WHAT EXACTLY IS THE QUESTION?
I know we have to go through this. This is the consequence of not just one man, not just one party, not just one government, not just a tribal citizenry. This is the consequence of society as a whole and the members of society.
Who is this man who’s acting out his earliest traumas on our country and our world, creating trauma for all of us, and giving some a free pass to act out their earliest traumas in their own destructive ways?
Who are the members of the government who are held hostage to their own earliest traumas, their families filled with denial, lies, and secrecy, and, as a result, are held hostage to the man at the top? The father figure?
Who are the members of the tribal citizenry who are acting and reacting to the authority in just the ways they’ve always reacted to or in the ways they’ve always wanted to react to their own authoritarian parents?
This is not simply tribalism. This is dangerous ground that is becoming more and more dangerous. Is this the way the people of Germany were right before Germany became Nazi Germany?
George Santayana’s famous statement “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” is a mirror to our eyes, our hearts, and our souls. This is true in our individual and our collective lives.
If a child is traumatized and does not have the help to consciously remember, feel, and work through the trauma – as a child, teen, or adult – that child will continuously re-enact that early trauma in one way or another throughout life. For example, if a child is abused and represses or in some way denies that abuse, he will somehow have abuse in his life until the end. He may be drawn to people who abuse him; she may abuse others; he may abuse himself – openly or hidden within; she may collude with abuse of others, overtly or subtly.
The same thing happening from one person’s life to another’s creates a society that continuously re-enacts the early traumas of its people and the early traumas of the society as a whole.
This happens in every child’s life. It happens in the life of every society. What’s happening in the United States of America is just one current example. But it is right out in the open for all to see … or discount, ignore, or forget, as we choose.
The history of impeachment related to Presidents of the United States includes four re-enactments: In 1868, Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives. 106 years later, in 1974, Richard Nixon resigned, rather than risk impeachment and removal from office. 24 years later, in 1998, Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives. And today, in 2019, only 21 years after the Clinton impeachment, the House of Representatives has announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Just as with any re-enactment, the instances get closer together in time and escalate in severity and impact.
According to our constitution and in an effort to curtail the dangerous consequences, the impeachment process needs to take place. However … taking outer action alone will not resolve the true problem. The true problem is not the person of the President alone. He or she is simply one in a cast of many players who are acting out forgotten, denied, or ignored early traumas.
Recently, as part of her healing work, one of my clients was on her way into feelings triggered by the current situation in our country. As one step in the process, she said: “I don’t wanna feel my feelings about what’s going on in our country. I want somebody to stop it.” She continued, “And I don’t wanna feel my feelings about what went on in my childhood. I wanted somebody to stop it.”*
What she was willing to say out loud … on her way deeper into the healing journey … is what most people are thinking and feeling, as they blame today’s situation on others while refusing to do their own healing exploration and journey. While refusing to acknowledge their own part in today’s re-enactment. While refusing to be conscious of the connection between their individual past traumas and their current day traumas; between their individual past traumas and our collective traumas; between our collective past traumas and our current day collective traumas. And while refusing to enter or enter more deeply into their journey to heal their contribution to the national re-enactment of trauma.
As children, we were not responsible for the traumas we experienced at the hands of others and in the face of life. But as adults, we are responsible for both the traumas we keep creating and co-creating and for healing the traumas we experienced long, long ago.
What makes us think we can react to the here-and-now behaviors of our leaders by ignoring the truth, by twisting the truth, by denying the truth – current and past – and escape the consequences of our own histories and re-enactment escalation?
What makes us believe we can escape the acting out and re-enacting cycles of abuse on every level of society by hiding that truth under the guise of politics? By escalating the guise of politics as a cover for our deep inner traumas? By refusing to acknowledge to ourselves and each other, our responsibility in creating this chaos, pain, and trauma in our country and our world? And along this train of questioning … why aren’t the media and political leaders doing their own work and modeling for us to do ours?
What makes us think we are so powerful that we can simply focus on our “better angels” or only take action according to our “better angels” … and by doing so keep our “worst angels” or “demons” from having an impact? Ignoring our “demons” – meaning the whole complex of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to our early traumas – only gives them more power to haunt us and to create more trauma in our lives from deep beneath our conscious awareness.
What makes us think we can simply pray away the painful impact we have from our past traumas – conscious and unconscious – without having to do the conscious, purposeful, real work of healing within ourselves?
What makes us think we can let someone “move our energy” and all our trauma will simply disappear? What makes us think we can let someone “move our energy” and the consequences of our trauma will disappear … without our having to become conscious of our trauma and its consequences? Without our having to become conscious of the impact we have? Without our having to work through that trauma consciously?
What makes us think we can ignore what is going on deep within us and its impact on our lives, our country, and our world?
Do we believe we are so special we can get away with it?
Do we believe we are so entitled, we can escape it?
Have we created such impenetrable denial, that we cannot pierce it? …. yet?
Are we being deluded? seduced? brainwashed? by our family’s beliefs? by mainstream society’s beliefs, attitudes and perceptions?
Are we just plain so afraid to face ourselves … our traumas … our feelings … that we could give a damn about the consequences on our lives and those of others all over our country and world?
Or … Are we just so afraid to face our own past traumas that we need to reach out for help … for our sake and the sake of our world?
These are the real questions.
This is a mirror for us.
This is a call for us.
This is a summons of real Truth to us to see, hear, feel and take responsibility for our part of the problem and our part of the healing.
This is an urgent appeal of true Love to us to acknowledge our responsibility and repair our part.
If we don’t respond to the call, whatever the results of the impeachment inquiry and process … this chaos and trauma will continue and escalate in our lives and the life of our country and world.
If we do respond to the call, whatever the results of the impeachment inquiry and process … we will help heal, from the root, what keeps recreating trauma in our lives and the life of our country and world.
The real questions above are crucial questions for us to ask and answer.
The real questions below are just as, if not even more important.
What will you do?
Will you say ‘no’ to the call and be part of creating future trauma in order to avoid your own personal past trauma?
Or will you say ‘yes’ to the call and be part of healing your past trauma in order to help prevent your future trauma and our future communal trauma?
*Shared with permission of my client.
** For further and deeper understanding, also see How Did We Get Here? Our Refusal to Know the Truth about Ourselves, Judith Barr, 2018, Mysteries of Life. Available through Amazon or www.JudithBarr.com .
*** Many thanks to those of you who are doing your inner healing work in these challenging times and as part of your way of life. I invite you to acknowledge this truth to others. If it helps you to do that, certainly pass this article on.
© Judith Barr, 2019.