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Behind Her Eyes | Taking a Deeper Look - The Dangers of Unresolved Trauma


The 2021 Netflix series Behind her eyes follows the life of divorcee' and single mom Louise as she finds herself dealing with the pitfalls of juggling 2 secret relationships - a romance with her boss and a friendship with his wife. Her journey is part magical, part nightmare and delivers concepts that range from consciousness and spirituality to the consequences of unresolved trauma.






Based on the 2017 novel "Behind her eyes" written by Sarah Pinborough - the Netflix series "Behind her eyes" takes a look at abstract concepts and relates them to obstacles some of us have to deal with on a daily basis. I didn't read the novel, so my conclusions are strictly based on the series. I'm sure the novel went a lot further into these concepts - but for the sake of this review, I wanted to throw that out there.



Character & Costume Breakdown

In episode 1, We meet the protagonist, Louise aka Lou, played by Simona Brown getting ready for a night out with a friend. During this scene, we meet her 7 year old son Adam played by Tyler Howitt and her across the hall neighbor who is also her babysitter for the night.



Lou's outfit of choice is a red and black animal print dress with a green biker jacket.


Red in western cultures generally stands for passion, blood, war or sacrifice. Green can mean organic - but can also stand for renewal, rebirth or growth.


These colors used together lets us know that her character will encounter at least one of the properties of red at some point and the green ties into her personality, genuine and organic.



Lou continues to wear colors found in nature as the season continues, greens, yellows browns , etc. - representing that she is an organic, genuine person -with no desire to deceive or hurt anyone - even though this is exactly what ends up happening.



Meeting David

Once she gets to the meeting spot at the bar, she gets a text from her friend stating that she can't make it. Disappointed but understanding, Louise makes the best of it, and takes one last gulp of her drink before deciding to leave for the night.


On her way out, she bumps into David, played by Tom Bateman at the bar - resulting in a spilt drink on his shirt. Thanks to this short interaction they engage in small talk and discover that they enjoy each others' company.


As they're leaving for the night, they share a kiss, but David states that it was a bad idea and they head off in their separate directions.


David is wearing a navy blazer, gray pants and a white dress shirt.

Navy, a darker shade of blue can represent authority, intelligence and integrity but can also stand for sadness or depression.


Gray is a cross between black and white and generally has to do with dualism or a combination of the properties of black and white

mirroring the idea that he's a decent guy, but he has dark secrets.


White generally stands for purity, innocence or a clean slate


More often than not, David is seen wearing a white or a light colored shirt with neutral suits or pieces throughout the series -

Representing that David in general has a good loving heart but the light of his heart is dampened by his inner struggle with the numbness he feels towards his marriage - with the neutrals being like storm clouds over his life.



Louise's Night Terrors

The next day at work, Lou gets a glimpse of her new boss which happens to be David accompanied by his wife. Due to some embarrassment, Lou hides in a bathroom stall, until the couple exits the office.


After work, Louise has a brief visit with her friend


before we're to taken to scenes of her getting ready for bed. Once asleep, Lou has a night terror and dreams of a woman who appears to be her mother, that has passed due to an overdose, a hallway with hands that seem to be after her - and Adam calling her as he runs down the darkened hallway. As she chases Adam, she awakens out of her sleep to find that she has walked into to the bathroom.


These terrors plague Louise, but they also give clues about her fate.


During these terrors, Louise is wearing a yellow dress and her son continues to wear green


Yellow can stand for happiness or joy, but it can also stand for cowardice, caution or sickness with darker shades. Along with the color - the dress itself also goes through a transformation.


While standing in the room with her mother, her dress appears to be the right size and fits as it should - as her dream continues, we see the dress morph into an oversized garment as though she was too small to fit in it- showing that this event probably happened when she was a child or she saw herself as powerless to do anything - and it's something that she never got over -


a representation of Post traumatic stress disorder. As a sufferer of a mild form of PTSD myself - I could easily relate to the nightmare scenes. When trauma is not resolved it can result in nightmares or night terrors and triggers - I suffered through night terrors for about 3 years and only stopped having them after I did some soul searching, but I still have triggers. If left untreated these experiences can continue to terrorize or get worse over time - which was represented as Lou's nightmares became more intense.



Adele

In the next scene, we witness a conversation between

Adele played by Eve Hewson and David. The relationship appears strained and uncomfortable - but the dynamics of their relationship aren't clear until further along in the season.


Adele deceivingly wears all white or white washed colors better known as pastels [ delete - for the entire series.] White generally stands for purity, innocence, naivety or a clean slate, but it can also stand for coldness or sterility, qualities that describes Adele's perceived persona.



