Trauma Happens To Competent Healthy People
- Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC
- Series: Spring 2007 Volume 14, Issue 1
- Download PDF
You may remember the old TV program, “Lost in Space.” There was a robot on wheels in this program that looked like aluminum tires stacked on one another. He had rotund arms that waved up and down from the elbow. There were unlikely looking light bulbs in the head area that flashed as it spoke. He often said the words: “Danger…danger, Will Robinson, danger,” when there was calamity lurking about.
Though these funny robotic words bring a smile, individuals and families actually do have dangerous circumstances sometimes. What happens to people after the danger is important. Reactions to danger may cause problems in themselves. Often these "after effect" difficulties only show themselves later; much later.
Trauma happens to competent, healthy, strong people. No one can completely protect themselves from traumatic experiences. As therapists, we see people as adults who have not been adequately emotionally or physically protected as children (a form of trauma) who are now hyper vigilant in situations and relationships that do not require being on high status alert. As you may imagine, analyzing everyone and everything in one’s environment is hard on the individual on hyper alert and difficult for those whom this person loves.
Because the individual who has been traumatized is sensitive to what seems like danger to them in their environment (often this means in relationship) several feelings may occur in them at what seems like a small trigger in normal exchanges or in what most might deem to be small conflicts. The trauma survivor during these times has several internal reactions -- wanting to escape, feeling agitated, having physical sensations like those that occurred during the original situation(s) -- and is potentially experiencing panic.
When we as marital therapists see the trauma response in marriage counseling, often after a time, the marital partner of the traumatized person believes or says they are “crazy”or the like. This is not the case at all. Though the situation may feel “crazy,” the person who is a trauma survivor is actually working very hard internally to control their perceived situation.
Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to comfort those that mourn, and bring freedom to captives. At the Center for Family Healing, our therapists are trained for the believer and the non-believer alike to help marital pairs develop strategies and compassion for sitations like this. Situations that are traumatic to some, "hum" a persistent robotic warning to those who actually may be in the "danger, danger" category. There are answers on the other side of trauma, answers bathed in proved steps of recovery and loving compassion.
Compliments of Practical Family Living, Inc.
P.O. Box 1676, Appleton, WI 54912 (920) 720-8920
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