• Aranka de Vries

In relationship with society – how to live in a traumatised society.

You’re walking in the park, arm in arm. Whilst admiring the willow tree across the water, you talk. You say something, he responds and *poof*, you feel your heart closing in an instant. Your trigger-alert kicks in and you know: ‘breathe, take a moment, feel feet on ground. Keep heart open. Heart - open.’ You say something back - okay, maybe a little triggered still – he reacts. You go like “what!?” He’s like: “yeah, now it’s all my fault”, and gone is your lovely afternoon walk in

the park.

A trigger is an activation of a trauma response, sometimes caused by another trauma response, although the latter not necessarily. We all have involuntary responses that root in past (traumatic) experiences that makes us react in a way that is often not fully accurate to the actual happening. And – bless us – it happens most in relationship to the people we love most, as that is where there is the risk of losing love is the largest in our experience.

But actually, I’m not writing right now to inform you on the ins and out of your relationship issues. I want to discuss society. As I rode my bike through the streets of the town where I live for over a year, but still don’t know my neighbours, I realised that I have a relationship with the society I live in. Whether I like it or not, I am relating constantly to this world around me that involves people, customs, smells, past experiences, projections of the future, ect. This relationship is very much similar to a partner-relationship: it touches, mirrors, triggers, invites us to show up in life and love.

In this relationship we need the following awareness: our society is a traumatised one. The people that live in it, are tapped into a collective consciousness that have been deeply hurt in its trust and safety. We have been murdered, slaughtered, cut off from life and earth, abused, forced to abandon our deepest beliefs and truths. Well, you know, history.

But it’s not forgotten. Our bodies remember, our souls remember, and if they still live – our grandparents remember. We still suffer from the hurt from the past, and if we don’t have the awareness, we continue to create suffering in this relationship. Now, don’t make fast conclusions: these traumas are not wrong. They are no error. I do believe there is a higher intelligence underlying all of this. But it is up to us to take next steps. We don’t need to suffer anymore.

Our society runs on trauma-based responses. This means that parts of the consciousness are still frozen in terror. They have not yet come to life. They have not yet matured. There, in the crevices of those stone walls, is hidden a young child. Afraid, scared to death. The child longs desperately to be taken by warm hands and protected by a strong heart. This child does not need your suppression, nor your judgment, nor your ignorance. Our society is like this child. Scared and trying to save its own life.

I know it’s hard to deal with the triggers of society. To see through the bullshit, to stay soft in the rigidity. And that’s okay. It is hard to stay in relationship with this collective, to not close your door and crawl away in seclusion. After all, you have your wounding too.

But, if there is any willingness in you, try to do the following. Rest in your judgment. Open your eyes and see this society for what it is: a scared, small child trying to survive. Desperate for safety. Desperate for your love. If you can, reach out. You don’t need to do much, just be there. Be patient and build trust. Sometimes you can’t, and you will have to go tend to your own wounding. Go to therapy, be angry, be sad. Grieve. This is perfect. Your step towards feeling is a step to the healing of all.

You will need to be clear in your boundaries. You will need to create a safe container for yourself first. A place to rest. And from there you can reach out. And back in. And out.

Take your relationship seriously. You do care, especially if your mind tells you you don’t. Not caring is a protection. This is good, protect yourself. Come to rest and take care. You will know when the moment is there. To reach out and say: “I hear you my love. I am sorry I reacted that way. Will you forgive me? I love you, and I thank you. I promise this time I’ll stay. I will stay.”

Your relationship with society is one you cannot end, you cannot break up and leave. Even if the triggers are as contagious as a virus, you can choose to stay. You are here. And you are unmissable.

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