Rob

Skipping ahead we meet Rob played by Robert Aramayo as Adele lays in bed recalling old memories. Rob was a friend of Adele's that she met during her stint at a mental facility. The connection between the two is a friendly one.


At this point, we only see Rob in white - which is part of the uniform for the facility. The white represents sterility again - here as it's tied to the sterility of medical care, but as the series continues, it turns out that the white worn by Rob is the best representation of his character. Cold and calculating



Throughout the remainder of the series, we see the relationships unfold and end in tragedy. I don't wanna to give away too many spoilers, as I think this is more than worth watching - but I do wanna touch on the concepts visited by the series.



Lucid Dreaming

As explained in the film, Lucid dreaming is about concentration and learning how to control the dream. For anyone that has dreamed, there's a good chance you've had a lucid one. One that seems so real that you couldn't tell if you were asleep or awake - and regardless of how much time passes in real life - you'll never know if it was real or if it was a dream.



A Dream like this can be unnerving - especially if it wasn't planned - and if that dream ever comes to pass or comes true later on down the line (like mine do), it can make you question if any of your real life decisions were influenced by what you dreamed - it's a never ending loop that can leave you feeling vulnerable and confused - a state of mind that can be easily manipulated by the wrong person - as seen by Lou's character.



Astral Projection

Astral projection very similar to remote viewing is a concept that was researched during Project stargate.


It's a concept that people have attempted to debunk, but the fact that the CIA, NSA and DIA have funded projects that research astral projection and remote viewing - it kinda negates that narrative.



During the series, we saw how "Adele" used astral projection to plan and calculate interactions that led to Lou's demise and David's dismay.


Outside of the consequences for the characters, It adds a layer of uneasiness for the audience - knowing that this ability is a real phenomena. Real enough to get military funding.



The Review & The Moral

It gives us the message to inspect our influences and reject preconceived notions. Think things through logically and reject reactions based on a sense of debt or guilt - When someone shows you who they are - believe them - even if you don't understand or like what you see...

which leads to the next point...



By the end of the series, evidence of unresolved trauma is seen in Lou's character. After all the things that "Adele" put Lou through - a healthy person would've cut ties with Adele immediately...but because of Lou's unresolved trauma, she was triggered, thinking back to the memories she had a a little girl, the same memories that caused the night terrors - and she re-acted based on her feelings of guilt of not being able to do more to help her mother, instead of looking at the situation for what it was - a trap.



In terms of David - he had to keep a secret and remain in a relationship he wasn't happy with out of fear. It's a picture of a mentally abusive relationship, which can sometimes be more devastating to the psyche of the victim than one that's physically abusive. There's even a hint about this in a scene where it's assumed that Adele's black eye came from David - causing others around him to distrust him - isolating him from anyone he may have been close with.



When I initially watched this series, I was highly upset with Louise's actions - completely disagreeing with the decisions she made, but in understanding the mental strain of trauma - I could see why she made them - even if I didn't agree.


I really enjoyed watching this series, I had the intention of watching 1 episode, but before I knew it, the end credits were rolling - (nope) - ok not really, but you know what I'm saying (yep).


On a positive note, this series included beautiful scenes with beautiful people and it was able to draw me in with dialogue, twist and turns and concepts. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that enjoys mystery thrillers with abstract themes.


On the negative end . Outside of initially being angry with Lou, some of the ending scenes seemed a little messy or rushed to me, but that's just my opinion - even in that, the final scenes were open ended, leaving the mind of the viewer to wonder about the terrors that David and Adam would face in the future.



The series is like a warning about unresolved issues. Telling us to take time to deal with our personal traumas and inner demons. It may not seem like it effects us much at first, but over time - unresolved trauma can result in a feeling of guilt - even when it wasn't your fault, which leads to bad decision making or a warped sense of reality. It takes time to heal, but through healing, it's easier to see clearly - which will help shield you from situations and people that could cause you more harm than good.



If you would like to watch this series, it's currently available on Netflix...If you've already seen it - tell me what you thought about it in the comments -



Resource

If you or someone you know is dealing with abuse and need help getting on the road to healing - here's a resource to help get you started.


Abuse Hotline

TheHotline.org

800-799-SAFE



Sources

WebMD - What are Lucid Dreams?

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/lucid-dreams-overview


Remote Viewing vs Astral Projection

https://astralprojectionmastery.com/encyclopedia/remote-viewing/


https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project


and On that note, have an awesome day, be good to yourself and good to others - Peace.


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