Is PTSD a family affair? “Set an extra plate at dinner tonight; PTSD is joining you… “

by | Jan 29, 2013

Lisa Cypers Kamen, MA

Executive Director, Harvesting Happiness

“When PTSD transfers from the battlefield to the home, this disorder quickly becomes a family affair. So set an extra plate at dinner tonight; PTSD is joining you…
One of the things I hear time and time again is that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an isolated condition. If you think that’s true, you’re not alone; I used to be one of those people. But when I began working with veterans, I discovered something profound: PTSD affects every person in the sufferer’s life, from spouses to children to extended family to friends. Secondhand trauma is real, and if it lingers untreated, can be just as scarring as having PTSD yourself. For children, the exposure to PTSD is especially toxic.”

Kids and loved ones affected at home from a parent suffering from symptoms of PTSD are mostly if not always silent.  Why?  They are confused and scared.  I know because my childhood was spent being scared and confused all the time from my Dad’s post WWII angry behavior.  Silent children in school and at play is a symptom we adults should take notice and take action.  The simplest action is to engage with silent children who appear to be withdrawn.  Bring them into the fold and make them feel good about themselves and others.  Get them into action so that they are making a difference for themselves and others. You don’t have to ask kids any questions about their home life or what they are feeling.  Just make the silent little ones feel part of the the community of adults and children in school or at play…

I worry most about our children affected by war and trauma at home…  Please watch over them, extend your hand, and caring ways…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation:  A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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