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The era of government-produced trauma

The era of government-produced trauma

The era of government-produced trauma
June 21
12:26 2018

Eva Reinoso Tejada

In my eternal search for answers and my hunger for interesting books to read, I came across a book called “It didn’t start with you” by Mark Woolyn. In this book, Woolyn studies the effect of family, or inherited trauma and how it affects our current lives. He explains the word epigenetics as the study of inheritable changes on the DNA that don’t involve changes in the actual DNA sequence. In other words, Woolyn believes that our DNA can ‘remember’ a lot more than the color of our eyes, or which illness we are most susceptible to. It might actually remember traumas that our ancestors were exposed to. Among the many examples he gives, he narrates the story of a college student (Jesse) who at the age of 19 suddenly lost the ability to drift to sleep as he used to. After Woolyn researched Jesse’s family history, he found out the existence of an uncle who had died at the same age during a snow storm, 30 years before. The uncle was an electricity worker who was out on a pole checking power lines while a snow storm was taking place. He lost consciousness and was found face down on the blizzard. Jesse explained how he couldn’t drift to sleep because he felt he would never wake up if he did. This was a case of family-inherited PTSD, as Woolyn explains.

The author also emphasizes that many traumas are formed during the first years of life and most of them are defined by some sort of break in the bond with the mother. As complicated as it sounds, many of us carry traumas we don’t even know about. And these traumas might define recurrent behaviors that we find impossible to explain. Imagine then, the severity of the trauma a toddler might suffer when they lose their mother, or their caregiver. Imagine a lactating infant ripped away from the arms of her mother? I don’t want to. It is too painful.

To all the above, add the frustration of knowing that more than 2,000 children have just been traumatized by an ill-conceived policy of the government of “no-tolerance” on illegal immigration. It is inconceivable that a government, particularly the government of this (not so anymore) great country can do something like this. It is nothing but the intentional infliction of pain on the weakest members of society: our children. It also looks like a deliberate attack on the center of society: our families. An undocumented family is not less of a family than the one whose members are born in this country.

So the whole world went up in arms, condemning such policy, and suddenly, the federal government cancelled the policy. Not before more than 2,000 children had already gone through hell and back. I guess someone realized the big political price they would have to pay to keep their jobs.

I came across another interesting article by Jessica Winter for the New Yorker. It is titled: “The Language of the Trump administration is the language of domestic violence.” It all boils down to the abuser’s premise of “look what you made me do”. That was more than clear on a trumpian tweet that read “Separating families at the border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats”. And that has been consistent on all language used by the White House on this matter. Another element adds insult to injury, and it is the continuous gaslighting that goes around, as explained by the author: “The repertoire of lies, distortions, deflections and belittlements that steadily distort and erode the victim’s sense of reality, tightening the abuser’s control over the victim. Gaslighting is Trump’s preferred mode of communication, and it is encoded in the family-separation policy itself: once their parents have been taken into custody, the children are reclassified as ‘unaccompanied minors’, and sent away to shelters.”

Days after the article by the Newyorker was published, Trump stopped the separation of families at the border. I guess, like in a predictable domestic violence story, the abuser comes back the day after the beating with a bouquet of flowers, while the purple eyes are still healing and the tears are still flowing. What a disgrace!


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Edición Virtual | #330 | 17 de Enero 2019

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