SUMMER SOLSTICE: SHINING A LIGHT ON TRAUMA

It is not enough to respond to the trauma on the outer level.
It will not be enough until we respond to it and heal it deep within ourselves.

Today is the day of the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of the earth. The day that shines the most light on everything we need most to see and feel.  At this time in our world, we need to shine the light on trauma.

The United States is shining a light on trauma right now as a result of the heart-breaking, tragic, traumatic separation of children from their parents at the border … and the caging of children who have been taken away from their parents. Children, toddlers, babies, infants pulled away from their parents under a guise. Under the guise of bathing them. Under the guise of a law. Under the guise of an immigration policy. Under the guise of protecting our country. Under the guise of politics.

No guise at all can really hide the truth of what is causing this cruel travesty!  This is the out-picturing of the trauma experienced in childhood in the U.S. The trauma experienced in childhood that is still alive in people as they grow into “big people” … but not really adults … just big people defending against their childhood trauma, while acting it out in some way today.

This is the result of trauma: the trauma in those declaring, directing, supporting, justifying, and carrying out these excruciating, traumatizing acts. It is the result of trauma in those witnessing these monstrous things. It is the result of trauma in those who get pleasure out of watching it – up close and from afar via the media. It is the result of trauma in those who do nothing about it. It is the result of trauma in those who protest it, too.

Let’s go through these one by one.

What’s being done to the children and their parents at the border is traumatic to both.

*It is the result of trauma in those declaring, supporting, justifying, and carrying out these excruciating, traumatizing acts.

No one could declare and direct that children be taken from their parents and caged, unless they had themselves been traumatized as children. For example, taken from their parents’ arms; never able to truly bond with their parents; experienced some rupture to the attachment with their parents; or distorted efforts to achieve sought-after attachment with their parents that remained unsuccessful (like idealizing their parents or blaming themselves).  That kind of childhood trauma, unhealed, would very likely result in people acting out the trauma that they experienced on someone else – another child, a pet, or some one vulnerable and powerless at their hands once they became a “big person” (like they once were at someone else’s).

*It is the result of trauma in those declaring, supporting, justifying, and carrying out these excruciating, traumatizing acts.

No one could cage children (or cause them to be caged) unless they themselves had been literally or figuratively caged as children, or witnessed that happening to others.  Many people . . . more than most of us want to realize … grow up in homes where they experience abuse, neglect, some form of trauma, and as a result of how young and powerless they are, they feel caged, trapped, imprisoned.  They spend their young psyche’s energy trying to get out, trying to never get caged again, trying to trap someone else instead of their being trapped, or maybe even trying to help others get free from their own emotional cages.

*It is the result of trauma in those witnessing these excruciating, traumatizing things.

Many of those witnessing the trauma to children and parents at the border today also witnessed children in their families, extended families, and neighborhoods being traumatized long ago in their youth. That is traumatic to a child in its own way, different from experiencing the separation or caging directly themselves, but traumatic nevertheless. They may well respond the same ways today that they did as children long ago when they first witnessed the trauma.

*It is the result of trauma in those who get pleasure out of watching it – up close and also afar, via the media.

No one could get pleasure out of watching children being ripped from their parents’ arms or put in cages, unless they had experienced the same literally or figuratively when they were children.  And perhaps experienced the sadistic pleasure of the one who had done the ripping or caging with them.

The justification for the abuse: “if you didn’t cross the border into our country we wouldn’t have to take your children away.” This is the catch phrase of the abuser. “If you didn’t x, I wouldn’t have to y.” Or “if you did x, I wouldn’t have to do y.” And those giving these justifications are not only exposing their abusiveness, they are also revealing the abuse in their childhood by acting it out on others today.

*It is the result of trauma in those who do nothing about it.

No one could refuse to do anything at all about children being ripped from their parents’ arms or put in cages, unless they had somehow experienced abuse themselves as children, and were afraid to do anything from a child place within, or were numbed out by today’s mirror of what went on in their own young lives.

*It is the result of trauma in those who protest it, too.

Thank heavens there are people protesting the policy and actions today, in 2018. Thank heavens there are people who are in the process of working to stop these traumatizing practices at the border.

Perhaps those people are protesting today as they wish someone had protested for them when they were children being traumatized.  Perhaps those people are protesting today as someone did protest for them when they were abused as children.  And … perhaps those people are doing something in the outer world,  but are not doing the underlying inner work they need to do about their own experiences of childhood trauma.

In other words … whatever is occurring in the outer world today in 2018, even people trying to help these children and parents at the border, there is a dearth of people looking at, owning, taking responsibility for, working to heal and transform from their own early trauma. The result … the trauma that lies suppressed or repressed deep within haunts us forever till we do our own healing work. And the result … the trauma that lies within ends up – with or without our awareness – erupting and creating more trauma in the outer world.

Everybody has a stake in things staying this way. Everybody has a stake – hidden or out in the open – in the abuse continuing. The abuse in all halls of government. The abuse at the borders. The abuse in the home. The abuse in the family. There may be many variations of the stake, but they center around this:

* If the abuse continues today, people can continue to use the coping mechanisms and defenses they developed as children, in an effort to protect themselves when they were first abused.

*And if the abuse continues today, people can continue to hold at bay the feelings they experienced when they were going through the early trauma that was so much a part of their early development and their early lives.

If they hold the ancient trauma at bay, they can pretend they don’t feel it, even though they do, beneath their awareness.
If they hold the ancient trauma at bay, they can function as though it doesn’t haunt them every day.
If they hold the ancient trauma at bay, they can pretend – even to themselves – that they didn’t have any part at all in creating the traumas that are right here in our world today.
And they can continue creating and recreating the cycles for themselves and others to be traumatized today and tomorrow by the traumas each of them felt once upon a time long, long ago.

There is so much more I have to say, but for right now the essence is this . . .
The trauma we are increasingly experiencing in our country and our world today is not caused by some single leader or some handful of leaders – although they are certainly doing their part in creating the trauma today and tomorrow.
The trauma we are increasingly experiencing is caused by us . . .
you and you and you and you and you …
All of us, each of us.
And we all need to do our own inner work with healing the trauma we have experienced …
or know that we will continue to create more and more trauma in our country and our world.

Wake up.
Look in the mirror.
Look at the out-picturing we are being given of the children and parents at the border.
Find someone – a committed, integritous, depth psychotherapist – who does their own work healing their own trauma and engage them to help you with yours.

Wake up.
The time is now.
Do your own healing work.

© Judith Barr, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *