Individuals routinely exist in a fluctuating state of equilibrium. This equilibrium is bounded by joys and sorrows and is marked by everyday life event crises. Stressors tend to cause disequilibrium, but also promote learning, skills development, and new attitudes, resulting in new states of equilibrium. Under normal circumstances, most people are generally able to resolve problems and make decisions without much help or difficulty. “Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations of life” (Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 1993). To be traumatizing, a critical incident or event must cause feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and terror or horror in those exposed.
Victims struggle to make sense of a critical incident that has disrupted familiar routines and lifestyle, and which has left them deeply affected.
According to The Department of Justice Canada, common reactions to crime include: