Recently I was listening to a friend share about their childhood on zoom:
“I was acting as if I had been traumatised, but I hadn’t. My parents were loving.
Nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to me, and yet, I always felt broken.
I felt different, craved intimacy in all the wrong ways, and was anxious.”
A man identified with all the symptoms of trauma but could not remember any.
So what happened here?
Levine, the father of somatic experiencing,
defines trauma as any perceived
life-threatening event, either as
a child or in adulthood.
If you’ve ever recognised signs of unresolved trauma within yourself (see here), you might know the relief of finding a label that perfectly describes our experience.
Nervous system expert Irene Lyon explains how everyone has lived through some kind of trauma.
This can range from grief, bullying, car accidents, loud noises, medical procedures, exposure to loneliness or extreme temperature. Trauma is always unique, and sometimes we don’t even remember the cause because we were too young to remember.
Here’s a previous post on somatic experiencing to heal not only the symptoms, but also the causes of trauma.
“The majority of ‘grown ups’ remain
until their death psychological children
who have never truly separated
themselves from their parents.”
– M. Scott Peck
Psychologist Peck also talks about the reluctance of some of his parents to see their parents as real and flawed human beings.
If we’ve grown up feeling responsible for the wellbeing of our parents, or even feeling pity for them, we will defend them no matter what.
But the reality is that even the most loving parents might miss some things.
Children being traumatised is not necessarily a sign of faulty parenting, but of a faulty society.
It takes a village to raise a child after all!
“There are wounds that never show
on the body that are deeper and
more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
– Laurell K. Hamilton
The truth is, the cause of trauma is often very hard to uncover.
Its symptoms however are often glaringly obvious.
Allowing ourselves to validate our experiences is vital in our healing process.
Have you ever doubted past trauma, or discovered on your self-growth journey that there was more that you were aware of?