When we hear the word “trauma” we invariably think of something quite severe; perhaps an accident, rape, physical abuse or attack, natural disaster or combat situation.
Even though the physiological and psychological mechanisms are the same for either shock trauma or developmental trauma, there are a whole range of subtle differences when looking at developmental issues.
Do We All Have Some Developmental Patterns?
To the best of my knowledge, most of us pick up some patterns of resistance throughout our life journey that shape our characters, our likes and dislikes, and which have influenced our general decision making and direction in life.
We might still be able to fit into society, fulfill our duties and responsibilities, and prefer to see our difficulties as indicators of our conditioning, rather than that of trauma; nonetheless. our conditioning is pervasive and limiting for the individual and society at large, and comes at the enormous expense of disconnection, disembodiment and a false sense of freedom.
I would argue that our developmental issues are endemic, regardless of whether we refer to them as conditioning or traumas, and have far reaching consequences which affect our physical and psychological health, as well as our personal and social relationships.
Many of us have difficulties in connecting with other people and maintaining loving, bonding relationships; furthermore, very few of us follow our passions, address our fears and live a life that is fulfilling.
What Experiences Can Affect us?
Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to connect our early life experiences to their effect on our present daily reality, and our way of relating with the world through others. Early life experiences such as difficulties at birth or pregnancy, being unwanted as a child by one or both parents, overindulgent or neglectful parents or carers, divorce, surgery in early life, growing up in a challenging environment, drug abuse, or depression which may have led to the suicide of a parent all have lifelong consequences. Being raised during a war, for instance, quite commonly has a profound effect on how we are formed and how we react within relationships and the ordinary social inter-activities of life.
While the mechanisms that are set up to cope with these early stresses are a necessity at the time to survive, they become burdensome obstacles later on in life. The earlier we go through traumatic experiences, the more hard-wired and implicitly codified they become in our body and mind.
To work through developmental issues can be tedious and challenging; nonetheless, the payoffs through increased energy levels are more than worth it!