Avoiding Traumatic Loss Into Your 40’s

Last night I heard of someone who has suffered the loss of a family member. The man is in his 40’s and he’s just one of those people whose lives have gone very smoothly.

I was talking to a person on the periphery of his life, about the risks of this person spinning out because they just don’t have the skills or experience to process the trauma.  When you’re 40 years old and the bad thing always happens to someone else, I think it’s pretty easy to believe it’s always going to be that way and then something like this happens.

Personally, I am worried about the guy.  Having lived a life made up of trauma and loss,  I can tell you that coping skills are something you have to develop and you just can’t do this overnight.  Just imagine this. You’re 40-something, you’ve lived your whole life in the cat-bird seat and all the sudden, WHAM. WHAM!  BAM! SLAM!

It’s the sudden death I wrote about with the Venus, Uranus, Pluto t-square, but it’s not just the death of the family member. It is the death of this man and his land of milk and honey and personally I feel really bad. I’d like to help him but people like him don’t know people like me, ya know?  So I just have to look at it and cringe.  And try to help through the periphery person of course because you know what? I wouldn’t wish his experience on my worst enemy.

Have you experienced this or known of someone who has?

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Avoiding Traumatic Loss Into Your 40’s — 36 Comments

  1. Wow, this almost makes me feel grateful for all the things I’ve had to endure so far. How do you even begin to process such a reversal?

    No, I don’t know anyone like this. Everyone I know has had to deal with trauma and/or loss to some extent.

  2. I guess there is an upside to trauma – for those of us that have experienced alot of it in our life. We do have coping skills.

    I don’t think I know anyone like this either.

  3. I have always thought that either you get a lot of crap out of the way early, or it all hits you later on anyway. I am hoping I’ve gotten through most of my crap by now.

    I agree this guy has been living in a high school world where he feels that nothing bad happened to him because he did everything right. Now he has to realize that bad things happen to good people and you can’t stop that sometimes.

    Having gone that long living in an orderly and happy world would be a tremendous psychological blow. Hopefully he’ll allow his friends and loved ones to help him through this to see that even when bad things happen, life can go on and even become happy again.

  4. Despite what it may seem from the outside, no one gets off easy here, in my experience.

    People whose lives appear to be milk and honey from afar also experience deep suffering and severe trauma, it is likely that these have just taken different forms than yours. And some of life’s worst demons and biggest tsunamis can come from the inside. Or from past experiences, legacies, roots that continue to haunt, etc. etc.

    No one escapes unscathed, in my experience. It’s why we’re here.

  5. I feel for this guy too Elsa- and totally agree that coping does take skill and practice. Doesn’t mean it’s ‘easy’ for those with the skills, but it is a whole lot better than for those without.

    This is why I feel grateful for all the squares and oppositions in my chart. I feel better prepared than if it was full of trines! ;-(

  6. Wow, how do you tell someone that has had a near perfect life on earth and then suddenly one day something like this comes along? I guess I would comfort him if he was my friend or a family member.

  7. I don’t think it ever gets easier, no matter how many times you get trauma.

    But yes, it’s hard to have to say goodbye to your old life when it was something that fulfilled you.

  8. @Conoco – I don’t think you can tell a person ahead, because it’s not real to them. It’s like a rich person who doesn’t realize they can become poor, even when they see it happen around them and also throughout history.

    Once it does hit, I think some instruction can help tremendously but like I said, people like this don’t have access to people like me who have spent their entire life, mapping hell. 🙂

  9. Great post, Elsa. I’m sorry that this has come as such a shock to your friend.

    Like Isernia, I, too, believed that I had gotten the crap out of the way when I was younger and for awhile, life was pretty smooth sailing. But when things got rough (a different rough from my childhood), I knew that living through what I had already been through has helped me cope this time around. That being said, it still has been quite a shock to me.

    And I live with someone who is an “8th houser” like you. He’s been through SO much and there’s not much that can take him down these days. But I also think my pain is just as real as his, it’s just different.

  10. I’ve read that the triple outer-planet transits i.e Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto are happening to roughly 40% of the population. There are a lot of people who’s lives are imploding at some level. I think as you get older it is harder to bounce back from major losses.

  11. I’m sitting here thinking I don’t know how to relate to someone that has had it easy their entire life.

    I don’t know anyone like him. I do know that a friend of one of my friends has had a perfect, easy life. She even admits it herself.

