Traumatic event

I shared in one of my Singles Becoming Podcast (, a story about a lady who shared with us in one of our open programs how she’d unconsciously be in relationships with men whom she never loved. She had done this act for years until her thirties, without knowing why. Every time it was time to settle down with them, she would then realize how she couldn’t spend the rest of her life with anyone. This led to frequent breakups and many unfulfilling relationships.

When she was becoming aware of what she was actually doing, she was able to link it to her own family background, and how she might have used this to cover up her own brokenness. Her recovery therapy helped her realized the defense mechanism she had been using to guide herself from the troublesome home she had come from, and from the pains of a potential heart break.

This lady shared how she grew up in a very turbulent home where her parents were always in fights like cat and dog. It gave her a very fearful idea about marriage. In order not to get so attached to any man, so she could easily run away, should he become troublesome, she would subconsciously date guys she didn’t love, as those seem like a safer ground for her. This act of hers wasn’t in anyway intentionally. It was the way her brain tried to prevent her from the pains she had attached to marriage, and love experiences. As a result, she never had a meaning relationship.

This similar issue is common here, and is considered as evidence of traumatic experience. But often disregarded as nothing. It is because we always find a way to consider ourselves above some emotional traumas in spite of all evidences of same. The reason may be in some ideas we have about these things not being “African!” A lie which may be affecting more lives badly.

If I had not become a therapist after the many issues around my own life, maybe I would most likely have been the victim of death due to trauma. My healing process opened up my eyes to how these issues could be affecting many other people here while we pretend about them. This is why I do this weekly write-up; to enlighten the next person about emotional issues and to seek help, if the need be.

Traumatic events can be life threatening after a long time the event occurred.

The reality here is that many Nigerians suffer from traumatic event, but do not accept that it is the reason for some of their beliefs, actions, or inaction. We are always quick to wave such, while affirming it more to some demonic possessions, if it becomes too pronounced. Instead of seeking help from psychological and psychiatric professionals, these individuals may be subject to many dehumanizing rituals and deliverance.

Psychological trauma is a damage to the psyche of an individual after experiencing an extremely frightening event which may result in that person having difficulties living a normal life after the event had happened.

Such events may be due to violent upbringing, rape, divorce, maltreatment of the child, abuse, turbulent homes, heartbreak, bullying, death of parents, loved one, a sibling, or life threatening attacks on life, or ill health.

The long term effects of traumas can show up in many subtle ways, including being used as defense mechanisms like the case of the lady I shared above.

Signs you could be experiencing some traumatic symptoms include, but not limited to, fear of danger; where you can be very cautious of self, and about those you love, because you fear that similar danger might happen to them, or you, again.

Some others tend to use avoidance of situations that remind them of the event. Part of this avoidance can be any name, tribe, a member of the group, or affiliations that may in one way or another be ascribed to the event.

I am sure you may have heard some of the life time tales your grandparents told your father, and which your dad later related to you about not marrying from a particular tribe and the reasons attached to it. Although you have no such experience with this tribe, but their names or things about them brings back the memories from the age long story you had been told your grandpa experienced.

I bet it never occurred grandpa did that to help himself avoid the traumatic experience he might have had with the person, and also to defensively prevent any member of his linage from similar event. This is a common practice in Nigeria, so you may be able to relate.

I once heard a lady lament about her own sister’s ordeals with a man from a particular tribe in Nigeria, and said to me very furiously how she could never marry from that tribe. According to her, all of the people from there were very evil. She had her reasons, which were rather unfortunate to have happened to her sister. What she, and the rest of her family didn’t know was how that event had changed their beliefs and affected their lifestyles. Their lives never remained the same after then. They lived in fear of that tribe. Traumatic!

Frequent nightmares and dreams about the traumatic event is also very common with people experiencing trauma.

Some may remember the events very faintly, with the little remembrance haunting their perspective about life, or the event.

Throughout this month, I will be sharing on trauma, because I consider it an important issue we must deal with here as a people.

Remember, you can always seek help regardless of how long you have had to bear the issues for. Time alone, may not be a healer, but creating more space for the prolonged pains.

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To your successfully evolving life.

Joy Iseki

|The Counsellor|

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