Do we all have trauma?
I have been studying trauma and the effects and listening to Dr. Gabor Mate for many years. If you haven’t seen his new documentary Wisdom of Trauma, I highly recommend it.
Many people associate being traumatized with experiencing childhood abuse. Nonetheless, a parent doesn’t have to purposefully harm their child to traumatize them.
Certain parenting strategies, such as letting a baby “cry it out” rather than comforting them, can have lasting consequences. The parents believe this method has worked when the baby stops crying but Dr Mate says what actually has happened when the infant falls asleep after a long period of crying is the brain shuts down from the overwhelming exhaustion and pain of being abandoned. It’s an automatic neurological mechanism, the baby gives up. In the short-term the parents feel as if this method has worked, at the cost of the child’s long-term emotional vulnerability.
Societal Traumas and Healing
Dr. Gabor Mate, who has spent much of his career helping traumatized patients, believes childhood trauma is only one aspect of the bigger picture. People can also become traumatized due to the shortfalls of society.
For example, if a single mother must work two jobs, requiring her to leave her infant with a babysitter, then the baby might be less likely to receive enough attention. A helpless baby who doesn’t receive the love they need may have traumatic effects even if they didn’t experience violence or sexual abuse.
As a society, we are failing to meet our children’s needs. Dr. Mate believes traumatized people have become disconnected from themselves. This disconnect is resulting from our capitalistic culture, which promotes mindless consumerism over deeper mental and spiritual development. Another issue is that many doctors, teachers, and other professionals who work with children aren’t properly educated on the latest research on childhood trauma.
Doing our inner child work gives us a deeper view of what our traumas are and move forward into healing them. We cannot do anything to change what has happened in our childhood, but shinning a light on it and learning the tools to heal and grow through them is critical.
I do this deep work in all of my retreats and my clients experience transformational healing.