    I’m glad I have faced and overcome hardships. I don’t know how the guy will cope. I hope he will be able to recover.

  12. Maybe this gentleman was born with the abiblites that we have had to learn the hard way.
    Even though I have a “lessons to be learned” chart I still know that I can be taken down by a severe loss at any time. I am not bulletproof to the lessons of the universe. No one is.
    And each lesson is different and cannot be solved in the same ways.

  13. I’ve gone through some painful, difficult experiences in my life, but overall I feel like I’ve been very lucky and acknowledge that I haven’t seen any kind of seriously traumatic loss in my life yet, by age 36. It’s scary because I know it will eventually happen and I don’t think there’s any real way to prepare. All I can do is try to live with kindness and compassion and hope that’s returned to me when my time comes.

  14. I guess I’m weird but I don’t worry about this guy at all. There are some people who think trauma and grief are concepts that come with age…and should only come with age. No idea if he’s one of them but hey–he could be, right?

    Some people are completely devastated by death when they are young. Some people enjoy life footloose and fancy free for a long time, enjoy the prosperity that age and good experiences may bring and then feel their previously charmed life is something that can help them cope with reality. Death is reality (says my Saturn 8th House). Just because a person hasn’t met it before is not to say they won’t cope well with it.

  15. I have a friend who has been through a lot shit in her life. Her childhood was rather horriffic. I mean her family was full of Pluto figures and experiences, I guess you could say. The underworld and underbelly. She married this guy when they were both really young, and he had had a very wholesome, Beaver Cleaver kind of upbringing, and at the time they got married, you might say it seemed that he “saved” her from that life. He took her out of it 18 years ago and they built a very nice life with beautiful kids for whom they did all the right things, they built this identity as a couple where they were seen as very liberal, healthy, attractive people who did all the right things. He got his PhD and professorship and she stayed home with the kids, anyway… my point is that everything was pristine. The husband had still never experienced any real emotional trauma, and I guess he is almost 40 now. Everyone loves this guy, too. Everyone I know just thinks he walks on water, and he is genuinely a wonderful man, but seemed to me that he was basically unaware that he had a dark side or was capable of devious or dark things. Pluto conjuncted his Sun this year, and is still on it. Their marriage blew apart and all the things he blamed his wife for, things he thought he’d never do, he has now done himself. It seems that he is discovering that he also has an unsavory side, with difficult urges. Courtesy of the the situation at hand, he is dealing with some pretty intense emotional trauma for the first time ever. I thought this was interesting and I do feel badly for him.

  16. Oh, no. Well then I would be worried for this guy, absolutely. I really wouldn’t even know what to do in a situation like that. Almost everyone in my inner circle has gone through trauma, be it death or loss or illness or otherwise.

  17. Yeah, Kashmiri I agree to some degree. I think the coping skills come with a certain personality, and not necessarily from a lifetime of experience. It really depends on how openminded and flexible one can be with their views on life and death, or bliss and tragedy.

  18. I know someone who married a woman with a chronic, debilitating disease, and with a lot of crazy making family of her own. But she was a hoot, and he really loved her. One day, years into their marriage, he came down with an awful case of the flu. Finally, he became bedridden until he could ride it out. He told me that his wife acted cold, almost brittle around him. He asked her what was up and she said, “Now you know what I go through every single day.”

    I don’t know why I thought of this, it’s not an example of horrific trauma or anything. But I think people who know what it’s like to suffer have a real responsibility when it comes to offering support to someone who doesn’t, and in the case above, I think the wife blew it.

  19. Maureen I was in relationship with someone who had experienced more trauma and death and illness than anyone I’d ever met before. When one of my close friends died, he wouldn’t even walk 4 blocks to the hall where I was giving a eulogy. He plain and simple didn’t give a shit. I can relate to being the partner of that wife.

  20. That is rough. My trauma started at around age 7 and did not let up until I was in my 30’s. For the past 6 years I have lived a relatively quiet life. I got used to the serenity and then BAM my engagement to an Aqua blew up, I had a miscarriage, and my father died all within a 6 month period. It was super difficult and I was no stranger to trauma! I pray that your friend is able to walk through his pain to the other side. A support system is key during times like these.

  21. *not to say she didn’t give a shit…seeing I don’t know thhose people

    I’m really sorry for your losses, firewaterearth. It’s true for me, too, that I have struggled a lot, not being a stranger to trauma, either.

