While attending an on-going leadership conference over the weekend, we had a presentation and long group discussion on the importance of trust in relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. We have been working together has a group for a couple of months now so we all feel safe as a team with good trust. The facilitator showed a chart of how difficult it is to regain trust and repair damaged relationships from mild barriers to overcome to very extreme conditions that can exist under the worst circumstances. The chart was scary to me at the extreme end since it related to my own family experience.
My turn in the group came up to offer comment. I used my own family circumstance of a toxic home culture as written about in my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, as an extreme example of a completely dysfunctional family where virtually no trust exists over a very long time. While my thoughts and comments started out sharing the example in an intellectual manner, my emotions took over. I started seeing flashbacks of my childhood and begin thinking about the various stories in my book regarding myself and family members. I began crying and managed to conclude the remarks and regain my composure. Although the experience was embarrassing to me at first, it became apparent that the group felt it was profound and positive to learn about an extreme condition of distrust that was so bad that it required writing a book to break the cycle of pain in my family. Healing is taking place right now among my family members as we take small steps to regain trust in each other and repair 70 years of damage.
In the context of what has been learned from those who receive psychotherapy from mental health professionals, my experience was a form of revisiting the past, which is a good thing in most cases. I do feel so much better after this experience. It encourages me to continue my journey of healing and eventually finding the right psychotherapist to work with to help facilitate my long term healing process. It is not easy to find a good fit when searching for a mental health professional with the experience and qualifications to help a person suffering from the symptoms of PTSD. I’m still searching, but feel encouraged to go forward on this day.
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story