I was angry at my parents until recent years. What changed my thinking about Mom and Dad? I started doing some long overdue research for my book, “Reconciliation” – A Son’s Story. Discovering the history of my Dad’s experience in WWII was the starting point. I ordered his Naval records and started talking to my siblings and other family members. I became instantly regretful and sad that it took so long to know my parents more. I didn’t know them at all, and never took the time to learn. My life up to the point of starting research on my book was about me and my own life challenges along with immediate family and career.
I wonder how many kids do not take the time to know their parents well enough along the way? My experience suggests that it was mostly the negatives that are recalled; all the abuse and struggles, and the feeling of not being loved by Mom and Dad. Parents typically grow up in a different kind of culture and are not necessarily educated in the same way. The way parents show love and caring is often the only way they know and is not the way they feel. Your parents do love you, but often don’t know how to show it. As an example, parents of the “Great Depression” and “World War II” had huge challenges growing up and in surviving as adults, especially when spouses were sent off to fight a war and were gone for long periods or killed in action.
It is never too late to know your parents, even if they have passed away. Start now to know your parents better for it is healing and if you reconcile your past and relationships, you will find peace.
My next posting will be an excerpt my my book that relates to the research on my story and getting to know my parents better.
This is my first attempt to start a blog. I’m taking this step to begin the process of educating the 10’s of thousands of family members who live with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Families acquire PTSD from experiencing a traumatic event. In my case, I grew up in a toxic home culture where my father, Vernon, suffered from the symptoms of PTSD following being diagnosed with “battle fatigue” during WWII. Dad was a survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was aboard the battleship USS West Virginia on that terrible Sunday morning. He watched in horror as one of his shipmates fell back without his head attached after looking out a porthole below deck. Dad had to abandon ship and swim to Ford Island to be taken to a medical center or safe house by Marines.
Dad came home a different person following the war, so we children along with our Mother, Marcella, became legacies of WWII and inter generational PTSD. This means Dad transferred his mental health sickness to all of us because treatment was not available at the time. About 10% of battle weary veterans acquire PTSD and potentially become highly abusive to family members over a long period of time. This is how the inter generational transfer of PTSD takes place. Most of us did not know until later, or still don’t know we have PTSD. Mitigating or managing the symptoms through experimentation or trial and error is not very effective. Those of us who survive without dangering others and becoming relatively productive in our lives are lucky.
I’m now writing a book entitled “Reconciliation” – A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks. My story, about 80% complete, provides a background of my Father, Vernon’s war years and family history dealing with life in a toxic culture. The second part of the book gets into a specific discussion of the symptoms of PTSD and some practical ideas of mitigating and managing the emotional challenges. My goal is to help my peers with similar challenges to stay ahead of the curve as early as possible by becoming more aware and educated, including seeking professional help.
I will be offering excerpts from the book in this blog in the days and weeks to come, sharing specifics and creating a dialogue with readers. I’ll even attempt to answer questions regarding your experiences, and may ask for more information, including using your stories in my research while writing the book.
My hope is this Blog will become a good introduction to my book before it is published as an e-book. More importantly, my goal is to help the many thousands of folks who suffer from the troubling symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I wish I had known 40 years earlier what was wrong with me because my life could have been managed so much better and with significantly less stress.
Thank you for your interest in this topic. I’m looking forward to getting to know my readers and discussing this subject in much more detail. I am especially excited about publishing my book, primarily for my family, but with the hope it will help many others as a bonus.