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Thoughts on traumatised people

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran
edited September 2022 in Sanghas

On another forum I have been providing guidance to an elderly lady who is still seeking to cope with a very traumatic past. A mother who died over five years while she was young of breast cancer, a father who committed violent and bloody suicide, the kids who found him and had to go into foster care. It’s clear from what she has been writing that it still leaves deep traces today.

It just makes me feel that as a community we fall short in offering love and compassion to these people. Really in order to compensate for what they have been through they need to be deeply loved.

This movie has been doing the rounds recently…



  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2022

    There are wonderful techniques for resolving trauma these days. There's one called EMDR that's widely practiced by psychotherapists. It can provide relief in the first session, and does not require that the patient re-live the experience. The patient doesn't need to talk about it at all, except to provide a context. It works with eye movements to help the brain re-process the traumatic events subconsciously, so that the memories no longer have an emotional charge. The REM movements during sleep normally work to process the events of each day for us. Trauma can get people "stuck" and unable to process. EMDR mimics the eye movements during sleep, but the pt. is fully awake. In your e-friend's case, she'd need a short series of treatments for each trauma.

    There are also therapists who offer a type of practice that goes by various names, some call it re-parenting. So if a client had an abusive childhood, for example, the therapist takes the role of a healthy, loving parent, so that the client can experience that. If in a group context, members of the group take on the roles of the family circle, and act out scenes from the client's life (per client's suggestions), but offering love and support in place of whatever the client experience: jealousy, scapegoating, anger, abuse. The client can receive hugs if they never got them in childhood. This can be a very powerful therapy .

    Of course the one problem is affordability. I have no idea if your friend has the means to pay for this. EMDR can be had from therapists who are on Medicare's approved list, so at least she could have access to that, which would be a key first step.

  • I have had quite some parent-inflicted trauma during my childhood, but I'd say nothing extreme, as these things go. However, even that "dose" of trauma has (most probably) triggered quite some mental health problems, to the extent of being semi-functional for the last 10 years of my adult life. My heart goes out to those who had it even worse. As always, the remedy is kindness, the medicine is kindness, the path is kindness. We are all traumatised, some more, some less. But we can heal. Baby steps. Optimism. Effort. Belonging. Just my thoughts today...

  • I see trauma as past experiences that generate emotions leading to strife in the mind which finds no outlet and instead reverberates within the mind until triggered by some event where it's vented in uncontrolled ways until depleted and then starts reverberating within the mind again. To me, traumatized people are people with that going on to higher degrees than normal. No idea what normal is though.

    I'm not a professional so I don't know if that's correct or if I'd label my childhood as traumatic but it certainly felt traumatic and like you mention @marcitko, those experiences have caused complications in my adult life which favor the arguably unproductive emotionally driven way I live currently. Mild trauma seems fitting. Not enough for anyone to take seriously but enough to only function in a limited capacity.

    Therapists are just regular people who went to school. Like everyone else they are subject to the same things-death, greed, delusion, conditioned states, trauma, and the rest. They can be in a worse state of trauma than those they help and still get a college degree and be allowed to practice. Dhamma at least allows me to learn tools to therapize and heal myself and leaves it in my hands to decide if I ever get very good at it or not.

  • No idea what normal is though.

    As always, the remedy is kindness, the medicine is kindness, the path is kindness.

    yes we need a thread on what is normal, I certainly am not

    But … people kindly allow me to be traumatic … up to a point …
    Obviously I don't want to be a burden to others or myself

    Strangely enough I am not. Medicine comes in bitter, sweet and bizarre. What works is skilful …

  • @lobster said:
    Obviously I don't want to be a burden to others or myself

    Strangely enough I am not. Medicine comes in bitter, sweet and bizarre. What works is skilful …

    How do you tell?

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Normal I think are those who are capable of expressing love, and co-existing with others without causing them too much damage. There are many routes to that, politeness, measured withdrawal, humor, to name a few.

    I don’t think its possible to grow up without a few trauma’s. Especially if you are a sensitive child by nature. The question is, are these trauma’s so intense that it causes you a recognised illness such as PTSD, or is it more in the nature of background noise?

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    I don’t think its possible to grow up without a few trauma’s

    I guess....being born (birth) is a traumatic experience in itself...

    One moment everything's nice and cosy 'Gemutlich', then all of a sudden, all the sense doors are exposed to the world/phenomena, shapes, smells, sounds, colours etc...

  • @FleaMarket said:

    ... Medicine comes in bitter, sweet and bizarre. What works is skilful …

    How do you tell?

    We already know.

    Let us take an example:

    • We are feeling low, what lifts our spirits? Spirits, sprites on a screen, habitual rites OR an uplifting experience. Bizarre how many 'solutions' are in fact toxic/fetters.

    • We engage in practice, we feel better.
      Skilful? Eh … YES! … and I did shout. I will do it again YA! YES! YEAH! (Also available as a mantra)

    Any answers/examples that come to mind …

  • @lobster said:
    Any answers/examples that come to mind …

    Om Mani Padme Huh Mhmm

    Nothing makes sense so I'm just gunna set nothing and sense aside for a bit and go back to my cushion..

  • There are a variety of ways to do this type of "clearing" (with skilled help).

    It seems that trauma is a common part of the human condition. It's much more common than previously believed.

    Indeed. Trauma is the first Noble Truth.
    Our practice is a continuity, working on the murky and sometimes completely obscured.

    We can not always work on our deepest knots/folded up impediments. We also have to be aware that existence/experience life itself is traumatic.

    It is why we ideally we practice in good, bad and indifferent internal 'weather'.

    Hope that makes sense …

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran
    edited September 2022

    I'd just add to the discussion not to get too hung up on eliminating or avoiding trauma altogether.

    First, for clarity, that word has had a fair bit of concept creep. (article )Which partly diminishes "actual" trauma and psychologically tends to make people more sensitive to harms. Which might not be a bad thing... might.

    Second, the notion of antifragility and post traumatic growth

    “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

    Without the stress of gravity our bones become brittle. Without the trauma of bacteria and viruses our immune system becomes weak.

    That isn't to say that we should just amp up the harm and suck it up buttercup. Averse Childhood Experiences are different than child trauma.

    For example danger playgrounds have gained in popularity because the standard playground these days has become so "safetyized" that they don't challenge a child and give important opportunities for growth and creativity.

  • Kids are tough.

    Every one is special. Every one deserves a chance to grow.

    People are resilient, they too are deserving …

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 2022

    Know anyone with Suicidal thoughts?

    Take the training.

    It may not give you a certificate, Honours, Distinction or a qualification. But it's worth every single minute if it gives you any insight in how to help.

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