01 Sep To Connect or Disconnect: Part 1
“We’re hardwired for connection.” This is one of my favorite quotes from a shero in our field, Brené Brown. Through her work on shame and vulnerability, we are able to get a closer look at aspects of the human condition that are often overlooked. Her quote reminds me that an authentic connection with others is comforting and reaffirming. It invites a sense of security into our world…security about who we are and where we fit.
Connection with others solidifies our sense of identity and belonging. We want to belong to something or someone. We want to be someone’s lover, someone’s spouse, someone’s parent, someone’s child or someone’s friend. We long to connect in those roles, which amplify a sense of purpose and add meaning to our life experiences. It feels good to matter to someone and to have people who matter to us.
Connection takes work, patience, and time. Connection requires us to push towards being our better selves as we honor and respect another’s emotional needs. In thinking about Brene’s quote in relation to the recent unjust murders in the Black community, I am reminded of what it looks like when we drop the ball…when we disregard each other… when a state of disconnection is the norm.
How powerful would it be if it were commonplace for us to develop meaningful connections between races? What would our experiences as Americans be like if we did? What would life look like if we mattered to each other? I have found myself thinking of Brene’s quote and asking myself, “How do the races get and stay connected when racial disconnection has been the norm for so long? And how has this disconnection contributed to the traumatization of communities across generations?”
The videotaped killings of unarmed Black men and women such as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery have been jarring for many. They speak of radical disconnection and are strong reminders of how dangerous that is. The most recent human rights demonstrations to support the Black Lives Matter movement is in response to the deep and sprawling roots of disconnection, which leave a residue of distrust and fear across generations.
Intergenerational trauma can be described as stemming from mass cultural and historical traumatic events such as the Rwandan genocide, the Holocaust and the institutionalized slavery of African people. The traumatic impact has a transgenerational effect whereby one’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on can experience psychological, neurobiological, cultural and social challenges as a result of the trauma that happened generations ago.
In Part 2, we will look at the movement from disconnection to connection.
Bapuamoyo Kambeya, APC, is a counselor at CHRIS Counseling Center – Gwinnett.
To make an appointment, email Counseling.Center@CHRIS180.org