MORE PANDEMICS THAN YOU KNOW
Most of us, when we apply the word “pandemic” to these times in our lives and our world, think of the coronavirus health pandemic. This may be the only time in our lives we have heard the word “pandemic” applied to current experience.
As devastating as the health pandemic has been in these past months – and it has been devastating – when I think of pandemics, I think of many more pandemics than the coronavirus health pandemic alone.
I think of the financial pandemic. I think of the pandemic of prejudice and racial injustice. I think of the pandemic of abuse and violence. And I think of the underlying pandemic that no one is naming, the one that connects all of them: the pandemic of trauma.
They all need our attention. They all require our responsiveness. They all necessitate our action. They all necessitate our action, not only in the outer world but also in our inner worlds.
The action in the outer world may appear to be the most immediate and the most important, and in many ways it is important. But … if we don’t answer the call to do the healing in the inner world, then we become or continue to be part of the problem. Then we become or continue to be part of the driving force spreading the pandemics.
For years I have been working with people and teaching people that if we don’t heal the core inner trauma, we will not only contribute to the outer trauma, but will also be part of creating and escalating the outer trauma to unprecedented, excruciating proportions.
That remains true today. It is heart-breaking.
We are seeing that today. It is heart-breaking.
We are hearing that today. It is heart-breaking.
We are feeling that today. It is heart-breaking beyond words.
We are being called louder than ever to take responsibility for our own inner healing!
We are being called louder than ever to do that healing and experience its
positive effects on us – within – and on our world outside – near and far.
Every one of us who does our own work contributes to the healing not only for him- or herself, but also for all of us.
THE HEALTH PANDEMIC
However the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic began … too many people allowed it to spread by denying it, by refusing to take actions that needed to be taken, by colluding with the denial and refusal. This was not only people in government – all over the world – but citizens, too. Places not closed; places opened too soon; people being careless and reckless with their own lives and the lives of others.
Through the work I’ve done, it is clear that complicity in the spread of the pandemic is rooted in people’s defenses against knowing, remembering and feeling the “unsafety” they lived through and survived early in their lives.
This doesn’t mean we should condone their dangerous behavior. It reveals the trauma underlying the trauma they are acting out and escalating today.
This trauma needs to be healed if we are to resolve the health pandemic and others like it.
THE FINANCIAL PANDEMIC
No matter how many claim that this financial crisis is the result of the health pandemic, the reality is that this financial crisis brings out into the light of day the real roots of financial traumas. Very few people realize that our personal relationships with money are rooted in early trauma; that our collective relationships with money are rooted in our individual relationships and traumas; that these traumas are inter-generational; and that the traumas, at their root, aren’t themselves about money. Very few people realize that the relationships with money of both wealthy and poor are rooted in trauma.
Over decades, I’ve worked with many people to help them heal their relationships with money. Again and again, I’ve witnessed the revelation of trauma at the root. The trauma may or may not have been tangentially related to money, but the trauma itself was related to abuse, violation and violence, neglect, grief, and more.
In these times, this opening to our traumas has become so important … I have begun offering a virtual introductory workshop, “Money Is Not the Root of All Evil – Money Is A Window to Our Early Traumas.”
This trauma needs to be discovered and healed if we are to resolve the financial pandemic and others like it.
THE PANDEMIC OF PREJUDICE AND RACIAL INJUSTICE
THE PANDEMIC OF ABUSE AND VIOLENCE
My heart is filled with the pain of both individual and systemic racial injustice …
and the trauma it causes. The trauma it is causing now. The trauma it has caused for centuries all over the world … and right here in the U.S.
I cannot possibly do justice to this subject, but I will try to, in a nutshell, open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts. Black Americans who are suffering every day in the U.S. have their trauma rooted in their ancestors’ having been captured and abducted in their original homes and brought here as slaves. Enslavement was also the barbaric and dehumanizing practice of many other countries including Great Britain, Portugal, and Spain.
As someone who looks for the roots of traumas, this is what I see: To the slave traders and holders, these people were not people. They were objects. They were property. They were belongings to be used and treated at the will of the owners. They were bought and sold, and thereby this trauma was connected with money. But the deeper root was this: To the others who trafficked them, black people were not people. They were not human. They were objects and possessions. And the possessors did whatever they wanted to and with their possessions.
When we explore misogyny, we see this attitude in relation to women. When we explore child abuse, we see this attitude in relation to children. Both … still happening today. Some aspects of this are called “human trafficking.” The attitude itself begins in families where children are treated as objects. It begins in families where one or more of the parents were treated as objects in childhood. It begins in families in cultures that teach that kind of objectification, preach it, practice it, and normalize it. Alice Miller wrote about this phenomenon at length in her writings, particularly her book, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. (1983)
There is more of this cruelty held, felt, and acted out from one person to another than we want to realize, acknowledge, and feel. And there is a current of this cruelty somewhere within each of us. Right here for each of us to heal. (See How Did We Get Here? Judith Barr, 2018.)
So if we are truly going to help heal the racism and injustice in our country and our world today, this current in each of us and the root trauma beneath it will need to be healed within us.
If we don’t do this deeper healing, we will go another cycle and yet another cycle of working to heal racism, only to find that we still have to face ourselves.
This trauma needs to be discovered and healed if we are to resolve the prejudice and racial injustice pandemic in our country and in our world.
This trauma needs to be discovered and healed if we are to resolve the abuse and violence pandemic in our country and in our world.
THE PANDEMIC OF TRAUMA
Trauma is at the root. The trauma pandemic is at the root of all these pandemics.
Every time trauma is repressed the virus grows. Every time trauma is denied the virus breeds. Every time trauma is normalized the virus multiplies. Every time trauma is acted out the virus reproduces. Every time the acted-out trauma is responded to with trauma the virus spreads … and spreads … and spreads. Every time the trauma is responded to with outer action alone, even if the outer action is useful, the virus creeps and creeps and creeps. Every time the trauma that is still alive within us is ignored, left where it is, neglected, the virus grows silently
and under the cover of the outer action.
We are certainly witness to this in our time. We are certainly participants in this at this time in history.
This pandemic of trauma needs to be discovered and healed if we are to resolve the pandemics that are grown and spread in the ground of trauma … the ground of trauma within us, between us, amongst us, and all around us.
This is true today. It will remain true until we respond.
If we do not say ‘yes’ to the call to heal our early traumas, still alive within us today … It will be heart-breaking.
If we do not say ‘yes’ to ending our complicity with our collective traumas, still alive within and all around us today … It will be heart-breaking.
If we continue to feed the pandemic of trauma instead of resolving and healing it … It will be heart-breaking.
Aren’t we broken-hearted enough from the cycles and cycles of trauma?
Come join me to end the trauma pandemic and those that arise and grow from it!
Some resources to help you:
* Two home study courses (for professionals and lay people) can help with the healing of the abuse and violence pandemic:
Healing Bullying to the Root: A Unique Approach to a Painful Epidemic
Violence: Finding and Healing the Roots from the Inside Out
** For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence Alice Miller, 1983.
*** How Did We Get Here? Our Refusal to Know the Truth About Ourselves; Blowing the Whistle on Us – For the Trauma We’ve Experienced and the Trauma We Create, Judith Barr, 2018.
****Contact me to arrange a virtual workshop: “Money Is Not the Root of All Evil – Money Is A Window to Our Early Traumas.”
*****This video clip, “Ask Yourself,” can pierce the objectification of black people … if we let it open our eyes, ears, and hearts to their humanity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDqwacSe7O0
© Judith Barr, 2020.