Well as you can imagine in my work, I try to learn as much as possible about grief, trauma, victim impact, etc. And . . . to know me is to know that I’m pretty intense and real about Restorative Justice.
So I’ve taken everything I’ve learned and funneled it into my own experiences and really developed my own ‘philosophies’ contributed to by lots of great learning. So here’s a quick bullet list of what I have been teaching about ‘trauma’.
- trauma is in the eye of the beholder(heard it somewhere, Umbriet I do believe) – the person experiencing it sees it, feels it, lives it, it belongs to each person individually, etc.
- You create the story – once you experience trauma, you look for where was the beginning of this, where is the middle, how do I get to the end.
- your brain slows down and takes visual “snapshots” for you.
- dealing with trauma – emotional and physical side effects- eye ticks, sleep loss, etc. etc.
The experience of the experience. You see I got burned three days ago. I had to release an employee. It’s hit me hard. Ten being a loss of a family member, death of a loved one . . . Okay . . . I just found a way to make it lower! I was going to say 7, but I put it down to 5. But still . . . a 5 when you want life to hand you zero’s and 1’s!
So I have been experience trauma and loss. My kid got woke up two days in a row to “Ky, I can’t sleep, going into work early, you’ll have to get yourself up for school”. Later that day asking me to come home. So my family has been impacted by someone Else’s choices. I am thinking of the offender at these moments. Wanting her to know my pain.
I also cried after hot coffee hit my lips. It wasn’t from the pain of the coffee, it was the residual stress of it all.
I went to log on my home laptop. It occurred to me, last time I was on my computer was before I knew this incident had happened. I was ‘bookmarking’. That’s what we do when we need to ‘story’ the event. When did it begin.
Sometimes I tell victims, the trauma is like walking across a suspension bridge, and we remember every step along the way. Unfortunately some trauma’s (like the loss of a child) you just get used to living on that bridge.
I’m holding ‘snapshots’ . I found myself traumatized to be handed the “Victim” packet after making a police report. That is a snapshot in my brain. I know this isn’t huge trauma – – but it’s the same victim experience:
- I don’t deserve this.
- How did this happen in the first place, am I responsible?
- I am soooo mad, no sad, no confused, wait . . . what am I.
- I’m embarresed to be dealing with this.
- I am now ‘cleaning up’ somebody elses mess
- How do I move past this event and be a better person?
I’m experiencing all the experiences, I train people to be aware of when working with victims. I hope I gain the most out of this as possible. Violations of trust, and relationships destroyed, those are tough things.
I’ve decided to continue on in kindness and generosity. With some new parameters and boundaries. (of course like all victims do) Now the only person allowed to charge things and call in payroll is the executive director. All new staff will have a time card. Work computers will have blocks on chatting sites. Long distance calls will have to be authorized by a code. (long sigh . . .)