Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trauma--Shattered Mind, Soul Possessed!

Trauma shatters mind. You turn against yourself. The world feels hostile, frightening. "The Core of 'Mind and Cosmos' ", a recent New York Times article by Thomas Nagel (2013.08.18) makes the case for mind, what depth psychologists call soul, as intimate to nature. William James wrote of God as intimate soul. Intimate soul, intimate God, intimate Nature symbolize the reality of that which is immense and yet nearest and dearest. Nagel states that mind transcends empirical science, cannot be bound by objective facts. Soul is a subjective reality intimately affected by all aspects of life including trauma.

Trauma victims have told me, "I've lost it", "My mind's blown", "My soul is gone".  They go on to say, "I'm in shock", "My life is over", "I can't go on". Trauma reaches into intimate realms of soul. It shatters reality. Demon Dis of ancient myth flies in through psychic cracks generated by trauma. Dis sets disturbance into mind. Not dealt with, emotional pain can become demonic, the personality taken over by something described as "bigger than life." The soul becomes possessed.

People become their depression. They become their pain. They become their trauma. People become traumatic to be around. They are souls possessed.

Possession by a psychological complex, felt as an intense mood state that grabs hold and won't let go, can be personified and projected. An acquaintance shared, "I had a ghost or a spirit follow me when I was with my ex-husband. He was harmless but a prankster. He liked to turn the television on and off. Turn the lights in the house on and off. Play with the animals. Actually, I think he was with my ex-husband, because when my husband left so did the ghost."

A traumatic relationship that leads to divorce may have been the place of a haunting. A soul possessed, one troubled by demon Dis, can project that foul energy, sensitive souls picking up on it and personifying it as a ghost...a seeing into relational and intrapsychic realities in a spiritual manner. Whatever the cause, trauma can shatter minds and relationships, leaving behind energies that need to be dealt with, eventually expelled or exorcised via human caring and understanding that leads to growthful change. Souls possessed can come from traumas to unearth what needs attention, face the ghosts or face the haunting!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trauma, Demon Dis, and the Soul!

Hot off the press, Trauma and the Soul, by my friend and colleague, Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., delves into trauma, the soul, and the demon Dis. I think I'm going to contemplate this area for a while on this blog. In particular, today, I am drawn to the body as container of repressed pain and trauma. Kalsched explores the myth of the god Dis, the penultimate demon of negation, the one who divides body from soul during trauma.

People who have been scathed by emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual trauma encounter Dis, sometimes in the form of bodily symptoms that mainstream medicine can't diagnosis or effectively treat. I've found that at times, there are reasons in a person's background, perhaps dating to childhood, for chronic body pain and various ailments. The dark archetypal energy of Dis separates us from psychic pain so that we  can survive. Dis distances us from what is unbearable, too much to admit to consciousness.

Dis can also refuse us access to the emotions of anger and fear so necessary in the working through of trauma. Dis is the inner persecutor who blames us for our sufferings. So often I've heard patients say, "But, it was my fault. If only I hadn't been that way then it wouldn't have happened." This attitude of self blame represses true emotion of outrage to an inner hell place that then threatens us with ongoing misery since it is never worked through.

Dante, in the Inferno, describes Dis as the vilest monster at the center of Hell. Psychologically, he is one who generates dissociation, disintegration.  He shoots us full of the chronic sense that everything, including our very sense of self , is coming apart at the seams. Dis disintegrates, dissociates, disempowers, disconnects, propagates disharmony and disease.

However, Dis can also inspire a displacing of Dis. Plainly put, it's miserable to keep trauma locked up and hidden. Doing so makes life a living hell. Consciousness, motivated by a healthy desire for mental and physical relief, and a willing moving into true feeling that has been denied or repressed, potentiates healing. The ongoing narrative that emerges in the living of misery and chronic body pain, the psychic story of Dis within the context of experienced trauma and the soul, echoes the adage that when the mind is in pain the body cries out.