After joining a support group of Survivors of Homicide, I discovered that there was also a hierarchy in victimization. Experiencing the murder of a child with sexual intention is close to the top. Am I a victim of status? A queen in the world of victims? If so - are there some acts of violence unforgiveable?
I remember years ago when a friend of ours received a simple invitation to travel overseas to visit some friends but decided not to go. Cliff and I were confused, so, one evening as we were having our night time snack, we dissected this dear friend of ours. We both knew him well enough that by combining our insight we could put the pieces of his decision together and were astounded at what we discovered. On the surface what looked like a simple decision was entangled with every type of issue imaginable. For him, it was like a perfect storm of triggers - traumas, past and present, conflicts, and heart break, It was so perfectly designed that we couldn’t help wonder if there was a “designer?"
Looking at our traumatic experience, our victimisation seemed perfectly designed for us as well.
After that I went on my own quest to find a person who didn't have a "designed trauma."
I thought I had found a perfect candidate, when, after telling my story at a meeting, a woman approached me in the parking lot and thanked me, commending me on my courage and saying that she had “never experienced anything like it.” I studied her for a moment. She did look annoyingly perfect and well put together. I had a few minutes so I started asking about her life. In remarkably little time, I unraveled an astoundingly issue-laden life – which again seemed perfectly designed to undo her - another perfect storm. The tables had turned – I was now admiring her courage.
This became a research question of mine. To this day, I have yet to meet a seasoned person that doesn’t have a "trauma designed" story to tell and as a therapist I am privy to many stories.
In my darker moments, I have this wonky idea that perhaps God and the "Serpent” have a "Job" conversation over every life.
In the book of Job, it appears as if there are many sons of God who meet regularly at a heaven-designed board room to report on their spheres of influence. Lucifer, the Serpent, or Satan, appears and reports on the earth – his sphere of influence.
It seems as if God’s agenda is to enjoy the good, protect, and set limits, so he begins the conversation by celebrating Job. Lucifer’s agenda is the exact opposite. The Serpent, who gained power after seducing Eve and Adam into eating the fruit of good and evil and continues to have power over the human race - now living under the curse of their decision, had just come back from roaming the earth. He too had noticed Job, except he doesn't wish Job well. He has always been jealous of God's love of humans and continues to want to torture them, break them and destroy them.
In the ensuing conversation, poor Job, unknowingly, becomes a pawn in the continuing universal war of good and evil which has now become a power struggle of cosmic interest.
The Serpent – does not give up - until he has proposed and customized a "trauma design" to break Job. Fortunately after suffering amazing losses, Job does not "curse God" and die, as his wife suggests, but comes out the stronger for it because he chooses to remain loyal to the goodness of God and the plan of forgiveness.
Through this story and many others, I have gained a new respect for the individualized and designed trauma that I see in myself and others. Life is not just a fun game of competition of who is more traumatized – this is a life and death struggle for everyone.
No one seems to be spared.
We need to exercise trauma compassion realizing there should be no hierarchy in victimization. At some point and in some way we are all victimized - and we need each other to survive. The learning here is that we need to continue to practice forgiveness and compassion when we see others struggling in their custom-designed trauma.
Trauma fractures comprehension as a pebble shatters a windshield. The wound at the site of impact spreads across the field of vision, obscuring reality and challenging belief. - Jane Leavy