The inner trauma of not feeling heard can manifest obliquely and a “Karen” can be born.

I’ve been trying to figure out what has been behind the surge of “Karens” we’re seeing on social media, who seem to get easily triggered into a rage that is usually verbally abusive but can devolve into physical attacks or other aggression.

I surmised that the birth of their behavior came from having been abused in some way and not having been able to heal from it so it festered inside and then bursts out when triggered, very much like how someone with PTSD reacts when triggered.

quote and meme by ChildrenofLight

Recently I read a comment on an internet article, where the man commented how he nipped it in the bud for his wife to turn into a full-blown “Karen”, when she was still in the early stages.

He had asked her why she was having the screaming outbursts against people, and she told him she felt she “had” to do so in order to be heard. She then told him how when he cut her off and didn’t listen to her, she felt very unheard, and that frustrated her.

They resolved to each work on their own issues, his to listen completely to her and not interrupt because he was assuming he knew what she was going to say, and for her to communicate calmly and not fall off the deep end.

Our perceptions affect our thought and our actions so deeply that we often aren’t aware why we are reacting the ways we are, until we sit and analyze where our perceptions have come from.

Everyone of us come from families and environments that have played a role in our development, whether we have accepted the internal logic of it or if we have rejected it completely and have worked to develop a different paradigm of thought.

Yet no matter where we are at this moment in time, most of us believe we are right! We have convictions about what we think and why we’re right to think those ways.

Each of us perceives reality through a filter called familiarity. Our perceptions are deeply influenced by what we know and what we believe, by the labels or templates we use to describe the things we see around us every day. This system of knowledge and beliefs is often described as a ‘worldview’ or ‘paradigm’.

Often, we are used to believing that our perceptions constitute the only existing reality. We think most of the time that what we believe are true facts and objectives, and these truths are obvious. We also often think of our beliefs as being based on real information, although this information does not always have the breadth or validity necessary to be able to support, obviously and indubitably, these beliefs.

In order to be able to effectively connect to the real needs of others, thus realizing the prerequisites for increasing personal efficiency in complex relationships with others, it is necessary to first understand how we perceive the world, the reality that surrounds us, and, at the same time, how others perceive reality.

Performance Psychology in Perception in communication – Why we misjudge?

Fear is one of the emotions that trigger our Amygdala to take over, in the well-known “fight or flight” response, where anger and angry outbursts become a way to try to manage one’s feelings in the moment.

We’ve all come out of a collective and prolonged period where we feared for our lives and those of our families, due to a worldwide pandemic, plus the ever growing fears of what climate change is doing to our ways of life.

Add in the growing gun violence and killings, we have a lot of serious stuff going on to trigger deep fears, as well as anger over those situations and that the people who are elected to run our governments seem to be pandering more to the will of the people paying them off, than all of our well-being.

A couple of the ways that many folks choose to deal with these terrible things that loom in our lives is DENIAL and BLAME. Those are the low-hanging emotional crutches that people latch onto in their efforts to manage their extreme fears.

We all heard of the COVID and the climate change deniers. We also heard the blame-shifting going on with respect to who bears the blame, for no one wants to accept that kettle of fish.

Playing the blame-game may feel good to find a scapegoat, (often an opposing political party) to dump everything onto, but it does nothing to actually resolve the issues.

(Pay attention to the people who are fanning the flames and getting people worked up: look deeper into their motives. Often it is financial gain. They get to get elected or keep their jobs and they may be accepting money from lobbyists who pay them to be their mouthpiece. The loudest ones have found a financial cash-cow, for they’re milking the fears people have and using these opportunities to get direct donations to their causes or to themselves.)

Blame and denial may seem to temporarily help us to feel better by diminishing and shifting the issues away from our little lives, but it seems to affect our mental health more than we realize, for it is very much like trying to stuff down and bury difficult emotions; they eventually struggle to be heard, and will at some point burst forth.

quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art
quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art
quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art
quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art

Unfortunately, the only way to actually deal with the difficult emotions is to face them instead of trying to stuff them.

We may not resolve the underlying issues, but we aren’t creating a ticking time-bomb inside of ourselves where our emotions struggle to be heard.

Emotional and mental health issues need to be taken seriously, and we need to learn to listen and hear each other instead of mud-slinging and hurting each other. We resolve none of the issues, but keep adding more layers of anger, hurt and fear to our hearts and spirits.

quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art
quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art

Sometimes the best first step is to step away from all the negative messaging that is feeding all the fear and anger. The more we consume of the negative massaging that is making us feel fearful and angry, the more fearful and angry we feel!

If you want to change this in your own life, try stepping away from all the social media feeds.

Unsubscribe, unfollow, and hide those from your feed.

Instead select positive and uplifting sites to follow. Hobbies, outdoor groups, local parks and museums offer a lot of positive content. Follow positive inspirational leaders. Soon your feed will change, and the algorithms will stop sending you the stuff that makes you feel angry and fearful, and instead will send you stuff you can grow from!

It all comes down to choices: how do we want to live our life moving forward? Then choose the things that will get us there!

quote by Tamara Kulish, images from clip-art

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33 thoughts on “The inner trauma of not feeling heard can manifest obliquely and a “Karen” can be born.

  1. This is profound. I keep having this thought that we need to have some type of collective healing for a multitude of societal issues, but I also know that some will find a way to even argue about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! I think you’re right, we’ve seen how they’ve reacted to requests for their good: ” No, you can’t make me!”

