Psychological Shrapnel & Diminishing Returns

shrapnel piecesIn the early 1990’s, I went to therapy for three years. I was keen to turn up every rock I could find.

I was cautioned about this. You’re doing too much, too fast! I ignored the advice, of course. It’s my innards!

Ultimately, my therapy was successful in that I haven’t needed any since. This is not to say that I don’t have pockets of trauma, left unresolved. I most certainly do. But I’ve learned something from my husband, in this regard.

My husband is a retired Green Beret. He had a long a career; he was injured many times. Consequently, he has shrapnel all over his body. He’s had a lot of it removed, but there are countless small chunks left.

The metal pieces move around beneath his skin. Sometimes the shrapnel is invisible. Other times the metal shards reveal themselves when they rise to the surface and jut out. You can feel them and you can see the shape of the metal that lives in his body, poking up under his skin.

This is painful of course. You’d think he’d go in have all the shrapnel removed. But there comes a point where the pain is not worth the gain.

I feel the same when it comes to my psychology. There are chunks of trauma that are still lodged in my psyche. They have the capacity to cause me problems, but I feel I will gain more, moving forward then I will by going over the same old ground with a fine-tooth comb.

Faith comes into play here. If a piece of shrapnel breaks through my husband’s skin, he’ll know it’s time to see a doctor. Same with my psyche. If I wind up on the floor, I’d take it as a sign. But otherwise, we’re both better off to look to our future.

With Saturn transiting Scorpio, many are plodding through their various pathologies, and confronting their deep fears. But Saturn will leave Scorpio in 2015. He’s headed for Sagittarius, which is all about the future, opportunity and moving beyond.

Get all you can out of this period. Make bank! But realize it’s a transit. It’s a time and the time will pass.

No one gets through life without a scar.

Note… I wrote this in 2014. Seems worth a reboot.

Have you learned to move on?

24 thoughts on “Psychological Shrapnel & Diminishing Returns”

  1. This is very potent and poignent Elsa. We all do have our shrapnelfor sure, but the men who served are severely reminded who carry these literally remnants, how ever they may feel about it. I am in awe of their bravey. I thank your husband.
    Also I love the Elsa emails. They really help give me a clear perspective for the week upon us! Thank you!!!

  2. Yes, I have learned to move on (& I’ve been lucky to; not everyone has that choice). It’s all fodder. The great thing with moving on is, you get to see it from a different angle.

  3. Lol I was really hoping this post would be full of answers by now so I’d maybe find some inspiration.

    Big bold Faith has been my best tool! Also, I am thankful for all the therapy I recieved. It was free in college and that was right when I needed it. Talking to people who understand my problems and won’t judge me for having them is imperative. Sometimes it helps to have someone listen and say “its ok to feel that way.”

    I’m not sure if I know how to “move on” per se, but radical acceptance helps. Like the shrapnel, some things will always hurt and they may even be right there under the surface but I have to work around it.

    Saturn in scorpio has really helped me get underneath the surface so I can learn to live with the problems that cannot be fixed. I’m glad to be learning this.

  4. Im so glad that you wrote this. I finally came to a point a few months ago that I said to myself, enough is enough, no more to dig up at this point now its just become stale. Time for action. I still can feel the weepy little wounds but frankly Im bored with it. So they are there but they don’t cripple me anymore.

  5. It is Truth…. I have faced my deepest fears with Saturn in Scorpio. It has been like this to me, You know when you get on the hardest exercise machine at the gym… and you get half way done… then it hits you! I just can’t go on anymore, except your time on the clock isn’t done. You have to continue. But I feel where will I find my strength? Sometimes I need to modify the speed, sometimes I go deep to get me through. I am working for myself and so it seems against myself… yet I have to find that balance inside to have it all make sense. It comes from the deepest part of me. Saturn clobbered me. I thought possibly I would remain unscathed. I will come out of this transit with a big fat scar… one that is yet still oozing and bandaged. Some things we will never be able to be free from. Acceptance, is the first part of healing. My scar will be with me the rest of my days and I will go on with it.

  6. Avatar

    Great metaphor and relation to what’s closest and most real to you. Truly the best time to delve deep and uncover the worst, heal, and make an amazing future!

  7. Maybe it will lighten up for some, but others…say me, for instance…w/a natal Saturn in Gemini, I’m not crazy about having it in opposition for lo so many mos & such. I already have the cosmo’s school marm sitting with me, from birth; with uranus and its sharp-edged ruler to rap my knuckles…don’t need anymore “help” from this planet, that I can think of. Trying to figure out how to “skip” this class, or just audit it, for credit! At least I got a break from the universe, missing that Cardinal Cross deal; tho, I imagine it’s just a lull before the next storm ~but I’ll take it! Have had a Libra “corpse” working out his Scorpio “schrapnel” using me as his therapist..diminishing returns, indeed..all round, looks like to me; but, I’ve seen where I got hit by some of it, myself and am being healed vicariously, I think, thru the “teach what you need to learn” process. Thankfully, I had my bout in therapy, during the 80’s..I highly recommend it. Won’t stay buried, may as well dig it up and burn it!

