What lies beneath trauma…

Woman on the floor crying.

Written by Lina Kakaidi, psychology graduate, postgraduate student

Translated by Dimitris Nikolaidis

After the latest news in show business and beyond, I find myself thinking more and more and wondering about the consequences of a rape, an abuse (verbal, physical) on the soul, on the development, on the building of the personality and identity and generally in the later life of the individual.

I do not want to repeat and tire those who got sick of listening the same story, I will shorty mention and focus on the numerous long-term consequences that arise from a trauma especially in young age. My aim is not to critisize specific persons but to actually share my thoughts.

So, what can be a childhood trauma? Painful experiences such as death, neglection natural disasters, war, abandonment, rape, and physical or sexual abuse can be single or several events that sit on each other and create a trauma. Although it might differ in terms of importance and quality, it is defined from its big intensity and difficulty it causes to the person, in order to process and externalize it. The trauma is a polymorphic phenomenon, which affects each person in a different way, it causes similar reactions and at the same time it can be a risk factor for the rise of several types pf psychopathology (depression, personality disorders etc ). As it has repeatedly been said, the trauma makes no distinctions between gender, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation. That means, the trauma situation does not exclude anyone but it can traumatize everyone.

As a result, the traumatized children, become traumatized teenagers who become traumatized adults. Briefly, that is a successive line of revival of the traumatic event. According to Freud, trauma is a state of helplessness, where the soul lives passively.

All the pathogenic past memories that make the trauma important, remain an open chapter, while the person is recalling them in the present and he/she experiences them again and again. More specifically, on the one hand some people keep the trauma alive and they recall it in a similar situation, especially during difficult coincidences, which acts as a trigger (repetitive compulsion.) On the other hand, some people develop the negative results in the present and raise defence in order not to experience the trauma again. Arguably these reactions construct the personality and affect consciously and unconsciously all the aspects of life of every individual.

The person, thus, self-injures through the repetition of the experience, as he/she can not face the trauma and realize the pain caused by it. According to surveys, these people are more likely to develop psychological disorders, stress, anger, acting-out behaviors, psychosomatic problems and they tend to abuse drugs. We understand that the person is suffering, many times in a dumb way. At the same time those symptoms can be combined with suicidal – self-harming ideas.  So, at this point someone can reasonably wonder how easily and openly can a fact shape an entire personality, and especially how much strength does a child need to withstand such situations.

Briefly, the trauma consequences could be presented at the extend of a whole book, I would like to underline that there always are corrective experiences so that the person overcomes the trauma as for him/her to feel the emotional and psychological uplift. With the proper expert therapeutic assistance, where the terms and conditions are more favorable, the person can be redeemed from the traumatic memories.