At the beginning of June, this description came in an email from “Humanity’s Team.” It’s the introduction to a program about healing trauma.
“When you find that in the last few months you’re shakier, more irritable, more anxious, feeling less safe, and you can’t figure out why, it may be that old traumatic experiences and memories are bubbling back up to the surface, triggered by how things have unfolded in the United States and world.” Dr. Lachmann says, “The unapologetically authoritarian manner in which the man who occupies the Oval Office conducts himself is painfully similar to abusers, predators, sexual harassers, and seething misanthropes that so many people, females especially, have been forced to endure, or have likely been exposed to in one way or another in their lives. It is especially jarring because for many, the President of the United States is a symbol of bravery, intelligence, care and compassion. Instead, the President triggers memories of hurt, shame, fear, divisiveness, paranoia and distrust.”
Dr. Lachmann is speaking about the President of the United States, but it could just as easily be about the President-elect in Brazil, Italy, Poland, Hungary, the Philippines or several other countries.
Aside from the president’s behavior, she’s also speaking about related decisions to step back from the Paris Climate Accord along with the pressing global challenges requiring our attention like gun control, job training and income inequality.
“When you’ve experienced trauma – physical, sexual, emotional or beyond – or when you’ve had your self-experience negatively impacted by someone who overpowered, bullied or shamed you, it’s very hard to live through and live down.
“It takes a lot of effort and dedication to take your life and self-esteem back from someone who subjected you to their malice. It’s like trying to put back together the pieces of your shattered sense of self, or trying to develop a sense of self in the first place.
“And now here you are, going along in your life, keeping the emotional and physiological experiences that come with trauma at bay, until you-know-who began to infiltrate every pore in your body and neural pathways in your brain, and you’re supposed to appease him.
“His style, his irrational inconsistency, and his inability to show compassion or empathy are painfully familiar.
“He reminds you of the painful past you have worked so hard to escape, and whenever you’re triggered, it’s like enduring the abuse all over again, and in a traumatized state, you feel isolated—only you know just how imprisoned, scared, alone and shaken you feel.
“The good news is that this time you’re not alone. What feels so eerily familiar in your mind and body is not an individual trauma, but a collective one.”