Many of my conversations with ERP (emergency response personnel) revolve around how and when their responses to situations changed, and why there are still people on their departments or agencies that "don't get it".
My observation is that when you are younger, traumatic events FEEL less impactful.
they aren't...they are in there and the body is keeping track
Why? Well, there is room in your "cup" for them. And, it is exciting and new. It might not as stressful to be away from home if you are single, or without kids, or animals that are being left behind. Also, you may have less connection to the calls you go on, and well...you are young. The pre-frontal cortex does not fully form until the age of 25, so you just don't process information like you do when you mature.
So then, why are there senior department members that "don't get it"?
In order to be able to see another persons trauma, we must recognize our own. Sometimes, others are too protected to look at how their careers have affected them. They then close themselves off to hearing about, and having empathy for others. They too are hurting, and this can show in their less healthy coping strategies. It is very unfortunate, because closing off those feelings also closes off other feelings. As Brene Brown states, we can't selectively feel. When we shut down some of our feelings, we shut down all of our feelings. If we avoid the feelings of fear, shame, disappointment, grief, vulnerability...we also shut down joy, excitement, pleasure, openness, and even hope.
So if you are around folks who "don't get it" please remember they too are struggling, and haven't the courage yet to Move Through their feelings.