Tag Archives: Emotional Neglect

Speaking at Vets for Vets in Pagosa Springs, Colorado about children and families of warriors…

VetsforVets

Veterans for Veterans.org Mission  click on website…

Veterans for Veterans…  Quote from this website…

“Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a volunteer charitable organization, 501 c (3), who are veterans helping other veterans to provide financial assistance to veterans and their families in need, to advocate for veterans, provide education and counseling, and to provide a resource of information and experience.”

Membership shall consist only of veterans from the Armed Forces of the United States of America (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard).

You may join and contribute as an Associate member, but have no voting right.

We meet every Tuesday, 10:00 am at the Quality Resort, 3505 West Hwy 160.

The last Tuesday of the month will be an evening meeting to accommodate those that cannot make the morning meetings.  Location: Same as AM.  Time: 6:00 PM

All Veterans Welcome and Refreshments will be offered.

Our Mission

Vets for Vets of Archuleta COuntyMission:  Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a 501 c (3) organization established exclusively for charitable purposes, more specifically:

  1. For veterans to help veterans.
  2. To provide financial assistance to veterans in need.
  3. To advocate for the veteran with the Veterans Administration.
  4. Provide information and experience resources.

We provide outreach to veterans in our community and assist in a variety of needs such as:

  1. Financial assistance.
  2. Assistance in accessing medical, dental and eye care.
  3. Housing assistance.
  4. Emotional assistance to help overcome the scars of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries and effects of Agent Orange.
  5. Help provide transportation to out-of town VA appointments.
  6. Hold weekly meetings providing the veteran with up to date information and a place for veterans so they can share information and fellowship.
  7. Help provide information and emotional support to family members of veterans.
  8. Ensure veterans receive access to the Veterans Administration (VA) benefits earned through their service in the armed forces.

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While speaking at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Medical Center in Albuquerque last week, I was encouraged to make contact with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, CO, to share my story about intergenerational PTSD.  I received an enthusiastic response when contacting the group, and was made to feel welcome to attend and speak at their regularly scheduled Tuesday 10am meeting.  I came early to the meeting to get a feel for the group to help me with my initial interaction.  I immediately felt right at home with my brothers and sisters who have served America in the Armed Forces, especially the many members who served during the Vietnam War.

Before speaking to the group, I had a chance to  talk to several of the members before the meeting started and to listen to the formal discussion, including reports from the committees who work on community outreach, fund raising, VA updates and support, and programs to engage veterans with veterans.  There are now over 120 veteran members of this lively and active non-profit whose passionate work is devoted solely to Archuleta County veterans of all wars.

I immediately recognized the value of veterans forming their own group and taking ownership for helping each other in rural communities in particular.  I could feel the bonding, camaraderie and fellowship.  I was impressed with the quality of leadership on the board as well.  This is a group that is making a huge difference for veterans and their families close to home.  I have written about the value of veterans groups supported by local communities (click on link) to complete the circle of support starting with the transition to civilian life and the outgoing support needs once our veterans return home.  The Vets for Vets model is exactly the right solution and is showing results evidenced by the support and enthusiasm of the veterans who are members and volunteers.  I could not be more encouraged!

Clearly pumped up with enthusiasm, it came time for me to speak to the group.  Sharing my story by referencing the challenges of a post WWII and Korean War military family life during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, connected immediately with the close to 40 veterans attending this meeting, including spouses and family members.  There was one striking boomer aged lady in attendance who caught my attention because she appeared highly emotional as I talked about forgiving my father and mother once learning about how war comes home and can tear a family apart in life after war.  I also talked about the importance of forgiving ourselves first, paving the way to forgiving others and in making a difference for the greater good.  Trauma survivors have a tough time with forgiveness, especially forgiving yourself.  But we know now that the journey of healing in life after trauma is not possible until self-forgiveness is experienced.  

These are the heartfelt healing moments and experiences that come my way while helping others know more about moral injury and the intergenerational effects of PTSD on children and families of warriors.  Helping one person at a time encourages me everyday to keep on writing and speaking about life after trauma.   I hope to stay in touch with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, and those who purchased my book and came up to chat with me privately following the meeting.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

“After husband’s tragic death, widow takes on PTSD” – Stars and Stripes

imageWidow

In this May 2, 2014 photo, family, friends and members of the military gather beside Kryn Miner’s casket after his funeral outside St. Lawrence Church in Essex, Vt. His widow Amy Miner, third from left, believes the Veterans Affairs health system must do more to help veterans who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning home. EMILY MCMANAMY, BURLINGTON FREE PRESS/AP

Widow takes on cause of PTSD awareness…

imageWidow2

In this May 12, 2014 photo, Amy Miner, of Essex, Vt., poses in Burlington, Vt., with an April 2013 photo of herself and husband Kryn Miner, an Army veteran who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and who was shot to death by one of their children in April after threatening to kill the family. Amy Miner believes the Veterans Affairs health system must do more to help veterans who struggle with PTSD after returning home. HOLLY RAMER/AP

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The story referenced in this blog post, is very real to me, and the tragedy can happen to any family living with the painful circumstances and toxic behavior connected with family dynamics in the privacy of home.   I write in my book about the constant fear and threat that can make loved ones feel trapped and in fear of their own lives.  Constant outbursts of anger and rage causing emotional and physical abuse have the potential of a life threatening action either as a suicide to end the pain, or the ultimate act of defense by a loved one to escape the nightmare of domestic violence.

