Traumas as Social Interactions

We react to critical mishaps, life altering setbacks, disasters, abuse, and demise by going by the phases of grieving. Traumas are the complicated outcomes of psychodynamic and biochemical processes. However, the particulars of traumas rely closely on the interplay between the sufferer and his social milieu.

It will appear that whereas the sufferer progresses from denial to helplessness, rage, melancholy and thence to acceptance of the traumatizing occasions – society demonstrates a diametrically opposed development. This incompatibility, this mismatch of psychological phases is what results in the formation and crystallization of trauma.


Sufferer part I – DENIAL

The magnitude of such unlucky occasions is usually so overwhelming, their nature so alien, and their message so menacing – that denial units in as a defence mechanism geared toward self preservation. The sufferer denies that the occasion occurred, that she or he is being abused, cherished one-handed away.


The sufferer’s nearest (“Society”) – his colleagues, his staff, his shoppers, even his partner, kids, and associates – hardly ever expertise the occasions with the identical shattering depth. They’re more likely to settle for the dangerous information and transfer on. Even at their most thoughtful and empathic, they’re more likely to lose endurance with the sufferer’s mind-set. They have an inclination to disregard the sufferer or chastise him, to mock, or to deride his emotions or behaviour, to collude to repress the painful recollections or to trivialize them.

Abstract Part I

The mismatch between the sufferer’s reactive patterns and emotional wants and society’s matter-of-fact perspective hinders progress and therapeutic. The sufferer requires society’s assist in avoiding a head-on confrontation with an actuality he can not digest. As an alternative, society serves as a continuing and mentally destabilizing reminder of the basis of the sufferer’s insufferable agony (the Job syndrome).


Sufferer part II – HELPLESSNESS

Denial regularly offers a method to a way of all-pervasive and humiliating helplessness, typically accompanied by debilitating fatigue and psychological disintegration. These are among the many traditional signs of PTSD (Put up Traumatic Stress Dysfunction). These are the bitter outcomes of the internalization and integration of the tough realization that there’s nothing one can do to change the outcomes of a pure, or man-made, disaster. The horror in confronting one’s finiteness, meaninglessness, negligibility, and powerlessness – is overpowering.


The extra the members of society come to grips with the magnitude of the loss, or evil, or menace represented by the grief inducing occasions – the sadder they change into. Melancholy is usually little greater than suppressed or self-directed anger. The anger, in this case, is belatedly induced by a recognized or diffuse supply of menace, or of evil, or loss. It’s an increased stage variant of the “combat or flight” response, tampered by the rational understanding that the “supply” is usually too summary to sort out instantly.

Each the sufferer and society react with RAGE to their predicaments. In an effort to narcissistically reassert himself, the sufferer develops a grandiose sense of anger directed at paranoidally chosen, unreal, diffuse, and summary targets (=frustration sources). By expressing aggression, the sufferer re-acquires mastery of the world and of himself.

Members of society use rage to re-direct the basis reason for their melancholy (which is, as we mentioned, self directed anger) and to channel it safely. To make sure that this expressed aggression alleviates their melancholy – actual targets should are chosen and actual punishments meted out. On this respect, “social rage” differs from the sufferer’s. The previous is meant to sublimate aggression and channel it in a socially acceptable method – the latter to reassert narcissistic self-love as an antidote to an all-devouring sense of helplessness.

In different phrases, society, by itself being in a state of rage, positively enforces the narcissistic rage reactions of the grieving sufferer. This, in the long term, is counter-productive, inhibits private progress, and prevents therapeutic. It additionally erodes the fact check of the sufferer and encourages self-delusions, paranoidal ideation, and concepts of reference.


Sufferer Part IV – DEPRESSION

As the implications of narcissistic rage – each social and private – develop extra unacceptable, melancholy units in. The sufferer internalizes his aggressive impulses. Self directed rage is safer however is the reason for nice disappointment and even suicidal ideation. The sufferer’s melancholy is a manner of conforming to social norms. Additionally, it is instrumental in ridding the sufferer of the unhealthy residues of narcissistic regression. It’s when the sufferer acknowledges the malignancy of his rage (and its anti-social nature) that he adopts a depressive stance.


Individuals across the sufferer (“society”) additionally emerge from their part of rage remodelled. As they notice the futility of their rage, they really feel increasingly more helpless and devoid of choices. They grasp their limitations and the irrelevance of their good intentions. They settle for the inevitability of loss and evil and Kafkaesquely conform to dwell below an ominous cloud of arbitrary judgement, meted out by impersonal powers.

Abstract Part IV

Once more, the members of society are unable to assist the sufferer to emerge from a self-destructive part. His melancholy is enhanced by their obvious helplessness. Their introversion and inefficacy induce within the sufferer a sense of nightmarish isolation and alienation. Therapeutic and progress are as soon as once more retarded and even inhibited.



Melancholy – if pathologically protracted and together with different psychological well-being issues – generally results in suicide. However extra typically, it permits the sufferer to course of mentally hurtful and probably dangerous materials and paves the way in which to accept. Melancholy is a laboratory of the psyche. Withdrawal from social pressures allows the direct transformation of anger into different feelings, a few of them in any other case is socially unacceptable. The trustworthy encounter between the sufferer and his personal (attainable) demise typically turns into a cathartic and self-empowering inside dynamic. The sufferer emerges prepared to manoeuvre on.

Society Part V – DENIAL

Society, alternatively, having exhausted its reactive arsenal – resorts to denial. As recollections fade and because the sufferer recovers and abandons his obsessive-compulsive dwelling on his ache – society feels morally justified to overlook and forgive. This temper of historic revisionism, of ethical leniency, of effusive forgiveness, of re-interpretation, and of a refusal to recollect intimately – results in repression and denial of the painful occasions by society.

Abstract Part V

This last mismatch between the sufferer’s emotional wants and society’s reactions is much less damaging to the sufferer. He’s now extra resilient, stronger, extra versatile, and extra keen to forgive and overlook. Society’s denial is known as a denial of the sufferer. However, having ridden himself of extra primitive narcissistic defences – the sufferer can do without society’s acceptance, approval, or look. Having endured the purgatory of grieving, he has now re-acquired his self, unbiased of society’s acknowledgement.

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