Types of Trauma

by Peter
(Malaysia)

I was born in the 1950s in a British Colony in SE Asian country and was sent away to a boarding school at the age of five then sent to another boarding school overseas at the age of eight where I spent the next ten years.

The abandonment was compounded by shame because I am of mixed race (European/Asian)but look but look 90% Asian and I through teasing by other boys I learnt to feel ashamed of my ethnic origins. Within my own family of origin my white father colonised and oppressed my asian mother and I had few chances to bond with my parents, my asian family, my european family or my sisters. I felt very isolated and lonely for much of my childhood, different from other boys yet not quite knowing how or why I was different. I tried to assimilate and became something of a cultural charmelian.

I identify with the Iceberg concept insofar as I felt abandoned and ashamed of who I was and really did not know who I was. But I also built a crust of contempt for others to cover my shame by thinking that I was better than other people.

Forming a "false self" I acquired multiple high-level academic qualifications and tried to become a successful business professional and played that role, supporting my wife and two children for 15 years until the recent GCF left my career in tatters. Over a two year period I lost my job, career, house, cars, children and eventually had to emigrate back to Asia to live alone.

Just recently at the age of 50+ I got fired again and lost my work vehicle too. So now I am alone in a foreign country (where I was born) with no job or car - a great place to "come home" and to face the accumulated pain of so many years!

In my life I have moved country or emigrated eight times (count em!) trying to find a place where I could feel at home. I am a citizen of three different countries but I am still looking for place to feel at home. I am temporarily "back home" now in the country where I was born but it is all so foreign and I am legally a foreigner here! I cannot speak the local language and have few friends; no job and no income; and no car.

I have come across a video on Utube by Joe Solanto who categorises 3 Types of Trauma. The first is an isolated one-off traumatic incident such as a crime; the second ongoing trauma such as childhood neglect and abandonment; the third is inter-generational trauma suffered by those who have lost their cultural identity through colonial subjugation and forced geographical relocation.

I can tick many of the boxes in the Type 3 trauma category but love the Iceberg concept because it provides tools and names to finally speak the truth about the past and release the repressed feelings of anger and resentment and shame.

It is good to be able to speak the truth about the pain I have suffered, to break through the scab of "superiority" I built up to cover the shame of abandonment. To dismantle the false self built on competence and superiority.

I am prepared to sit with the pain and face the truth now and to let it go. Both my parents left their country of birth and lived in a foreign country away from their siblings and their parents.

Unfortunately, my separation from my family, my siblings, my pets and my home started earlier at the age of 5 and continued for another 50 years.

It is time to face the truth and call it for what it is.

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