Trauma drama can come easy as taking the next breath. When a person’s life has continually been upset by problems and trauma, emotional acting out happens without a thought. Emotional drama becomes a way of life. It’s addictive. There’s a high that that goes with jumping from one adrenaline-pumping situation to another. Health, physical and mental, is compromised due to the high stress that accompanies chronic emotional drama.
Depth psychologist, Donald Kalsched, in Trauma and the Soul, writes of trauma as “. . . unbearable pain—in other words, affect that cannot be metabolized by the psyche’s normal symbolic process.” When pain from past or present cannot be or is not dealt with, metabolized, it is acted out. Pain can be so intense that we can’t bear it. It is traumatic and cannot be processed in a normal manner by the psyche. Then, we may compulsively, and unconsciously, generate problems so as to release this psychic tension by acting out.
Trauma drama is a worry because it destroys life. It sets us up and takes us down. There is no way out of dealing with inner darkness and outer dysfunction. We either act it out or work it out. Trauma drama needs to be dealt with or it deals with us. Psychic breakdowns happen when there’s too much on the inside pressing for attention, the delicate strands that hold mind and life together threatened. Outer emotional drama then breaks out and speaks to us, says pay attention, take stock, deal with things because they’re already dealing with you.