THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPLETING TRAUMA AND SURVIVING TRAUMA
The philosopher Frederick Nietzsche said, "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger." I personally do not agree with this statement. It depends how a person reacts to the trauma after surviving it. Trauma does not necessarily make a person stronger. It can cause a person to be less sensitive to future trauma, which unfortunately means they have successfully suppressed and bypassed their past trauma and as a result often become ill as stress and trauma cycles are completed by the body. What some people perceive as "being strong" is actually someone's ability to dissociate, avoiding and resisting dealing with their trauma. Humans seem to lack the animal ability to complete a trauma cycle after surviving it, whether it was emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
If an antelope narrowly escapes an attack by a lion, it is probably traumatized. As soon as the antelope is safe, it goes through a process of shaking off the trauma. The shaking may resemble the physical action and movement that helped the antelope to survive the threat and pending trauma (e.g. running) as if the animal is completing the act of survival. After a few minutes, it has released the trauma and it runs away, healthy and free from trauma. It starts grazing again, as if nothing had happened. This process is called completing trauma.
According to Dr. Robert C. Scaer, this process of completing trauma is a way of "discharging retained autonomic (nervous system) energy." According to Scaer's research, humans lack the ability to discharge this autonomic nervous energy. The human physically survives the trauma, however never completes the trauma. The traumatic experience may be imprinted and stored in the brain. There is suppressed adrenaline in the body and the muscles are still tensed as if though the body still wants to protect itself from a possible threat. This behavior surfaces as tension and rigidity. This is why past trauma can create so many long-term symptoms in humans.
When a human survives trauma, there is no release of this nervous energy and the person keeps carrying that trauma for the rest of their life. According to epigenetic research, this trauma can be passed on to future generations. Trauma is a significant cause of disease, which humans have trouble healing. Any successful healing tool must enable a client to complete their trauma.
Unfortunately, in many modalities, the client is guided to relive the trauma. Metaphysical Anatomy allows a person to not only complete trauma but to resolve specific traumas without talking about it or reliving it in any way.
In a moment of trauma, you will find a way to be and feel safe. This may include reaching out to someone for safety or taking comfort in the numbness or freeze instinct. Every time you experience a similar trauma, you may revert back to the state of mind and gut instinct that kept you safe initially. This can have a long-term effect of allowing you to disassociate from many areas in your life. Becoming numb or feeling paralyzed once served you in a positive way however, the positive survival tactic has negative consequences. The numbness will influence every aspect of your life.
Finding your survival instinct within the moment of trauma may cause you to associate your trauma with survival. You may find yourself afraid of letting go of the trauma because it may mean letting go of the survival instinct you've adopted. You must learn how to cope outside of the trauma.
You will also see this in the animal kingdom. The springbok (small antelope) in South Africa is a wonderful example. When a lion chases the springbok it sometimes makes a miraculous escape and gets away unharmed. The buck will go to a safe spot and start shaking and trembling for a few seconds. After that, he will just physically shake off the incident, complete the trauma and shock and continue grazing as if nothing had happened. The springbok has completed the trauma cycle in his body and can continue his usual routine. The buck still knows that a lion is dangerous. However, the buck is not stuck in a state of trauma anymore. Humans have a different way of completing trauma. The problem starts when a person holds on to the trauma. They think that it might protect them in the future against similar incidents.
People use their trauma to establish boundaries with others. By letting go of a trauma, you fear it might cause feelings of vulnerability and weakness. In addition, you might fear letting it go, as you are so familiar with the abusive or challenging circumstances.
Any change in the circumstances, may cause you to feel unsafe and stressed. Familiarity often overpowers common logic, as you do not know how to survive in a new set of circumstances. This is where we underestimate how intelligent our body and coping skills are. Once old patterns and coping skills are released, new ones are created automatically. Whether these new coping skills are good or bad depends on how well the old trauma and patterns were resolved.
In many cases, the original trauma that has affected a person may have occurred before their birth. It may relate to their time in the womb, or at conception. People may even be expressing unresolved biological trauma from their grandparents and ancestors. The critical question is, "Do people need to know the origin of the trauma?" The short answer is "no." It is important however to acknowledge and understand that there is a trauma that created and triggered the original instincts.