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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  February 7, 2016

Continuous Trauma

Not to say you can't possibly hope to find happiness with someone who has been traumatized, but it's a much more involved undertaking.

First you must be a counselor and therapist, and then spa esthetician, constantly soothing, affirming, and calming. You try to slow the outbursts and quell angry expression, always striving to break the cycle that thirsts for repetition of the scarring experiences. Like tending to a handicapped child, you must always keep the disability in mind, as well as suitable rehabilitation techniques that will take many years and might not take completely, ultimately rendering only partial health.

Many traumatized people expose themselves, seemingly compulsively, to situations reminiscent of the original trauma. These behavioral reenactments are rarely consciously understood to be related to earlier life experiences. This "repetition compulsion" has received surprisingly little systematic exploration during the 70 years since its discovery, though it is regularly described in the clinical literature. Freud thought that the aim of repetition was to gain mastery, but clinical experience has shown that this rarely happens; instead, repetition causes further suffering for the victims or for people in their surroundings.
[van der Kolk BA. The compulsion to repeat the trauma: re-enactment, revictimization, and masochism]

Talking about traumatic events stir and invigorate them. Better is to let them pass by quietly and forget them than to construct defining monuments for unwelcome events. The past is gone and unchangeable; perhaps they can make a future, which would requiring orienting toward that possibility.

Nothing will make you hate those who cause pointless trauma more than to see the echo in its targets and how they search for a return to trauma and chaos to fill their lack of normalcy.


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