The word “trauma” means injury. There are two factors that determine the effects of a traumatic experience – the injury that occurred and our ability to deal with the injury. When something really difficult occurs we often attempt “fight or flight” as a first response – we fight back or we run away. But it is when we know that we are helpless that we “freeze”. A part of us shuts down. A “split” occurs. A difficult event becomes a traumatic event. It can happen in a split second.
The part of us that splits is deeply wounded. The pain is too much. We are forever scared of making contact with this wounded part again. We try to compensate and we often cope reasonably well. But this wounded part is always there. We are not whole. We are survivors.
There can come a time in our lives when we know it is right for us to look again at the traumatic event. We cannot change what happened but with the right support we can allow ourselves heal from the trauma as we move to a new place in our lives.
Sometimes the effects of a traumatic event are seen over generations. Sometimes we carry pain that belongs to a previous generation. This pain, too, can be left where it belongs – in the past.
Sometimes trauma springs from a single catastrophic event – an accident, the sudden death of somebody close, rape, criminal violence or natural catastrophes. Sometimes it springs from persistent repeated events from which there is no escape and the victim remains powerless – torture, physical or sexual abuse, being a prisoner of war.
Constellation work can be very helpful in dealing with trauma for an individual or for a family.