The traumatic events of our lives . . .

. . .  have the power to completely disrupt and alter our lives and our sense of the world as we have known it. So much that we may have taken for granted before is shaken up and distorted, including relationships from the most intimate to the most casual. Plans we may have created that mapped out the rest of our existence: the hopes and dreams that crisscross the maps of our lives like rivers and highways, providing the potential and the means to traverse the landscapes of our futures—all these may be instantly swept away in the aftermath of a trauma or major betrayal. These are the events that shake the bedrock of our consciousness, and rock the foundations of our minds; the psychic earthquakes that topple our buildings of safety and security, leaving us lost and bewildered, raw and vulnerable. These are the events that strip us completely naked of all that may have defined us as individuals. All our masks are violently ripped away, and the mirror confronts us with terrified and unknown faces. Who stares back at me? I have never seen this face before, and it frightens me. Where is the face that used to greet me—even the ugly moods I didn’t like, yet were familiar? I no longer recognize even myself in any reflection. Where did I go? Who am I? [excerpt, p. 22]

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