Sunday, 26 March 2017

Trauma is meaningless in real life

The first person I knew who had suffered a traumatic event of which I was aware was a cousin. She was about one year older than me, but she has been dead for quite a few years now. It wasn't the fact that she decided to take her own life which angers my mother, myself and a few others. It was the attitude of those around her and that of the (justice) system which disgusted and angered us to no end.

This cousin, first as a young girl, was repeatedly sexually abused by her uncle and grandfather. Not just her alone, but also many other girls became their victims. Her mother, as well as other family members were basically aware of what was going on, or had strong suspicions. When it all came to light, the family as a whole covered for this uncle and grandfather.

Fast-forward a few years, and my cousin was still trying to cope with all of these horrible experiences, even as her own family treated her as an outcast and her mother refused to support her in the matter. Although it went through the Dutch justice system as a criminal case, the prosecution ended up making a few technical errors which resulted in the case getting thrown out. This left my cousin and all of the other girls who had become a victim without legal recourse.

I do not know what happened to any of the other girls, due to privacy regulations pertaining criminal cases, yet it makes one wonder how many more of them found themselves without proper support in dealing with this horrible violation which they suffered as a child. How many of them decided that, just like my cousin, life was not worth living any more. Not with such memories and such a complete lack of trust in society and fellow human beings.

My own mother was physically abused as a child, by her older brother. Her parents and older sister never interfered. Ultimately she was taken out of her home by the child protection service and raised by family. To this day she deals with the traumatic impact this left on her. To learn to trust and forgive. To not expect the worst from one's fellow human beings. She has had to learn about just how deeply hidden this traumatic impact can be.

Over the past years I have encountered many people who suffered such traumatic events. From rape, to being locked up and used as a sex slave, to physical and psychological abuse. To the horrible violations of one's bodily integrity suffered by intersex individuals. Each of them are events which essentially destroy something inside one's psyche which simply cannot be replaced or restored. Call it simple naivety or innocence. Call it trust or faith in others.

I may have suffered some kind of abuse as a child as well, though at this point I only have the observations of others and my own curious changes in behaviour as a child to go on there. I definitely did suffer rape, physical and psychological abuse at a later age, however. I still do not trust any other person to put their hands on me without my explicit permission, and I expect others by default to be unreliable and only capable of betrayal. It's impossible to think otherwise.

What I have sadly noticed by others and myself is that regardless of the traumas we have suffered, society couldn't care less. In general we are still expected to carry on as if nothing has happened. My cousin never got acceptance or help, but was expected to go on with her life, even as the court case dragged on and was ultimately thrown out. My mother tried to ignore what had happened to herself and put on a brave, friendly face to the outside world, until it all came back to her when my father betrayed her with another woman and divorced her.

Every time the same story for everyone I meet with such a story. It's one reason why I do not like talking with intersex and transgender people, because there's too much trauma and pain in their lives. Worst is when they cannot see it themselves yet, yet suffer the consequences all the same.

Currently, this insistence by one's environment to conveniently ignore and misunderstand trauma and its impact is a major topic for me again. Not just by being forced to keep asking uncooperative and ignorant doctors for help with my intersex condition - because the only alternative is suicide - but also by ignoring my inability to do anything but to strive for emotional stability.

Even as I try to make it clear that no, I cannot do things like 'searching for a new place to live', for the very simple reason that it makes me feel suicidally depressed and makes me want to hurt and ultimately murder myself. Yet even when I bluntly say this, others will just smile and inform me that I'll 'just have to keep trying'. I guess I can try walking again on a broken leg if others insist it can carry the weight. It's so frustrating and depressing.

To a traumatised person there's nothing worse than for people to ignore their pain and worse. If 'doing the very thing that carries a high risk of suicide' is regarded as acceptable, then it's society that's simply Hell itself for people like us. It's why I still do not blame my cousin for taking her own life. She is free of the pain and of this Hell called 'humanity' which'll never provide a home to people like us. In a sense I envy her because she succeeded where I so far failed.

I am well aware of the fact that most people do not actively wish me to die. Yet it's their ignorance and wrongful expectations and assumptions which are likely to drive me to suicide in the end, just as it did for my cousin and many others. Just like it does for far too many every single day.

Maybe it's just a kind of Darwinism. Us traumatised individuals are the weak links in society after all. Maybe that's why the rest are so unforgiving. Just like the weak individuals in a herd, it's better to cast off these weak, sacrificing them to the predators to make the herd stronger.

To be human is supposed to be about love and empathy, but that's more of a dream. Humans are despite everything still mostly beasts at heart, after all. It's kill or be killed. Those who get traumatised are merely the walking dead, because they failed to get properly killed in the first place.

Humans are disgusting and despicable.

Most of them.

It would be easier if one knew which ones to trust.


1 comment:

partouf said...

Humans are definitely scum. Some are quite lovely. And often the only one that's willing or able to help is you yourself.
Especially professionals are more often than not quite unhelpful for anything that's not in their outdated books, it seems.

Not the same at all; but I have reasonable amount of anxiety. When I have to do pretty much anything out of my usual routine, my mind goes insane. But because I managed to hide it and keep it to myself I was able to lift along, by nodding a lot and pretending I'm on the same wavelength, with for example my parents and friends to do things like get an apartment, get a job, make new friends. But I have no idea how I'm going to figure it out without their help.
I know I can somehow make things happen for myself, even if it's quite hard. But I know that where trauma's and depression are concerned, to do this by yourself and to "keep trying" is really out of the question.

I wonder if there isn't some kind of service offering personal assistants to help you out with practical things like looking for a new home, so you'd at least not have that on your plate to deal with, even if it's just a symptom of the underlying problems.
But I wish there would be just proper help for people like you and others that really need it.

Or indeed a friend or person you can trust that you can ask for help without being laughed at.

I wish I could be of any help, but I think the only thing I can do is listen.

I think so far you've been quite strong in all of this. There's no shame in feeling overwhelmed, and you have every reason to feel like that. And I cannot claim to know you, but it seems like you've so far found reasons to anchor yourself to life - and it's important, despite our shitty society, to remind yourself of those reasons and try to focus
on those things, if only for a bit until "reality" comes back to hit us in the face.