Exploring psychological trauma and its affects Eng. 220, Spring 2011 Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a traumatic event. In “Mending by Sallie Bingham”, the reader can find that the narrator has dealt with a trauma, and the pain that arises is a lot. Same situations occur with Pat Staten, and her father, as well as Jane Lazzare. In each of the short stories, the reader can find that the author or narrator has suffered with psychological trauma and the pain that has manifested.
In the short story of “Mending by Sallie Bingham” the narrator expresses her loneliness. She explained how she longs for her mother’s soft arms and the warmth of her hugs. “She gave me the warmth of her long, skinny arms, and I gave her the warmth of mine, and before I was ten years old, I as addicted. ” The psychological trauma the narrator experience is the loss of her mother touch. When the narrator is young her mother brings home man after man to satisfy her own needs. But when there is no man around the mother calls for her daughter to lay with her and basically cuddle until she falls asleep.
When my mother was between men and feeling the ache, she would call me into her bed and squeeze me until suddenly she would fall asleep. I was more the holder than the holdee. I did not matter. The warmth of her thin arms, the wrists hardly wider than milk-bottle necks, the bones as fine as glass splinters, would last me through the next day and the next. ” There are times that the narrator states that she must sleep all alone when another man comes home. “When a new man moved in, I had to spend the night in my own bed with my fist in my mouth, not because the sounds they made frightened me…but because there was no more warmth for me.
As the narrator gets older she is sent to live with her aunt. Her mother has left to live with her new husband in Honolulu, and it is said that there is no room for the narrator. “There was no room for me in that arrangement, and so I was farmed out to my mother’s only prosperous relative, a hard-working doctor who lives in Greenwich and had the luck to marry my aunt. ” The narrator tries to replace her mother’s touch with random men, but doesn’t get the satisfaction she wants. Because of the trauma she encountered as child she doesn’t have feeling for anyone.
It didn’t see possible to go through the rest of my life trying to get warmth from the eyes of construction workers; it did not seem possible to go on spreading my legs for men who took it personally that that part– “down there,” as my mother called it– has no more feeling than the vegetable it so closely resembles: a radish, fancy cut. ” Her aunt suggests she go see a therapist to help her resolve her issues and be able to talk thing out. When the narrator first goes to see her doctor she expresses how comfortable and safe she feels. She has a longing to stay with her doctor forever.
The narrator tries to win her doctor over with presents, but nothing seemed to work. Because of the bond she feels for her doctor, the narrator never wants to miss an appointment. The narrator is in this mind set because she is trying to replace the feeling she had with her mother with the doctor. “I didn’t care about getting better—that was a sailing planet—but I did care about the little fix of warmth which I got from sitting next to my doctor. ” The narrator longs for the doctor so much because of the way he makes her feel just like the mother made her feel.
This is how the narrator’s pain manifested. “The trouble was that I wanted a pair of arms. I needed a pair of arms with a pain that even now I can’t bring myself to describe. That, of all things, I had carried out of my childhood. ” When psychological trauma leads to posttraumatic stress disorder, damage may involve physical changes inside the brain and to brain chemistry, which damage the person’s ability to adequately cope with stress. This is the case with Pat Staten and her father. Pat’s father is a vet from the war and has a hard time dealing with the stress from the war.
In order for him to try and forget, he drowns his memories with alcohol. Because of the way Pat’s father deals with his stress, he actually almost harms Pat and her family. Pat is very young when this incident occurs. Her mother believes that she was too young and wouldn’t remember anything. Pat’s mother is correct, because of the event, Pat suppressed the memory. As time goes on Pat starts to remember the very night her father tried to kill her. Although she might not realize it, this trauma sets pat up for pain and questions for the rest of her life.
She tells her mother that she has dreams but she’s not sure if they are real. “At first I thought it was a dream because it came to me as an incident that had happened somewhere outside the usual realm of daily reality. ” Pat slowly regains her memory of the night. In the story Pat states that as she was sitting in school the sun light brought back the night. The sun reminded her of the day when she was playing under the tree in the front of her house. Her mother had come whipping outside grabbing the children and running to the barn.
Pats father was drunk and angry and in his own way wanted to show his family what he had been through in the war. Pats mother tried to save her children the only way she knew how. She had them all come out of hiding and line up against the wall. Pats mother being a strong woman didn’t show fear and by doing this, she was able to save her family. Pat has a hard time dealing with the after effects of remembering this night. Pat has hatred for her mother, she doesn’t really understand what happened and why.
This trauma in Pat’s life sets her up for pain. All her life she has dealt with nightmares and dreams, but it never occurs to her that they had happened for real. “Nightmares have plagued me all my life. ” The type of trauma Jane endures in “A sense of threat” is different than the previous stories. Although Jane endures the loss of her mother from cancer, the way she is told about bring about her pain. When Jane was a young girl she was sent away to her to her aunt’s house. When she returned her mother was gone along with all her things.
Jane’s father never really explained what had happened. The reader can understand that because there was no talk about Jane’s mother’s death, Jane herself believes it was her fault. Jane believes that because she was a bad girl it leads to her mother’s death and disappearance. Because of this trauma Jane has multiple fears, anxiety, paranoia, depression, and anger. Jane’s fear starts with death. She is afraid to die and be forgotten. She has a fear of others dying as well. This stems from her fear of abandonment when her mother died.