Rewriting Trauma

I was listening to the On Being With Krista Trippett episode where Bessel van der Kolk talks about his experience treating trauma.

People who get over trauma rewrite the stories, van der Kolk says, making them foundational and positive.

Those who are stuck keep the story intact, becoming a “living memorial” to those moments.

The techniques I learned when I had to develop processing for my own trauma, which started very early, were grounded in the Aspergers strategies of the people around me.  Emotional stories were not resonant, effective or understood.   There was no reciprocity to any imagination and feeling.

What counted was facts, so instead of rewriting my stories around positive, I worked to get to facts.   Instead of letting the details get fuzzy, I went deeper into the details, searching for understanding.

My experience around trans was not dreaming a new life, but wrestling with the facts to understand a deeper context.  That was the only strategy I was primed for.

That technique, as useful and expository it is, well, it does not generate human reciprocity.

It turns out that one needs effective mirroring to have permission to restructure their narrative.   I know how to give that to other people, but getting that for myself, well, that hasn’t been easy.

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