wounds and triggers
May 16, 2011 1 Comment
I relate everything to story elements now. Each piece of advice or support to friends and family includes an example of how it works in story and character arcs. This has actually made me more interesting because they can understand how the story of their life is mirrored in books and movies.
Our youngest was recently diagnosed with PTSD and is on a new nutrition/supplement regime and also attending counseling. Yesterday, she began sharing her frustration that after three months she’s feeling no improvement. She has realized she had her older sisters on pedestals and is mentally removing them from those perches and seeing herself as an equal. This reminded me of how she was determined to find her own thing, in her teens, that was different from her sisters.
Michael Hauge describes the growth of character from identity essence. The identity protects the inner wound and the essence is when that wound is revealed to be the hidden strength. Today Jessa Slade posted about that wound as well. In both examples the wound goes really deep, all the way back to forgotten childhood incidents. The character really doesn’t remember the first event but knows what more recent events have triggered a feeling of panic and helplessness.
Post trauma triggers in real people are very individual but carry the same theme on an emotional level. So as my youngest talked about the frustration of panic attacks because of traumas six years ago, I reminded her there was a bigger one nine years ago that directly impacted her when she was only 13, and there were big changes in the family dynamics when she was ten. Events regarding our family move to Oregon were also high drama – when she seven. She was aware of something scary going on but doesn’t remember, and that’s usually where the wound hides.
The identity develops to protect that wound and what is remembered are the later events that trigger that wound and seem to be where the issue resides. In relation to the seven-year-old, she’s heard stories about the drama with her teen sister at the time of our family cross-country move. So it’s good that she’s now seeing her older sisters as equals, and they have flaws, too.
I am an advocate for professional counseling but I do think it takes a long time of wading through current issues as adults, during weekly sessions, before potentially recognizing the root cause is a forgotten memory at age seven. So now my daughter can arrive at her next session with the list of names and dates that I remember very clearly. While I can only show family events as potentials for my daughter’s wounds and triggers, it will be a solid framework to discuss how she’s created her identity with friends, and on the professional level, through the years since then.
And like a heroine in a novel, I predict my daughter will soon see the essence of her inner child, and give her a hug to heal the wound.