Friday, February 28, 2014

Trauma: The Uninvited Guest

Trauma: The Uninvited Guest 
How to Have A Working Relationship with Trauma
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Women, who have been traumatized, whether through rape, incest, or assault, unbeknownst to many, preserve a message within the very molecules of their bodies.  The human body operates like a machine, each system functioning in a synchronized way to keep it in good working order.  As can be seen, it runs unconsciously—by memory.  Can you imagine telling your lungs to take in air and your heart to beat?  Now that sounds a bit crazy.  When there is disease, the body accommodates trying to restore itself back to homeostasis or equilibrium.  The body, once again, functions to restore, by memory, an unconscious realm that keeps us alive.  We don’t have to work at it; it just does its job.  Unconsciously, there is a good working relationship.   

When your body is traumatized by war, rape, assault, or incest, your body receives a powerful force which remains within the very structure of your nervous system. Ultimately, the trauma is an uninvited guest.  It is not part of the unconscious realm that keeps us alive working in synchronicity.  It’s not part of our messenger system that keeps us in equilibrium.  It’s an invader.  And, what happens when an invader snatches your body?  Your T-cells and your B-cells—your defender cells—go to work, fighting back, trying to get rid of the invader—the thing that is causing harm.  The body is pushing “the thing,” the invader, away trying to re-establish itself.  Trauma is the uninvited guest that has been forced upon us.  It is not part of our being-ness; it is an invader. 

But, that’s the irony.  Evidently, the traumatic event, over time, must and does become a part of our being-ness.  It’s a wound that punctures us so deep that it changes our DNA; it changes the structure and function of who we are.  A huge incision on the body turns into a visible thick scar. A piece of heart dies when an artery blocks the blood flow to the heart.  Many soldiers from war have invasive thoughts triggering post-traumatic stress. In the end, clear evidence remains when there is trauma.  There is no doubt about that.  

So, what do we do when trauma, the uninvited guest, arrives at our doorstep?  When the traumatic memories and emotions arrive, we try to get rid of it.  We seek to let go or move on, or we try to distract, avoid, and forget it, but all of these words represent pushing away; in other words, closing the door to what is visible—what is in front; what has arrived at our doorstep.  We work at kicking it (the pain and memories) like a bad habit; however, as years pass and we get older, we notice that there is this thing, this uninvited guest, still lingering in our presence trying to consume us, even though, with all our might, we have worked hard at letting it go (avoiding the knock at your front door).  Consequently, the trauma makes us uncomfortable and uneasy because we still have not integrated it into our system.  But, then you ask, why do I have to integrate this horrific act?  Why can’t I just purge it or imagine it floating away?  Our trauma, essentially, is now a part of our being—a part of who we are.  No matter what you try to do, it will remain a piece of you.  As an example, how do you let go of a piece of DNA when it is a part of you?  How do you move on from your nervous system?  Pushing things away will never create a good working relationship; it will only cause more grief and agony.

We have been conditioned to move on or let go or to distract and avoid, but it’s not about that.  What we must do is learn how to have a relationship with it; a good working relationship with the uninvited guest.  It’s about merging yourself with your trauma so that ‘you’ can have more equilibrium.  Those traumatic thoughts and emotions will continue, for the rest of your life, to resurface occasionally, so there is no more reason to fight against them.  Forcefully, yes, you had to take on this “new” relationship and that causes significant pain.  The pain that remains from the powerful blow of the traumatic event and of having to take on the uninvited guest; the one that has changed the very structure of your DNA.  Nonetheless, it is a part of you now; it is a part of your being-ness.  The only way it’s going to work, you and this trauma that you have been forcefully married to, is to work with it.  

Author: Desiree Leigh Thompson


Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh


Wake Up to Live is about awareness in every aspect.  Waking up to live life is about questioning the social norms and the things that feel uncomfortable to talk about.  Wake Up to Live is about becoming awake to our biases, prejudices, and injustices. Waking up to live life is about waking up from unconsciousness to see what is really true.  Although waking up to live life with awareness and clarity may be difficult to do because now we must begin to make the hard choices, we must strive to Wake Up to Live and be responsible for our actions and the actions of others.  We are in this life together!  

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