– Don’t cry! Calm down! You are naughty! – I hear parental cautions spreading through the park. Probably the same ones that will echo in the therapist’s office in a few years. Suddenly the parent falls silent and stops reacting to the child’s hysteria, then moves away from him and takes his hand away. The bubble blew his mouth for a while longer, then resignedly folded his arms.
The kid intuitively understands a simple message: if you want to get my love, you must meet certain conditions.
With my eyes I can see with my imagination how changes are taking place in the life of the bubble. He stops shouting, smiles more, obediently hugs his aunts and uncles as his parents instruct, even if he doesn’t feel like it. The need for acceptance is so deeply ingrained in him that when he has a choice between hiding his feelings and being loved, he always chooses the latter. Therefore, when he gets older, he transforms into a ferocious ambitious man who lives and breathes the desire to succeed. Not because it has a great mission to accomplish, but to get noticed. Over the years, the authentic version of him has become entangled somewhere between who he really is and what is expected of him. As an adult, he plays sports, eats healthy and drinks a lot of water, but cancer is eating him up from the inside. In the end, he dies.
It kills him to be nice.
The bubble story may seem to have been pulled out of a finger, but a growing body of research shows that suppressing emotions is a prerequisite for many health problems. How is it possible that in a sugar-free, spandex-wearing, narcissistic fit-society, more and more people are dying of autoimmune diseases, a small part of which is genetic?
It seems that our obsessive approach to health has some blind spot.
It is a trauma.
It’s accepted that violent and catastrophic events affect a small percentage of the population, so it’s hard to expect trauma to stir up emotions like the Tik Tok videos or Shakira’s diss on Piqué. However, according to renowned physician and addiction expert Dr. According to Gabor Maté, trauma is an almost universal experience, and even seemingly insignificant situations, such as a lack of bonding with a sibling or malicious comments heard in school hallways, can leave long-lasting marks in our psyche.
Today, trauma thrives like mold, bred in a toxic and materialistic culture. While we almost unanimously ignore, overlook and deny that our physical condition has anything to do with health, every time we try to blur the painful past, we distance ourselves from ourselves.
Because trauma is a bit like Nickleback: it sucks and no one wants to listen to it. But trauma is also a defense mechanism that enables us to survive when we are overwhelmed by pain. The problem arises when coping strategies infiltrate other logs of our lives and form the personality concept on which many(myself included) build their identity. An unconscious sense of hyper-responsibility and over-ambition disguise themselves as their healthy counterparts, empathy and hardworking, and don’t want to admit that they are just automatic survival modes. And so conditioned reactions get hammered into our psyche and guide our lives, usually in the form of addictions and/or diseases.
No one can change the past, but even if we can’t fix and solve everything in our lives, we can accept it. Trauma doesn’t have to define us because it’s not what happened to us, it’s what happens in us as a result of past events. In its original meaning it is translated as a wound. And wounds, though not all, can be healed.