Showing 14 of 14 comments.
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Thank you for your thoughtful and powerful article about your experiences and for raising the issue of transgenerational trauma. Like you, I had no words to describe missing my mom when she was in the psych ward and losing her to the mental health system. Our society only permits benevolence for addressing what it sees as “the problem” (“an ill mother”) and therefore doesn’t acknowledge let alone address what I now see was the problem: the lifelong impact of tearing apart positive parent-child bonds. Invisible indeed!
“As a woman, she was particularly vulnerable to the pathologizing of her despair, a process by which madness has historically been used as a tool of oppression along gender, sexuality, and racial lines. Like so many others before and since, Andrea fell under the control of a system that focused on diagnosis and ignored the challenge of identifying deeper distress. She had no chance of being helped to work through her agony by processing her trauma.” I found these lines particularly powerful and am so happy that you had the opportunity to reframe your mom’s story for yourself and perhaps reclaim some of your own through the Power Threat Meaning Framework, underlining the critical need for multiple perspectives and pathways to understanding and potential healing. I’m also glad you see some generational progress and hope in addressing trauma as well as your nod to healing through creativity. May we all be given the opportunity to be seen, heard & valued early and often. <3
Sorry to have missed your comment quite awhile back. I appreciate your kind response and agree it would be great to explore in-home support – perhaps a great area for peer support – but I also fear the mandated reporter laws that often increase unnecessary system involvement for many. I do think I’ve heard about some in-home supports, but typically for “substance use only” or “co-occurring”, NEVER for mental health alone (which was my situation). Still SO much cheaper (and better for people and communities) to support family needs than to pay for removal and add trauma. Kinship care holds promise, but we need to look at the actual numbers and create additional opportunities and supports. Your support for voicing these issues is appreciated (and necessary) more than you know.
Ditto Rachel 777’s comment: Sorry you–or anyone else–has been forced to take the stuff.
Thank you Rachel777. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s sister. Way too many people gone way too soon.
Thank you so much for your support! I’m truly humbled as I am grateful, and owe a lot of my healing, to the wonderful work you and your organization offer in state. I would love to talk more about this subject with you. Though I was labeled a “family member”, the lines quickly blur as I was simultaneously grappling with deep worry and sadness, a journey that transcends that time and even my mom’s passing. I look forward to connecting with you further. Thanks again!
If you haven’t watched the movie “The Big Short”, about the housing “bubble” & Bank bailouts, I highly recommend it!
Thank you so much for your support. I am so sorry to hear what you and your family have been through. Hopefully shining a light into the dark corners of silence, whether through writing or art or other means will bring needed change.
Thank you for bringing up so many important points: the dismissal of so-called “delusions”, the effects of neuroleptics during pregnancy and in relation to sexual dysfunction, etc. Bravo to you for supporting your daughter’s wishes in regards to reproductive and sexual rights. To love and to be loved, and all the choices that potentially go along with that, are basic human rights. To leave them out is to leave out a huge part of what makes us human.
Rachel777 I am so sad to read your comment, but respect your feelings and appreciate your sharing here. Maybe you feel like I did – unlovable and incapable of making good choices in relationships. I didn’t meet my husband until my mid-40’s, when I started to trust myself again. I’m not sure if this would be something you would be interested in or not, but I found the trauma curriculum by Stephanie Covington to be helpful to me in terms of processing what kinds of things are personally acceptable in any relationship and the ways that trauma affects relationships, along with building self-love which is still a huge part of my journey – I had to learn how to love myself before someone else could love me. May you find the beautiful light that I believe is inside all of us and know you are worthy and deserving of love.
Thank you so much Steve! I completely agree that there is so much meaning … if only people would take the time and have the compassion to look and really listen through a human lens, one where we are not only aware of stress/trauma and the human responses to such, but where we can all respond, with proper respect, to the struggle and strength it takes to come through it all.
Thank you for your kind words Steve. Next steps: connecting with people who want to create positive change. 🙂
Wow! What an amazing mother! I will definitely be sharing this. Thank you for sharing it with me.
Thank you for your kind response. I appreciate your referencing other traumatic experiences that can make parenting more challenging including being a refugee, a veteran, a concentration camp survivor, etc. The topic of generational trauma greatly interests me as does your work with children and parents. Your point about the silence within families also deeply resonates with me. The trauma and hurt are the elephant in the room that no one talks about and the silence can be so toxic. I think if everyone had the language to talk about traumatic and stressful experiences, combined with the knowledge of cultural and generational trauma – a sort of social/trauma/stress lens to view life through – as well as knowledge of various ways to heal, we could talk openly about our struggles and have more compassion for each other. The fact that you refuse to give into hatred despite all you’ve been through is clearly one of your strengths. I was always in awe of my mom’s great sense of humor despite all she’d been through and I smile when I catch myself being silly as we sometimes had the chance to do together. The system took a lot of things away, but it couldn’t take away the sparkle in her eyes and her light, her essence … I think maybe the best way of honoring her might be to strive to do the same. Thanks again – I’ll be sure to look up Selma Fraiberg’s work and essay.