KAVANAUGH – FORD: A WINDOW TO THE SOUL OF THE CULTURE

U.S. CULTURE TODAY, ANY OTHER CULTURE TOMORROW

Thomas – Hill. Kavanaugh – Ford. Republicans – Democrats. Men – Women.
And more …

This isn’t just a Supreme Court nomination. Most people realize that.
This isn’t just a political conflict. Many people realize that.
This isn’t just the fight of many women and some men to end misogyny and bring about healthy, respectful, human, heartful treatment of women by men. Many more people are realizing that.
And this isn’t just the insistence that women who were sexually abused be heard, believed and not blamed. Some are coming to that.
More are coming to that.

If you open your eyes more …
if you open your ears more …
if you open your mind more …
if you open your heart more …
you will know …
this is a window to the soul of our culture.

A window that has been closed and locked.
A window that has been boarded up –
as if to keep a storm in the outer world from blowing it in.
But truly, it has been boarded up to keep what is inside
hidden on the inside, kept secret, and buried deep within.
This window is now being blown from the inside out.

This is a window to the soul of our culture.
Where we have been hiding the trauma that lives deep within our culture.
Where we have built on top of that trauma layers and layers of defenses.
Where we have been hiding the trauma that lives –
not only in our government and government processes;
not only in our businesses and their day-to-day transactions;
not only in our religious organizations and houses of worship;
not only in our institutions of learning and their daily activities;
but also where we have been hiding the trauma that lives in our everyday families in our everyday homes –
where our children are born, live, and develop in trauma.

To an eye and a heart of someone who works with men and women who have been abused, neglected, and sexually abused as children, this whole process of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and hearings, is a clear out-picturing of what goes on in a family in our country where one or more of the children have been sexually abused by an ”authority” in the family, and where even one of those children tries to tell the truth.

Tell the truth about having been sexually abused? Almost never as a child. Too scary. Too dangerous. But even as an adult … the family authority and very often the whole family – even extended family – circles the wagons to protect the abuser. That occurs in many ways. Two of the strongest are to enlist everyone to not believe the one who has been abused and to blame the abused one for what has happened. The child – now adult – victim of the sexual abuse is attacked, scapegoated, eliminated from the family. Or there may be a fight within the family, with some supporting and some attacking the person who was hurt. Often in either case the truth-teller is accused of having “ruined the family.”

To the eye and heart of someone who has for decades worked with the early trauma of men and women, I can see how that trauma is out-pictured in their own lives. And I can see how that trauma is out-pictured in the life of our country and our world. In the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, I could see the early trauma of many of those who spoke. Some might not have seen angry outbursts and defenses as signs of early trauma. They might cover the real explanations and understandings with justifications and normalizations. But I know what I saw. And I saw the trauma beneath the boarded-up windows and doors.

The steps that have been taken to listen with respect to Dr. Ford and others who have been sexually abused … are, indeed, important steps. But they are not enough. They are not nearly enough.

We need to see the trauma that is showing itself in this process …
the trauma to Dr. Ford and any others sexually abused by the nominee.
the trauma to others who have come forth and may come forth about the sexual assaults they have experienced.
the traumas to children in our country who experience sexual assault –
and other assaults – every day in their homes.

And the trauma to the others in the picture.
The trauma to those who witness the assaults.
The trauma to those who react to the assaults.
The trauma to the family in which the assaults originally happen.
The trauma to those who commit the assaults.
For although some of us may wish to blame the abuser …
that person also has been traumatized in his/her life at some point
in development …
or the assaults would not have been committed by that person.

If we do not look at the trauma that is out-picturing itself in this process…
if we do not see the trauma that is out-picturing itself in this process …
if we do not hear the trauma that is out-picturing itself in this process …
if we do not feel the trauma palpable in this out-picturing that is occurring in the
context of our government …
we ourselves will help to continue such out-picturings,
while believing they are something else.
And we ourselves will help to continue such out-picturings,
while being unaware of our complicity.

This article describes just the tip of the iceberg of the depth exploration revealed In my recent book – How Did We Get Here?* – on the heart of where we are in the life of our nation and our world, and what is here for us to see and heal in our country … and in countries all over the world. The relationship between trauma and accountability is woven throughout the book.

© Judith Barr, 2018.

*Barr, Judith. How Did We Get Here? (Brookfield, CT: Mysteries of Life, 2018). Available through Amazon or JudithBarr.com.

 

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

Tornados: Trauma Experienced … A Preview

Tornados: Trauma Experienced, Witnessed, and Then What?
A Preview

A month ago, on a Tuesday late afternoon, much of Connecticut and parts of New York were hit by tornados and other storms. The physical damage was mind- and heart-boggling – to people, homes, businesses, property, trees, all utilities, and other physical damage I can’t name right now. The emotional trauma was also mind- and heart-boggling.

Everyone who was affected in any way experienced trauma … even people who had to drive home during or after and experience all the damage. Drives that were usually 10 minutes, took over 2 hours. Drives that normally took 20 – 30 minutes, took 5 ½ hours. The repair people experienced trauma, too. My heart has always been open to people who have experienced trauma – childhood, current, that caused by people, and that caused by nature … My heart opens even wider now.

I was in the middle of leading a 6-day intensive here when the tornado struck. Everyone is safe, thank goodness! I am in the process of working with the individuals and the group to help heal the current day impact of the tornado trauma, as well as the ancient traumas the tornado triggered in people. What a difference this is making – and will make – for these people. And what a difference this would make for our world … if we all worked with our ancient trauma.

Untended, unhealed, our ancient traumas create more trauma in our current day world. We can see and feel that in the world today.  Too many of us just try to get back to some illusory “normal,” try to get back to functioning, try to keep ourselves numbed and anesthetized … so as not to feel the pain of the trauma. But that is exactly what causes the trauma to haunt us. And that is precisely what causes our trauma to create more trauma in our world today.

It is up to us – the adults, the parents, the teachers, the healers, the leaders – to tend to and truly heal our own ancient traumas; to make sure we don’t cause trauma to our children (or anyone else) with our unhealed trauma; and to help our children truly heal from any trauma they experience at home with us, at school, or elsewhere in our world.

As you go into your summer months, take this call with you. Take this consciousness with you. And please … for your sake, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of our world … do your own inner healing work related to your trauma.

This is what I do with people every day … help them heal their trauma and its impact on their lives, other people, and our world.  I hope this article preview is at least one way I can help you as you heal your trauma.

Many blessings from my heart to yours …

Judith