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  • Writer's pictureShirah Shulman

How big should a trauma be to influence your life?

During a family constellation session we often look for a traumatic event that created the struggle or discomfort you or your child feel at the current moment.

How big should this trauma be? What should we be looking at?

I would like to present to you a case study that will emphasise the importance of noticing, expressing and acknowledging everything that happens to us when it does.

A father is disturbed by the fact that his 8 years old daughter refuses to go to sleep in her room all of a sudden and is full of fears.

We laid out a representation for the fear and when standing on it the father remembered how he felt when his grandmother died when he was about 7.5 years old (similar to his daughter’s age). He was sad because he didn’t get to say goodbye to her and was worried she might come to his room to separate from him. He told his mother that he was scared to go to bed but his mother dismissed his fears and told him to stop bothering her and go to bed. He described how he used to stay up for hours every night for a few weeks, worried that his grandmother might come.

The memory of this fear, the dismissal of his emotions by his mother and feeling that he has no support at that time were buried down his memory lane and he hadn’t thought about it for many years. Now, that his daughter reached a similar age, the memories and the fear surface up and she carries the trauma and burden without any awareness of both of them.

This wasn’t a very traumatic experience by definition however it left its footstep and the emotions are still present.

We acknowledged the fear, the pain of being dismissed, we said goodbye to grandma and acknowledged the mother’s grief, to allow the emotions to rest.

Next time you experience a difficult emotion, something happens to you or your child comes to you and tells you something disturbing that happens to them, pay attention to it. Name what you feel and see, give it a name and an acknowledgement. Allow it to be and exist so it doesn’t have to be buried just to be surfaced later on in life, causing pain, discomfort or diseases.

Much love to you


*All details in the case have been altered

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