Post Traumatic Stress is an anxiety disorder that is created by a person’s exposure to traumatic event such as war, physical and sexual abuse, being a victim of assault , in a terror attack, or being a victim of hurricane, tornado or car accident (to name a few). The person who experiences a trauma is left with horror at the memory of the event. The psychological defense mechanisms of suppression and repression work to keep the disturbing memory of the trauma locked up and un- processed in his/her memory. One feature of the symptom cluster of PTSD is called re-enactment; that is, one relives intrusive images or sensations or emotions associated with the trauma when triggered by events such as symbolic or real events happening in the present . This re-experiencing is distressing and creates a defense called repetition compulsion which is an attempt of the person to bring closure on a chaotic situation of trauma that cannot be processed or put in the appropriate context of the person’s autobiographical memory.
Looking at recent research in traumatology, I was prompted to re-discover some evidence of trauma that existed in my family before I was born (uncle died from motor boat accident while intoxicated, uncle committed suicide after the loss of his child, father almost died of spinal meningitis , both maternal grandparents lost their parents when junvenilles). According to Mark Wolynn these traumas that happened in extended families could be transmitted in genetic form or to a family member’s personal unconscious in the family.
I did experience one sexual abuse incident when I was 21 by my minister who abused me when intoxicated( against my will). I was in a ‘black out’ and did not remember what exactly happened. (the folowing dream may refer to that too but it was a one time incident and never happened again). I did not come from an abusive family situation in my nuclear family but had this dream years ago:
September 6, 2009:
“Skeletons in the closet”
A dream in which ‘I consult a photograph album of my family. I remark after seeing this picture that someone had been held in a room which is locked and secret (as if in a cage). He was deprived of life and sexually abused’. (see picture)
This dream and a memory of it, may explain ‘false memories’ of PTSD that people report in court cases where attempts to prosecute perpetrators cannot be founded by the evidence. It may be that we carry memories of secret abuse and re-experience symptoms of past extended family trauma and that our dreams reveal them. This would be kind of a karmic re-living of a family theme. This hypothesis is born out by the recent book, It Didn’t Start With You,How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are, by Mark Wolynn, April 2016.
“Emerging trends in psychotherapy are now beginning to point beyond the traumas of the individual to include traumatic events in the family and social history as a part of the whole picture. Tragedies varying in type and intensity—such as abandonment, suicide and war, or the early death of a child, parent, or sibling—can send shock waves of distress cascading from one generation to the next. Recent developments in the fields of cellular biology, neurobiology, epigenetics, and developmental psychology underscore the importance of exploring at least three generations of family history in order to understand the mechanism behind patterns of trauma and suffering that repeat.”
So here is a hypothesis: Could the above dream be a reflection of a trauma that happened to a person(s) in my extended family who had been sexually abused? It may have happened in the distant past to a male/female in my family and I am carrying the memory.
When I looked Astrologically at the date I had the dream (9th of September 2009) and the AGE POINT Progressions involved, I learned that the Age Point was opposed to my Node on the Relationship Axis. When the AGE POINT is conjunct the Node, it usually shows a way forward to greater development and spiritual growth. This will aid our progress ; however, with the opposition (180 degrees to this point), it indicates avoidance of genuine effort, difficulty with achieving cherished goals of growth. and in the 11th and 5th house axis where the opposition was placed, ethical difficulties relating to wanting to possess the other person all for oneself rather that taking real responsibility for one’s own life goals. So this dream could represent astrologically at the time it was dreamt, a sliding backward to a blind alley in which will not lead anywhere productive and heightens the drama of taking on the extreme form of enslavement. The dream represents a traumatic situation that would have that effect on one’s life- making a person defensive, self-protective and depressed because one could not pursue life goals because of fear of being used to gratify another’s needs against one’s will. This could explain why I am wary of having a relationship in which I am in any way dominated by another person.
Many of my dream images over the years coming from inherited family trauma hormone reactivity ,illustrated by Wolynn in his book, may be understood as reflections of family trauma. I have dreams of my family when they are in danger; It could explain why my family means so much to me (Natal Moon in the 4th house). I have had warning dreams about alocohol and drugs; and I drink very little alcohol as I am constantly reminded of how it effected family members when it was abused. To suppress or to advance my occupational identity had been an issue for me as a young adult and delayed my entrace into professional life; and I had irrational dreams creating fear of catastrophe by water; maybe I carried fear that my life would be cut short by drowning (as my uncle died) so I did not put forth effort.
Maybe one can relate to what the hypothesis suggests, maybe not. I am exploring possibilities by this writing at this point so I think some of this traumatic family history is quite relevant to my shadow personality and is realted to the Huber concept of the Nodal Chart. In my Nodal chart, I have a Venus (5) opposition to Uranus (11) in the 5-11 house Axis which could offer a possible need to possess others in love but is opposed by a rebellious nature and need for freedom. This could have its roots in past family traumas which created extreme ambivalence about relationships coming into this incarnation. I am drawing linkages between the Nodal Chart and the possible infusion of traumatic memories in the personal unconscious which is inherited and affects behavior in one’s life.
I am using a dream category that is new.- Traumatic Dreams based on social maladaption in one’s extended family passed on in the form of an archetype to a suceeding generation. In this way, we have depression and anxiety in families inherited through a genetic mechanism which is imbedded in the personal unconscious in the form of a complex.