We have come to think and talk of “trauma” as evil things that happened to us, perpetrated by evil people.
That’s a fairly new way of thinking about it, made up on the back of an envelope by a small number of people, as a way through specific circumstances to meet a specific need of three powerful institutions, in a weird, weird time.
And if you’re one of the many who think and talk of trauma as shit-that-happened or as its refered to in some quarters, “trauma-as-event”, then you might be surprised where it actually comes from.
And you might begin to see how mistaken it is and how unhelpful it can be too for so many, and how its even at root [together with other bad ideas] of why services often suck so much.
“Trauma” is ancient Greek for “wound” and is – even today – a direct synonym.
Trauma is not a story of what happened, it is the effect left within us.
…particularly when we’re left to deal with it alone.
…and the more so when we’re constantly inured, cajoled and conned and coerced into telling over, and over, and over, our story of what happened…
…so others can tell themselves they’re helping us…
…and tick boxes on management reports to demonstrate whatever it is they need demonstrate so they can keep getting funded
…to tick boxes.
If you want to understand better how trauma really works then here’s a simple thing you can try:
Try this: whenever you talk of trauma switch out “trauma” for “wound”, “injury”, “pain” and see if your sentence makes sense, see if it sounds grammatically correct.
If it does not then, as Gabor Mate says…
“That’s not trauma that’s traumatic” [events].