Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you. Trauma is that scarring that makes you less flexible, more rigid, less feeling, and more defended.
~Dr. Gabor Maté
Collective trauma refers to invisible scarring that makes a group of people rigid in their beliefs, black and white thinkers, less empathetic, more suspicious, and more divided. Collective trauma can affect small groups, such as a family; bigger groups, such as a school, an organization, or a community; all the way up to massive groups, such as an entire state, society, or global community.
Because collective trauma affects groups, it can be harder to identify as a contributing factor to the signs and symptoms an individual may be experiencing. We are taught to look to our personal experiences as the root causes of our issues, and there is generally less regard for how the collective affect us at an individual level. The thing is, collective consciousness does affect individuals, and it can exert coercive power over us while operating beneath our conscious awareness.
To complicate the matter, even more, one doesn’t have to experience a traumatic event firsthand to be affected by it. Some people are changed by watching events unfold on the news or by studying history. Some examples include the Sept. 11th attacks, natural disasters like Katrina, the Holocaust or Holodomor Genocides, mass shootings, war, and pandemics.
Collective trauma and Societal Dysfunction are aspects of collective consciousness. A shared sense of reality and a foundation for meaning and purpose in our lives are also aspects of collective consciousness. It’s a double-edged sword.
There’s good news! You can become more aware of how collective consciousness affects you in beneficial and detrimental ways. With awareness, you have a choice in how you choose to amplify the benefits and reduce the detriments.
For a more in-depth explanation of collective consciousness, how it affects us individually, and what you can do about it, watch the vlog.
I hope this brings more awareness and more curiosity around collective consciousness, and more empowerment around how to mitigate its impacts.
Please reach out if you have comments, questions, or would simply like to connect.
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Jennifer Whitacre is an Empowerment Strategist, host of the Yes, And… Podcast, and an author who helps her clients find their unique Life GPS System. It’s her mission to educate & inspire people so they can shift their focus, get unstuck, and move forward in life.