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Reliving Trauma

I read in a book recently how EMDR helps the brain process trauma quicker through reliving the memory and playing it out in different ways, so that eventually the memory loses its power. In the book, the woman’s son had witnessed the 9/11 attacks on television and then spent weeks playing it out with building blocks and toys. Initially he had a plane crash into the building, then later people were rushed off to hospital and so on until the situation had in a way “healed” itself and the matter could be closed in the young boys mind. The writer commented that he was in some ways doing his own version of EMDR. I thought about how for years, that is what I have been doing – reliving my trauma to make sense of it – to close it. For example, dressing up as a gothic when I was young. I think I was trying to make sense of the darkness. I wore long black coats like my abusers did, perhaps trying to reclaim the power of their costumes and the fear that it embedded in me. I had lots of sex with random people, again trying to dominate the exchange – if I choose to have sex with them first, then it is me controlling the situation rather than being powerless in the abuse. I felt drawn to becoming a dominatrix in my early 30s. Thankfully it didn’t last long, but again I can only think that I was wanting to relive the sadistic abuse, in some ways master the sadism so I was in control, again, not the powerless one. Lately my husband, who is a very good man and treats me very well, has become reminiscent of my father. A culmination of my father and brother actually. I hate it when he touches me, I feel terrible that I feel this way, but it is who he reminds me of. The feeling gets stronger and stronger and I am withdrawing. It is not helped by the fact that I am seeking refuge in the arms of a female lover, where the exchange of intimacy feels safe and alive, beautiful, natural and sexy. I am so satisfied and turned on when she touches me, and on the flip side I want to disappear inside when it is my husband. Have I relived the trauma by marrying a man 20 years older than me? I, the younger woman, desperately seeking a father figure. Gets what she desires and then withdraws, perhaps punishing him for what he represents? A way to gain control over the past trauma? My passion for boxing is also a way of me reliving the trauma. The desire to get hit, to hit back, to defend, to attack. My desire for movie making – filmed as a child, wanting to reclaim the moving image. I am in control of what is being filmed, not you, you fuckers. No wonder the industry has not given me the real passion I was looking for. It was only in the making of my own things that the true connectedness existed. Otherwise the experience often felt empty and shallow.

I relive the trauma through my negative thinking and suicidal ideation. If I keep telling myself I am disgusting and ugly and that I should die, one day, the outcome will be different… maybe. The one time I did experience EMDR with my therapist, I ended up having a breakdown for a couple of weeks and it was very difficult to get through life. I haven’t done it since, but maybe I will again soon. I seem to just keep reliving things anyway.

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