Perhaps the saddest thing and one of the most tragic is the warped soul energy created by deep denial and suppressed trauma. In the effort to repress something horrible, human beings create a kind of psychological and emotional vacuum in their spiritual life and a “walled-off” area in their life story. Like soldiers returning from combat and holocaust survivors, they usually dont want to think about it or talk about it. The majority of them also do not believe that others will truly understand, and they might just be right.
Just like in books and in many of my favorite movies, ie. Planet of the Apes, Apocalypse Now, Name of the Rose, etc., traumatized people and subsequent generations after them (think Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust survivors) learn to associate these unexplored, avoided and sometimes meticulously erased life experiences and personal histories with something “taboo”. Early trauma becomes akin to a radioactive wasteland or Area 51 type psychological zone….not to be trespassed. Either through social modeling/osmosis learned from others or from their own necessary coping under unimaginable circumstances, ie. sex abuse victims, combat related PTSD, etc., many trauma survivors struggle with bouts of anxiety, depression, and anger for years and surmise that their horrific experiences are something to deny, not talk about, and to generally fear.
Lacking the distinct emotional memories a clear chronology or unable to block the intrusive thoughts and anxious feelings in a safe or secure manner (to better understand and process them), the mind is left to interpret stress, trauma and forbidden feelings on its own and may even create substitute fears, irrational phobias, and symbolic “feared objects”. An out of proportion fear of the dark, bogey men under the bed, snakes on the plane, sharks in the shower and the “Beast” in Lord of the Flies comes to mind. Minor and temporary childhood fears are perfectly normal, but ongoing emotional reactivity, physiological arousal, and startle responses in adulthood are not. For a soldier returning home it may only take the sound of a backfiring car or an airplane flying overhead. One feels immediate anxiety and panic to such triggers and is usually uncomfortable to even begin to think about repressed/ forbidden/forgotten traumatic events in their past.
Embracing all aspects of ourselves and our life experience, a common and noble therapy goal is unfortunately delimited and diminished when there are multiple psychological, emotional, and social/familial roadblocks in the way. Some of those roadblocks we place there ourselves to protect oneself from unwanted emotional pain. Others, however are placed there for us, to protect someone else and their need to avoid pain or take responsibility for causing emotional pain to another. A sense of betrayal by ones superiors or primary caregivers and guilt about betraying ones own cherished beliefs, life principles and personal convictions can lead to a spiritual/moral injury, an especially deep psychic wound at the soul level.