A trauma is an incident. The significance is in your emotional response, not in what happened. The same incident is no big deal for others, but it is, or was a big deal for you.
Here is an example from my life:
I went on my biweekly grocery shopping trip with the old folks van yesterday.
They asked what’s new, and I shared that I asked the Community Center to give me a chance to do a short lecture on water. The answer to that was a groan. Audible, and coming from a deep reluctance and distaste.
It wasn’t the right time to deal with it then and there, so I stored it away for analysis later.
And this is “later”… let’s do it now.
First off: the groan awakened a whole series of memories, unpleasant memories of earlier similar incidents.
Earlier similar is a technical term.
Let me explain:
When you are upset, you are never upset from or by what is happening right now.
The similarity is the emotional content, not necessarily the situation.
For me, the emotional content of this incident is “you can’t win” and despair.
When I try to find incidents where it is a “you can’t win” and despair, I find hundreds. I probably exaggerate. It feels like it’s in the hundreds. It touches a nerve.
The incident when my “friend” invited me to give a lecture and just when I was scheduled to start, decided that he was going to speak instead. With friends like that who needs enemies… I haven’t spoken to him since then… I think it is time to disappear this trauma.
But the most incidents happened with my parents. Most significantly when they noticed everything that is wrong with me and nothing that is right with me. 2
In spite of being a straight A student, they steadfastly held their opinion that I was stupid. In spite of my success in gymnastics and athletics, they insisted that I had no reflexes and advised against getting a drivers license.
You can’t win.
- 1. Thwarted intention
- 2. Undelivered communication
- 3. Unfulfilled expectations
When I look, I find that it is number 3, unfulfilled expectations that is at the root of my upset: disappointment.
I expected my parents, my friends, to see the value I bring to life. But the way I bring value must be not to other people’s liking. I somewhat understand my “friend”… but my parents?!
But it has nothing to do with understanding, and understanding won’t set me free.
Until and unless I claim ownership to my own expectations, until and unless I can say my expectations are mine and no one has agreed to fulfill my expectations, I will always have expectations and will always have this same upset.
So what is there to do? In the “no one is a prophet on their own land” article I spoke about this: people who know you, in my case the quirky me, won’t have respect for me or for my knowledge. I am one of them, and if I suddenly emerge bigger, or wiser, or more significant than them, the fear of relative devaluation will want them to silence me, or maybe even kill me.
This is normal. The ugly duckling scenario: as long as she was just an ugly duckling, everyone felt safe and happy around her: after all they were a better looking duck than her. But when they discovered that she was a beautiful swan, they wanted to peck her to death… because of the nature of humans.
But this doesn’t explain my parents’ relationship to me. But it’s OK… my job is to have no expectations, and I’ll be OK. Then every nice gesture, every good day will be a gift.
I promised to disappear a trauma. I had one process in mind, but I am now uncertain that I can do that process on a webinar. So I’ll do this “upset” process instead…
This article will prepare you, somewhat, to how it’s going to go.
The incident can be new, or can be old. Any incident is part of a series. It won’t matter where you start. Start where you want. The goal is to disappear the whole series, and to prevent the series to re-introduce itself.
Here is the link to register, if you haven’t:
PS: here is an interesting take on the topic of upset from the web. I can’t see how it is true about me, maybe you can help?
PPS: OK, I just got a glimpse of it… not pretty, not pretty… Big sigh.