Here’s Why You Feel Actual Pain Over The Orlando Shooting: It's called vicarious trauma


This week, the nation will continue to mourn the deadliest mass shooting in American history and its unfathomable aftermath. With this process comes a lot of pain — for people in the Orlando community and beyond.

For many of us, what happened is deeply personal. I called Orlando home during my college years, making lifelong friends in the city that was host to an attack on Sunday. Others have pointed to the ways gay clubs like Pulse serve as a refuge for them in inhospitable communities. Some have described a shared experience with gun violence and their struggle with its aftermath.

But you don’t have to have a personal link to the tragedy to feel upset. In fact, your emotions are fundamentally human: Pain as a result of a tragedy, even if you’re not involved, is an uncontrollable psychological response.


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