If the average person was asked to think about both an adult and a child experiencing something that is deeply distressing and was then asked to decide which one would be harmed the most, they are likely to say the latter. They could say that as the child is not as developed it is bound to have a greater effect on them.
Without a doubt, this is a viewpoint that most people are likely to have. This is similar to how, if there was a storm, a fully grown tree is likely to be far better off than a sapling; the former will be far better equipped to handle what is going on.
A Closer Look
So, if an adult was to have a car accident, for instance, this could leave them in a state of shock. Due to how sudden the experience was they won’t have been able to handle what took place and, thus, for their inner experience to be processed and integrated.
However, as they are an adult, they will most likely have a fully developed brain. Furthermore, they are likely to have support around them and even if they don’t, they will be able to reach out for it.
Also, as they will have had a car accident, they are unlikely to feel too ashamed to reach out to others. They can then pay a visit to their doctor or look online for a way to handle what they are going through.
Talking to their friends and family about what is going on can also be something that feels comfortable. Ultimately, they can have access to a lot of support if they so choose and they won’t need to suffer in silence.
Now, if an infant is in a position where they were often left and deprived of the right nutrients when their parent or parents were around, they are not just to end up in a state of shock once. This is likely to be something that will continually take place.
Being overwhelmed will then be a way of life. This will mean that they will end up with a lot of inner material (arousal and pain) that is unable to be processed and integrated.
A Very Different Scenario
Ultimately, their brain and nervous system will be in an underdeveloped state and ill-equipped to handle what is going on. They won’t be able to reach out for support or to change what is going on either.
The only thing that they will be able to do is to automatically disconnect from what is going on inside them and to tolerate how they are being treated. They will then have one or more people around them, but, they will be all alone.
And, as this will just be a way of life and their personality will develop around what is taking place, there can be no reason for them to reach out for support as time goes by. When they are an adult, thanks to their brain's ability to repress pain and the damage that was done to their brain, they probably won’t be able to remember these experiences.
These early experiences are likely to fill them with a lot of shame, and this will give them the need to hide themselves. Therefore, even if they do become consciously aware that they are not in a good way as an adult, they can do what they can to keep it to themselves; out of the fear that they will be rejected and abandoned, if they reveal their needs and feelings (true–self).
An Indivisible Prison
If they do end up reaching out, though, they could simply end up being diagnosed as having some kind of ‘disorder’ and be put on medication in the process. What is truly going on for them will then be overlooked and they could believe that there is something inherently wrong with them.
In reality, how they are will be a response to early trauma, the trauma that they could do absolutely nothing about. This was a time when they not only feel hopeless and helpless, they were hopeless and helpless.
A Very Different Solution
When it comes to someone who has had a car accident, for instance, assuming that they are not carrying any unresolved trauma from another period of their life, they might naturally settle down before long. If not, a mind-based approach may work or they might need some kind of bodywork.
Yet, when it comes to someone who has experienced developmental trauma, they are not just going to settle down after a while and solely using a mind-based approach is likely to be a waste of time. But, as their sense of self will have been undermined, they will be in a disconnected state (disembodied) and carry a lot of pain and arousal, among other things, this is to be expected.
So, when it comes to resolving trauma, irrespective of what type it is, an accurate diagnosis needs to take place and from here, the appropriate steps can be taken. Without this, someone can just be sent down the garden path, so to speak, and end up suffering even more.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.