Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
20 June 2021
I came across to the concept of insidious trauma some time ago. Maria Root coined the term insidious trauma in 1992 to describe the ‘Traumatogenic effects of oppression that are not necessarily overtly violent or threatening to bodily well-being at the given moment but that do violence to the soul and spirit’ (Root 1992; Brown & Ballou, 1992).
Insidious trauma refers to the daily incidents of marginalisation, objectification, dehumanisation and intimidation that are experienced by members of groups targeted by racism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, as well as groups impacted by poverty.
You can see insidious trauma is a very common experience for many of us and, unfortunately, many people hide it behind the shame and the humiliation it causes. This can have a serious impact on our wellbeing and on your sense of self.
An example of insidious trauma is the experience of belonging to a black or minority ethnic group. I found this video very thought provoking.
The doll test was created in the 1940s by two psychologists, Kenneth and Mamie Clark, who used dolls to investigate how young children of colour viewed their racial identities. They found that given a choice between black dolls and white dolls, most black children preferred to play with white dolls. The link above is a recreation of the test that took place in Italy during 2016.
If you are affected by insidious trauma, get in touch.
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