The information in both the article and the video provided a good refresher for me on how trauma affects individuals, as well as giving me new data and viewpoints to chew on. In the video I noted that Kelly described how the thinking brain is hijacked, so that it’s not as simple as a person making good decisions or bad ones. Previously I have heard about how people in chronic stress do not have brain bandwidth to make well-thought-out decisions. Under those circumstances, decisions may be short-sighted, focused on immediate needs. (Maybe this explains the toilet paper crises we have all faced!) But when a person is not visibly stressed, I may be less likely to remember that past stress can still affect their decision-making. I also picked up on themes that others of you noted: the Velcro and Teflon comment and the unpredictability of which relationship might offer healing to a traumatized person.
I found it helpful to learn from the Koetting article that trauma not only affects brain chemistry, but it even alters the size of the hippocampus and the pathways between different parts of the brain. Alzheimer’s educators often show pictures of the atrophied brains of people with dementia to show caregivers that the behaviors they see have physical causes. Teepa Snow uses the line, “Remember that you’re the one with the big brain” as a caution to caregivers. So something similar is true for those who have suffered trauma: they can’t help the way their brains have been rewired, though there is potential for gradual healing.
I liked the author’s take on the story of the woman at the well. I had read the story seeing her as an outsider before, but not as one who had experienced trauma. This made me imagine hearing the woman’s voice differently in the story. What if she sounded defiant or angry? What people that I’ve encountered could I see as that figure?