Beyond ‘Lady Bird,’ When Torment Turns Inward

“Trauma is to mental health as smoking is to cancer,” says Steven Sharfstein, past president of the American Psychiatric Association. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2017]

THE IMPACT of childhood trauma was the topic Oprah Winfrey chose to discuss on 60 Minutes. Informed by a study in 2017, the damage of childhood trauma is as irrefutable as the description is vast.

We’ve watched it through movies. Nothing could dent the passion of Saoirse Ronan’s character in Lady Bird. She lived beyond her mother’s torment and boxed-in vision. Appreciated her family by the time she attained her dream.

In Olivia’s Turn, the desire for freedom blots out everything else.

Well, not everything…

“If you don’t fix the hole in the soul, the thing that is where the wounds started, you’re working at the wrong thing,” Winfrey said. [USA Today]

It can take a long time to “fix the hole in the soul.”

Olivia Stark moved on without her parent’s approval. But as she discovers through a set of harrowing events, she’s allowed her past to make her vulnerable to malevolent forces.

The only way out is through.*

From trauma to trapped anger inside. There are no shortcuts.

Except we get impatient.

It was just supposed to be a charity event… Olivia’s initial decision to attend catapults her into the middle of a messy, and an unsolved child-abduction and murder case.

One event after another touches places in Olivia’s damaged soul she’s buried deep.

It’s hard for many people to believe one moment, one decision can catapult your life into a new direction. Just as demons pop up as blocks to fulfillment. Dark forces challenge our commitment to what we want.

Dramatic fictional characters who face moments like this allow for license that unlock truths about the human process. How we recover.

When people collide in life through recognized wounds in one another, there’s a choice between torment and healing.

A sick mind lives off the exploitation of others.

Trauma researchers believe the seeds of today’s distress often were planted years earlier when the current generation of adults were children. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2017]

Damage done to a young girl that has simmered through years of hatred.

Placed inside a dramatic psychological thriller, past trauma can become a character’s Achilles’ heal, or the foundation of freedom.

Be careful with this one.

Olivia must turn a personal weakness into a strength.

Nothing will be the same.

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*…with respect to Robert Frost