The body remembers trauma

Further to my posts claiming that divorce and remarriage are emotional torture for little kids, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, an M.D., has a lot of interesting things to say about trauma and what it does to you over the long term, such as:

17:30 “We rarely think about love as being the antecedent of trauma, but this is something we see pervasively throughout people’s lives. If the people who you love as a little kid, and we are all programmed to love our parents, hurt you, this whole relationship to our parents who we love who hurt us becomes extremely complex and becomes very hard to move away… Love is a very important part of traumatic stress and gets very messed up in traumatic stress. So you get to love people who do terrible things to you, you get to hate people who are very nice to you…”

That would explain my attraction to a destructive cult leader, as well as my ex-husband’s attraction to him.

I have often observed and lamented how there is very little language to describe what it is like being a child of divorce. I was thinking along the lines of a lack of theoretical concepts, and I still think I’m right about that. But the doctor said something that explains my observation in a completely different way:

22:18 “Since the early 1990s, brain imaging tools have started to show us what actually happens inside the brains of traumatized people… when people remember their trauma, their whole frontal lobe goes off line.  So the whole part of their brain that has to do with thinking, figuring things out and telling your right and wrong goes off line. The speech center of the brain goes off line… it’s as if people have a stroke… people who are traumatized become dumbfounded. They are struck with speechless terror… therapists tend to people people who love yacking and love talking… telling people your internal truth is important, but it comes to the very core of your trauma, you cannot really tell [ie, explain] what happened…”

The idea that the body remembers trauma is a very Catholic idea, when you think about it.

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Author: everybodysdaughter

I'm an adult child of divorce, having been raised in multiple divorce/remarriage situations. I'm writing in order to shed light on the problems of divorce from the perspective of the child. I will also discuss problems with other non-triad family structures, since there is a lot of overlap. People often think that better parenting skills will overcome problems in non-triad arrangements. While I agree that parenting skills are important, they cannot overcome the problems I discuss such as fractured ontology and perpetual liminality. I converted to the Catholic faith in 2012, and will discuss Catholic things from time to time as well.

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