Trauma Reenactment and How We Repeat What We Have Experienced
Trauma reenactment is common in most trauma that occured early in life. These survival patterns–often unconsciously–keep projecting themselves outwardly.
If you feel at a loss as to why and how conflict manifests itself outwardly in society, it might be helpful to look at it from a micro-personal perspective, primarily, as the outward collective expression resembles, therefore reflects, our inward individual reality.
It just becomes magnified and seemingly more complicated.
Trauma Reenactment: Looking at Trauma from an Individual Perspective
When you are overwhelmed and therefore traumatized by an incident; such as a car accident or a sudden loss of a dear one, or even by a period in time; like having suffered child-abuse and neglect – the emotion(s) that relate to the incident or period will be kept alive in your body and mind (psycho-somatically) until they’re resolved.
Till then, you will very likely dissociate from it, partially or fully; but, it will remain in place.
When that traumatic emotional energy remains unresolved, it begins a cycle through different stages of activity and inactivity.
The Cycle of Trauma and How it Moves between Activity and Inactivity
It might be dormant and inactive for a period. It might express itself in a not too intense a way, but its head will keep popping up from time to time.
We could refer to this movement as the inward and outward-breathing of emotional movement and expression.
There is a period of emotional activity attended by hyper-vigilance and one or more of the core emotions of anger, fear, and sadness. Once that energy has exhausted itself it will go into; depression, exhaustion, numbness, lethargy, deadness or even possibly wanting to die, etc.
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The severity and extremes of this cycle will be dependent upon what you have been through; it’s duration, and the presence or absence of support you may have encountered.
You could be blissfully dissociated for 10, 20 or 30 years and suddenly you might start experiencing intrusive flashbacks and thoughts. Or you might go through cycles of hyper-vigilance and activation followed by depression and numbness on a daily basis.
Trauma Reenactment: Looking at It from a Macro-Society Perspective
The movement of society is no different. We carry collective traumas within our shared consciousness that have gone unresolved, and it raises its head after a period of dormancy.
We have been hurt by wars, racial conflict, economic inequality, invasions and loss of identity; and the list goes on.
The spirit of trauma is within us and expresses itself both individually and collectively.
Our reactive coping patterns, to avoid feeling hurt, easily resonates with patriotism, fighting for one’s rights, identifying with one’s country, flag, – my religion is better than yours, – etc.
Our individual trauma morphs with the collective version and thereby perpetuates the cycle of trauma.
What Can We Learn from All This, and Can We Be Free Human Beings?
Which brings me to the end of this section of writing.
I am not saying all this to elicit an opinion, agreement, statement or conclusion.
If you can, preferably, see and feel very profoundly how we re-enact our patterns, individually and collectively, rather than getting pulled into the vortex of trauma and, through being superficially opinionated, become pro- or against something.
Then, could you hold that broader view of how psychology continually moves in lesser and larger degrees, in phases of contraction and expansion?
And rather than becoming part of that movement, through identification, can you use that turmoil and apparent conflict to work through the more in-depth, anguished patterns of hurt, and resolve that.
The Cyclic Movement of Consciousness and Dis-Identification
Consciousness lives within us and expresses itself outwardly, and as such, potentially helps us to become aware of ourselves.
When you have very deeply resolved both the individual and collective emotional residual trauma within yourself, you can be in the midst of a conflicting situation but not be part of it.
You have created a variable into consciousness itself and thereby can affect a change in the mindset of those around you. Not by will or intent but by your presence. You will change the world, as a by-product of living that reality.