featured Uncategorized

Understanding Transgenerational Trauma

Some life events are so difficult and overwhelming that they seem unbearable to the sufferer. That burden is often carried in part by family members, friends, and loved ones. But what about the next generation? Some believe that the effects of trauma can be transferred between generations, such as a parent to a child—even if that child didn’t necessarily experience the traumatic event firsthand.

While scientists are still navigating this terrain, it is clear that there is some weight to the idea of transgenerational trauma. This trauma can be passed through unconscious cues or observed changes in behavior. Anxiety may fall from one generation to the next through stories told, events discussed, and even treatment of a child by a parent or grandparent due to trauma.

The Handing Down of Neurotic Traits

Schools of psychology regularly look at the connection between trauma in a parent and the passing down of neurotic traits. In the post-Holocaust era, the first prominent literature emerged on this topic. Described as the Holocaust syndrome, reports were made on the transmission of trauma from the Holocaust to the second generation. While further development needs to be made in this area, this major event shed more light on the issue.

For example, Israeli soldiers who were second-generation Holocaust survivors were studied closely after the Lebanese war. It was found that this second generation had a more protracted course of PTSD, potentially pointing to a strong vulnerability due to transgenerational trauma.

Studies on this matter were recognized by the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). The Special Interest Area Group on Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resiliency was also founded to further research this potential connection.

Do “Traumatized” Parents Lead to “Traumatized” Children?

Large numbers of clinical practice studies have shown that patients who have suffered PTSD are emotionally limited, preoccupied, or “traumatized,” which can translate to a child’s development. For example, a parent’s symptoms such as traumatic reliving, emotional numbing, and other traumatic responses can limit a child from developing a sense of safety and security, a sense of identity, and even autonomy. The parent’s high levels of anxiety can easily interfere with the child’s own development, causing a sort of generational passing of trauma.

When trauma is transferred from the first generation of “trauma survivors” to the second or third generation, it can be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult for that next generation to navigate. Many individuals may not immediately identify the source of their anxiety or stress disorders, making transgenerational trauma an often frustrating and confusing condition to manage.

Therapeutic Solutions offers behavioral health solutions designed to help patients deal with anxiety, depression, and other transgenerational trauma symptoms. Learn more about our programs through our website or by calling us at (530) 899-3150.

featured Uncategorized

Codependency & Self Care

Codependency is defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” In a codependent relationship, one or both parties may be dependent on the other for fulfillment, happiness, self-worth, and even their very sense of identity.

Some potential signs of a codependent relationship include:

  • Support for a partner that compromises the other partner’s personal health and well-being
  • Ignoring harmful or dangerous behaviors in the other partner
  • Inability to be happy or fulfilled in other areas of life without the partner
  • Feedback from close friends suggesting extreme dependency on the other partner
  • Profound anxiety within the relationship
  • Attempts either to change the partner or to change him / herself to meet the partner’s preferences and desires

One of the signs of codependency is a lack of self care. Some codependents may even feel guilty when they take care of themselves or take measures to promote their own well-being. As a caretaker, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of codependency and to remember the importance of self care. Many caretakers are particularly susceptible to codependency and may neglect their own well-being as a result.

Are You at Risk of Codependency?

In a sense, codependency is not unlike addiction, except rather than a dangerous drug or other substance, the individual is addicted to the presence, involvement, and approval of a specific person. Some people may be more likely to develop codependent relationships.

Codependents may share some or all of the following personality / character traits:

  • Perfectionism
  • Lack of ability to set reasonable boundaries
  • Lack of self-worth
  • A tendency to be a “people pleaser”
  • Poor communication skills
  • Fear of being alone
  • Focus on what other people think
  • Denial of the reality of a codependent relationship
  • Denial of personal needs and feelings
  • Obsessive personality
  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Caretaking

Recovering from Codependency

Some ways to begin the recovery process:

  • Read about codependency
  • Talk with a professional
  • Relax and reduce stress
  • Attend a 12 Step meeting such as Codependents Anonymous
  • Begin to pursue and develop your own hobbies and interests
  • Focus on accepting yourself
  • Practice being honest about your needs and feelings

Don’t be afraid to ask for help; abandon the idea that you need to be completely independent and self-reliant. Remind yourself that it is important to take care of yourself and to have fun. More than that, you need to remember that you are only responsible for your own choices and behaviors.

Codependency is ultimately unhealthy and dangerous. Not only does it hurt you, but it can also be harmful to your relationship, demonstrating a lack of respect for the autonomy of your loved one. Remember that taking care of yourself not only gives you a better life, but it also enables you to be a better caretaker. You do not have to be solely responsible for your loved one’s happiness. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own.

For more information about our behavioral health services designed to help clients regain life balance and independence, call Therapeutic Solutions in today at (530) 899-3150.