When Your Trauma is Triggered by Headline Tragedies

The loss of celebrities or tragic worldwide events can dig up old wounds in ways we don’t expect.

I’m feeling it, and I’m sure you are, too… the trauma of another person’s tragedy. It triggers me as though it were my own. At least that’s how it feels.

Whenever something happens like the recent devastating death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the other victims of the terrible crash, people wonder why they’re so affected when it’s someone they don’t personally know.

It’s called “collective grieving.” It’s a real and heartfelt emotional reaction to a loss that is not directly connected to you. The most common trigger is that of celebrity deaths. It can also ignite with national emergencies like hurricanes, community tragedies, mass murders, or even that of an average person who met a devastating publicized death.

Why do we feel public tragedies so deeply?

When a public tragedy happens, we experience a...

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