Trauma and the Nuclear Family
The pain and frustration of practically any type of loss, pain or trauma come home to roost. Intimate relationships can suffer, isolation and alienation set in, and if embarrassment is allow to take hold, trauma can drive a wedge between the closest of family members. It's as if the trauma and the nuclear family, those in the inner trust circle of the trauma survivor, are immediately put on two different paths in life.
A scenario like this is all too common and it become a secondary trauma for the family members. They've lost the person that has suffered the trauma most immediately-and sometimes they'll never fully understand.
There is hope for the family after trauma
If you have even the seedling of hope inside of you that it's possible that things can get better for your family, you will want to know this:
- There are a only a handful of patterns that families get into after trauma that cause most of the problems.
- These sticking points can be the source of many arguments and pain, but there is a way through it.
- People that appear from the outside to get through difficult traumas relatively gracefully have likely mastered these issues. Whether they learned it growing up or from other life experiences, they have a skill set.
Common problems in nuclear families after trauma:
- Comparing pain against each as if it's a competition
- Trying to "fix" the other person and not letting them just be, grow, and heal at their own pace
- Poor communication during the process of the inevitable changing priorities
- An imbalance in connecting to support resources and relationships-usually one holds back and their healing is different or a bit slower (maybe nonexistent)
- Avoiding grief altogether by one or more family members
- An utter lack of understanding about the grief process and/or unwillingness to learn
Stop the generational curses
Though we usually don't like it, the children around us pick up on our attitudes, body language, anxiety tolerance, and mood. We know that children, even infants, in the presence of parents that have been through stress have their DNA altered and their genes stay changed into adulthood! If you don't learn how to heal and get through trauma as a family unit, you greatly increase the chance that the children in your life would have difficulty overcoming trauma or big losses later on in their life.
How can I fight what trauma has done to my family?
The good news is this skill set can be learned! That's exactly why we went through the trouble of creating the PTSD Academy. If there was no hope, if nothing could be done about all of this, if these things couldn't be taught rather simply-we would not have wasted our time. Consider joining one of the PTSD Academy online training courses so you can be informed about what you're up against-and what to do about it.
Perroud, N., et al. (2011). "Increased methylation of glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) in adults with a history of childhood maltreatment: a link with the severity and type of trauma." Translational psychiatry 1(12): e59.