Normal People: The Trauma Never Goes Away
Well, folks I just binged on Hulu’s latest offering. The Irish drama TV series, Normal People. And may I just say…. WOW! It’s sooo good. Really well written, brilliantly directed (with gorgeous close-ups by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald). I adored the more intimate scenes between the two main characters, and the acting was really top notch from the two young stars.
I also loooooved the fantastic and eclectic soundtrack peppered through the 12 episodes and the melancholy throughout the gloomy Irish scenery. The two newcomers Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal really shined through the emotional and highly intimate scenes, but there’s a different theme that I’d like to explore in this post.
The lingering trauma that stems from domestic abuse. Most of those who’ve experienced it, know what i’m talking about. But for those of you who didn’t, i’m going to try and elaborate to the best of my abilities. Daisy Edgar-Jones’s character Marianne is introverted but outspoken oddball. She isolated herself from everyone’s opinion (especially about her), and is a self-professed weirdo to her peers. But when she strikes up a secret relationship (let’s call it that) with her fellow student Connel, a few of her traumas begin to appear on the surface.
First and foremost, Marianne comes from an abusive household. It’s been revealed in the series that her father (now deceased) has been abusive towards her mother. Which also made her brother also mentally and physically abusive, but I’m going to stick with her story-line for now.
The witnessing of the abuse left her with self-esteem issues, trust issues and all types of other issues. Which is why she always downplays her appearance, and always compares herself with other girls. She’s beautiful, but there’ no-one to tell her that.
And although her relationship with Connel will prove to be the healthiest of all, there’s one thing that I noticed in her story-line. The trauma and the fear of the abuse never goes away. And if not dealt with it properly (and on time) it can linger well into adulthood. Not to mention it can really mess you up on almost every level.
You begin to revitalize, normalize and even make excuses for such behavior. After witnessing physical or emotional abuse it becomes a second nature. It becomes a new normal so much so, that you may end up accepting over and over again. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s up to you to end it.
Which is why I understood Marianne’s relationship with Lukas. When your self-worth is low, it’s easy to become that broken that you’re willing to put up crap just to be with somebody. Even if that everybody is the worst possible person for you. You think that nobody normal will ever love you that you’re willing to settle for anybody. I had my fair share of bad relationships but the past trauma that I experienced in childhood really messed me up. Hey, he’s just a complicated man right?
I spent my childhood being afraid of the male population because of the physical abuse my dad showed towards my mom. It occupied a big portion of my childhood, and that trauma caught up to me me later.
The scene in which Marianne confides to Connel about her father’s past abuse is word to word the exact one I had with my now husband when we started dating. I related so much with that scene. It’s not easy sharing such information, especially with your SO mostly because there’s such stigma around it. And I my community usually the blame is put on the victim, not on the abuser. But thankfully my husband’s reaction was exactly the same with Connel’s reactions.
He’s never laid a hand on any woman, and doesn’t intend to. In fact he even confessed to me that he even recused a woman from being raped. He took a beating from the rapist but the girl was left unharmed (sexually or physically).
It made me proud to be in love with him to be honest. But for the most part of my adolescence and adulthood, I was Marianne. Always shy and introverted. Always carrying my childhood traumas on my sleeves. It took a lot of therapy and self-discovery to be able to function as a normal human being. And to forgive my dad to be honest. But I love it when I see a more accurate portrayal of abuse traumas on TV or in movies. It somehow makes me feel like I’m not alone.
But my point is… The trauma will most likely never go away. If it does great. But most often than not, you’re just going to have to learn how to live with it. It doesn’t make you less of a human to be honest. But for some, it can be a great of a burden to bare.
Yup. I highly recommend Normal People.