Full disclosure: I descend from Italians so: I AM SORRY GRANDPA!!!!!!!!
I know, comparing Emotional Trauma to lasagna is a sin! Just because emotional trauma is not fun and ruins our lives. Well… isn’t it the same with a really bad lasagna?
Far from the luscious layers of goodies a great Garfield-style lasagna must pack to be worth remembering, a bad lasagna that is not generous in rich flavors, juicy, cheesy and memorable should never be given the sacred name of “Lasagna” We all know this. Everyone can tell a great lasagna from a sad, pathetic attempt to reach eternal glory. Some lasagnas are just bad, they disappoint the living soul out of you, and the worst type I can think of is one with too many layers of chewy-dry pasta separated by almost non-existent bland filling.
Problem is, the same happens with our emotional pain. When, while growing up, we are hurt, our pain becomes a scar, a mark in our growth history that doesn’t look as cute as the “height marks” on the wall that kept record of our height at different ages, emotional pain looks more like scars that accumulate in our memory and make us what we are today. Since those experiences are so painful, experts call them Trauma.
It could be a good idea to look at those layers of emotional trauma we have under our belt, if you are like me, you probably remember them very well and you may see the humor (my coping mechanism) when I compare the successive bad experiences we have had in life, to a bad lasagna.
I admire people who take time to exercise and cultivate their bodies to try to stay as healthy as possible. I am a little too lazy for that but I do acknowledge it is excellent to try to maintain our bodies as healthy and fit as possible because those efforts reflect in better physical and mental health.
However, It seems to me we do not invest as much energy in recuperating from trauma. I know you probably meditate and that is awesome! Kudos to you, honestly!!! But there is one type of exercise that not many people are aware of and is desperately needed to stop the suffering of humanity: uncovering the layers of our past trauma.
That suffering is embedded in our everyday interactions with everybody else. Huge-scale, present-everywhere kind of pain. It is a very complicated type of soreness that never seems to go away and is surrounded by mystery. And you know what happens when something is not fully understood: we ignore it or we are terrified by it.
Trauma never leaves our side by ignoring it though, it is more present than our own shadow because, unlike our shadow, it becomes more obvious in the dark of the night causing the sleeplessness that we try to offset with sleeping pills. We can’t ignore it anymore.
This pain is layered. Imagine the lasagna example again or the centuries-old accumulated sediments of your favorite rock formation. For the very lucky ones, Life is like a good-looking lasagna: some few layers of pasta with lots of tasty filling and topped with great cheese. They may have painful experiences but those are few and far between which allows them to breathe and process the bad moments in a more positive way. Great parents are usually instrumental at adding great content between the layers. Think of this if you have kids and give them two hugs instead of one when their pet moves to the farm, you will be giving them a very strong foundation for their emotional future.
Unfortunately, for other people, the picture of their life is just a sad compilation of bad experiences with very little stops to take a breather. They have had very bad experiences growing up and they continue to live lives full of heartbreaks, and there is only so many layers you can accumulate without feeling totally desperate.
I want to share my own personal first layer with you. I had a very sad mother. Growing up must have been terribly painful for my “mini-me”. Having my mother scream in my face: “I always tried to stop you from being born and I couldn’t! You shouldn’t be alive!” was certainly not a good thing for my tender little soul to hear. That was the first, super dry layer in my lasagna, the base of the person I am now, the one who had to evolve in order to heal.
When you grow up in that kind of toxic environment, you make all the wrong choices later, when you are the builder of the next chapters of your life. You keep choosing all the bad people to be with so they can help you stay in that dark zone of devaluation that it is dark but familiar: “If my mommy is treats me badly, anyone who loves me must treat me the same way”
Humans have a super power that is hiding deep under those many layers of pain we suffer as we grow up: we instinctively know who will hurt us the most and, since pain is an old well-known friend, we will keep heading towards those with the capacity to hurt us, like moths to a flame, just so we stay in our “safe” painful zone.
The good news is that, at any point in our lives we can make the educated choice and stop messing up with people who do not treat us like the great-value human beings we actually are.
My mother had many layers of pain herself. She chose to stay in that dark pool of desperation and never came out of there. I decided, after having my heart broken too many times, that I am actually, really worthy and a very good person.
And something magical happens when you choose to live as a full-of-worth, valuable person and you allow yourself to LOVE your mini-me: you become a happy person who attracts great people! It really happens like that, we vibrate in a different way and only good people find us interesting, yayyy!!!
This process, as any other walk of life, starts with a first step: seeing that first layer under a new light and understanding that all of our wrong choices stem from that place of pain.
Your comment will help!!!
If you feel like sharing your first memory of developmental trauma, below, in comments, you may be giving other readers examples that will help them see the reason why they hurt so much every time they are rejected and hurt. Every step counts. Thank you!!!
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