Day 4 on ‘Emotion’s Trauma & Its Initiation’ of ‘Emotions’ Chapter
From ‘Remembering’ Series
[Listen to the audio with guided alignment at the end]
The below sharing is what I have learned about trauma and its initiation, excerpt from Karla McLaren’s book – “The Language of Emotions.”
“We can’t go further into the world of emotions until we look at trauma seriously.”
An unhealed trauma can be a a massive turmoil or turning point in life where Karen described it can be either based on our own experience or where we learned from our closed one’s unhealed trauma to distract and avoid pain.
The world is consist of people either with unhealed trauma or people with unrelieved dissociation. One with dissociated personalities is where one is separated from the body, emotion, mind connection, known as ‘poorly psychology hygiene’. One who lose grounding and boundaries focus, one who does not know how to handle emotions of self and others, one who create conflict or avoid conflict, which is contagious, emotionally and psychologically.
An unhealed trauma is individual, it is defined as any sorts of stimulus that could send a person’s attention away from his or her situation. Which is a widespread survival skill, either by traumatic event or by overwhelming and agitating situations.
There are 2 ways on how we normally respond to dissociating trauma. One is when we learn to traumatise ourselves, by repressing it, recreate it in our inner world with the feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. The physical symptoms are sleep disorderness, depression, hyper-hypo activity, and chronic pain, leading to compulsive behaviours, addictions and abusive relationships.
The second way of response is when we learn to traumatise others by expressing traumatic behaviours to relieve disturbing effects of the trauma. By becoming an abuser, we visit the feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness to others, by understanding and mastering it to regain power we lost in the original wound. Thus, expressive response of trauma is inflicted to others.
The expresser are the emotional exploder, where one create an abusive external environment with its internal trauma, where one hurt everyone to keep the trauma alive and ensure suffering for all.
Meanwhile, the represser compress the trauma to one’s inner self and busy keeping the trauma contained by repressing it. When the trauma is alive within, one cannot be full partners in relationships, because one avoid, distract and destabilize own lives and others’.
There is a third way of response where we can channel it from within to enter consciously to dive into emotions, thoughts, visions and sensations, where we can turn trauma. Karen chose to work directly with the root, trauma itself, rather than working on symptoms it brings.
She wrote, the real problem isn’t the trauma experience itself, but it is that we do not re-associate or regain equilibrium after shocking and agitating event occurs. Because all traumas are factual and it is normal in life. The issue is we do not have the resiliency to bring ourselves back to our center once the danger has passed.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. Trauma can be seen as an initiation. But, it is an initiation with the wrong intent, wrong person and with the wrong way.
Karen notes on how we all are related to the tribal societies with our ancestors and within our DNA. We constantly are attracted to the rituals and ceremonies because we are from the tribal societies.
Referring to Mythologist Michael Meade who described the 3 stages in a Tribal Initiation, from the first stage– Separated or isolation from the known world; to the second stage– Have an ordeal brush with death; to the third stage – Being recognised and welcome back with initiated person.
During the first stage- since young, the tribe is expected and prepared to be removed from parents and their daily patterns of life. But for traumatic initiation, one was not prepared for it.
On the second stage – the tribe created a safe ordeal for the younger ones to be in solitude or enter the walkabout with scarring dances. These are overseeing by the adults and it is organised. For the traumatic initiation, one was not in a safe and ordeal condition to be oversee by experienced person.
The third stage – is where celebration is held to welcome the initiator home as a new, different person where new life begins. But, for traumatic initiation, no one welcomes back and to work on the traumatic experiences. Similar sense of it would be the group therapy session where one is open to share its addictions or behaviour in a safe space, where one introduced oneself as “my name is Grace”, then, the other who response with ‘hi Grace”, is considered one way of welcoming.
The thing is, for Karen, to heal must come from a fully resourced perspective, to re-integrate self, we need to complete all 3 stages to be initiated. When the third stage is incomplete, one must repeat the first and second stage for the third stage to occurs. The real central issue of trauma is the lingering sense of powerlessness and disconnection results from not being able to move to the stage 3 of the tribal initiations.
Stage 3 is when we understand trauma alive and not repeating the cycle with repression or expression, but to remain conscious and as if we are openly broken to allow more energy and love to flow through us. It is beautiful to work towards the end.
It is worthy to understand and see that trauma is not a tragedy or mistake, but it is our initiation to get into the deeper currents of life. When we re-integrate aspects of self, it is a conscious movement where we can make conscious choice and decide our role with trauma.
How can we create a ceremonial space with anger and fear return?
We welcome emotions as our messengers to be translated in honorable ways, where they can no longer be dangerously primal. We can shift from its disruptive power force to a healing power force.
When anger arises, in the form of rage, jealousy, envy, hatred, shameful, it is to restore our boundaries that we lose. It signals the real healing is underway.
When fear arises, in the form of worry, fear, anxiety, panic, confusion, terror, it restores focus and instincts we lose when we are overwhelmed. It signals new instincts into our psyche. Say, panic arises to return to the psyche from the shocking stage 1.
When sadness arises, in despair or dejection, it helps to release unworkable attachments and rejuvenate our psyche.
I love how Karen described the relationships between anger and forgiveness, on how we usually put anger as bd and forgiveness as good. How we shove anger into the shadow by repressing it or expressing it, then we glorify forgiveness which can trap in the first two stages.
But, both of anger and forgiveness work together as equal partner in stage 3. Anger alert the violation of boundaries, when we restore the boundary, our psyche is protected, then forgiveness comes naturally to the person or the event that ‘danger’ us.
Forgiveness is not as what it seems, to politely express “I forgive you for what you have done.” But real forgiveness is a deeply emotive awakening where it is messy. This process requires rage and fury form of anger; requires terror and panic form of fear; requires despair and suicidal urges form of sadness. It also separate the torment and the tormentors, where we do not give excuses for the others but to see and be present with our pain, the real wound. This is how we can restore our boundary-anger when we acknowledge the pain itself.
Real forgiveness says, “I see that you were doing what worked for you at the time, but it never, ever worked for me!”
When we forgive before we are done feeling the effects of our experiences, we artificially remove our gaze from the actual wounding event or person.
When we work with our strong emotions, we can move such energy to restore equilibrium. So, real forgiveness can’t exist without true anger, true despair, true fear, and true emotional integrity.
Wow, that’s huge for me which led to me share my personal story on ‘Anger & Forgiveness’. I hope the above served you well to understand a little bit better which shift our perspectives on anger, fear, sadness and forgiveness. Next, we will look at how we can embrace our emotions.