We must do more in our communities at the local level to take ownership for helping veterans on their journey of healing in life after war.  In my view, the VA does not currently have the capacity to provide critical care or appropriate personal connection with veterans when they return home.  Veterans suffering from the painful symptoms of PTS feel lost when they return home.  If there is an unrealistic expectation of what the VA is supposed to do or not do, responsibility for caregiving in the local community can suffer.  The lack of speedy access to “tender loving care” and the ignorance of denial at home where our warriors live, puts lives at risk every day.  I know from my own childhood experience how scared we were as siblings observing my father’s frequent rages and angry outbursts.  We had no choice but to stay out of the line of fire as much as we could.  We couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get away from home to be with friends or in the safety of teachers at school.

If this tragic story, along with my own reflective comments, rings a bell in your own circumstance, or with someone else, do not hesitate to seek help from friends and neighbors, including local mental health resources.  Do not give up or wait for the VA to act.  The local community must take action as the primary caregivers of veterans who struggle adjusting to life following extended deployments in combat.  Don’t let your hero feel lost in the shuffle of a higher bureaucracy and alone at home suffering in silence not wanting to impose on friends, family, and local resources.  Our warriors protected us and risked their lives.  Now, we must do our part to care for them when they return home.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation, A Son’s Story

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

Why is it critical to pay attention to healing children who are emotionally neglected? The emotional baggage of kids will carry forward well into adult years!

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

HiddenScars

The hidden scars of emotional abuse are visible in numerous behavioral ways.

Healing for Emotionally Abused Kids…quote from this website article by Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell, Demand Media and Global Post

“Emotional abuse of a child, otherwise referred to as psychological maltreatment, can range from blatant acts such as verbal abuse, terrorizing or victimizing to more subtle but equally damaging deeds like rejecting, ignoring or neglecting a child. Some parents emotionally abuse their kids because they were victims of emotional cruelty as children, the American Humane Association explains. The sooner an emotionally abused child gets the help he needs to heal, the better his chances of recovery and negating the cycle of abuse will be.”

Helping kids affected by emotional neglect…  Quote from this website article by Growing up Easier Publishing…

Being Called Stupid, An Idiot, Bad, Ugly; Frequently Belittled And Unacknowledged:

Without help, a child or youth’s self-confidence disappears. Later success in learning, living, relationships, and being an effective parent is extremely difficult. These actions are often related to parents and teachers who need education, support and therapy so they can be more patient and attentive to the child or youth. Some adults discharge their stress onto children & youth by acting abusively.

*****

My parents consistently “discharged their stress” on us siblings and they didn’t know the consequences.  It was the sign of the times during the 1950’s and early 1960’s during my childhood and young adult life.  Families tried to “suck it up” following the trauma of WWII and Korean War when out in the public.  When in the privacy and secrecy of home, parents often released the bottled up stress on the kids and each other.  Years of this kind of emotional and physical abuse will affect children well into adult life.  Unless treated as quickly as possible the emotional baggage is carried forward creating the next generation of highly stressful behaviors resulting in the outward symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress, including anger and severe anxiety.  These next generation grown-ups become troubled parents who discharge their stress in the same way as their own parents.

My life as a child and young adult was very much focused on surviving one day at a time.  As siblings we demonstrated anger toward each other most of the time as a way to release the built up stress as kids.  We felt ignored and neglected.  It seemed as though we lived in a loveless home.  We didn’t dare talk about our fears at school and had a difficult time with being self-confident around our peers, teachers, and coaches.  Each day we wiped away the tears and put on our game faces when we walked out the front door of our home.

The level of awareness regarding the consequences of emotional neglect and child abuse is exponentially better in the 21st Century.  It is almost impossible for parents to not know how “discharging stress” in abusive ways at home harms children.  It is also safer for kids to talk about their fears outside of the home.  The caring and educated community culture of today looks at protecting children, but also considers the importance of helping parents help themselves before it is too late.  Communities everywhere try to help each other to prevent families from imploding under the pressure of dysfunctional circumstances.  We know now without a doubt that healing children and families sooner than later is far less costly than denial and ignorance.

Please take advantage of opportunities to increase your awareness as parents and children by spending quality time reading and referencing resources i.e., “Growing up Easier Publishing” and engaging with other parents in your local community.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

“Pinwheels for Prevention” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center April 19, 2012… Join community volunteers on the front lawn at 9am…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

pin_wheels_mini_1332702381 Pinwheels for Prevention…Lincoln City Cultural Center… Come and join community volunteers on the front lawn of the Cultural Center at 9am this Saturday…April 19, 2014…

Pinwheels for Prevention…official website…  Quote from this website… Big_Pinwheel_Garden_2014_02_00337

Actor Josh Charles and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Help Create Big Pinwheel Gardens in New York and Chicago!

“The Good Wife” actor Josh Charles helped Prevent Child Abuse America transform Times Square into the Big Pinwheel Garden on Tuesday, April 9, to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month and promote the pinwheel as the symbol for healthy starts for all children. Charles was joined by Manhattanmagazine’s Cristina Cuomo, Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO Jim Hmurovich and over 200 volunteers, holding nearly 5,000 pinwheels to create the display.

*****

I was delighted to learn about the “Pinwheels for Prevention” event planned at the Lincoln City Cultural Center on the front lawn this coming Saturday starting at 9am.  The month of April is designated by the US Congress for National Child Abuse Awareness and month of the military child as well.  I have posted on this blog recognizing April as the month to remind ourselves of the painful silence of children who are emotionally neglected or abused.   It is also a time to think about the families who suffer with emotional challenges that often affect children and result in abuse, including military families.  Children often carry forward the emotional baggage of childhood trauma well into adult life.  I know this to be true as a post WWII and Korean War military child growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The national conversation during the month of April and throughout the year advances the cause of awareness and healing for millions of Americans…

Judy and I are planning to join our friends and neighbors on Saturday for this special event.  “Make a difference one child at a time.”  Hope to see you there!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

Vice Chair, www.neighborsforkids.org