolved with. If everyone took initiatives to heal their own personal and family trauma, we could have world peace and live on a new Earth within a few generations.
"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world could live as one." - John Lennon
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