Characters in the stories we read or write often take up residence in our minds. Have characters in stories come to life for you? Do you feel like you’ve entered their world, see it the way they see it, feel what they feel?
Have you ever wondered how some characters are able to survive their wounds and overcome their grief to become authentic and fulfilled while others feel hopeless, stuck or depressed?
Like the two main characters in my short story, The Promise, the characters respond to trauma in ways that are varied, deep and far-reaching.
I feel a strong affinity for Misty, the pole dancer in my story. Her courage to heal is inspiring.
Misty recovered from her traumatic childhood because she drew from healing sources in her life. Dance was the thing that made her feel alive. Through dance, she gained intuitive understanding of her body as healer.
Misty has gathered strength from her pillars of support, the tight-knit group of dancers from the club. When she sees her evil maid from childhood, out of the blue, her terror returns but she is able to draw from her inner resources to recover. We know she’s come to resolution when she tells Ned, “You know I will (be okay).”
I have compassion for Ned. His world has stayed small. He is locked in a daily struggle. He’s became self-reliant, but when he first meets Misty, he’s socially isolated. His interior life borders on bankruptcy.He fashioned his own moral code and found himself on a dangerous course.
Ned becomes overly involved or “enmeshed” with Misty-some would say “co-dependent”- as he tries to protect her. In his blood pact with Sabrina, he’d vowed to protect her, but had failed. He must not lose Misty, as he’d lost Sabrina. Misty has become Sabrina. Ned has to heal from his wounds before he can see Misty as a separate woman in her own rite.
We don’t always know how we’ll process early traumatic experiences or how deeply these experiences will affect our lives. We can only reflect upon what it is in a person’s nature or circumstances that enables that person to survive, even thrive, while another still struggles with her wounds.
Attachment plays big in our ability to move through trauma. Attachment is central to humans, and emotional relationships-like those we experienced in childhood-are the foundation for later ones. If we experienced security in early relationships , we’ll be more likely to form close attachments, but if we experienced separation or disappointment, we’ll have more difficulty forming trusting relationships. Healing is possible. We now know more ways this can happen. (see my article Reflections on Trauma on drkixxgoldman.com.)