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Traumatic Family Dynamics

When Addiction Runs in the Family

Many of us dealing with mental health issues and addictions share a commonality; we have experienced some form of trauma. One source of our trauma can be the family dynamics of the home environments we grew up in. Trauma can chip away at our sense of self, our feelings of safety and security, and our understanding of peace, love and family. When a person is traumatized at any age, but especially in the formative childhood years, this affliction of soul and spirit can manifest in very toxic ways.

Many of us come from “broken homes,” families that were divided by divorce, separation, violence, incarceration, or death. In such homes, there are many family dynamics that come into play- here are a few:

Abuse

One form of trauma that readily comes to mind is that of abuse. Abuse can take place physically, emotionally, mentally, or any combination thereof. The spectrum of abuse can be wide: from severe violence to persistent insults. No matter the severity of the abuse, an abused child will often show signs of fear and anger, such as high anxiety or volatile outbursts. Any of these things can morph into addiction, depression, or any other form of mental or emotional unwellness.

Conflict

Children can sense when there is conflict in the home, whether that conflict is expressed or not. As families, and as humans, we absorb each other’s energies, and children especially so, with their still-forming minds and hearts, their innocence and their sensitivity. When parents or caregivers are not at peace with one another, children know. Fights are scary to little people and can have a lasting impact on their sense of security.

Silence

Just as loud arguments and violent fights can be especially frightening to children, so too can silence. People withdraw from one another for many reasons. A parent might be depressed and unable to talk. Another parent may be holding onto residual anger or resentment towards the other parent. Some families continuously sweep things under the rug and never resolve conflicts. Others simply stop talking. When family members choose silence over communication, the energetic space between them can be filled with toxicity. In that silence there is so much unspoken hurt, bitterness, fear-  all of which manifest more pain, especially for the child caught in the middle.

We all need safe spaces to communicate our worries, our fears, our pain. We need to be able to express these things and be met with compassion and empathy. When we aren’t able to, our most painful emotions can have a tendency to become stuck within us, creating blocks, which can develop into all kinds of mental health issues and addictions.

Many of us have experienced trauma within our families. We address this and so many other important issues at Enlightened Solutions. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.