      I agree though that a major healing is needed, but they need to come to the realization themselves and seek it out.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Informative post thanks Tamara.
    “ Blame and denial may seem to temporarily help us to feel better by diminishing and shifting the issues away from our little lives, but it seems to affect our mental health more than we realize, for it is very much like trying to stuff down and bury difficult emotions; they eventually struggle to be heard, and will at some point burst forth.”
    – Oh Yes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you’re right, some of these “Karens” are that way because of PTSD or trauma. But I also think some of them are just very entitled. And when people become entitled instead of grateful it really messes up their personality. That’s why gratitude is such a vital practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree there’s a high level of entitlement. Karens have been around for years. My mother was one, so was my grandmother in many respects. The level of vitriol coming from them these days seems to have multiplied tenfold, and their level of fear about what the terrible world might do to them has multiplied. We have so much fear-mongering going on, and it seems that the Karens and the Kens have internalized it a little too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think they are very extreme and I’ve even seen some physically attack others for the craziest little thing. So sad. You’re right this isn’t really new it’s just people are more aware of the Karens and Kens now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Social media has made them trend. I wonder if the possibility of notoriety is something that lets them just lose all self-control? They have been getting very physical with their attacks.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah, I literally saw someone trying to run another person over the other day. It was nuts. Yes, that could be one of the reasons. Honestly, it’s so hard to tell because a lot of them just seem like they need help like maybe a mental health professional needs to diagnose them. That sort of anger is not normal.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I agree with you. The levels of anger are way beyond what we saw prepandemic. I think the collective fear and stress pushed some people over the edge and they haven’t found their way back. All the political nonsense going on has only pushed many over that edge too.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Our triggers are our teachers – yes! You did a good job of delving in to what we can do to solve and soothe what is pushing our buttons, Tamara. May we all do our own work so we can be better citizens, neighbors and friends! Thanks for a post filled with great art and your quotes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Wynne! It does simply come down to doing the inner shadow work, doesn’t it? The outward consequences can be strong and overpowering, and as we’re seeing, innocent bystanders are being affected for inadvertently triggering the inner volcanoes!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The one thing I feel is “frustration”

    Everyone is frustrated and they want an opportunity to burst out.

    I’ve seen many a times, if there’s an accident on road, people consider that as a opportunity to vent out their anger and frustration.

    Or if anything happens with them, they consider that an opportunity to lash out.

    This is serious and needs proper treatment.
    As this behavior can take form of heart disease, stress, depression and stroke

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely yes, Devang! I’ve only been talking about the outer consequences to others, and haven’t even touched on the personal consequences to each person’s health! Our emotions and mental health aren’t just inner private things, there are real life outward consequences! Sometimes the only time people will want to work on their “inner demons” or troubles, is when they are forced to, either by a judge or a doctor.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Michelle! Yes, it does come down to choices, and sharing awareness of the possible choices is helpful for those who may not be aware of them!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As you suggest, Tamara, the frustration comes from multiple sources. We live in a fraught time, with many complaining of few real friends and forces they cannot control, damaging the country and the world with questionable knowledge and motives.

    I am concerned, additionally, about a tendency you mention regarding political engagement. Inevitably many people find they can only take so much of the negativity within our political life and the opinions broadcast about politics. While I agree some may have to withdraw from exposure to that, a lack of keen awareness of what is happening within government and law leaves us in the hands of those who remain engaged and may not represent our motives and decent national interests.

    As Yeats wrote in The Second Coming,

    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    Do people reengage with the political world once they stabilize themselves? I hope they will.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You bring up some excellent points Dr. Stein. I think the information input many are choosing to consume is further exacerbating the responses they are experiencing, for the sources are often strongly opinionated and editorialized. I favor the public tv and radio stations, they seem to be keeping to the true spirit of journalism, which is to report news and not sensationalize it. I have known staunch supporters of both the left and right to love their reporting. Until we (collectively) become more selective with our sources of information, having knowledge about the political world and how it really works, is still something we may be able to have, down the road. It’s definitely a work in progress, as society has become addicted to sensationalism and the rush of endorphins they get when listening to their shows.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Something I noticed of myself when talking to others was…I was getting ready to say something before I had even heard them finish speaking. I was so shocked at it that I thought that it must be an emotional defense mechanism to whatever we held within us in fear. A well trod pathway influenced usually from some form of rejection so that we are always ‘on guard’ and ready for whatever comes along. Until I faced and understood my fear…only then I could see that I had started to listen, really listen to others and stop something that I no longer was.
    Great post dear lady 😀❤️🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Mark! It’s so true! The unhealed or unexplored and unacknowledged things inside of ourselves are at the root of our triggers, and once they kick in we stop listening as you said and go on the defensive. Facing our own fears is the route through to reach a point of not getting triggered is definitely the way!

      This is hard work, I’m so happy to hear that you have been doing it, and are showing the path to others now!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I have definitely noticed that people seem to “detect” the hurts they once experienced happening all around them. And though when it comes to my own I do really feel they occur “over and over again, when I observe other people I often don’t see what they see. A situation will seem due to a difference in personalities, or poor planning, yet someone will feel it was targeted at them and malicious/disrespectful in some way.

    Like you shared we all have blind spots, where our emotions RESPOND more due to fear than what is most likely occurring.

    Cutting back social media and the news is a great suggestion! I stopped watching the news a year or so ago, and it helped me a lot.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s great! PTSD from past traumas may be more widespread than previously thought, and a great way to reduce e the triggering moments is often to remove ourselves from certain situations or to limit our exposure to them.

      Watching the news is one of those trigger situations, for most news stations tend to editorialize, which shifts our emotional perspective. If a station is very left or right leaning, the editorialization will subtly affect us, because it shows the beliefs and the opinions of the network through the descriptions, the tones of voices and the adjectives selected.

      Very few stations and networks are journalistically neutral, except for the public TV and public radio stations, where I know some staunch supporters of both the left and right listen to!

      I’m happy you have been taking steps to help your mental and emotional health!

      Liked by 1 person

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