Susto

Since I was about 22, I’ve considered that idea that I have been living with susto. In Latino (and I’m sure in other cultures as well) susto is when your soul leaves your body during a traumatic event. It is believed that during a traumatic event, the angels reach down and take out your soul to protect it. When the soul is returned, it does not connect properly, and therefore, one does not feel connected. It is similar to what Western Psychology calls PTSD. As children, we also “separate” or dissociate when there is a frightening or traumatic event happening (whether the event is happening to us or we are exposed to it). If the experience is severe enough (severe being subjective), then a reconnection to the self is compromised.

In my life I feel like the initial trauma happened when my mother was late in her pregnancy with me. She was parking her car on the inclined driveway of our home. As she was getting out, the brakes slipped and the car dragged her until she was able to hit the brakes again. Most spiritual people would say that this incident was enough to transfer my mom’s trauma to me.

Each time a traumatic event happens I feel like my soul never connects properly. I never feel “inside” my self. It’s as if my body and soul never get a chance to connect long enough to become strong enough to handle the next event. this reminds me of what my therapist says to me when I ask her “Why can’t I handle this?” She reminds me that the trauma isn’t happening now, or happened two years ago, it happened in my childhood.

Abandonment and loss of my voice are big trauma factors for me, and like someone with PTSD, each time the trauma is triggered, it’s as real as if were the first time. Since my boyfriend left me (in what I thought was a good relationship), my boss took me out of the program that was like a family to me, and I stopped going to school, my abandonment & voice trauma weren’t just triggered, they were firing like a lightning storm. My soul was out to the cleaners. I hope I can grow strong enough to receive my soul and be strong enough to keep it safe in times of trauma.

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