Bessel van der Kolk, a renowned psychiatrist and author of “The Body Keeps the Score,” delves into the idea that individuals can become “addicted” to their trauma and the feelings of helplessness associated with it. This concept sheds light on the profound impact trauma can have on a person’s psyche and behavior, often resulting in complex challenges when trying to overcome its effects.
Reacting to circumstances is an ADDICTION, and the addict can not find the desired end state, satisfaction, in temporary things.
“The Law Of Assumption, as the current name is for these teachings of manifesting, manifesting with awareness, and understanding that our inner reflects out as our experience, forces us to look at things very differently. These teachings are eye opening, it is the bridge between spirituality, the physical experience and psychology. In some ways LOA is The missing piece. But without understanding that the unconditional love for the whole is always everyone’s true nature, whether we are aware of it in our current state, or not, this practice can make the addiction worse. The greatest reward for the happiness of discovering the nature of love, is happiness and love itself. If the only reason you hold yourself back from realizing, and from admitting your desires, is that you will not get them, listen, this is all for you. If you are chasing circumstances as if they had power to trigger you, this is for you.“
+Dr Anna Bäck
Elaborating on the Notion of Trauma Addiction:
- Neurobiological Perspective: Traumatic experiences can shape the brain’s structure and function. When someone undergoes a traumatic event, especially during early developmental stages, it can influence neural pathways associated with stress, fear, and emotional regulation. Over time, the brain may become accustomed to these pathways, leading to a kind of “addiction” to the physiological and emotional responses triggered by trauma.
- Psychological Conditioning: Trauma can create a conditioned response where the brain associates certain stimuli or situations with the traumatic event. This association can be so ingrained that individuals may unknowingly seek out or recreate similar circumstances that mimic the original trauma. This pattern can manifest as self-destructive behaviors or getting stuck in abusive relationships.
- Helplessness and Reenactment: Van der Kolk’s concept emphasizes that the feeling of helplessness during a traumatic event can be deeply imprinted in an individual’s psyche. Paradoxically, this helplessness can become a familiar state, and individuals may inadvertently reenact situations that perpetuate this feeling. Breaking free from this cycle requires recognizing and addressing the addiction to the known—even if it’s painful—helpless state.
- Impact on Decision-making: Trauma addiction can affect decision-making processes, leading individuals to make choices that maintain their state of helplessness. These choices might hinder progress or prevent them from seeking opportunities for healing and growth. It becomes essential to understand and disrupt this pattern to move towards a healthier and empowered life.
- Therapeutic Approaches: Effective therapies often involve addressing trauma at both the cognitive and somatic levels. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and somatic experiencing are examples of therapeutic approaches that help individuals reprocess traumatic memories, alter thought patterns, and develop healthier coping strategies.
- Empowerment and Healing: Overcoming trauma addiction requires a multi-faceted approach that involves empowering individuals to regain control over their lives. This empowerment can come from therapy, support groups, education about trauma’s effects, and cultivating resilience and self-compassion. It involves redefining one’s identity beyond the trauma and embracing a new narrative focused on healing and growth.
Understanding the concept of becoming “addicted” to trauma can provide insights into the complex nature of trauma and how it influences an individual’s perception, behaviors, and path towards recovery. It underscores the importance of trauma-informed care, where professionals work with individuals to break free from the clutches of trauma and move towards a more fulfilling and empowered life.