Trauma defined broadly

 

Defined broadly, trauma can refer to (a) any experience (b) we reacted to (c) by contracting, by identifying with stressful stories, (d) in order to protect the (imagined) self, (e) and coming from deep caring and love. We may then (f) act on this, which may in turn (e) create an experience for another person who then reacts in a similar way, so the trauma is passed on, slightly changed but basically the same.

You won’t necessarily find that definition in any textbook, but it makes sense to me.

Defined in this way, trauma is behind just about any distress and suffering.

It’s shared by most or all of us. It’s what’s behind a great deal of human suffering and confusion.

In many cases, it may be an important component in addictions, reactivity, abuse, violence, relationship problems, mental problems, and more. Most of what people are in jail for may be connected to a trauma reaction, as is much (or most?) of what we judge others and ourselves for.

Here are a few more words about each step.

(a) any experience – This is our perception of a situation. Our stories about what happened. How we interpreted it. What we told ourselves about it. (And still perhaps do, if the trauma is still there.)

(b) we reacted to – We react to our own stories about what happened, and create more stories about it. We create stories about what it means, what it means about us and the world.

(c) by contracting, by identifying with stressful stories – Trauma is created by stressful and painful stories we hold as true. Stories we identify with. We see the world from the view and perspective of these stories.

(d) in order to protect the (imagined) self – We do this to protect the imagined self. (This is the literally imagined self, independent of how this self does or does not really exist.)

(e) and coming from deep caring and love – And that wish to protect the self comes from deep caring and love. Trauma comes from love. It’s an expression of love. It is love. It comes from worried love.

We may then (f) act on this – We perceive the world through our painful stories (when they are activated), and also act on these. Or react from them.

which may in turn (e) create an experience for another person who then reacts in a similar way, so the trauma is passed on, slightly changed but basically the same – This can create (a) for another person, so the trauma – whether mild or more severe – is passed on.

 

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