  8. at age 62, I can say the last 10 have been the redefining of my entire life and freedom has come as a result of look at and releasing to the divine spirit, my unhealed parts.
    At 52 I woke from a 13 year slumber, via RX psych drugs that were given me for bipolar that was actually trauma and abuse. We are all healing something, but I’m coasting because when that stuff came up , past life and this one, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.. Accelerated , I am now calm and peaceful and passionate as to the following Native American Spirit
    “Woman is here to lead man to spirit , and man is here to make it safe to do so. The Romanics are back and my chart is on fire now, but love is love and I get and give lots, just in a smile, a hello All is lessons in love Of self , and that light attracts

  9. I stopped by on a whim today and saw this. When you post like this, I can see what your blog is about. Going to the depths and bringing out the kernel of truth you find there. And then communicating it in a way we can all relate. Do more of this.

    Over and out.

    1. You don’t know what you’re talking about. My war torn green beret gave me his torture school t-shirt – told me I earned it.

      1. “mgtow” = men going their own way.
        They hate women. They actively advocate using / harming women, the opposite from my husband.
        It’s also from 2015.

    2. A) From my understanding this womans trauma was worse than war trauma. Since war trauma happens to an adult.

      B) It is generally best practice in psychotherapy circles to use war traumas and such to best showcase trauma in its escalated state to then bring insights into other people with trauma. As in the book by Bessel Van Der Kolk which uses Vietnam soldiers to talk about treatment for the general public.

      C) You are reflecting the movement badly with that name, combined with the fact that you are clearly a douche. You should choose a different name.

  10. Sometimes, l think trauma is the habit of the known. We repeat…favour the good leg, limp along. I have a knee…

    I am thinking of the late great Tina Turner. Mother and father left her, then she found Ike and she left him. USA said she couldn’t play her music…so she left…and she remained kind and generous, all the way through.

    These days l much prefer the unknown. I have a flashlight.

    6 fixed planets here.l waited too long and listened to ideas designed to maintain the status quo. I was told what was necessary. It wasn’t.

    If you go into therapy it helps if you and the therapist share the same world view.

    Art therapy/ Sand play. both client- centred Jungian based therapies were valuable to me. How many times was l offered prozac. l said no. l took the long way round.

    I am quietly blowing up everything now.

    Uranus squaring Moon Leo 6th hs (Sun Taurus 3rd also squ with Jupiter Scorp.).Using No meds except herbs and the walking cure…

    Saturn still around Asc.A tidal wave, scorched earth.

    l am my own best resource now.

    There are precious things in the rumble that l will keep.

    l recycle.

    I am doing this now.

    The past no longer has the attention it once did.

  11. I’ve done various therapies over the years at certain moments in my life. Trauma changes the brain. I do exceptionally well most of the time. This Spring I’ve had multiple triggers. It really helped to have Elsa available when I felt overwhelmed. A short consultation was immensely helpful and just what was needed. A stitch in time saves 9 ?

  12. My sentiments exactly. Keep going. As always thanks for your wisdom Elsa. And thanks to your husband for his service. Green Berets are might strong inside and out.

  13. Very apropos as Pluto keeps rolling over my 27-degree Capricorn Moon … over and over again 😂 You guessed it! I’m finally working through a lot of stuff I’ll need to bury once Pluto finally sticks the Aquarius landing.

  14. A very on point, wise and honest post.

    I am in a similar position. Not because I have been through a lot of trauma but because of conditions in my life that have not allowed my body to heal from anything really. I have a physical condition that is serious, if it is not managed as it was not in a childhood friend of mine with the same condition – well, he is no longer with us. But new technology has allowed me to now manage it properly so I am not getting constant, excess fight or flight.

    So, the condition has made everything worse so that even regular interactions have become far more sour than they should be. So bad “narcissistic” friends and family, a close friend that killed herself, workplace bullying etc.

    Now I’m in this strange place where my body can finally function. So I can process things. But… process what exactly? In general I use dream interpretation to tell me precisely what needs to be processed. Which tends to bring up just one memory very strongly.

    We can all only do our best though. I can’t imagine society will be able to move forward without some kind of giant economic crash or massive change of economic power if BRICS bring out a new currency or something. It’s just a feature of the planet we are living on.

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