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We can experience powerful feelings of empathy for those who are victims of trauma in all its heartbreaking dimensions. It is difficult even to consider a shadow side to this already dark aspect of human experience. Nevertheless, it is important also to consider the difference between lived experiences of victimization and meaning-making narratives that not only can become calcified, but self-reinforcing. If entrenched, narratives of victimization can become part of one’s identity and suppress life energy. Lisa, Deb, and Joseph differentiate the emotions involved in suffering, mourning, and acceptance from more reified states of powerlessness. They describe how the presence of a wisely witnessing other can help with healing, empowerment, and finding the path ahead to a more liberated sense of self.
Here’s the dream we discuss
“I am being held in a prison against my will and I am sharing a cell with a male colleague from work. The cell is very cold and silent. The whole place feels very sterile. When I look out of the window, I realize we are imprisoned on the moon. My male colleague is talking to me with an intensity in his expression. He is demanding a lot of my attention and he says he wants me and needs me and that he has been having dreams about me- but I am trying to focus on getting out of the cell. He says it’s too late, and we are going to be executed in the most cosmic way- by being ejected into a black hole together.”
Eye Movement Desensitization Movement (EMDR)