Trauma And Recovery By Judith Herman Summary

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Childhood fears and adult traumas are stored differently in the brain than happy memories. They are buried like porous capsules deep in the primitive regions, below awareness and beyond easy reach of conscious thinking and talking. They are buried so deep that they are separated from the normal flow of life, and so time cannot work its natural healing powers. There is a vast psychological literature on the diverse ways people are held back by these hidden capsules. Often, they don’t feel fully grounded or empowered. Some people experience a longstanding but vague sense of unease about the crucial matters of life, a tangled, inchoate sense of depression in the heart that is hard to pinpoint and articulate. The symptoms differ according to the nature of the hidden memories. Some people dissociate from their experiences, detaching themselves emotionally from their surroundings. Some feel compartmentalized, as though they are actors trapped in many roles at once. Some fear making commitments because of the ways past bonds have been simultaneously …show more content…

The process is hard. As Judith Herman writes in “Trauma and Recovery,” “The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.” But people with patience and resolve can look forward to a life in the sunshine. They face their fears, integrate the good and bad memories — recognizing that many different truths lie side by side. After years, many build a sturdy sense of self and make lasting commitments that bring joy, strength and peace. The parallel is inexact, but peoples and cultures also have to deal with the power of hard memories. Painful traumas and experiences can be passed down generation to generation, whether it is exile, defeat or oppression. These memories affect both the victims’ and the victimizers’

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