  22. Kash, yeah, I think she *did* give a shit, but boy, she sure freaked out. i.e. When her support system crashed, she turned cold. Their marriage didn’t last, btw.

    Didn’t mean to go off point, the anecdote came to mind is all.

  23. My friend’s mom knows a single mom whose son (24 years old) had just commit suicide because he had and argument with his girlfriend and slapped her. He couldn’t deal with the guilt and killed himself by jumping off a building… I don’t know if this is relevant at all but it makes me think of coping abilities…

  24. lotion, I think it is relative.

    I was discussing this with my husband last night – he’s seen this before and so have I. These people really don’t know how to cope (with some exceptions of course).

    This is a very relevant topic right now as we are going to see people who never thought they would lose their job, lose their job. That’s just one example.

    In whatever case, dream on about your ability to cope that has never been tested. I don’t mean to be rude but I think it’s pretty funny and if you really stop and think about it, you’ll probably agree with me.

  25. I haven’t suffered a traumatic loss, exactly. I have known people who died, but I either wasn’t very attached, or I didn’t like them very much.

    I have, however, had a difficult life. I have very solid coping mechanisms, and I think I would certainly get through it if someone I loved died. However, because I have never lost anyone I have loved (through death, specifically), I think I would take it very, very hard.

    I guess I’ll find out how I’ll take it when it happens.

  26. Having experienced a whole heap of things upfront and personal, the anticipated worst (incapacity/death/imprisonment) never happened and I think something about my catholic upbringing prepared me ‘for the worst’. When a child, I would imagine the very worst, get that feeling and then (because I’d already suffered it) it was less likely to happen, if at all.

    I also believed that the suffering in early life would mean an easier later life. In this, I was mistaken. However, I would far rather have experienced what I have and what I shall than to have a whole heap of trouble land all at once and be unprepared. With Uranus activation, you can hardly prepare in any event but the foundation borne from repeated experience of loss, injustice and grief, enables similar scenarios to be handled with grace. From that space, honourable objectives are more likely to see a positive outcome.

    Those who’ve cruised through life unblemished by deep personal loss may fool themselves they’re divinely graced yet are brought crashing down to earth with bizarre and painful emotions. They certainly need the support of more experienced souls.

    It’s like getting down to our true identity; stripped of job title, social definition, support systems, what are we made of? The more I let go, the more I know.

  27. For me my whole life it’s seemed to be one thing after another. Not death, per se, but other struggles for me and those near to me. Right now I have a relatively stable healthy relationship and we’re moving towards some level of financial stability (not security, no health insurance etc.) but stability and not digging ourselves a hole anymore etc.

    I’m finding I have this amazing anxiety. I can’t handle the thought of everything growing and balanced ok. Not cushy but not at the bottom and in the depths of despair. I am psychologically cringing waiting for the next thing to go wrong because my life pattern has been anytime things go “good” for me the bottom drops out. Often not something I’ve done and sometimes very tangential to me and my life but the mess lands in my lap.

    On some level I envy those who have not had to endure and on another level I have great sympathy for when they have to endure and don’t know what it’s like.

  28. I never had close people dying around me, but desappearing or goind crazy or turning really ugly on me. (close family members).
    I have learned some suffering, I got used to having very little people close to me. In my case it has become hard to get close to other people, ..it could have been lack of trust for others, or the inability to relate to people who never struggled.
    By now I see happy people my age who have loving family, friends, carreers and so on:

    If one of this fine person has a loss, still has a supporting team around. Which I do not.
    I personally wish I had to learn more joy in my life.

  29. I had a friend once who was “devastated” cuz she lost a job. Wow, she had 2 master’s degrees which were both very marketable. She didn’t need the money and worked part/time.Her husband was the head hancho of some place big making megabucks, too. But, that devastated her. She grew up priveledged. But, I’ve known lots of people like this–can’t take 1 loss/truama very well.That’s about an inch worth of my yard of traumas.

  30. I have been brutally raped, lied on, lied to, deceived, betrayed, bamboozled, abused, depressed, angry, sad…I could go on with a list full of trauma. I’m 44 and do I avoid trauma? Nope! I’m accustomed to it. I actually embrace trauma, why? It develops strength and character. You appreciate life and all of its sensitivities.

    Hopefully, this guy will be able to see himself- real self through his trauma.

  31. i don’t know what advice to give… except.. be there. let the person talk. let them be irrational and broken and bleeding. and be there. above all things, don’t run away.

    because many of their people will be running away when winter comes.

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