Nov 19 2012

Missiles and Memory

Published by at 5:34 pm under Counseling & Psychotherapy

Traumatic life events (think missiles blowing up your house) are stored by our brains as implicit memory...memory which helps us learn how to perform a task later…think of it as procedural memory or muscle memory…the same type of memory that allows us to get on a bike after we learn how to ride without training wheels.

At best, trauma helps us learn to cope with adversity and develop resilience. At its worst, trauma causes severe damage to our memory, causes our fight or flight system (limbic system) to be always on high alert, makes us hyper-vigilant and hyper-reactive.

Think the Middle East where Israelis and Palestinians/Arabs have spent nearly 100 years fighting and killing each other. This means there are about 3-5 generations of human beings who get enraged very quickly and willingly inflict violence on someone else.

Arab nations keep the Palestinians on the defensive…no one else seems to be able to advocate well for them…and if they are not free to become citizens elsewhere in the world, they are stuck watching their homes be destroyed and children and families killed.

Hearing Israeli leaders/writers say “Gaza should be demolished…” is not helpful to finding a solution.

And the threat of invasion is receiving the response of Palestinians/Hamas leaders who are calling out the threat of (their perception) the bully to invade. Hamas understands they can not win against Israel’s military power, but they can gain power by speaking words to power.

Trauma is an important factor here and needs to become part of the dialogue if we have any hope of intervening in the repetitious cycle of violence in the world.

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