“Steve, I never thanked you for sending this to me – so thank you! I haven’t read the blog yet, but read a synopsis/summary of the book, and can only imagine your childhood. I don’t believe I shared with you the day we chatted, a memory I have of watching my mother choke my older sister (then, she was 7) with a slip, while I hid in terror behind the door. She did finally release her and it was nothing as terrible as what you witnessed happen to your brother, but it caused me to be very fearful as a child. To add to your father’s PTSD, adults of that generation, just didn’t value children and thought of them as an extension of themselves (not as individuals), or worthless. It’s a blessing that we can do so much better for our children and grandchildren!”
I received the above e-mail this week that reminded me of my own toxic home circumstances while growing up with parents suffering severely from moral injury and PTSD. I believe strongly that the “collateral damage” of loved ones affected by child abuse in general or living with parents who served in heavy and extended combat create a generational moral injury to our society. Kids who come from these homes are often severely traumatized and live with symptoms of PTSD and don’t even know it! Coping and living with the invisible wounds and pain from a traumatic experience can be a lifelong burden, including passing the symptoms along to the next generation, and the one after that… The person who wrote to me is now more aware of her own life experience and symptoms and can more effectively take steps to break the pattern. The first step in solving any problem is learning about the circumstances and causes. Each and every week I hear from folks in mid-life or older who are just finding out about their own childhood abuse connected to parents who served in combat from earlier wars, especially WWII & Vietnam. Now we are faced with yet a new generation of post war PTSD families. But it is different, we are more aware, and know what to do. The hard part is still the stigma of mental health keeping a younger generation from taking the first steps toward the journey of healing in life after war…
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story
Pray for all souls lost to wars My father Vernon, passed away in 1998. He was 79. It took my own life experience, including following his footsteps, enlisting in the US Navy in 1963 at age 17, to...