The Body Keeps The Score – Bessel van der Kolk

 

I collect far too many book recommendations from far too many places. Even though I get a great deal of enjoyment out of the act of reading, I have become a little passive with this hobby. I will pick up a book and go at it regardless of what the strength of my interest actually is. Sometimes I find that I am deeply interested in the topic, and other times I am well and truly not. With The Body Keeps The Score, the stars aligned and the book became surprisingly relevant at just the right moment.

We live in a random universe and while most people are out there trying their best, some people go down a path that has pretty brutal negative consequences on others. The Body Keeps The Score explores the impact suffered by the victims of these traumatic events, and explores many of the strategies a victim of such circumstances can attempt to help them overcome their past experiences.

No, I have never been abused. But right at the time of my reading this book, US supreme court judge Brett Kavanaugh was undergoing his hearing prior to being confirmed and Christine Ford, a girl with whom Kavanaugh had gone to school, was making allegations of having been sexually harassed by Kavanaugh. A retort I heard from supporters of Kavanaugh was that if this incident happened in the 1980’s, why wasn’t it reported at that time?

And it is in addressing such questions where this book was tremendously useful. I just might have gone down that same line of reasoning. When you hear about trauma victims it is very hard to understand some of the behaviors they engage in. There are two things that I have learned that I occasionally forget. The first is that sometimes actions and not simple choices, and the other is that the world is sometimes powerfully unintuitive. On the side of not having been through trauma, it is easy to ask ourselves why a victim didn’t go immediately to the police, or how it could be possible that they didn’t really remember an experience until many years later. It is helpful to have an explanation as to why these things happen, and helps us get in front of the arrogance of saying what we would do in such a situation without ever having lived through it.

Not only does the book help you understand what is going on in these situations, but it does so in as polite a manner as possible considering how bleak some of the narratives are. This book would have been justified in being much bleaker, considering the subject matter it dealt with. It gets pretty high praise for getting around that.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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