What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a part of all human experience. It is the intelligent response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event, that can be real or perceived, and is overwhelming for an individual to cope with. It causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences. We can each have different responses to a single event. Something that may be traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another. Overwhelming traumatic stress creates imbalanced in the dimensions of the self and can result in a range of unhealthy and unwanted manifestations, both in ourselves and in the world that we are a part of.
Types Of Trauma
An individual trauma is something that happens to a person. It can be a single event such as an attack, injury, an accident or multiple ongoing events such as abuse or life-threatening situations.
These are traumatic experiences that affect and involve entire groups of people, communities, or societies. The societies in which we live today, are constantly affected by various traumatising events such as violence, pandemics and others that impact our emotions, minds and bodies on a daily basis.
Trans-generational or intergenerational trauma can be transferred from one generation to the next. Survivors of any initial trauma, whether it is individual or collective trauma, are able to transfer their trauma to their children and further generations epigenetically or behaviourally.
The Impact Of Trauma
Traumatic responses are intelligent functions that help us cope with overwhelming stress. Our ego is designed for survival. When someone goes through something that is too stressful to handle and it poses a threat to our survival by overloading the nervous system, the ego figures out the quickest way to survive any threat in its environment and implements a solution. One common way of dealing with overwhelming trauma is to remove it from our current experience. It is ‘kept in storage’ for retrieval at a later time. We often build defence mechanisms around these stored experiences in order to prevent ourselves from re-experiencing them and they remain hidden in the ‘shadow self’.
Healing From Trauma
Healing from trauma means integrating our hidden experiences and becoming whole, which allows us to become more aware of our defence mechanisms in order to choose the responses we want instead of reacting to triggers in our environments. By healing our traumatic wounds, we can become more conscious individuals who are able to reflect and make decisions that are in line with our innate beliefs instead of being manipulated by things outside ourselves.
Technology + Trauma
If left untreated, trauma can cause negative effects within ourselves and this can affect our relations with others in society and the systems that govern us. The effects of trauma can be seen in individuals and in the collective, body, mind, spirit, soul and heart of a community or society. These effects can also be exacerbated when combined with tools and technologies in our environments. The only way to deal with this is to become more conscious human beings, and this is probably the most important work you will have to do as we traverse the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The positive outcomes of the technological revolution depends on our conscious intentions.