fashioning belonging out of trauma?
This post continues an experiment in resourcing collective wisdom via social-media discussions. This and another few related conversations were had on my facebook wall in November of 2017. As a longing for the archiving of community wisdom and resilience, I'm making these conversations available again in this format and hope that it may serve as a resource for related research, conversations, and resilience.
Original Posting: The heart of my original question from the other day...which is that most people don't belong to any deeply rooted or deeply practiced 'tribe' and what i'm concerned about is what happens when trauma/wounding itself becomes the identity around which 'tribe' is fashioned.
In such an architecture, it's possible that healing the trauma simultaneously would mean ceasing to identity with or be identified by the 'tribe' and so the trauma is potentially held on to as an impoverished means of maintaining a sense of belonging.
Koll Kowski It's called "secondary gain"
Daniel Foor Just one angle...by including in our ancestral narrative also the (often) much older ancestors, the ones already deeply well in spirit and who lived on Earth in ways we might describe as indigenous/animist...those ancestors provide one nourishing identity factor or source of belonging that can still hold the more recent ancestors who (among other experiences) often lived through a higher degree of oppression/oppressing/dislocation/etc. In doing this the often more recent ones who were previously troubled can be ritually assisted to become more well/seated in the present, so they're still absolutely involved in one's sense of self (inc. the ancestors who have acted in culturally harmful ways), but it's with the recognition that they change. Again just one way to not abandon or try to opt out of our bond with the troubled dead (I think one relevant emphasis of the folks who seem at times to over-emphasize the wounding...Don't Forget These Things!) but also not let their suffering define us. Call in the elders, the more ancient ancestors and let them hold all of it. In that way it's actually a go deeper into the story remedy, dig even deeper. p.s. Love your questions/threads Christos and clear voice, keep up the great work!
Pat McCabe Yes. As I willfully and willingly leave the tapestry of human trauma one of the most daunting aspects is definitely the sense of being alone. Our social currency is so built on our trauma, there are few thought forms and dialogues that are there for someone stepping out of that paradigm. It is here that I draw upon my own culture, which proposes that we come from Original Beauty, and not original sin.
Beauty above us
Beauty below us
Beauty before us
Beauty behind us
There is Beauty all around us...
Desiree Lowit Working as a therapist with my focus on treating both PTSD and C-PTSD using EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in support of helping folks to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, if not recover fully, I think there is great potential for individuals to change how trauma lands in the body, the nervous system and spirit overall. The whole issue with trauma is that the nervous system gets caught in the trauma and then one is always prepared to ward off more trauma. Yet this often leads folks to living into a life of hyper-vigilance versus living into the full bandwith of their existence. I think that identifying as a tribe (with other folks with PTSD), is a lovely stage as part of the journey to ones healing. With that, it’s a stage. So, one feels validated and held and not alone, this is very important. This here primes one for moving into the Next stage of their healing journey. As part of the journey, one can eventually get to the place of being able to handle ordinary and not so ordinary life stressors that might trigger their symptoms. Yet through both my experience using EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP), I see transformation and integration happening quite often. It takes time of course, no quick fixes here, yet there is so much potential to move forward and onward from the first (and very necessary) stages of recovery, which helps one to feel validated and like they are not alone. Then, if one should get to a place of moving to the next stage (should they have the privilege to access therapeutic supports like emdr, sp and other trauma therapies) then there would be less of a trend of being so identified with the trauma. Trauma should not define you. It can change your perception and one can learn from it and grow from it, yet if we over-identify with it, we remain in the limiting grips of trauma and it’s subsequent erroneous beliefs.
BangHan Kim Wonderful inquiry and insight. Learning so much from the commentaries. I’m contemplating the relationships between personal identity, sense of belonging, personal and collective traumas, and our changing world.
“Impoverished” feels like a good word for the state in which we find ourselves so far removed from ritual, rites of passage, community accountability, elder council, oral mythological wisdoms passed down, etc etc...
In which case i can clearly see how traumas suffered offers us an opportunity to be-long and be literally “held” frozen in a place and time of huge significance and identity shift in our lives. Without tribal witness, holding, and movement forward, what is the meaning of our lives and growth?
What is the point of growing? Does trauma identity allow us a landmark place that feels like a safe field where we can meet also our ancestral wounds// meet the gap where ancestral support is missing and we don’t know how to call it in?
Karl Frost ... and sets up a competition for status as traumatized/oppressed, which creates a social pressure to exaggerate outward performance of such. Not just loss of identity/community without trauma/oppression, but loss of status within community without more exaggerated performance.
Dare Sohei Well, a person who has nothing effective centering them other than a trauma identification, or a privilege identification, wouldn't willfully heal or release those things until they had a suitable replacement. Why would they?
So by cultivating a healthier belonging, the less healthy identities can be released.
Laura Chatain Carolyn Myss believes this to be true, but more as holding on to trauma as an individual identity than as a member of a tribe. It makes perfect sense, though. There are big disincentives to healing, one simple one being "What are you going to talk about when you're no longer talking a bout your wounding?" And "How do you get sympathy and attention when no longer ..... etc." From Myss.